"I'm probably the only Frenchman who doesn't actually drink coffee!" chef Nicolas Delaroque jokes.
We were asking about his favorite spots in Pacific Heights, where his restaurant Nico is a delicious union of his French heritage and training with his love of creative, seasonal Northern California ingredients. And what's more, he's reinvigorated a neighborhood known more for designer boutiques and frozen yogurt, putting it firmly on serious diners' must-visit maps.
Here, Delaroque sounds off on his and his wife Andrea's favorite spots to eat and drink everything—except for coffee—in the neighborhood for any occasion.
Nico's pick: B. Patisserie
Why he loves it: "Belinda [Leong] and I worked together at Manresa, and she makes the best pastries. My favorites are her chocolate, banana and almond croissant ($3.75), her flan ($3.75) and the kouign amann ($4), of course. But everything is awesome, and you can't go wrong with any of her pastries."
And for a quick snack...
"I have to go with B. Patisserie again. It's only three blocks from our restaurant. When we were in the midst of restaurant construction, we were at B. Patisserie three to four times a week for a quick bite or a tartine for lunch."
The Roam Burger | Photo: Paige Green
Nico's pick: Roam
Why he loves it: "Every now and then, we will stop in for a burger and milkshake. I'm a fan of the Chalet [with Swiss and cremini mushrooms, $9.25] or Sunnyside [topped with an egg, cheddar and caramelized onions, $9.25] with a vanilla milkshake."
Nico's picks: SPQR, Pizzeria Delfina, Dosa, State Bird Provisions
Why he loves them: "SPQR is a great dinner spot. It's intimate and always tasty. For something easy and casual, I like Pizzeria Delfina on California. Dosa is good for larger groups because they make nice cocktails and have ample space. Of course, if you can get in, State Bird never ever disappoints."
A Stiff Drink (and Beyond)
Nico's pick: Spruce
Why he loves it: "Although it's bordering Pacific and Presidio heights, I think Spruce is a great spot for a drink at the bar (and a bite if you decide to stay past a drink). The bar is usually pretty full and it has a nice feel to kick off an evening. It's also good to end an evening at the bar with a drink and dessert."
Nico's picks: Out the Door, Eliza's or anything new and exciting
Why he loves them: "On my nights off, I like to try new places throughout the city. It's tough to narrow it down to one neighborhood. But on a night off when my wife and I want something easy, we tend towards Out the Door or Eliza's for takeout."
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