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Most of us would agree that one of the easiest ways to get to know someone is over a good meal. Of the hundreds – possibly thousands – of restaurants in San Francisco’s bustling food scene, one of the best ways to discover what’s good is, without question, through an Avital Tour – an experience that seamlessly weaves together the romance of the city with the best food and drinks in the country.
Created by super foodie and world-traveler Avital Ungar, these walking food tours are the real deal, built by locals for locals. Whether you’re a die-hard San Franciscan, an out-of-towner, single or [consciously] coupled, you will surely uncover a wealth of hidden culinary gems while taking in a new view of San Francisco. Hip, sassy and light-hearted, this experience is the “in” to those off-the-beaten path culinary destinations.
We had a blast on the Saturday afternoon food tour of North Beach (an absolute must). It tells a vibrant story of the Barbary Coast, the most notorious neighborhood in America during the Gold Rush. Who knew there was so much to discover?! The hidden tunnels under Jackson Square where booze and politicians were smuggled in and out during Prohibition, the behind-the-scenes sit-down at historic North Beach eateries and many colorful street side happenings (a understatement, to say the least!) were all part of the richness this neighborhood has to offer.
Most importantly, this tour explores food through storytelling. For example, we heard the story of how Agostino, owner at Tommaso’s, made his way from being and Altar Boy with the pope in the Vatican [in one of the holiest cities in the world] to the Red Light District of San Francisco! From the Gold Rush, we coasted into the story of the Italian Immigration, and of course, Domenico Ghirardelli arrived during that time and started his Chocolate Factory on Jackson Street. The Italians laid roots in North Beach and today its still very evident by its restaurants and great food.
Avital has been leading artisan food and wine tours for the past six years, and she now has curated tours for four neighborhoods: North Beach, the Mission, Haight Ashbury and a cocktail tour in Union Square. Each experience tells the story of the neighborhood through its people and great food (and drink, of course!). Says Avital, “We take you back in kitchens, spend time chatting with chefs and restaurant owners, and create unique food and alcohol pairings, and above all tell you the stories of the people behind the food that shape a neighborhood.”