Now: The south section of Polk Street, also known as "Polk Gulch", is a real San Francisco melting pot. Every type of restaurant and shop shows up somewhere on Polk Street, and residents are more mixed in culture than in other neighborhoods. The street becomes less gritty toward the north end as it gets closer to the Marina.
Then: Since the 1800s, Polk Street has been a central commercial strip, featuring "mom and pop" shops. In the 1960s it was the active center for the San Francisco gay community.
How To Get There: A few blocks northwest of the Civic Center Muni/BART station, a walk to Polk Street from there will take you through the heart of the Tenderloin. The California Street Cable Car terminates at Van Ness, just past Polk. Parking around the area can be difficult at peak times, but you can usually find a spot if you check small sidestreets.
Polk Street between Pine Street and California Street
Maharani Indian Restaurant on Post Street at Polk Street
Tajine Moroccan Restaurant between Bush Street and Pine Street
Shalimar Indian and Pakistani on Polk Street near Pine Street
Victor's Pizza on Polk Street near Pine
Myconos Greek Restaurant on Polk Street
Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street at California Street
Encore Karaoke Lounge on California Street near Polk Street
Pancho's Salsa Bar and Grill on Polk Street between Sacramento Street and Clay Street
Acquerello Italian Restaurant on Sacramento Street near Polk Street
Bob's Donut Shop on Polk Street near Clay Street
Red Devil Lounge on Polk Street at Clay Street
Miller's East Coast Deli on Polk Street between Clay and Washington Streets
Thai Spice Restaurant on Polk Street
The Crepe House on Polk Street at Washington Street
The Bell Tower on Polk Street at Jackson Street
One Half, on Polk Street near Jackson Street
Naomi's Antiques on Polk Street near Jackson Street
Lombardi Sports, on Polk Street at Jackson Street
Cheese Plus on Polk Street at Pacific Avenue
The Jug Shop on Pacific Avenue at Polk Street