Kimberley Lovato

Correspondent

  • San Francisco, CA, USA

Kimberley Lovato is a correspondent who covers San Francisco for Forbes Travel Guide. The champagne-loving Francophile is also an award-winning author and journalist whose articles about travel, lifestyle and food have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Executive Travel, AFAR, Delta Sky, Condè Nast Traveller (UK), Wine Enthusiast, Frommers.com, LeitesCulinaria.com and more. Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, won the 2012 Gold Lowell Thomas Award. Lovato snagged a 2012 Bronze Lowell Thomas Award for her essay Lost and Liberated, which also appears in Best Women’s Travel Writing. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter and is always planning that next fabulous trip.

  • On April 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the five best things to do with kids in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a favorite destination for families for good reason---there's tons to do!  Let them run, play, discover and squeal in the playground that is San Francisco. It's hard to pick just five---so I tried to sneaka little extra into each category.  Have fun!

    1. Golden Gate Park is a 1,00 acre sanctuary in the center of the city and stretches to the Pacific Ocean. and once in the park, the options are endless. Rent a paddle boat on Stow Lake; enjoy the myriad playgrounds and a carrousel; stop into the Japanese Tea Garden. The California Academy of Sciences will intrigue kids of all ages, as will The Koret Children’s Quarter, with its carrousel and playground.

    2. TheMusée Mecanique is one museum kids won't wine about going to, and adults can relive their 80s arcade glory days. THe warehouse behind Fisherman's Wharf consists of one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines, as well as some recent generation favorites too, like Atari and Air Hockey.

    3. Take a ride on one of the city's iconic cable cars. The kids, and you, will enjoy the views as you ride up and down the city's famous hills, clang clang clanging all the way. Take the Powell-Hyde Line, which connects the Financial District to Aquatic Park, where you can watch brave swimmers do laps in the cove, and check out some historic ship. A short stroll from here are two yummy stops: Ghiradelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf.

    4. What kid wouldn't love a trip to "The Rock?"  Alcatraz Island, the former federal penitentiary is accessd by gorgeous boat ride and a tour includes an eerie walk through the ghostly cell block, with tales of notorious inmates like Machine Gun Kelly and the Birdman whispering in your ear.

    5.  The newly renovated and relocated Exploratorium is bigger and better than ever. A 45-year-old favorie, the hands on museum now on Pier 15 invites kids and adults to touch, explore and learn in a brand new, modern facility that jets out into the bay.  Read more about the new museum here.




  • On April 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the most unusual dining experiences in San Francisco?

    For an unusaul experience, head to Forbes Island.  Don't get excited Gilligan, this isn't a sandy, palm-fringed island in the middle of the bay, but rather a manmade floating island located onPier 41. But you have to hop on a boat from Pier 39 to access the restaurant, and there are some palm trees to give it that island vibe. There's also a 40-foot lighthouse, which you can climb up for stellar views of the bay and San Francisco. Or, try Opaque.  Don't worry about what you wear because you'll be blindfolded in this multi-sensory, dining in the dark experience. Each prix fixe menu consists of an appetizer, entree, and dessert, and you have a choice among the courses. The excitement of the unknown is free.
  • On April 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    Where is the best hamburger in San Francisco?

    The all-american meal---the beloved hamburger.  Truth be told, I don't eat them often and when I do, they'd better be good. San Francisco is a food lover's town so there's a good chance you'll find this perennial favorite on many menus.  

    Personally, I absolutely LOVE the burger at Marlowe.  Maybe it's the size---not obscenely enormous. Maybe it's the soft freshly made bun that doesn't takeover the beef. Maybe it's the hint of charcoal flavor.  The slice of bacon? The carmelized onion?  My mouth is watering. Whatever it is, it's a favorite of many San Franciscans. Umami Burger on Union Street is also fantastic and specializes in, well, specializing. Here you'll find tender beer, ground hourly, with a quirky assembly of ingredients. The popular Truffle Burger is garnished with truffle cheese and truffle glaze. Or you can stick to the original.  The "un-beef" burgers are also a hit, especially the bacon-wrapped scallop burger. NOPA has a great menu but it's the burger that I've bellied up the bar for. It stick pretty close to the classic recipes, but added pickled onions and amazing fresh bread will remind you that this is San Francisco, and we like to wratched things up a bit when it comes to our food.
  • On April 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places for breakfast in San Francisco?

    Breakfast is big in San Francisco, especially on weekends, and by big, I mean in size and in popularity.  Nary a diner exists here without an omelette the size of a lifeboat, which you might need after eating one. Depending on your noshing habits, just about anywhere serves up a great "most important meal of the day." 

