SF Food & Restaurants
“Luke and Liz Top Choices”
These are our favorites ("the best") in each category; see the neighborhood listings, below, for more details (especially the ones with *** next to the name).
Bread/Pastries: Tartine Bakery
Italian (Southern): A16
Italian (Seafood/Sardinian): La Ciccia
mixed with California Cuisine: Penny Roma
Locavore California Cuisine:
Southern Indian: Udupi Palace
Mexican/Tacos: La Taqueria
Peruvian/Ceviche: La Mar
Thai: Kin Khao
Less Fancy Thai: Farmhouse Kitchen
Casual French: Chez Maman
California French: Routier
Jewish Deli: Wise Sons
Greek fast casual: Souvla
Casual Seafood/Fish & Chips: Woodhouse Fish Company
Super-Fresh Seafood/Fish & Chips: Hook Fish Co
San Francisco by Neighborhood
*** = especially recommended
# = places we want to go but haven't tried yet
Downtown (Nob Hill, Financial District, Embarcadero...)
***Peruvian/Ceviche: La Mar - Pier 1.5 on Embarcadero (north of Ferry Building), 415-397-8880, great ceviche and upscale Peruvian classics, also great Pisco cocktails, on the water
Dim Sum: Yank Sing - one of the fanciest (and most popular) dim sum establishments, SF Eater praises their clean flavors, especially in xiao long bao and custard tarts, Michelin Bib Gourmand...two locations (Rincon Center is near Embarcadero, 49 Stevenson St is near Montgomery)
Spanish/Tapas: Coqueta - won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015-2019 although not anymore in 2022, tapas & other Spanish stuff on the water, very nice
Prospect - 300 Spear St, popular brunch spot but also serves lunch/dinner, expensive/fancy fare near Google's SF office, rec'd by chowhounds...Luke hasn't been for brunch but thought that dinner was good but not worth coming back for (especially given the prices)
Good Deals With A Cause: Delancy Street Restaurant - 600 Embarcadero, a ho-hum food but a neat cause: it's run by people recovering from rehab or prison; they also have pretty good prices.
Reliable Upscale American: Hillstone - this 2016 ode to Hillstone restaurants in Bon Appétit got me interested in this place, which is SF's branch of the small chain with a cult following
***Ferry Building: This place is stuffed with fun places to eat, almost a "best of San Francisco" collection. Some favorites include Acme Bread, Dandelion Chocolate, Grand Crêperie, and when the truck is around, Roli Roti
Union Square/Powell/Nob Hill
***Thai: Kin Khao - 55 Cyril Magnin in Parc 55 hotel (near Powell BART station), opened in 2014, Thai restaurant billed by Michelin culinary guide director Michael Ellis as "the first time I've really had authentic Thai food outside of Thailand" (it won a Bib Gourmand in 2015, new that year, and has stayed in the guidebook since), also good Michael Bauer review and raves from Mark Bittman; we've been there a few times and loved it!
#Roman Pizza: Delarosa - Roman-style (thin/crispy crust) pizza and other Italian fare, also a branch in the Marina district, communal seating, has gluten-free pizza (?)
Israeli: Sababa - 329 Kearny (also FiDi location open only for lunch at 554 Commercial) pita, hummus, Mediterranean food served with counter service. 7x7 rec's the pita-less falafel bowl for gluten-free eaters. Good, solid place for a quick bite/lunch.
Pizza: Del Popolo - neapolitan pizza near Union Square on Eater SF's 38 list in 2016...also a popular food truck; pretty good although there are a few places that remind me more of Naples (Tony's, Il Casaro)
American/California: Bluestem Brasserie - 1 Yerba Buena Lane near Market St, somewhat upscale, local ingredients
Mexican: Tropisueno - near Yerba Buena Gardens, a not-bad Mexican place
Ula Restaurant & Tapas Bar - a "Mediterranean"/French place that opened in late 2022, Eater SF put them on their Most Romantic Restaurants list
West of Union Square (Tenderloin/Tendernob/Polk)
#Liholiho Yacht Club - Hawaiian with Indian/California twists, on Eater SF's 38 list in 2016
Indian: Little Delhi - 83 Eddy St, just W of Powell station, some people online rave about it ...closed??
New Orleans: Brenda's French Soul Food - 652 Polk, great Cajun food, especially popular at brunch but also great lunch/dinner...expect long lines and delicious beignets
Midrange Japanese: Akira - just west of Polk St on Bush, this cozy little spot has nice sushi and other Japanese dishes
?Sushi Sato - Eater SF likes their fixed price tasting menu
Vietnamese/Banh Mi: Saigon Sandwich - 560 Larkin (@ Eddy), 415-474-5698, 3 blocks N of Asian Art Museum
Shalimar - hole in the wall Indian/Pakistani rec'd by Anurag
Pakwan - hole in the wall Pakistani place rec'd by Anurag (also branches in the Mission & Ocean Ave)
Financial District (FiDi) / Montgomery
#Bar Sprezzatura - near the Embarcadero Center, this place is modeled after a Venetian bacaro (sort of like tapas-with-wine)
Onigilly - nice takeout place with Japanese rice balls (onigiri), good for a quick lunch
Moroccan: Mourad - has been on Eater SF's 38 list and rec'd Michelin, upscale cousin to chef Mourad Lahlou's Aziza (in the Richmond). Delicious but we slightly preferred the more casual feel / slightly lower prices of Aziza.
