As for San Francisco's hamburgers, I can second immatt
's vote for Mo's on Grant Street. Mo's is brightly lit, friendly, and noisy. What's not to like about a place that serves great burgers and has a Three Stooges picture on the wall? However, Original Joe's in the Tenderloin District on Taylor Street will give you a slice of life and a burger that is every bit as good as Mo's. You had better be hungry at Original Joe's. Their hamburger with Â¾ pounds of red meat is almost twice the meat portion of Mo's! Original Joe's has a counter or booths. It's usually more subdued than Mo's unless one of the street people wanders in to sit at the counter.
When we visit Santa Cruz for business and personal reasons and have some extra time to visit San Francisco, we like the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the Financial District. The views are San Francisco's best. We always take a corner suite waaaaaaaaaaaaay up high in the second tower and feed our vertigo walking across the sky bridge from the elevator to our door! I mention this only because the hotel is almost exactly equidistant between Mo's and Original Joe's. Sometimes, Mrs. FC just doesn't want to join me at those colorful restaurants. So, I can walk fifteen minutes to either restaurant and enjoy a burger "alone" with the crowd at either restaurant.
I cannot personally attest to pizza in San Francisco.
Driving from the City to Monterey, you can always head west on Geary Blvd. to the Great Highway. Then, it is south past the zoo area and onto Skyline Blvd. through Daly City to Highway 1 south. Hwy 1 is quite pretty from Pacifica southward with the road's dips and twists along the sea cliffs through scrub forest, meadows, and deserted beach areas. You'll drive through Half Moon Bay, Davenport, and Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz (after you say hello
), the trip to Monterey is only another forty-five miles of ordinary highway. That is, unless you want to know about some of the scenic and secret sports car back roads from Santa Cruz to Monterey.
The portion of the route from the City to Santa Cruz along Hwy 1 is about thirty minutes longer than simply driving Hwy 280 south to Hwy 17 south. Parts of Hwy 280 are somewhat scenic as are parts Hwy 17 when you drive through the Santa Cruz Mountains from Los Gatos to Scotts Valley outside of Santa Cruz.
From the City it may be wise to avoid the Bayshore Hwy/101 to Hwy. 17 south. The traffic congestion on the Bayshore Hwy/101 is usually bad and the road surface is quite poor in many areas.