    For fresh pastries, quiche, fritatta and the likes, try one of the many La Boulange bakeries around the city. You can't miss them. They are blue with yellow and white striped awnings. The Pascal Rigo, the chef who oversees the menus, hails from Bordeaux, so expect a taste of France with your morning Joe. I've kind of always liked Ella's for breakfast or weekend Brunch, especially for their coffee cake and corned beef hash, when more is in order. Mama's on Washington Square in North Beach is somewhat of an institution when it comes to breakfast. The line-ups are there to prove it.  They've been there for over 50 years serving fresh baked goods and jam, amazing pancakes, omelettes, and in season---dungeness crab benedict. 
  • On April 21, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are quirky local customs in San Francisco?

    I'd say the one quirky thing a traveler should know about is the name of a few things around San Francisco. Take the city's name, for example. We NEVER call it "Frisco" or "San Fran." Ever.  No seriously. Ever. (nails on chalkboard). Call it San Francisco, or The City, and omit the others from your vocabulary.

    And while we're on the topic of what NOT to call something, I know the song says, "Clang Clang Clang Went The Trolley" but we call them Cable Cars. Never trolly. Crazy huh?    

    And New York and Chicago may have neighborhoods called Little Italy but we do not. We have an Italian neighborhood and we call it North Beach.

    Don't even get me started on the pronunciation of Gough Street  (rhymes with cough).

    The Bay to Breakers race is a San Francisco original and May 19, 2013 is the 102nd annual.  Expect a wild spectacle of clothed, painted, costumed, and nude runners and walkers. It's perhaps THE ICONIC quirkly San Francisco tradition.


  • On April 21, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best spas in San Francisco?

    For the ultimate serene setting, you can't beat the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Hotel whose Spa is a lesson in serene luxury. The modern Asian feel takes you world's away for the ultimate Spa and Awwwweeee day. Named as one of the top Spas in the country by publications like Elle and Vogue, the Spa Claremont at the iconic Claremont Hotel Resort and Spa in the Berkeley hills is the ultimate pamper break ourside the city. For something different and very San Francisco, head to Kabuki Springs and Spa Japantown. This nirvana inducing desitnation offers traditional and exotic spa services (exfoliation with tumeric and ground rice), acupuncture, and its famous communal baths.
  • On April 21, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    Where is the best architecture in San Francisco?

    Wander through the varied neighorhoods of the city and admiring the buildings becomes part of the fun! From Victorian houses to Beaux-Art beautiies there's something for any architecture buff.

    Of course the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, burnt orange hue and art deco details is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.  The Palace of Fine Arts  was built for the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition and was designed by a well known local architect Bernard Maybeck who studied architecture at the Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts. The Fairmont Hotel was originally conceived and designed by James and Merrit Reid but the 1906 earthquake and fire damaged hotel to the point that many experts thought that it could not be salvaged. The structure survived, but the interior was heavily damaged. San Francisco born architect and engineer Julia Morgan was hired to repair the building. The Dragon Gate on Grant Avenue at the southern entrance to San Francisco's Chinatown was a gift of the government of the Republic of China in 1969 and is a great picture taking spot. The Asian Art  Museum at the Civic Center is housed in waht used to be the city’s Main Publication Library building and was converted by renowned Italian architect Gae Aulenti whose award-winning projects include the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. 


  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are quirky local customs in San Francisco?

    I'd say the one quirky thing a traveler should know about is the name of a few things around San Francisco. Take the city's name, for example. We NEVER call it "Frisco" or "San Fran." Ever.  No seriously. Ever. (nails on chalkboard). Call it San Francisco, or The City, and omit the others from your vocabulary.

    And while we're on the topic of what NOT to call something, I know the song says, "Clang Clang Clang Went The Trolley" but we call them Cable Cars. Never trolly. Crazy huh?    

    And New York and Chicago may have neighborhoods called Little Italy but we do not. We have an Italian neighborhood and we call it North Beach.

    The Bay to Breakers race is a San Francisco original and May 19, 2013 is the 102nd annual.  Expect a wild spectacle of clothed, painted, costumed, and nude runners and walkers. It's perhaps THE ICONIC quirkly San Francisco tradition.


  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are quirky local customs in San Francisco?

    I'd say the one quirky thing a traveler should know about is the name of a few things around San Francisco. Take the city's name, for example. We NEVER call it "Frisco" or "San Fran." Ever.  No seriously. Ever. (nails on chalkboard). Call it San Francisco, or The City, and omit the others from your vocabulary.

