Why am I even comparing Boston and San Francisco (Boston vs San Francisco) is what you’re probably wondering. Well, the most obvious is because I’ve relocated and secondly, I found them sharing more commonalities than differences. For instance, both are on the coast featuring breath taking beaches, tech companies, high costs of living, and ridiculous amounts of traffic. Yes, that’s a thing. Boston was recently awarded the the worst traffic in the US. With so many similarities you’d think they were long lost twins like the Benedict Brothers. In addition, I want to say I feel like a part of history being amongst the groups of people to have made the westward journey circa 1849. I’m gonna strike gold one day dammit!
Besides the most obvious (like weather), I’ve been able to observe and experience nuances between the two cities. You’d be shocked to find how detail oriented I am. Let’s be real though, I’m not here to discuss the differences in PH values of water, the CO2 in air quality, or coastal sediment levels. I’ll spare you the micro hyper details. I’m here to discuss FOOD!
Taken from my reviewing format, I’ll go over the differences I’ve found in Food, Service, and Cleanliness.
i. Boston vs San Francisco: Restaurant Foods
The Bay Area has one of the most diverse populations in the states. Naturally, with so much competition restaurants will bring out their best. With rent being so high and other factors playing a key role into a restaurant’s success, it’s not difficult to see why San Francisco is really a city like no other and in a class by itself when it comes to small businesses. These restaurants staying around longer are really the crème of the crop.
The Unicorn of Restaurants
I hate to refer to Yelp for reliable statistics but I’ve seen a few 5 star restaurants in the area. You can check out an article on that coming soon (link to be added). In all of my years in Boston, I have yet to find what I’ll coin the Unicorn Restaurant where one has 5 stars from over 100 reviews. It just doesn’t happen. Here in the Bay Area, there were a few unicorn sightings.
I’ve also began grocery shopping to fatten my kitchen and right away, I saw a difference in the variety of produce. Let’s make it fair and compare HMarts to HMarts, Whole Foods to Whole Foods, and Safeway (CA’s Grocer) to Star Market (MA’s Grocer)*. When walking in, immediately you will see the differences in groceries. There is just so much more the bay area has to offer. I saw fruits and veggies I’ve never heard of in my life. Like what the hell is Pummelo and Romanesco Broccoli??? And don’t even get me started with the Seafood Section of HMart. When I walked into the San Jose location I thought I saw a massacre of the Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid cast (I think Sebastian deserved better Disney!). For dry goods, cheese, and anything else its about the same on both coasts. Variety of produce goes to SF.
Dancing Noodles though
Next, I have to comment on the diversity of cuisines. Boston has the Italian Restaurants, Breweries, Pubs, Icecream, Pizza, and Seafood Shacks on lock. I’m going to be bias and say no other city can come close to those groups of foods. But the Bay area has, oh, so many Asian foods from Chinese province specific cuisines (like dancing noodles) I’ve never heard of to the more common favorites like ramen, pho, and sushi. Add in Hawaiian and Filipino Cuisines you rarely see in Boston and I think I’d have to go with the bay.
With rising costs of rent and labor, the prices in the Bay area will jump and strangle you. Some of these restaurants have to find questionable, I mean, creative ways to keep costs down. From package warping to portion shrinking it’s really a shame such a beautiful city has to resort to this. I get it, that’s a whole ‘nother conversation above our powers. It is what it is! Pound for pound and ounces to ounces the dollar in Boston gets you a little more. This one’s easy. Boston takes this one.
*In case you’re wondering, Albertson’s owns both Safeway and Star Market. If you’ve ever walked into both, they are eerily similar from the layout to the dry foods carried.
ii. Boston vs San Francisco: Restaurant Service
Maybe it’s the sun or the avocados grown here but man people are a lot more friendly. I can’t tell you how many small talks I’ve had with strangers from the checkout line at Ikea to conversations at the urinal. People are just nicer here. I can’t say all my experiences have been pleasant but for the most part, staff is extra friendly and attentive. If you’ve ever walked into an In-N-Out Burger, you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. Compare that with a place like Boston’s UBurger… Let’s just say adding an F in front of the U is more fitting. To be fair, FU in Bostonese is “Hey man, I love you, how can I help you?” It’s a term of endearment.
Despite the friendly service, I will say it comes with a small drawback. Service can be slow in San Fran. Not as slow as some of the Southern states but slower compared to anything in the East Coast. Where I come from, it’s common to be rushed by the restaurant as they want you out the door to cut the waiting times. People are hangry and cold, I get it! If you’ve ever been to a Dunkin Donuts, one glance at the line will tell you that everyone not only owns a watch but love staring at it. The slogan is “America Runs on Dunkin”, they don’t walk. Boston gets this one for promptness.
iii. Boston vs San Francisco: Restaurant Cleanliness
I know, this one’s not fair but we’re having a battle between the two areas. When you’re in a city of 4 seasons and a large majority travel on foot, over years and maybe decades, restaurants and establishments will lose their shine no matter how maintained it is. Think of all the yellow colored snow getting dragged into these restaurants! Throw in winter fatigue, sprinkle in a little bit of seasonal depression, and you’ll understand why there’s a Boston Mob. On the other hand, San Francisco has a poop epidemic. Go figure! Restaurant cleanliness goes to San Francisco by a slight margin.
Let’s Review: Boston vs San Francisco Breakdown
There you have it. We made it! The score is a lot closer than it looks, I promise. Hopefully I didn’t offend my fellow Bostonians to the point of never coming back. Boston will always be my home. There is no place like it. I’ve earned my stars and stripes surviving years of frozen temperatures and horrendous drivers. These are my honest opinions (keyword: opinion) as someone born and raised in New England. Afterall, the geography may change but the spirit will always be around. You can take the boy out d Havahd Yahd but you can’t take d Havahd Yahd out the boy and Boston sports will always be greater than __________ (insert any city here). Are we cool now? And San Francisco, you’re all right with me 🙂
If you have any recommendations or places you want me to try. Feel free to leave some comments and I’ll give you my two cents on the matter.