Essential Expert: Marcia Gagliardi – The Tablehopper

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 | Essential Expert

Marcia Gagliardi, Photo: Kelly Puleio

A freelance food writer since 2002, Marcia Gagliardi is perhaps best known in the San Francisco food community as “the tablehopper.” Her cheeky weekly e-column, archived on, is chock-full of insider news and gossip about the San Francisco restaurant and bar scene, covering what’s hot, opening, or closing, along with restaurant reviews, culinary events, and even star sightings..

She also has a weekly segment on KGO 810AM called You Gotta Eat This, and is the San Francisco host of a new series on YouTube’s Hungry channel called Hungry In…. She wrote a groundbreaking restaurant guidebook, The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion with Ten Speed Press, and the restaurant section for Louis Vuitton’s brand-new San Francisco city guide.

We are beyond excited to be interviewing Marcia Gagliardi as our Essential Expert of all things yummy in San Francisco! She’s been a tremendous source of foodie knowledge for her thousands of fans, and over here we’re always combing through her great weekly newsletter (you can subscribe for free here!) and website at to find out what’s new, delicious and Marcia-recommended! Thank you so much to Marcia for letting us pick her brain a little. So we’re dying to know:

SE: What inspired you to start tablehopper?

Marcia Gagliardi: When I launched tablehopper seven years ago, there weren’t any news sources covering the openings of small places I liked to go to, like cafés or new Chinese restaurants and bars (this was obviously before all the daily food news blogs started up a few years later). I also was tired of pitching to magazines and never getting a reply (or places asking me to write for free). If I was going to be able to follow my passion of writing about restaurants and food, I realized I needed to create a way to make a living that didn’t depend on magazines responding to my emails. So my entrepreneurial mind started spinning—and here we are.

SE: What two San Francisco restaurants would you recommend for a group of girls looking to have an amazing time and nibble on delicious cuisine?

MG: This is totally a section in my book! (The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion) For girls’ night out, I always think Dosa on Fillmore has a fun vibe, with delicious food to share, and cocktails, of course. I’d also suggest Rich Table, Cotogna, Bar Tartine, or Kokkari.

Photo: Dosa SF

SE: What restaurant are you most looking forward to eating at in 2013?

MG: I’m really looking forward to seeing Richie Nakano’s Hapa open up next door to State Bird Provisions. The new downtown project from Aziza’s Mourad Lahlou is another one.

SE: You have an awesome app called “Top Late-Night Eats in SF.” Can you tell our readers a little bit about what the app is about? (Besides the obvious ;))

MG: Sure! As a night owl, I wanted to show people San Francisco actually does have a bunch of options for late-night dining. I mention 95 places open past 11pm and include my personal tips on what to order. Since it’s GPS-enabled, it’s very handy for when you stumble out of a movie or a bar and want to know where to go nearby.

SE: On that note, if I’m with my girlfriends wrapping up a night of dancing, where should we go to grab a late night bite?

MG: Well, it depends on where you went dancing, but I love late-night pupusas from El Zocalo in Bernal, while Café Mason (open 24 hours) is closer to all the downtown action, and it’s totally bizarre in there (in a good way). I also think Ryoko’s—AKA the sushi dungeon—is a hoot (open until 1:30am).

El Zocalo, Photo: Sarah Andy,

SE: If you could escape with your girlfriends for the weekend, where would you go and what would be on your “must-eat” list at your destination?

MG: I am a huge fan of Healdsburg—the food scene totally rocks, the h2hotel is fab, and there are some wonderful wineries to explore. Check out my suggestions for Healdsburg right here!

Suite at h2hotel, Photo: The Tablehopper

Thank you a million times over Marcia!

Want to find out more about this amazing woman changing the face of the food scene in Northern California?

Subscribe at:
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Get her book: The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in SF
Download her app: Top Late-Night Eats in SF

Love & Travel,
The Escape Artists

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