?Fancy/Upscale American: Wayfare Tavern - near Transamerica Pyramid/FiDi, rec'd Zagat
?Fancy Omakase Sushi: The Shota - 1 Michelin star
Old School San Francisco: Tadich Grill - 240 California St, 415-391-1849, closed Sun, one of the more famous places to get cioppino, as well as sand dabs, clam chowder, etc.; read Chronicle article for more info, or read this nice description on chowhound.
Italian: Perbacco - highly rated Italian (focusing on Piemonte) with California twist; need reservation! Just down the street from Tadich Grill. rec'd by chowhounds and SF Weekly, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
Italian: Barbacco - 220 California, casual/cheaper version of Perbacco, just down the street...their brussel sprouts are AMAZING
Upscale/Haute Cuisine Italian: Quince - 470 Pacific Ave, expensive/upscale/haute cuisine; inventive take on Italian, ravioli giganti della casa (big ravioli with pockets stuffed with seasonal veggies) is a favorite; was awarded a 3rd Michelin star in 2017...we liked it but preferred their more casual restaurant Cotogna
***Italian: Cotogna - 490 Pacific (@ Montgomery), 415-775-8508, "rustic Italian", Quince's "little sister"...wonderful place between Telegraph Hill and the Financial District, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015 (still rec'd Michelin in 2022 but no longer Bib Gourmand)
New American: Trou Normand - near Montgomery street, known for whole-animal butchery and house-made charcuterie, nice food, a bit loud in the evening (lots of matchmaking/networking at the bar!)
Barcha - rec'd Michelin, close to Market street between Montgomery & Embarcadero
Weekday Takeout: The Sentinel - 37 New Montgomery @ Stevenson, near Market, only open M-F 7:30-10:30/11:30-2:30, mostly sandwiches
Latin Fusion: La Fusion - pan-Latin American fare (e.g. they have Peruvian ceviche and Argentine empanadas)
French places (a lot are near Belden Place; read this guide to various spots)
#Maison Nico - pastries & takeout food from chef Nicolas Delaroque who has worked in & run Michelin-starred restaurants; supposedly wonderful savory (e.g. pâté) and sweet foods
French: Bouche - nice, relatively casual French bistro just north of Union Square (above the Stockton tunnel), rec'd Zagat, we went here and liked it
Campton Place - 1 Michelin star
Boulevard - 1 Michelin star, near the Embarcadero
Le Central - very old place specializes in cassoulet, rec'd Zagat
***Neapolitan Pizza: Tony's Pizza Napoletana (1570 Stockton @ Union, North Beach) 415-835-9888 - authentic Naples pizza made by Tony Gemignani, an Italian-American who won a prize for Best Pizza in a Naples competition in 2007...limited number of margheritas made per day, closed Mon & Tues, otherwise noon-11 PM
***Il Casaro Pizzeria - excellent Naples-style pizzas (although I slightly prefer Tony's) and other homestyle Italian dishes; I've heard mixed reviews about their pastas...also a location in Castro
#Da Flora - Venetian food, 701 Columbus Ave, 415-981-4664, closed Mon
#California Cuisine/Fusion: Cassava - rec'd Eater SF, especially for Japanese breakfast, hanger steak, orange panna cotta, and chocolate mousse...was formerly in the Richmond District
#Trestle - fixed price dinners are supposed to be a good value; Eater SF has on their Most Romantic Restaurants in SF list
Italian Homemade Company - makes Emilia-Romagna style stuff (such as pasta with bolognese ragu), which is one of my favorite cuisines in Italy...they're good but I wasn't super impressed? also locations in Cow Hollow, Hayes Valley, and Berkeley
Italian (Mostly Neapolitan): Cafe Macaroni Sciuè Sciuè - 124 Columbus Ave (@ Jackson), 415-956-9737, 5:30-10 every day (dinner only), neapolitan experience although menu contains other Italian favorites, sometimes has squid ink pasta?
Liguria Bakery - 1700 Stockton, old-school place known for focaccia (was featured on Somebody Feed Phil)
Ristorante Ideale - 1315 Grant Ave (@ Vallejo), 415-391-4129, M-Th 5:30-10:30, F-Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5-10, Roman cuisine including homemade pastas, rec'd by several folks
Tommasso's (old school Italian-American pizza) and Caffe Sport (old school family-style pasta, yelpers rec'd pesto) - SF Institutions but not "authentic" Italian
?Il Cilentano - supposedly is food from Campania?
Cantonese: R&G Lounge - while most locals will tell you that Chinatown has worse Chinese food than the Richmond & Sunset districts, Chinatown has stepped up its game lately & this Cantonese institution has always been one of the better Chinatown restaurants (also on Eater SF's list). Famous for salt & pepper crab.
Egg Tarts: Golden Gate Bakery - delicious tarts, likely the best in the Bay Area, but the store has famously irregular hours (so much so that there's a Twitter account tracking them)...Eater SF says nearby Wong Lee Bakery is almost as good?
