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The well-stocked shelves at Tahona Mercado. Tahona Mercado

11 Destination-Worthy San Francisco Markets

These shops are for those who loved hitting the store and enjoying at home during the pandemic

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As March 2020 slogged into April of the same terrible year, restaurants looked to alternate revenue streams to make a bit of coin as the months unfolded. Boxes of perishable produce, jars of in-house sauces and spreads, and even run-of-the-mill grocery staples all became available from favorite San Francisco restaurants including Nopa and Mister Jiu’s.

By now, many of those businesses have pivoted back to their main service, especially as the city’s mask mandates are set to lift on March 11, but there are still plenty of businesses that specialize in providing unique and sometimes vital pantry items to customers. Here are 10 businesses who’ve held on to their grocery stock from those early COVID days or are purveyors of upscale at-home pantry items many have come to appreciate in a whole new way.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Little Vine

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On the hill above the Grace Cathedral and below Coit Tower on Grant Avenue sits a tiny shop with daily rotating sandwich offerings and fancy wines. Little Vine has been holding down the block down since 201 and makes walking through the back streets of North Beach total joy with its rare treats. 

China Live

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This Broadway Avenue megastore (and restaurant and bar) cannot be missed. It’s a Chinatown hero, and while the $250 tasting menus may not fit the grab-and-go bill, the food emporium has plenty of items including condiments like ginger-infused vinegar and snacks like popcorn fried in duck fat to enjoy at the apartment.

Little Jane on Grant

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Below stalwart terracotta soldiers is the adorable new outpost from Jane the Baker. Pre-packaged vegan and gluten-free cookies, pineapple kouign amann, and bags of coffee are all on the menu of this micro outlet of the San Francisco mini-chain.

Tahona Mercado

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Steven Sadri and Emily Thompson are the husband-and-wife duo behind San Francisco’s only shop dedicated to the complexities of mezcal and tequila. Not only do they want you to drink a fine bottle of agave, but they want you to do so with a pairing that is just right for you, often with one of the many Bay Area producers they highlight in their shop.  

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

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The Tenderloin’s newest food hall is a breath of fresh air on Golden Gate Avenue. Every day customers can take home pupusas, Senegalese wellness drinks, seasoned peanuts, and even Vietnamese corn nuts. If one has the time, sitting down for a drink at La Paloma or grabbing a coffee from Fluid Cooperative is the move.

Che Fico Alimentari

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This swanky Divisadero Street shop was always designed with a to-go effort in mind. Wine, salumi, bread, and other housemade provisions are all on the menu for this Western Addition outgrowth of sister restaurant, and upstairs neighbor, Che Fico. 

The former educators and founders of Queens, Eddo Kim and Clara Lee, decided San Franciscans could use with an update to the tired idea of what it means to be a Korean bodega. Their Sunset shop is one of the only in the country to carry many of the specialty goods they sell, sourcing them directly from makers in Korea. The coffee options, Fritz Coffee and Momos Coffee, are worth a buy.

Alimentari Aurora

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Alimentari Aurora is a former Ruby Wine pop-up and now neighboring Potrero Hill shop. Dario Barbone, owner and operator, specializes in selling whatever it is that he finds particularly interesting — anything from Korean chips and tins of fish to focaccia, lasagna, and liver pate.

George's Zoo

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For more than 30 years this sandwich shop and corner store has kept Outer Sunset and zoo-goers fed and happy. The sandwiches are all under $9, and coffee is $1.75 a cup – grab a quick lunch while you load up on those household staples, running the gamut from Dorito’s to Tylenol.

Gratta Wines and Market

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Since 2015, the women behind Gratta Wines have managed a tiny shop in the Bayview in addition to their line of Women's International Wine Competition-winning wines. They carry J Street Chocolate, Bloomstock Coffee, and loads of fruits and veggies.

Cherry Blossom Bakery

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Alright, maybe this Hong Kong-style bakery isn't the best place to load up on fruits and veggies for the week. But no kitchen is complete without buns and cakes, and this Ocean Avenue shop has you well covered in that department. Cash-only, and make sure to bring enough for all the tantalizing goodies.

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Little Vine

On the hill above the Grace Cathedral and below Coit Tower on Grant Avenue sits a tiny shop with daily rotating sandwich offerings and fancy wines. Little Vine has been holding down the block down since 201 and makes walking through the back streets of North Beach total joy with its rare treats. 

China Live

This Broadway Avenue megastore (and restaurant and bar) cannot be missed. It’s a Chinatown hero, and while the $250 tasting menus may not fit the grab-and-go bill, the food emporium has plenty of items including condiments like ginger-infused vinegar and snacks like popcorn fried in duck fat to enjoy at the apartment.

Little Jane on Grant

Below stalwart terracotta soldiers is the adorable new outpost from Jane the Baker. Pre-packaged vegan and gluten-free cookies, pineapple kouign amann, and bags of coffee are all on the menu of this micro outlet of the San Francisco mini-chain.

Tahona Mercado

Steven Sadri and Emily Thompson are the husband-and-wife duo behind San Francisco’s only shop dedicated to the complexities of mezcal and tequila. Not only do they want you to drink a fine bottle of agave, but they want you to do so with a pairing that is just right for you, often with one of the many Bay Area producers they highlight in their shop.  

La Cocina Municipal Marketplace

The Tenderloin’s newest food hall is a breath of fresh air on Golden Gate Avenue. Every day customers can take home pupusas, Senegalese wellness drinks, seasoned peanuts, and even Vietnamese corn nuts. If one has the time, sitting down for a drink at La Paloma or grabbing a coffee from Fluid Cooperative is the move.

Che Fico Alimentari

This swanky Divisadero Street shop was always designed with a to-go effort in mind. Wine, salumi, bread, and other housemade provisions are all on the menu for this Western Addition outgrowth of sister restaurant, and upstairs neighbor, Che Fico. 

Queens

The former educators and founders of Queens, Eddo Kim and Clara Lee, decided San Franciscans could use with an update to the tired idea of what it means to be a Korean bodega. Their Sunset shop is one of the only in the country to carry many of the specialty goods they sell, sourcing them directly from makers in Korea. The coffee options, Fritz Coffee and Momos Coffee, are worth a buy.

Alimentari Aurora

Alimentari Aurora is a former Ruby Wine pop-up and now neighboring Potrero Hill shop. Dario Barbone, owner and operator, specializes in selling whatever it is that he finds particularly interesting — anything from Korean chips and tins of fish to focaccia, lasagna, and liver pate.

George's Zoo

For more than 30 years this sandwich shop and corner store has kept Outer Sunset and zoo-goers fed and happy. The sandwiches are all under $9, and coffee is $1.75 a cup – grab a quick lunch while you load up on those household staples, running the gamut from Dorito’s to Tylenol.

Gratta Wines and Market

Since 2015, the women behind Gratta Wines have managed a tiny shop in the Bayview in addition to their line of Women's International Wine Competition-winning wines. They carry J Street Chocolate, Bloomstock Coffee, and loads of fruits and veggies.

Cherry Blossom Bakery

Alright, maybe this Hong Kong-style bakery isn't the best place to load up on fruits and veggies for the week. But no kitchen is complete without buns and cakes, and this Ocean Avenue shop has you well covered in that department. Cash-only, and make sure to bring enough for all the tantalizing goodies.

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