Japan town is a fascinating area. It is a six square city block area which is the largest and oldest Japantown in the United States. If you had been dropped here, you might even think you were in Japan. The architecture is Japanese, as are the restaurants. There is a shopping mall that goes for several city blocks filled with Japanese stores, bakeries, and more restaurants. We stayed at the nearby Kimpton Buchanan (highly recommended).
This whole area was filled with interesting things to see (and a lot of hills, we are after all in San Fran). We spent some time walking around Lafayette Park before making our way down to Union Street (I say down because this was one of the steepest, if not the steepest streets I have ever had to walk down) where we were rewarded with lots of great stores and restaurants. We passed a bakery that only makes products for dogs (and seems to be thriving), and we drooled as we passed the famous Atelier Crenn, home to 2016 international female chef of the year. We continued all the way to the Marina Green to have a run along the beach and a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset. On our way back up (very difficult, especially as we were pushing stollers!) we walked around the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, a small park that feels like you have entered a movie set. Alta Plaza Park offers some great views and brings you back to where we started our walk, Fillmore St just a few blocks from Japantown.
Right in the heart of Fillmore St, Jane opened in 2011 with a focus on coffee (which Rich says is good, nicely roasted), baked pastries and healthy lunch options. We came here twice for breakfast, but you have to come early because the place fills up. By the time we left both days there was a line up out the door. At first I wasn’t sure if it was all hype; the place is big and bright with industrial accents, black leather banquettes and flowery black and white wall paper. There is a large stuffed buffalo head on the wall above the kitchen because, well, why not.
I find often places like this are all looks and less substance, but not Jane. The hot chocolate is a mix of locally made Guittard 63% chocolate and half Valrhona 72%. It comes topped with a generous house made vanilla marshmallow and some fancy latte art work. If you can get a seat, order this. It’s a little decadent, but in a very good way. Combine this with the spicy baked eggs (two eggs, spicy tomato and black bean stew, cheddar, cilantro served with a piece of olive toast) and you have set yourself up to have a really, really good day.
Verdict: A treat – One of the best hot chocolates in San Francisco, and there is some serious competition in this city. Jane, 2123 Fillmore St, San Francisco, USA