Gelato: Gelateria Naia - 520 Columbus Ave, 415-667-9280, pretty good fruit flavors; creamy flavors are less exciting...at one point was the best in the Bay Area but I prefer Gio Gelato (Marina) for fruit flavors and Philmore (Filmore District) for creamy flavors
Gary Danko - fancy place, 1 Michelin star
Hayes Valley/Civic Center (Opera/Symphony)
***Upscale American: Zuni Cafe - 1658 Market (@ Franklin), 415-552-2522, a bit expensive but their roast chicken is wonderful, as are their other dishes, American with Mediterranean influences, Roast Chicken with Bread Salad is on 7x7 Magazine's Things to Try Before You Die list and Eater SF's 38 list in 2016
***Smitten Ice Cream - 432 Octavia (@Linden), does liquid nitrogen ice cream in their special "Kelvin" machines in front of your eyes! Their Tcho Chocolate flavor is especially creamy and tasty. smittenicecream.com, check their Twitter feed for updated flavors
***Arsicault Bakery - Bon Appetit named them the best new bakery in the country in 2016, especially for their croissants; as of mid-2017 they no longer sell out by 10 AM (!). Their croissants are very light and buttery...in a pinch Luke probably prefers Tartine's frangipane croissants (which are larger, darker, and very flaky) but they're both outstanding. Also a location in Inner Richmond.
#Alta Ca - 1420 Market (@ 10th, 1 block from Van Ness), hotspot rec'd by SF Eater
French: Monsieur Benjamin - a bistro run by 3-star Michelin chef Corey Lee of Benu; 7x7 rec's the cassoulet...we went here in ~2018 and really enjoyed it; it's a little bit expensive but it's a great choice for a pre- or post-show (opera/symphony/etc.) meal
***Greek: Souvla - on Eater SF's 38 list in 2016 for rotisserie lamb/chicken/pork/sweet potato, as well as Greek-style frozen yogurt with baklava/olive oil/sea salt, great "fast casual" spot; also branch in Mission
Breton French: Petit Crenn - the chef of famed haute cuisine restaurant Atelier Crenn opened this cheaper/more casual restaurant featuring the cuisine of her native Brittany, on Eater SF's 38 list in 2016 ...we went here in 2016 and were unimpressed (pretty good food but nothing to write home about); we also got shockingly bad service (made especially painful because the chef was sitting at the next table, getting fawning attention and being served several courses before the servers even took our order)
Sushi: Domo - 511 Laguna (@ Fell), won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
French: Absinthe Brasserie & Bar - 398 Hayes (@ Gough), a bit expensive, good french onion soup and other French standbys with a California cuisine twist.
Lers Ros Thai - 730 Larkin (~Tendernob) and 307 Hayes (Hayes Valley), on Eater SF's 38 Essential Restaurants list, www.lersros.com ...also location in Mission District, we prefer Basil Thai (SoMa) for green curry but their red curry (which includes a duck option!) is very nice, as is their green papaya salad
Rich Table - 199 Gough, near Zuni Cafe, rec'd by Eater SF (esp. for sardine chips, flatbreads, and pastas), Domo - won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015, we ate there and were a little under-whelmed
German: Suppenküche - 525 Laguna (@ Linden, near Fell/Hayes), rec'd "the boot" beer, potato pancakes, wiener schnitzel...also have a satellite beer garden near Smitten Ice Cream (see below).
Fish/California: Hayes St. Grill - 320 Hayes (@ Gough/Franklin, 415-863-5545) a bit expensive: goat cheese salad, creme brulee, french fries... "simple grilled fish"...we ate there and were disappointed, especially by the crème brûlée (which had clearly been sitting in a refrigerator for hours)
Brazilian BBQ: Espetus Churrascaria - 1686 Market (@ Gough), 415-552-8792
Pacific Heights/Cow Hollow/Marina/Russian Hill
***Southern Italian: A16 - 2355 Chestnut St, 415-771-2216, named after highway from Naples to Nola, so it features food of Campania/Basilicata/Puglia...also certified to make "Vera Pizza Napoletana" (not bad, although we prefer Tony's); don't miss their budino (chocolate pudding) with olive oil and sea salt, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
Dim Sum: Hong Kong Lounge II - won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015 (new that year)
Afghan: Helmand Palace - Russian Hill, 2424 Van Ness @ Green, owned by one of Hamid Karzai's brothers!
Atelier Crenn - 2 Michelin-star, highly rated - we went here on a special date in 2015, and agreed with friends that it's like eating "poetry on a plate"...although we were somewhat disappointed overall in the savory courses (e.g. relatively bad accommodations for gluten-free restrictions despite contacting them about it well in advance, a duck dish was cold, relatively flavorless, and without crispy duck skin) we were *blown away* by the dessert, which was probably the best we've had anywhere
French Pastries: Le Marais Bakery - not bad renditions of French favorites; Luke prefers Arsicault, Tartine or B Patisserie for most stuff; also has branch in the Castro and in Ghiradelli Square
Italian: SPQR - fancy California take on Italian food, well-deserves its 1 Michelin star (note: as of 2023 they're in the Michelin guide but no longer have a star?)
