San Francisco isn’t known for its celebrity culture. However, there is one group of people that locals just can’t get enough of: the players on the city’s Major League Baseball team. The 2010 and 2012 World Series champion Giants are loved by fans throughout the Bay Area. A million people, dressed in their best orange and black Giants gear, showed up to get a glimpse of their sweet-swinging heroes at last fall’s title parade through downtown San Francisco.
While Alexander’s Steakhouse near the ballpark and the Marina’s Tipsy Pig and Delarosa are all well-known Giants-spotting hangouts, we spoke to first baseman Brandon Belt and relief pitcher George Kontos to find out where they like to eat, drink and hang out on their days away from AT&T Park.
Belt, who was hitting .268 with 10 home runs at press time, grew up in Texas and appreciates good meat. So, it only makes sense that two of his favorite places to dine in the area would be The House of Prime Rib and Epic Roasthouse. The House of Prime Rib is an old-school spot filled with dark wood and red semicircular booths. Of course, the specialty of the house is its namesake — the Midwestern corn-fed beef. The meat is prepared in rock salt, which seals in the juices and seasons the roast. When it’s ready, the beef is wheeled out to your table in a domed cart. Choose the cut you want, and the waiter will slice and plate it before you (for another fun tableside presentation, order the salad bowl).
Chef Jan Birnbaum (who also helmed Four-Star Campton Place) offers more of a modern-day steakhouse with Epic. The interior feels like a bachelor’s private hangout with tufted leather banquets, wood details, steel-framed windows and a massive wood-fired grill and wood-burning oven. The Big Leaguer-approved menu — outfielder Hunter Pence is also a fan of the eatery — consists of traditional steakhouse dishes, such as aged prime rib and black-peppercorn-rubbed New York strip as well as contemporary foodie favorites, such as roasted marrow bones and sea scallops with brown butter.
When he wants a quick and easy meal, Belt elects to dine at The Melt, a local grilled cheese chain that elevates the beloved sandwich. Try the Italian Job, fontina and provolone on housemade garlic bread.
Kontos has his own go-to San Francisco restaurants. For breakfast, the Illinois native loves the Dogpatch’s Just For You café, where he orders an omelet filled with cheddar and local ham, house-baked wheat toast and a large orange juice. On date night, the reliever with 43 strikeouts in just over 46 innings of work likes to go to the always-crowded Mexican eatery Mamacita in the Marina. And when it’s time for post-game cocktail with friends, he usually finds himself on the Embarcadero at Hard Water (Whiskey Bar). And after peering at the spot’s extensive cocktail menu (mint julep, Van Winkle whiskey flights) and nibble selections (New Orleans-style cuisine, such as seafood gumbo, fried chicken with pepper jelly), you understand why he considers the place a home run.
When asked what he loves most about San Francisco, Kontos says, “First, our fans. Secondly, the different styles of food and restaurants the city has to offer.”
Photos Courtesy of Mamacita and The San Francisco Giants