Living in the mecca of food can make it a difficult task to decide where to eat — let alone resisting the temptation to try some incredible food. Welcome to San Francisco, the home of a thousand food types (trust me I’ve seen it all.)
So whether your keen for a white linen night, or perhaps something more casual like slurping down ramen in the Sunset, there truly is something for every one. I have been diving deep into the yellow pages (not literally but you know) to find some new spots and old classics to put together a solid go-to list for food spots across the city.
I had a hard time deciding on whether to classify the list by food types, neighborhood, or price point — then it dawned on me, let’s do this by experience!
So here it is, the San Francisco food spots you need to try….
The often “Splurge”
This is the place you find yourself at for a shorter bite or perhaps a long meal. It’s not going to break the bank but it’s the best in class — you know, food and service.
New on the radar, but that’s beside the point — Basque inspired tapas and cocktails that will have you coming back for more. Bright, colorful plates incorporating California ingredients and Spanish influence. Order the Octopus with kohlrabi, you will not be disappointed.
To say I frequent this place often would be a complete understatement. Two locations, Market and Fillmore, this hip Vietnamese joint is the place to try. Get their fresh spring rolls or sandos.
Re-defining “wholesome,” this cafe will be the spot for your after workout meal. Think green, think healthy, and think delicious.
Not the restaurant, rather the pizzeria. Head here for slice of pizza and a fresh arugula salad. One of my favorite trendy pizza places.
Izakaya Sozai Ramen
Ramen, no not Top Ramen, authentic ramen. I found this place after searching high and low many a times for a good, solid bowl of ramen in a clean restaurant. A reservation is more than needed and will fill up fast so be sure to plan ahead. Also, they’re one of the few places in California serving the dish “spicy tuna on fried rice” so you probably should order that as well.
Kingdom of Dumpling
You could eat (what feels like) endless plates of dumplings and still spend under $40 for two people. Their soup dumplings are incredible, so incredible, that many people wait a “very” long time for them. Go mid-week for a shorter line and a quicker bite.
Head to the dry cleaner’s, the suit jacket is coming out…
Call the photographers, call the driver, you’re headed out on the town. These are the places to impress out of town guests, your significant other, or your mom for Mother’s day. Not necessarily a “suit” dress-code but it sure will feel like it once the meal is over.
Presidio Social Club
I recently dined in this gem of a restaurant in the scenic Presidio park and found it to be delicious. Their spring menu was bright and sure to rock anyone’s crave list. Think American meets refined preparation and perfected flavors. Tip: order the island style tuna poke and pair it with the French 75.
One word: pork. Out of the many dishes tried in the city, their pork dish to share is unforgettable. A “chill” place to chow down on some serious eats and remember why you dine in San Francisco. The menu focuses on Californian cuisines but twists it in a genius way.
A French feast worth drooling over. Still one of my favorite high-end restaurants in the city, this is one to save for the books. Their pre-fix menu is genius and worth every dime though if too high, the best kept secret is to dine in the lounge next door and sample some incredible bar spin off plates.
Perhaps this is a classic, but I think it will go in this category. An “A” plus for atmosphere and ambiance, creating the place you wish you could enjoy every meal at. The menu is of course on point as well, impressive on every course. Their fried chicken is an all time treasure.
Late night eats perfected, Sunday brunch mastered. No matter which meal you are coming in for, be sure to reserve or be the sorry person trying to weasel their way into a spot at the bar (it’s been me a few times). This place is a winner on many accounts and their ingredient focused plates are the star of the show.
It may break your bank or your heart, I’m not sure which one. Trust me, you will be heartbroken (in a good way of course) after an incredible meal here and it will be one to remember. Sit at one long table and share in one of the most refined meals in the city. Tip: be on top of it to get a seat, the tickets sell out fast and are required to dine here.
San Francisco Classics
You came all the way to the city, you probably should eat here at least once (if not more) — we all did too and loved it.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
Forbes named it best pizzeria in America, you’ll name it your new tradition in the city. The line is out the door for a reason, why you ask? Because it’s that darn good. Seven different ovens, twelve different styles of pizza, a meatball the size of a softball, and the Coccoli (salted fried dough paired with stracciatella cheese/prosciutto di parma) you should order every time.
I laugh out loud as I type this. You came all the way to the city and didn’t stop by Tacolicious — what kind of person are you!? The exact words I say every time someone opted out. Truthfully a bit pricey but all the same the best taco + margs + night out in either the Mission or the Marina. Their passion habanero margarita is addicting and their tacos, well, habit-forming.
Oh you too? You waited in that horrid line on a mildly good weather Sunday for the best sandwich of your life as well? Good, because it’s worth it. This Italian deli is shaking things up a bit and serving some incredible sandwiches and salads for on-the-go.
Brenda’s French Soul Food
One of the best brunch spots in the country, Brenda’s always lives to the name. Their creole focused fare has an appeal to all. Try the chicory coffee, beignets, and most definitely their grits.
Top of the Mark
Views, views, views —come here for just that and some small plates to share. A scenic place at one of the taller buildings, a killer view overlooking the city.
The Slanted Door
Sure it probably belongs in the fine dining section, but to me this place will always be a classic. The sought out, award-winning restaurant on the Embarcadero is a must try. Even if you go by for apps and drinks, the Vietnamese food with a view is delicious.
Sweet tooth much?
Make your calories worth while and stick to the best.
Though the word “French” in a pastry sells me in an instant, these French creme puffs are on the next level for your sweet tooth. Whether you get a “choux” or their latest genius creation, the “chounut” (donut meets choux), you will be equally fulfilled. Plus they’re adorable so it will complete your day and your stomach.
Bi-Rite Ice Cream
Known for the ice cream and favorited for their soft-serve window, these creative flavors meet all-time classics in one ridiculous good scoop even if it’s fifty degrees out. You’ll probably find me here on Wednesday night running frantically before the soft serve window closes at 9. (Dolores St location for soft serve).
No thanks — said no one ever when it comes to donuts. Head to the Mission and line up for this hot place on a weekend morning for bright flavors like passion fruit chocolate or ginger orange.