Cal-Italian: Mattina - SPQR chef's casual cousin, we've heard very good things
Cal-Italian: Pizzeria Delfina - branch of the Mission district place; now has GF pizza!
Seafood: Woodhouse Fish Company - branch of the popular Castro district place
California/Italian: Pizzeria Delfina - branch of the popular Mission place
Peruvian: Fresca - outpost of a popular local Peruvian chain
Florio - French/Italian
Breakfast/Brunch: Red Door Cafe - 1608 Bush (@ Franklin) ...closed?
Spruce - 1 Michelin star
Sorrel - nice California cuisine, a bit fancy
Sociale - won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
#Italian: Bar Agricole - 355-11th St (@ Folsom), 415-355-9400; Grubstreet rec's their spaghetti with lamb/mint/peas
#Upscale Indian: ROOH SF - Indian food with California influences, rec'd Eater SF. Also a branch in Palo Alto.
?Spanish: Bellota - highly rec'd by SF Eater
MKT Restaurant and Bar - 757 Market St (@ 3rd) in the Four Seasons, bar has late-night options until midnight
Roy's - 575 Mission St (@ 2nd), actually part of a chain started in Hawai'i but features super-fresh seafood, inspired by Asian/Hawai'ian flavors
French: Chez Papa Resto - SOMA, used to be affiliated with the other Chez Papa in Potrero; a bit more upscale
Italian: 54 Mint - SOMA, specializes in Roman dishes, pretty good but not worth a schlep
Mexican: Tropisueno - fun place near the Metreon; good for large groups
Upscale: Benu - 22 Hawthorne (@ 3rd), 415-685-4860; one of the former French Laundry chefs runs this very upscale place, probably one of the most expensive (but also one of the best) restaurants in SF, various Asian influences; won its 3rd Michelin star in 2015
1601 Bar and Kitchen - Michelin Bib Gourmand, Sri Lankan
***Basil Thai - 1175 Folsom (@ 8th), awesome thai food, especially the green curry
Upscale American/Tuscan/Wine: Luce - 888 Howard St, at Intercontinental hotel, rec'd Michelin (used to have 1 star)
***French: Chez Maman - 1453-18th Street (@ Missouri), 415-824-7166, a smaller, more casual, slightly less expensive French place owned by the Chez Papa people...they don't take reservations and are tiny so be prepared for a wait!
French: Chez Papa Bistrot - 1401-18th St (@ Missouri), 415-824-8205, grown-up cousin of Chez Maman
Mexican: Papito - owned by the Chez Papa people.
***Brunch: Plow - consistently called the best brunch in the City. Especially recommended: ricotta pancakes and eggs benedict.
Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous - great ice cream place
La Stazione Coffee & Wine Bar (good lattes, pastries)
Dig Wines (wine store) - good selection of Brunello (they have Sesti and Poggio Antico!)
Piccino - Italian restaurant, 1001 Minnesota, 415-824-4224, T-Th 11-3/5-10, F-Sun 11-10, closed Mon
Marlowe - 500 Brannan St. (@4th), 11:30-2:30 M-F, Dinner 5:30-10 M-W, 5:30-11 Th-Sun; their Fried Chicken Sandwich is on 7x7's 100 things to eat before you die list, but don't miss their fried brussel sprouts.
Turtle Tower - near Hall of Justice, 501-6th St and also near Civic Center, Chowhound/Yelp, Vietnamese chicken Pho Ga
Mission is organized roughly north to south, except taquerias have their own section...
Italian: Pink Onion - nice spot for mostly-American-style pizzas (their "magic mushroom" with crimini & truffles is great) and pastas (including gluten-free pastas)
#Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen - 401 Valencia (@ 15th), gluten-free Venezuelan arepas, supposedly good passionfruit
Greek/Mediterranean: Truly Mediterranean - 3109-16th St (@ Valencia), 415-252-7482
Lers Ros Thai - 3189 16th (@ Valencia), also outposts in Tendernob and Hayes Valley (see above for more)
Mayan/Yucatan: Poc Chuc - 2886-16th St (@ Van Ness), 415-558-1583, highly rated by chowhounders for Mayan/Yucatan home cooking
Peruvian: Limon - 524 Valencia (@ 16th), 415-252-0918, a bit pricey, chef was at the Slanted Door, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Mexican: La Oaxaqueña Bakery and Restaurant - regional cuisine (including grasshopper tacos??), 2128 Mission (@ 17th), 415-621-5446
***Tartine Manufactory - 595 Alabama (@ 18th), features many of the same breads & pastries as the Tartine Bakery, plus a bunch of savory dishes like great sandwiches...plus you can reserve tables for dinner (which is mostly smaller plates of super-fresh California cuisine food). Zagat,Bon Appetit, Eater magazine has a nice "how to" guide to all the goodies they sell here. Note that as of 2022 they no longer have quite the same array of pastries as the original Guerrero store.
