North Beach is a food lover’s paradise, which is probably why Kristina chose to live there! The smell of garlic wafts across the streets. For truly authentic Italian sandwiches, pasta, breads, wines and salads, head to Molinari’s Delicatessen on Columbus Avenue, which still makes its own cold cuts and pasta. Or try Panelli Brothers on Stockton, owned and run by the Panelli family since 1934. Another venerable establishment is Capp’s Corner on Powell Street west of Columbus, where the meals are served family style and atmosphere at the bar is anything but pretentious. It’s a popular spot with older locals, families, and groups that come from Club Fugazi next door, hungry after a performance of the riotous Beach Blanket Babylon. Further down Columbus, gold Spike is a classic, no-frills eatery where patrons of days past have adorned the walls and ceiling with hundreds of quirky collectibles and personal messages. Another landmark is Firo d’Italia on Powell Street, which claims to be the oldest Italian Restaurant in the United States. It was established in 1886 and continues to be an important gathering place for prominent members of the Italian community.
Today –though many of the old restaurants remain, there are new cafes, boutiques and shops sprouting up and an influx of all ages groups and cultures living in North Beach, In the Center is Washington Park bordered by the Church as the oasis for this neighborhood. Here you will find tourists among the locals sampling Stella pastries, or sitting at one of the sidewalk cafes for an Espresso. The vendors still come out on the street beckoning you into their shops. Just blocks from the City’s financial district, North Beach has a distinct flavor that’s hard to ignore.