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San Francisco Weekender: The Mission District

Find the freshest restaurants and stores in the city’s hipster hot spot.

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  • Mug of hot chocolate from Dandelion Chocolate, San Francisco's Mission District, image
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    Dandelion serves several kinds of hot chocolate, including a rich European drinking chocolate and the spicy Mission style.
  • Colorful bowls at Heath Ceramics, San Francisco's Mission District, image
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    Shoppers find colorful stoneware at the Mission District factory of Heath Ceramics.
  • Bouquet of flowers from Ampersand, San Francisco's Mission District, image
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    New Mission District florist Ampersand stocks local cuttings in a rustic, gallery-like storefront.
  • Bar and stools at Trick Dog, San Francisco's Mission District, image
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    Trick Dog rules the Mission bar scene with wildly creative cocktails.

Home to some of the Bay Area’s best chefs and artisans, the Mission is chockablock with good food and curious shops. The latest wave of new openings has upped the ante, giving the neighborhood an even stronger draw. Area code is 415.

Watch the chocolate makers at Dandelion Chocolate sort, roast, grind, and temper small batches of bean-to-bar cocoa by hand on the 30-minute, reservation-only factory tour. Then taste the results in the café. Highlights include a single-origin brownie flight with notes ranging from molasses to dried cherries, and s’mores toasted to order with smoke-dried beans that carry a hint of campfire. 740 Valencia St., 349-0942, dandelionchocolate.com.

At Sightglass Coffee’s new café, the baristas serve single-origin pour-overs and double as DJs, playing smooth jazz records. The sunny space is decorated in coffee-inspired tones, and the bench out front is a prime spot for afternoon people-watching. 3014 20th St., 641-1043, sightglasscoffee.com.

The walls inside new florist Ampersand are a palette of seasonal flowers, sprigs, and greenery grown in the Bay Area. Visitors are welcome to build their own bouquets or sink into the wicker couch and enjoy the view, the aromas, and conversations with locals. 80 Albion St., 654-0776, ampersandsf.com.

Shopping at Heath Ceramics no longer requires a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to its flagship factory. The newest outpost in an airy showroom offers a full line of vibrant dishware, kitchen accessories, and a view of the tile factory through a large glass window. You can see it up close on a tour (reservations recommended). 2900 18th St., 361-5552, heathceramics.com.

The bartenders at Trick Dog have a surplus of imagination, and it shows—every six months they swap out the cocktail menu, rotating in new, delicious concoctions made with unusual ingredients such as apple syrup, chamomile wine, or horseradish. The industrial-style bar also proffers a small but inspired menu of bar food with items such as pine nut brittle and a burger made with a house-ground blend of chuck, brisket, and sirloin. 3010 20th St., 471-2999, trickdogbar.com.

Molly DeCoudreaux (Dandelion Chocolate); Sarah Deragon (Ampersand); Mariko Reed (Heath Ceramics); Allison Webber (Trick Dog)

This article was first published in December 2014 and updated in July 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.