Italian: Delfina - 3621-18th (@ Guerrero) 415-552-4055...and Pizzeria next door at 3611-18th, 415-437-6800. Both are foodie havens; rec'd by Patricia Unterman, Delfina won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015. The pizza is more NYC than Italy, but still good.
Burmese: Yamo - 3406-18th (@ Mission), 415-553-8911
Mexican/Vegan: Gracias Madre - 2211 Mission (@ 18th), 415-683-1346, 11-11 every day, great Mexican food served up vegan style, and consequently more expensive/locavore/hippie/white than your standard Mexican place; run by the people behind Cafe Gratitude
***Mission Chinese Food - 2234 Mission (@ 18th), 415-863-2800, self-advertised as "Americanized" Chinese food, 11-10:30, closed Wed, Ma Po Tofu is on 7x7 Magazine's Things to Try Before You Die list, also featured in NY Times.
Salvadoran: Balompie - 3349-18th (@ Capp), 415-648-9199, rec'd by Patricia Unterman for pupusas and more, also a branch near Bernal Heights at 3801 Mission
Senegalese: Bissap Baobab - 2243 Mission (@ 18th)
***Tartine Café/Bakery - 600 Guerrero (@ 18th), foodies from all over the world make pilgrimages to get bread from this tiny bakery, which also features some great French-style pastries. Bread is available at 5 PM every day, but usually you have to book ≥2 days ahead to get a loaf (occasionally they'll have some left over though...).
Tacolicious - 714 Valencia (@ 18th), 415-626-1344, 11:30 to mid, fancy "yuppified" tacos, also locations in Marina & Ferry Building.
***Thai: Farmhouse Kitchen - 710 Florida (@ 19th), a branch of Castro Brunch hotspot Kitchen Story, reasonably-priced Thai favorites including amazing BBQ chicken (Kai Yang Som Tum), scrumptious papaya salad, and hearty tom yum soup.
***Lazy Bear - a splurge (dinner often costs $200 a person!) but our favorite restaurant in SF if price is no option (the only meal we thought was a better experience was a place in Italy). You sit at communal tables and get the freshest, most tasty version of "California cuisine" I've ever seen. As an example, when we sat down we got the best rolls we'd ever eaten served with house-cultured butter that was the best butter we'd ever eaten...and that's just the beginning! Two Michelin stars.
Mexican: San Jalisco (formerly Los Jarritos) - 901 S. Van Ness (@ 20th), 415-648-8383, 8 AM-10 PM every day, one of the best "sit down" Mexican restaurants, rec'd by chowhounders and Patricia Unterman
#Trick Dog - 3010-20th (@ Florida), SF eater rec's their beef tartare, kale salad, and headcheese tacos (and rec's for late night dining until 1:30 am)
***Italian: Flour & Water - 2401 Harrison (@ 20th), California-style Italian food with lots of local, fresh ingredients; chocolate budino rec'd, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
***Cal-Italian/Upscale California: Penny Roma - 3000 20th St (@ Alabama) in the former Central Kitchen space, delicious, fresh, seasonal, local food, including fresh-made pasta, run by the Flour & Water team, among our favorite restaurants in SF, Luke's longer review here
***South Indian: Udupi Palace - 1007 Valencia (@ 21st), 415-970-8000, vegetarian South Indian food, more "home style" (cheaper, not as fancy) compared to Dosa, great dosas.
***Mediterranean/Wine Bar: Foreign Cinema - 2534 Mission (@ 21st), 415-648-7600, fun place which projects French films on the wall, rec'd by Patricia Unterman, a bit pricey but one of the highest-rated places in the Mission...Laszlo Bar is a nice bar in front with Soviet-era Russian decor
Spanish/Basque/Tapas: Esperpento - 3295-22nd St (@ Valencia), 415-282-8867
Cupcakes: Mission Minis - 3168-22nd St (@ Capp), miniature cupcakes popular on yelp
Turkish: Tuba - 1007 Guerrero (@ 22nd), 415-826-8822, great mix of Turkish flavors
Tapas/Wine Bar: Loló - 3230-22nd betw. Mission & Bartlett, Latin/Turkish influences
Italian/Wine Bar: Beretta - 1199 Valencia @ 23rd, 415-695-1199
Retro Mexican-American: Velvet Cantina - 3349-23rd (@ Bartlett), 415-648-4142, a hip take on Mexican food, known for chicken avocado enchiladas and margaritas
Buttermilk Southern Kitchen - 2848 23rd St (@ Bryant), southern cooking with everything homemade (even the pickles). Don't miss the creamy shrimp and grits!
Pan-Asian: Spice Jar - 2500 Bryant (@ 23rd), in former Local's Corner spot, nicely prepared dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai traditions, at reasonable prices. We especially liked the fries with nori (seaweed) and green curry chicken.
Hungarian/Sandwiches: Paprika - 3324 24th Street, offers sandwiches for lunch and goulash for dinner
Discount Gourmet: Mr. Pollo - was famous for offering a fancy chef's tasting menu in a hole-in-the-wall for only $20 (now $40); after Chef Manny Torres Gimenez left, it went downhill but as of 2022 there's a new chef (Graham Bellefeuille) now so maybe it's better...?
