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San Francisco, California, is a city well known for its diverse and vibrant culinary scene. Considering planning a trip? Check out the top restaurants in San Francisco with a wide range of delicious food and dining options.

I lived in San Francisco for almost a decade exploring all of the best restaurants. What struck me consistently was the innovative cuisine served with a relaxed, Californian vibe. From family-friendly spots with fantastic food to more sophisticated and elegant restaurants, I was able to get a true taste of this coastal city.

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One thing you may find surprising on a visit to San Francisco is that you’ll find great food in a range of dining styles. From fine dining to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, be open to exploring all the types of places to eat. This is my list of the best San Francisco restaurants for every kind of trip to this West Coast gem.

Planning a trip to San Francisco? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in San Francisco:

  1. 1 Hotel, for the best design hotel
  2. Fairmont San Francisco, for the best Nob Hill hotel
  3. Hotel Kabuki, for the best neighborhood hotel

For a more in-depth overview of where to stay in San Francisco, read The Best Hotels in San Francisco.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite must-visit spots in San Francisco!

The 20 Best Restaurants in San Francisco

1. Zuni Café

Zuni Café is a San Francisco institution known for its slow-cooked, roasted chicken (order ahead) and bread salad. The restaurant’s commitment to using fresh, local ingredients shines through in every dish.

The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a large wood-burning oven that anchors the open kitchen. The menu changes daily, reflecting the best seasonal produce and sustainably sourced meats and seafood.

Address: 1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

2. State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions offers a unique dining experience with its dim sum-style service. The restaurant’s innovative small plates have earned it a Michelin star. This is one of my personal favorite restaurants in San Francisco.

The menu is eclectic and changes frequently, featuring dishes like their signature state bird with provisions, which is actually fried quail. The atmosphere is lively and the decor is modern and minimalist, allowing the food to take center stage.

Address: 1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

3. Tartine Bakery & Café

Start your day with a morning pastry from Tartine Bakery & Café. This Mission District staple is famous for its bread and pastries, but don’t overlook its sandwiches and salads.

The Bay Area bakery is always bustling, with a line often out the door, but the wait is worth it. The interior is simple and rustic, with an open kitchen where you can see the bakers at work.

Address: 600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

4. Nopa

Nopa is a San Francisco favorite for its rustic cuisine and commitment to organic, local ingredients. The wood-fired dishes, especially the pork chop, are not to be missed.

The restaurant itself is housed in a restored bank, giving it a grand, open feel with high ceilings and large windows. The bar is a focal point, serving up craft cocktails and a thoughtful wine list. If you’re looking for a last-minute reservation, show up at open and dine at the communal table!

Address: 560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

5. The Slanted Door

The Slanted Door offers a modern take on traditional Vietnamese dishes. Located in the Ferry Building, the restaurant offers stunning views of the Bay.

The menu features a range of dishes from shaking beef to cellophane noodles with Dungeness crab. The restaurant’s modern interior, with floor-to-ceiling windows, complements the contemporary Vietnamese fare.

Address: Ferry Building, #3, San Francisco, CA 94111

6. Saison

For a truly special dining experience, book a table at Saison. This three-Michelin-starred restaurant offers a multi-course tasting menu featuring the best of California’s bounty.

The menu changes daily, based on the freshest ingredients available. The dining room is intimate and elegant, with an open kitchen that allows guests to see the chefs at work.

Address: 178 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94107

7. Swan Oyster Depot

This century-old seafood counter serves some of the freshest seafood in the city. Expect a line at Swan Oyster Depot, but the clam chowder and fresh crab are worth the wait.

The counter seating and bustling atmosphere give it an authentic, old-school feel. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, adding to the overall experience located in Nob Hill.

Address: 1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

8. Benu

Benu, another three-Michelin-starred restaurant, offers a unique blend of American and Asian flavors. Chef Corey Lee’s tasting menu offers a culinary journey not to be missed.

The dining room is sleek and modern, with a peaceful Zen-like atmosphere. Each dish is a work of art, both in presentation and flavor.

Address: 22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94105

9. La Taqueria

No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a burrito, and La Taqueria is one of the best. This Mission District taqueria is a local favorite.

