The neighborhood's spiritual center is Washington Square. Like North Beach itself, it's small and charming—a place for picnicking, sunning, and lingering longer than you think you're going to. Rising on the square's north side is one of San Francisco's most beloved landmarks: twin-spired, wedding-cake-white Saints Peter and Paul Church, built in 1924.
Some of North Beach's best restaurants cluster around the square. San Francisco icon Original Joe's serves up old-school Italian American classics such as veal piccata and shrimp scampi. The urbane Park Tavern is best known for its Marlowe burger, with caramelized onion, cheddar, bacon, and horseradish aioli. Over at Tony's Pizza Napoletana, you must first choose a style—classic American, classic Italian, Napoletana, or California, among others—and only then decide on toppings. All are delicious. And Mama's on Washington Square serves breakfast all day, with eggs Benedict, salmon omelets, and more. In a coffee and pastry mood? Head to the charming little Victoria Pastry Company for cookies, cake, or tiramisu.