***Jewish Deli: Wise Sons - the best pastrami west of the Mississippi and delicious chopped liver / latkes...also pretty good bagels (including gluten free)
***Komaaj - North Iranian/Persian place with amazing flavors; don't miss their Pomegranate & Lamb stew (also available in vegetarian Walnut version)
Taquerias - the Mission is home to some of the best taquerias in the City, if not the state
El Tonayense - 3150-24th (@ Shotwell--this location now closed?), also taco trucks on Harrison at 14th, 17th, and 19th streets, rec'd by Patricia Unterman, featured on Check Please, al pastor and super burrito are popular on Yelp
El Farolito - 2779 Mission, near 24th St. BART (also an outpost on 24th & Alabama, and in the Excelsior district at 4817 Mission)
***La Palma Mexicatessen - 2884-24th @ Florida, fresh tortillas, carnitas, tamales, potato chips, masa, chicharrones, etc. as well as other Mexican/Latin American products, rec'd by Patricia Unterman, 415-647-1500, M-Sat 8-6, Sun 8-5
Tortas Los Picudos - 2969-24th @ Alabama, tortas rec'd by Patricia Unterman and chowhounds, 415-824-4199, M-Sat 7-7:30, Sun 7-7
La Corneta - 2731 Mission between 23rd & 24th, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Papalote - a "gentrified" (i.e. mostly white people) but nevertheless high-quality taqueria known for its awesome burritos
***La Taqueria - 25th & Mission, slightly more expensive than other taquerias but still good, very fresh; carnitas taco is on on 7x7 Magazine's Things to Try Before You Die list. After extensive research, 538 also concluded that they serve the best burritos in the US.
Taqueria Cancún - 2288 Mission St @ 19th (one chowhounder writes "In SF, I'd definitely do a super veggie burrito at Taqueria Cancun for an 'authentic' SF mission burrito. I think Farolito is over- rated and while La Taqueria has great carnitas, other things are lackluster.") [also near Civic Center at 1003 Market @ 6th]
El Toro - not bad, good tacos
Vallarta - 3033-24th St. (@ Harrison), 415=826-8116, popular, cheap taqueria, yelpers recommend al pastor and carne asada
Other Mexican Places
Pancho Villa - rec'd by Patricia Unterman
La Torta Gorda - 24th & Bryant (ingredients not usually found at SF Mexican places), featured on Somebody Feed Phil
Metate Tacos - Bryant & 24th
La Primavera taco truck (or at Ferry Bulding Farmer's Market)
La quinta - mission 20th/21st
Mamacita - upscale mexican in Marina, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
El Delfin - 3066-24th St (@ Folsom), 415-643-7955, authentic mexican seafood
Taco trucks: Doña Tere (21 @ Alabama), El Tonayense (Harrison @ 14/17/19)
Bi-Rite Creamery - 3692 18th St (@ Dolores), 415-626-5600, Sun-Th 11-10, Fri-Sat 11-11, people line up around the block for their small batches of innovative flavors made from fresh ingredients; a Between Bites Frommer's article describes the store along with other Mission creameries.
Humphry Slocombe - 2790 Harrison (@ 24th), 12-9 every day, popular ice cream place that sells unusual "adult" flavors (often with booze)
Smitten - branch of the Hayes Valley phenomenon
Garden Creamery - interesting flavors, very good...although Luke isn't a fan of how NIMBY they were when another ice cream place wanted to open nearby
Mitchell's - 688 San Jose Ave (@ Mission), 11-11 every day, 415-648-2300
St. Francis Fountain & Grill - 2801 24th St (@ York), 415-826-4200, M-Sat 8-10, Sun 8-9, old school diner (they bill themselves as "San Francisco's Oldest Ice Cream Parlor") which serves breakfast all day, plus diner favorites and shakes/ice cream
Anthony's Cookies - 1417 Valencia @ 25th, 415-655-9834, not an ice cream shop but their crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside cookies go well with ice cream; don't miss their "double chocolate"!
La Lengua / Bernal Heights (south of the Mission)
#Chīsai Sushi Club - small place (the name means "small" in Japanese) with a cult following, does omakase (chef's choice) for $70-120 depending on which one you get
#Hawaiian/Fusion: Outer Orbit - opened in 2018, rec'd Eater SF
Nicaraguan: Oye! Managua, 3385 Mission (@ 30th), 415-821-2702, daily 11-8. Nicoya favorites like platanos (plantains), gallo pinto (rice & beans) and queso frito (fried cheese). Yelpers recommend the Maria Elena platter for two, which lets you try almost everything.
?Peruvian: Piqueo's - 830 Cortland, "best restaurant on Cortland" say some chowhound
?Italian: VinoRosso - 629 Cortland, cheese plate, lasagna
Avendanos - great butcher shop (you can get some unusual cuts here), also has some prepared food
#Upscale American/Comfort: Blue Plate - 3218 Mission (@ Valencia), 415-282-6777
? Emmy's Spaghetti Shack - 18 Virginia Street (@ Mission), 415-206-2086, inexpensive place with old-school Italian, garlic bread, etc.
