Columbia isn't known for its wine shops. Plus the whole closed on Sunday thing. But Vino 100 in Sparkleberry Square is a lovely spot to shop for wine. Known for 100 bottles for under $25, Vino 100 is set up to easily understand wine. You don't need to know anything about wine before shopping here, and the service is excellent.
When looking for wine -- stop by Vino 100.
I have been to Harpers many times, yet I never know what to expect. Sometimes it is great, and other times it is just okay. The food is usually consistent, but the service is another thing. Really, your overall experience here is dependent upon your server. But if you are looking for a good restaurant in the Five Points area -- give Harpers a shot.
Known for his egg-shaped truffles, Joseph Schmidt Confections are fun, decadent and so very good. Truffle flavors are many, including the fun "Cherry Bomb." And one is more than enough -- at least at one time. If you want a classic truffle, with a slightly new look -- you can find Joseph Schmidt Confections between the Castro and Noe Valley. It's just a quick walk from the J Church & 16th St. stop.
There are a ton of restaurants on University in downtown Palo Alto, but if you want good food, nice atmosphere and service and reasonable prices... try Pasta. Perfect for a relaxed weeknight dinner before or after a walk around downtown.
If you want to feel like royalty -- go to the Claremont. Located in the Berkeley hills, the Claremont is a spa like no other. The staff is light years above all others. It is class personified. However, don't expect to pay $75 for a massage. This place is serious, but worth every penny.
Fun tip: "Mrs. Doubtfire" filmed the pool scenes at the Claremont pool.
After trying out a lot of restaurants in Greenville, Sassafras is the best. The interior is very cozy, yet not small. The service is very good and the food is above most of what you can get in Greenville. Soby's gets most of the attention from the younger crowd, but Sassafras is better, by far. Good place for a date or dinner after the theatre.
With two locations, one in Greenville and one in Columbia -- Wisteria AVEDA SalonSpa is the best place I have found for massage. The therapists are knowledgable and ask for your preference. The interior is relaxing and the staff is pleasant. The rates are also affordable.
I've been to many spas across the country and Tonic is average at best. My 30 minute massage wasn't that great, because the massage therapist had rough hands. I took my mother with me for her first massage ever and was disappointed that it happened here. There are better day spas in Columbia than Tonic.
I went to Tru spa, because the website made it look fabulous. Granted, the interior did not disappoint. It was very cool. But what happened to me after my treatments will never leave my memory. I went for the Pulp Fiction wet treatment and the BackStroke massage. The Pulp Fiction treatment made me feel like I was drowning and the BackStroke left horrible bruises on my shoulders!! I called and complained, and although I received a 50% refund -- I'm afraid to ever go back. I've had many massages and never became bruised. The massage therapist obviously did not know what she was doing. If you are looking to spend a couple hundred dollars at a spa -- look somewhere other than Tru.
Not all good restaurants in SF are expensive. If you want inexpensive, yet delicious Italian -- try the Noe Valley Pizza Restaurant. With a full menu, including countless ways to top a pizza -- you will not be disappointed. The service is always welcoming and friendly, and you can dine in or take out. Either way -- it's a winner.