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AUTUMN 2011I sea&iI49cityguide

50Isea&iIAUTUMN 2011still remains a great favourite thanks to its impressive location,rich history and endearinglyelegant private-homeambiance. With over 3,000 choices, it's no wonder San Francisco is knownas the US's finest restaurant city. Perbacco Ristorante and Baris a classy Italian with a touch of Provence thrown in. Try thechef's table to sample the finest food fresh from the localFarmer's Market. The Michelin-starred One Marketat the SanFrancisco Embarcadero provides a benchmark for sophisticateddining, while Japanese lovers should try Bushi-tei, where ablend of Asian and French influences result in pure art on a plate.After-dinner hours are well spent at the Redwood Roomat theClift Hotel. Recently restored, it still has its original redwoodpanelling and enormous bar along with digital artwork on hugescreens. Sip Bar & Loungeis a welcoming urban cocktail venueon Broadway Street. Fisherman's Wharf, meanwhile, has a rangeof eateries and bars in one scenic waterfront location. ItsParlor Bar,Lounge & Clubis great for cocktails, music and yesteryearappeal. Harry Denton's Starlight Roomat the Sir Francis DrakeHotel offers 1930s' glamour, cocktails and wraparound views.Order a VIP booth for a truly exclusive experience.Union Squareis a vast shopping plaza with one of the largestcollections of department stores, boutiques, galleries andsalons in the US - as such it's one of the world's most excitingplaces to shop. Union Square also refers to the neighbouringblocks that accommodate numerous hotels and thetheatre district. Pier 39is an entirely different kettle of fish.One of San Francisco's leading visitor attractions, it is a water-front hub of shops, restaurants, nightlife and museums. Headto the wharf to savour award-winning clam chowderserved in sourdough bread bowls, rent a bike to see the sightsashore, then hop on a sportfishing boat for an afternoon inthe bay. Don't leave without seeing the sea lions thatcluster around the west of the pier. For alternative colour andcharm, the Farmer's Marketat Ferry Building Marketplace is amust for gourmands on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If you're limited for time, the Inner Richmondis a microcosmof the city with its vast urban parks, tree-lined streets, cuisineand shopping, embracing Thai, Korean, Russian, Japanese, Irishand Chinese cultures. Museums and galleriesto visitinclude the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art(SFMOMA)and the California Academy of Scienceswith its aquarium,rain-forest and natural history museum. Top of the list has to be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Youcan walk or cycle across this mammoth of acclaimedengineeringand have your photo taken on one of the mostphotographed objects on Earth. The cable cars have beenClockwise from top right:the Fairmont; an aerialview of the city; the RitzCarlton; serious curb-sideappeal; sweet dreams atthe Four Seasons; catcha tram ride while youÕrein town; the Coit Tower;the Golden Gate Bridge;the San Francisco skyline