? Indian Pizza: Zante's - 3489 Mission (@ Cortland), 415-821-3949, 11-3, 5-11 every day, free delivery
Haight Ashbury/Cole Valley/Western Addition/Japantown/NoPa
Zazie (Cole Valley, French) - 941 Cole Street, 415-564-5332, French-style bistro, popular brunch (in fact, no reservations allowed for weekend brunch!) but also good for lunch/dinner, very popular on Chowhound
#Automat - place by former Lazy Bear sous chef Matt Kirk, looks interesting?
***State Bird Provisions - 1529 Fillmore (near Geary, Western Addition/Japantown), very popular, trendy place, California-fresh cuisine served dim-sum style; they take reservations online starting 60 days in advance but are frequently booked; a bunch of tables / counter space are set aside for walk-ins, though (see this Zagat article for more tips)...amazing food, if possible go in a larger group (so you can share more dishes), very accommodating for gluten-free
next door is The Progress, a Latin America-themed family-style restaurant by the same chef
Nopalito ( http://www.7x7.com/eat-drink/impulse-shopping-nopa-nopalitos-chefs-farmers-market ), more sophisticated take on Mexican classics, panhandle
Suppenkuche - 525 Laguna St. (@ Hayes), 415-252-9289
#Nopa - popular restaurant that spawned the neighborhood's name, on Eater SF's 38 list in 2016
Central (Castro/Noe Valley/Glen Park/Forest Hill/West Portal/Inner Sunset)
***Sardinian Italian: La Ciccia - 291-30th St (@ Church), 415-550-8114, closed Mon, dinner only, outstanding Sardinian food focusing on seafood; squid ink and bottarga pastas are especially good. ...also check out their casual pizza bar across the street, La Nebbia. (Note: they got new owners in 2022 but this 2023 Chronicle article claims that it's almost exactly the same.)
***Crepes: Le Marais Bistro - Luke prefers other places for French pastries (although the pastries here are pretty good), but they have excellent crepes at this location (and the one at the Ferry Building)
Wine Bar/Upscale American: Noeteca - 1551 Dolores (@ Valley, between 28th & 29th)
Brunch/Cafe: Chloe's Cafe - 1399 Church (@ 26th) popular brunch spot
***Tea: Lovejoy's Tea Room - 1351 Church (@ 25th) blast from the past tea-and-crumpets place...their scones are amazing!
California: Firefly - 4288-24th (@ Douglass), 415-821-7652, rec'd by Patricia Unterman, nice "comfort food", have a few GF options
Turkish: Bursa Kebab - West Portal, 60 West Portal, popular on Yelp
Buffalo Meat: Bullshead - West Portal, burgers supposed to be good
Small Plates: Starbelly - wine bar/small plate place on Market in Castro district, won Michelin Bib Gourmand 2015-2019, excellent (we also know the chef)
***Frances - nice, tiny restaurant, great California cuisine; reserve well in advance (they open up 2 months before...or get there early for one of the few walk-in tables or bar), 1 Michelin star (although as of 2023 they are in the Michelin guide but no longer have a star?)
***Seafood: Woodhouse Fish Company - awesome seafood at Church & Market, flaky fish & chips and very tasty crab sandwiches
Il Casaro Pizzeria - excellent Naples-style pizzas (although I slightly prefer Tony's) and other homestyle Italian dishes; I've heard mixed reviews about their pastas...also a location in North Beach
***Persian: Lavash - 511 Irving (@ 6th), awesome, authentic Persian food
Park Chow (1238-9th Ave @ Lincoln)
Naan & Curry --> slipping?? (more expensive, bland...) instead: Curry Village (1386-9th at Judah)
New Eritrea (907 Irving @ 10th)
?Marnee Thai 1243-9th Ave (@ Lincoln) - angel wings are good, 7x7 rec's the pad thai, other stuff: also 2225 Irving (@23rd)
Darla's Burgers (822 Irving @ 9th)
Ebisu/Hotei (sushi places)
San Tung (chinese 12th & Irving)
North Indian: A Desi Cafe - rec'd Eater SF, looks pretty good?
Outer Richmond (W of Park Presidio)
Marla Bakery - 3619 Balboa (@ 37th), supposedly has great kouign amann, also takeout and other hot food, closed Monday, open for Breakfast/lunch most days until ~6 PM but open later for "Wood Oven Wednesday" until 8.
