The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the most lively watch culture in the United States. At face value, it’s paradoxical that a place so closely aligned with the world of technology should also be home to many of the most impressive mechanical watch collections in the country. But the denizens of San Francisco have long appreciated craftsmanship and quality. The city was a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement, and its agricultural outskirts of Napa and Sonoma are synonymous with the finest in North American viticulture. Altogether, it is easy to see why the area is known for its quality of life. —Jonathan Bues
Casual ambience meets a sublime tasting menu.
By Laura Itzkowitz
Forget white tablecloths and fussy service—San Francisco’s hottest restaurant may seem unassuming but it delivers an unforgettable experience. Opened last summer in Hayes Valley, this highly anticipated arrival from Chef Kim Alter, who trained at some of the Bay Area’s most revered culinary temples, has earned accolades for its subtly sleek, studied design, and sublime tasting menu that changes weekly. Blue velvet chairs and an ombré wall design with gold lines by local decorative artist Caroline Lizarraga add a luxe touch to the otherwise minimalist dining room. Ingredients listed simply on the menu—scallop, truffle, meyer lemon, and black trumpet mushroom, for instance—are deftly transformed by her capable hands, emerging as flavorful masterpieces. Start or end your dinner with a cocktail at the adjoining Linden Room, an intimate six-seat bar with a distinctly art deco allure.
330 Gough Street; tasting menu from $125.
Stay: Ritz-Carlton San Francisco
An early-nineteenth-century landmark receives a modern renovation.
Neoclassical on the outside, modern on the inside—the 1909 landmark occupying an entire city block in upscale Nob Hill is fresh off a five-year renovation. A steely blue-and-gray color scheme echoing the Bay Area fog coupled with tailoring-inspired details such as tweed furniture and belt-shaped curtain cords imbues the timeless property with a masculine edge. High-tech touches such as virtual concierges and in-room Netflix streaming reflect the Silicon Valley setting. Club Level Rooms come with access to the city’s largest Club Lounge, though for business dinners you’ll want to reserve a table at the signature restaurant Parallel 37, which serves globally inspired California cuisine. Stop by the Wellendorff Jewellers boutique in the lobby to pick up a pair of the German goldsmith’s cuff links or a gift for someone special. —L.I.
Getaway: Las Alcobas
A wine-country hotel with a sophisticated farmhouse vibe.
Few hotels in Napa Valley give you direct access to a vineyard, but the much-anticipated Las Alcobas—a sibling of Mexico City’s beloved boutique hotel and member of the Luxury Collection—does. Many of the spacious rooms are so close to the Beringer Estate, you can actually see the grapes growing on the vines. “We’re proud that the breathtaking views from our guestrooms are unrivaled in Napa Valley and are eager for guests to experience them firsthand,” says cofounder Samuel Leizorek. He and his partners tapped Toronto-based Yabu Pushelberg to design the property with earthy materials like oak, woven jute, linen, and marble, imbuing the 68 rooms and suites with a sophisticated farmhouse vibe. Wind down with a dip in the saltwater pool and a treatment using Naturopathica products at the 3,500-square-foot Atrio Spa, then enjoy acclaimed chef —he’s a former Top Chef Masters Champion—Chris Cosentino’s artful cuisine at Acacia House.—L.I.
1915 Main Street, Saint Helena. Rooms from $695.