    And while we're on the topic of what NOT to call something, I know the song says, "Clang Clang Clang Went The Trolley" but we call them Cable Cars. Never trolly. Crazy huh? But t's true.   

    And New York and Chicago may have a neighborhood called Little Italy but we do not. We have an Italian neighborhood and we call it North Beach.

    The Bay to Breakers race is a San Francisco original and May 19, 2013 is the 102nd annual.  Expect a wild spectacle of clothed, painted, costumed, and nude runners and walkers. It's perhaps THE ICONIC quirkly San Francisco tradition.


  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are quirky local customs in San Francisco?

     I'd say the one quirky thing a traveler should know is the name of a few things in the city. Take The City for example.  We NEVER call it "Frisco" or "San Fran." Ever.  No seriously. Ever. Call in San Francisco, or The City and omit the others from your vocabulary.

    And while we're on the topic of what NOT to call it---I know the song says, "Clang Clang Clang Went The Trolley" but we call them Cable Cars.  Never trolly. Uh, huh, it's true. Sorry.  

    And New York may have Little Italy but we do not. We have an Italian neighborhood and we call it North Beach.

    The Bay to Breakers race is a San Francisco original and May 19, 2013 is the 102nd annual.  Expect a wild spectacle of clothed, painted, costumed, and nude runners and walkers. It's perhaps THE ICONIC quirkly San Francisco tradition.


  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Rajat Parr
  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Ryan Brown
  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    Where is the best pizza in San Francisco?

    San Francisco has a thriving North Beach neighborhood, our equivalent of Little Italy, so naturally that's the first place to start for some good pizza.

    The most well-known place is Tony's Pizza Napoletana. Born in the Bay-area, trained in Naples, and a 10 time World Pizza Champion (yes there is such a thing) owner and pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani (and his mouth watering pie) is the reason people line up out the door for a table at this North Beach temple of tomoto sauce and cheese.  If the line is too long, whih it might be, go around the corner to Golden Boy, a family run pizza joint since 1978.  The best thing about the pizza---it's square, and you can order it by the slice. Line up, everyone else does!

    Since opening in the Mission in 2005,  Pizzeria Delfina has been a neighborhood favorite, with pizza influenced by the owner's youth back in New York, as well as by some of the best pizzerias in Naples. The menu features six Neapolitan, thin crust delights plus two daily specials.

    If you're willing to cross the Golden Gate, Picco's Pizzeria in the charming town of Larkspur is worth a stop. A local favorite, Picco's fires their thin crust pizza in a wood oven and uses ingredients sourced from local farms.   

    In the up and coming neighborhood of Dogpatch, I'd highly recommend the pizza at Piccino, a light and airy restuarant in sunny yellow building.  The menu is big, and Italian is their specialty, but the pizzas are among the best I've had in San Francisco. The house-made sausage was my favorite.






  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best parks in San Francisco?

    It's always a park day when the sun is shining and SF residents love to sprawl in them any chance they get. The largest park in the city is Golden Gate Park, which extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It's filled with winding paths, baseball diamonds, picnic areas and some of the city's other treasures like beautiful Conservatory of Flowers and the Japanese Tea Garden. The park is also home to some of SF's top museums like the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young Museum. There's also a lovely little lake, Stow Lake, where you can rent boats.

    Downtown, bordered on one side by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and on another by the Museum of Craft and Folk Art as well as the new Contemporary Jewish Museum  opened in 2008, Yerba Buena Gardens is a an oasis of green space in the heart of one of the busiest parts of the city.

     Aquatic Park,  an easy walk from Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square, is not a grassy space like most, but a waterfront treasure worth visiting. Watch from the amphitheater style seats as Dolphin Club members dip into the icy bay waters. Brrr. It's also home to San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, a treasure trove for those interested in maritime history and historic ships.

    Washington Square Park in the heart of San Francisco's North Beach is packed on sunny days. Grab a gelato or a slice of pizza and pull up a blade of grass. The view of Sts. Peter and Paul Church is pretty spectacular. 
  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best scenic drives in San Francisco?

    If you have a car in San Francisco, then you'll want to take on the 49-mile scenic drive. The drive is marked by blue and white seagull signs that lead passed some of the city's best attractions, though vibrant neigborhoods, and by other treasures like a tour around the storied Presidio of San Francisco, a zoom down the Great Highway and the wide sands and crashing waves of Ocean Beach, and loop around the lovely Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.

    It was created as an entertaining urban diversion for tourists attending the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-40, a fair that opened the following year on Treasure Island.