Kabuto Sushi - 5121 Geary (@ 16th), 415-752-5652, also rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Seafood: Pacific Cafe - 7000 Geary (@ 34th), 415-387-7091, nice, cozy old-school seafood place which serves free wine while you wait for your table
Moroccan: El Mansour - 3119 Clement St (@ 32nd), near Seacliff
***Upscale Moroccan: Aziza - 5800 Geary @ 23rd, 415-751-2312, amazing food (we especially liked the basteeya), although we haven't been since they re-opened in 2019; the same chef's Mourad downtown is a bit fancier/pricier but also really nice
Egyptian: Al-Masri - 4031 Balboa @ 42nd, 415-876-2300, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Shabu House - 5158 Geary Blvd @ 15th, 415-933-8600, rec'd by chowhounders
Simple Pleasures Cafe - Balboa & 35th, nice cafe with jazz and pastries/bagels
Dim Sum: Shanghai Dumpling King - known for it Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings)
Chinese/Shanghai: Dragon House - 5344 Geary @ 17th, 415-751-6545, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Chinese/Hong Kong: Mayflower - 6255 Geary @ 27th, 415-387-8338, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Chinese: Parc Hong Kong - 5322 Geary @ 17th, 415-668-8998, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Chinese/Cantonese: Hakka - 4401 Cabrillo @ 45th, 415-876-6898, highly rec'd by chowhounds, opened in 2010
Chinese: Shanghai House - 3641 Balboa (@ 38th), 415-831-9288
Sichuan Home - won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
Pizzetta 211 - seasonal pizzas and a few other things, rec'd by SF Eater
***French Pastries: B Patisserie - 2821 California (@ Divisadero), 415-440-1700, French pastry shop that has great stuff, especially kouign amann (Breton pastries that are like croissants stuffed with even more butter and sugar). Luke especially likes the kouign amann "ends", which is a bag full of very flaky, buttery pastry!
***California French: Routier - by Belinda Leong of B Patisserie fame along with a couple other chefs, this is our favorite date night restaurant, with delicious but unpretentious French food with a California twist...very good with dietary restrictions; they also have a good fixed-price "formula"
Burma SuperStar - 309 Clement (@ 4th), 415-387-2147, Burmese food highly rated by chowhounds
from Oct 2013 trip: tea leaf salad was delicious (try Rainbow next time?), samusa soup was nice (Luke didn't like bready samusas but flavor was nice), pumpkin pork stew was tasty, coconut rice goes with everything, rose tea is delicious and delicate, mango lassi is culturally wrong but super tasty (very intense, fresh mango flavor)
#Burmese Kitchen - supposedly even better than Burma SuperStar?
Arsicault Bakery - Bon Appetit named them the best new bakery in the country in 2016, especially for their croissants; as of mid-2017 they no longer sell out by 10 AM (!). Their croissants are very light and buttery...in a pinch Luke probably prefers Tartine's frangipane croissants (which are larger, darker, and very flaky) but they're both outstanding. Also a location in Civic Center.
Burmese/Mandarin: Mandalay - 4348 California (@ 6th), 415-386-3895/6
French: Chapeau! - 126 Clement (@ 2nd), 415-750-9787, French place that's not too expensive, prix fixe $28 early bird meal 5-6 PM Sun-Thurs, rec'd by Patricia Unterman, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015. Used to be called Clementine.
BBQ/American: Q Restaurant - 225 Clement (@ 3rd), 415-752-2298, Patricia Unterman rec's the southern fried chicken, swordfish, meat loaf, and more at this popular neighborhood joint. Mac & cheese and garlic fries are popular on Yelp.
Sigaporean/Malaysian: Straits Cafe - 3900 Geary (@ Parker), 415-668-1783, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Russian: Katia - 600-5th Ave (@ Balboa), 415-668-9292, Patricia Unterman calls it "the best Russian restaurant in the city"
King of Thai Noodles - 639 Clement (@ 7th), 415-752-5198, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Chinese/Shanghai: Taiwan Restaurant - 445 Clement St (@ 6th), 415-387-1789, rec'd by Patricia Unterman
Bella Trattoria - 3854 Geary (@ 2nd), Italian place rec'd by some chowhounders
Vietnamese: Le Soleil - 133 Clement (@ 3rd), 415-668-4848, a bit expensive but rec'd by many
#Turkish: Troya - 349 Clement (@ 5th), nightingale's nest baklava and more rec'd by chowhounds, won Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2015
California/Tuscan Italian: Osteria - 3277 Sacramento (@ Presidio), 415-771-5030
Korean: Han il Kwan (19th & Balboa, rec'd by chowhounds)
Korean: Brother's (4128 Geary @ 6th, rec'd by chowhounds)
***Outerlands - 4001 Judah (@ 45th), 415-661-6140, cool restaurant by the water which features Tartine-style bread (see bread, below). Yelpers say not to miss the lemon ginger apple cider. Rec'd by the New York Times.
***Hook Fish Co - right near the ocean, this relatively small/casual spot serves ridiculously fresh seafood, including the best fish and chips I've ever had
##Korean: Toyose - 3814 Noriega (@ 45th), 415-731-0232, in a repurposed garage (some people call it "The Korean Garage"), they grow their own vegetables, probably one of the most "authentic" Korean places in SF; see SF Gate review and blogpost
Seafood: Pisces - 3414-3416 Judah (@ 39th), 415-564-2233, Tues-Sun 4-10. Great Happy Hour deals before 5:30, as well as prix fixe specials all night long.
Underdog Tacos - 1634 Irving (@ 17th), popular taco place
Chinese/Dim Sum: South Sea Village - 1420 Irving (@ 15th), 415-665-8210
Crepe Temptations - 2575 Judah (@ 31st)
#Shaanxi/Xi'an Chinese: Terra Cotta Warrior - on Eater SF's 38 list in 2016 for spicy/sour Chinese food
Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant - 3132 Vicente (@ 42nd), rec'd by SF Eater
Dim Sum: also South Sea or Mayflower?