The atmosphere is casual and lively, with a constant stream of locals and tourists alike. The burritos are the star of the show, but the tacos and quesadillas are also excellent.

Address: 2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

10. Gary Danko

Gary Danko, one of San Francisco’s most acclaimed restaurants, offers a blend of French, Mediterranean, and American cuisine.

The restaurant’s elegant dining room and impeccable service make it a popular choice for special occasions. The menu is prix fixe, with the option to choose three, four, or five courses, and the wine list is extensive.

Address: 800 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

11. Foreign Cinema

Foreign Cinema offers a unique dining experience with its blend of California cuisine and foreign film screenings. The restaurant’s beautiful courtyard is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or evening out with friends. We came here many times over the years for celebrations.

The menu is diverse and changes frequently, featuring dishes made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. My favorite dish is their famous fried chicken which changes style frequently. The restaurant also boasts an impressive wine list and a variety of artisanal cocktails.

Address: 2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

12. House of Prime Rib

House of Prime Rib in San Francisco is famous for its delicious prime rib served in a traditional setting. The restaurant’s traditional English decor, complete with dark wood paneling and red leather booths, transports diners back in time.

The chef carves the high-quality prime rib tableside and serves it with classic accompaniments like Yorkshire pudding and creamed spinach.

Address: 1906 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

13. Liholiho Yacht Club

Liholiho Yacht Club serves up Hawaiian-inspired dishes in a vibrant, upbeat setting. The menu is a mix of small and large plates, designed for sharing, and features bold flavors and fresh ingredients.

The restaurant’s interior is warm and inviting, with a touch of retro Hawaiian charm. Don’t miss their signature tuna poke or the off-menu Baked Hawaii dessert.

Address: 871 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

14. Atelier Crenn

Atelier Crenn, led by Chef Dominique Crenn, is a highly acclaimed restaurant with two Michelin stars. They serve a beautiful and artistic multi-course tasting menu.

The menu is inspired by Crenn’s childhood memories in Brittany, France. The dining room is elegant and intimate, providing the perfect backdrop for exquisite culinary creations.

Address: 3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

15. Mission Chinese Food

Mission Chinese Food gives diners innovative and flavorful Chinese dishes with a unique twist. The restaurant’s funky decor, complete with a dragon on the ceiling, adds to the fun, laid-back vibe.

The menu is a mix of traditional Chinese dishes with creative new interpretations, focusing on bold flavors and fresh ingredients.

Address: 2234 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

16. Quince

Quince, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, offers an elegant dining experience with a menu that celebrates the seasonal produce of Northern California.

The dining room is sophisticated and romantic, with beautiful floral arrangements and soft lighting. The menu changes daily, but always features beautifully presented, innovative dishes.

Address: 470 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

17. Nopalito

Nopalito serves authentic, sustainable Mexican cuisine. Their carnitas and ceviche are crowd favorites and my go-to order.

The restaurant has a warm, rustic feel, with an open kitchen and a mix of communal and individual tables. The menu is focused on traditional Mexican recipes, made with locally sourced, organic ingredients.

Address: 306 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117

18. The Progress

The Progress, the sister restaurant to State Bird Provisions, offers a creative, family-style menu in a chic, modern setting.

The menu changes daily, featuring a variety of small plates that are perfect for sharing. The restaurant’s interior is stylish and contemporary, with a large, circular bar and an open kitchen.

Address: 1525 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

19. Rich Table

Rich Table is a relaxed yet sophisticated restaurant offering a modern approach to dining with its inventive American dishes.

The Hayes Valley restaurant’s interior is rustic and cozy, with reclaimed wood tables and a large communal table in the center. The menu changes frequently but always features fresh, seasonal ingredients and creative flavor combinations.

Address: 199 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

20. Cotogna

Cotogna is a rustic Italian restaurant known for the best pasta in the city. The wood-fired pizzas and rotating daily specials are also worth trying.

The restaurant has a warm, inviting atmosphere, with an open kitchen and a wood-burning fireplace. The menu focuses on simple, rustic dishes made with the highest quality ingredients.

Address: 490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

More San Francisco Resources

The Best Hotels in San Francisco
The Ultimate Local Travel Guide to San Francisco
Best Coffee Shops in San Francisco

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Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

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