We just spent a week in the shadows of the Golden Gate and couldn’t help but compare San Francisco’s hotspots to Philly at every turn. Who won? Here’s the 22nd & Philly take between some of the sites/restaurants we visited in SF and their Philly counterparts.
For the full photo recap, see our Facebook or Google+ albums, and check back for future posts with more advice on visiting San Francisco and Napa/Sonoma.
Ding Ding. Here we go.
Round One: Reading Terminal Market vs Ferry Building Marketplace
An easy round for Philly. Reading Terminal Market is more authentic, has more energy and is much more than a well-designed tourist attraction. Its diversity of foods, fresh made products and seating options surpassed Ferry Building Marketplace. We prefer the everyman feel of Reading Terminal, which reminds us of the local markets in Spain and Italy.
We’ll give kudos to SF for designing a market that features more space to maneuver, a variety of eats and top-notch restaurants such as Slanted Door. You should have it on your list if you visit but don't expect the down n' dirty chaos that makes Reading Terminal unique.
|Pho at Slanted Door in the Ferry Building|
Round Two: Penn’s Landing vs Fisherman’s Wharf
Advantage: San Francisco
A near knockout punch for SF. It’s pathetic how far behind Penn’s Landing is in comparison. The design of the entire waterfront from the Golden Gate to Fisherman’s Wharf to the Bay Bridge is everything the Delaware waterfront should be. It’s walkable, has plenty of transit options and is designed with both the tourist and resident in mind. Get with it Philly.
Fisherman’s Wharf is uber-touristy, though, so if you like to spend your time off the beaten path, plan to spend only a half-day checking out the sea lions at Pier 39, getting your chocolate fix at Ghirardelli Square and strolling the waterfront.
|Wine tasting at Ghirardelli Square - great way to rest those feet.|
Round Three: Citizens Bank Park vs AT&T Park
Each ballpark has clear advantages. AT&T Park has a downtown location and a beautiful bay in the background. Citizens Bank Park has the underrated view of Center City and our always-passionate fans.
But the two actually have more in common than different. Both have local food options such as Gilroy Garlic Fries at AT&T and Chickie's & Pete's Crab Fries at Citizens Bank. You can also find specialty eateries from former players like Bull’s BBQ in Philly and Orlando's Caribbean BBQ (get the Cha Cha Bowl) in SF. Both parks are easy to walk around with views of the field from most any location.
Philly has tailgating before the game, while SF has numerous bars just outside the stadium. We pre-gamed at the hugely-popular 21st Amendment, a brewery known for its Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer. You can also find just as many drunk and obnoxious college and high school kids at both parks.
We would suggest building time into your itinerary to see a game at either park.
|AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants|
Round Four: Delfina vs Marc Vetri
|Spaghetti at Delfina|
But none of the pastas at Delfina came close to their counterparts at Vetri, Amis or Osteria. It's been several years but we still dream about the wild boar ragu at Osteria and the almond tortellini at Vetri. We’re lucky to have Vetri's pasta making magic in Philly.
We hear Flour & Water in SF is also excellent, but just as Steve Jobs couldn't get a table at the restaurant, neither could we.
Round Five: Walkability
When a city is known for hills and cable cars, walkability is likely not going to be its calling card. San Francisco does have some walkable sections, but you really need to rely on cable cars, buses or a car for longer walks. The public transportation is easy to use. (Hint: never wait in line at the Powell St. end stop for a cable car. Walk up two blocks to the second stop and get right on.)
The walkability of Center City Philadelphia is massively underrated. We have no problems walking east/west from Front St to 23rd or north/south from Market to South St and beyond. Friends always tell us how easy it is to navigate Center City and it is one attribute that separates Philly from other large cities.
Round Six: Tartine Bakery vs Termini Brothers Bakery
Advantage: San Francisco
Wow. That’s all we could say after experiencing Tartine Bakery’s uppercut of deliciousness. You must visit this place in the Mission District but go early to avoid a long line. Everything we had was amazing (more in a future post).
This was a relatively easy round for SF even though we LOVE the cannolis and other baked goods at Termini Brothers. Tartine almost had us wishing that Termini’s would expand its magic and become more of café like Tartine.
Advantage: San Francisco
|Bike the bridge and you get views like this.|
Sausalito is a gorgeous town and worth allotting some time to walk around. We biked about 15 minutes past the downtown area to eat at Davey Jones Deli, a cool little shop inside a convenience store with a massive menu and awesome sandwiches. Try anything with roast pork since it is made fresh each day. Make sure you check out the house boats on the water near the deli, too.
Biking to Manayunk for a day trip is an overlooked Philly venture. The ride is flat and takes less than a hour from Boathouse Row. While no Golden Gate, it’s an excellent way to take in the sites of Kelly Drive and see a cool neighborhood outside of Center City.
It’s a draw after seven rounds! Looks like the rest of this fight will take place in the comment section. Please share your comparisons.
This tie speaks to the old adage that we are all much more alike than we are different. Our experience with SF was amazing and in some cases did wish the SF version would find its way to the City of Brotherly Love. But, we're tired of Philadelphia being left off lists of the best food cities to visit and think it can more than stand its ground against the West Coast titan. We wouldn't trade our city for the world.
Stay tuned for two more posts with additional tips for what to eat and do in San Francisco and Napa/Sonoma. You can sign up for an email alert to receive future 22nd & Philly posts.