12 SF Restaurant Markets for All of Your Holiday Food Gift Shopping
Stock up for holiday dinners or grab a gift for a foodie friend.
It wasn’t that long ago that restaurants couldn’t have dine-in seating due to pandemic protocols, creating an economic blow to already razor-thin profit margins. Consumers, being confined to shelter-in-place at home, scrambled to buy in-demand necessities like fresh vegetables, eggs, flour, and toilet paper, which were often sold out in the panic-buying frenzy. One win-win solution was restaurants utilizing their wholesale supply chains to sell pantry staples from their brick-and-mortar locations or online to meet customer needs (including that precious toilet paper!), and to try to stay afloat financially. Some even went a step further and packaged signature dishes and condiments for retail sale.
While selling popular house-made products isn’t a new idea — see Papalote’s famous salsa — many more eateries took stock of their best-selling items and bagged, jarred, pickled, and packaged them. From the Verjus Wine Shop at Cotogna selling dried wild oregano to Mr. Jiu’s Jiu’s Ho Ho selling hot Chinese mustard and farm-direct eggs, it’s a bonus that many of the house-brand products are free of artificial preservatives and other questionable ingredients.
While many restaurants have reopened for indoor dining, and some have since ceased pantry operations, many have kept their popular pantry staples available. For holiday season gift-giving, here are some of our favorite restaurant markets across San Francisco. Hopefully these markets, many borne of innovative survival drive, are here to stay.
Little Original Joe’s
Having opened during last year’s part of the pandemic, the West Portal addition to the Original Joe’s restaurant family sold pantry items straight out of the gate. The small-ish interior is half-marketplace and half-takeout (with a little seating), serving house-made ravioli in classic meat sauce, pizzas, roast chickens, sandwiches, and Straus organic soft serve ice cream. The marketplace is full of both fresh and frozen house-made pastas, sauces, take-and-bake lasagnas, pizza dough, as well as curated goods such as Boudin Bakery bread, Native Baking Company cookies, and Italian olive oils and wines. Note that there are plenty of newly stocked panettone for the holiday season, including limited-edition Dolce & Gabbana ones (who knew they made food?).
How to order: Walk in.
Brenda's French Soul Food
Most Bay Areans are familiar with Brenda’s beignets, shrimp and grits, fried catfish egg Benedicts, and other takes on French soul food that always draw crowds for weekend brunch. To recreate the tastes of Brenda’s at home, choose among various condiments, from peach cobbler jam to tomato-bacon relish to pickled watermelon. Customers can also choose frozen versions of Brenda’s dishes if ordering via Locale delivery service, including cream biscuits and chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. Want to send Brenda’s as a gift to those farther away? The Goldbelly offerings include main dishes like chicken etouffée and a 12-pack beignet sampler kit with Granny Smith apple and Ghirardelli chocolate flavors.
How to order: Walk in, order online for pick-up, or online via Locale for Bay Area delivery; Goldbelly for national shipping.
As a Mission staple for the last 23 years, Pizzeria Delfina offers goods from frozen parbaked pizzas and lasagnas to creme fraiche and lemon vinaigrette. The make-at-home pizza kit makes for a fun night in, with three fresh balls of dough, a pint of pizza sauce, fior di latte mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, and enough flour for dusting. Pair your pizza and pasta with a selection of wine, beer, and bottled cocktail selections — namely the signature Church cocktail for two, featuring gin, Cocchi Americano, and Bordiga Apertivo.
How to order: Online for pick-up or delivery; Pastel or Locale for greater Bay Area pick-up/delivery; Goldbelly for national shipping.
The breads, the morning buns, the lines down the street — all famous aspects of Tartine. The bakery has grown to four Bay Area locations and several in Los Angeles and Seoul, but the heart of the bakery still lies in the city. Each location’s pantry offerings differ slightly, but you can count of on a variety of goods, including canned Moji wines from Larkspur, organic cotton muslin bread storage bags, carbon steel-serrated bread knives, and several types of flour (for those who never left the sourdough baking craze of 2020 behind). The Inner Sunset location has the biggest marketplace, with a masa harina and millet cornbread kit, house-made croutons, and pork fat chili oil.
How to order: Walk in, or order online for pick-up or delivery.
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
Another homegrown favorite that’s expanded to SoCal and internationally in Tokyo, Wise Sons has helped fill the dearth of proper Jewish deli food on the West Coast. Take home sliced corned beef, tubs of smoked trout salad or chopped liver, dill pickles, whole loaves of babka, bagel chips, pickle-brined hot sauce, matzo balls, and more. You can also order Wise Sons nationally, including whole deli sandwich kits, like pastrami with sliced Jewish deli rye bread and bottles of both deli mustard and Russian dressing.
How to order: Walk in, or order online for pick-up, local delivery, or national shipping.
OK, technically Queens is a superette, but since it’s started offering hot food and indoor and patio seating, it’s kind of now like a little restaurant with a well-curated marketplace. Plus, with more than ten kinds of house-made condiments, plus all the house-made banchan, how can you not stock up on signature gourmet Queens-branded pantry staples here? Sachets full of dried aromatics, shiitake mushrooms, and anchovies make up the Queens Myulchi Yooksu (anchovy dash stock) starter pack. House-made gochuchang, mushroom salt, and buchimgae (savory Korean pancake mix) are just a few more goodies. There are also occasional surprises of limited-run house-made goods, like the ten bottles of kong guksu milk broth (soybean and pine nut milk broth) that were only available for a weekend back in June. Will there be more? Keep an eye on the Instagram account to find out.
How to order: Walk in or order for pickup online.
The Market section of the Scoma’s website has what you’ll need from this iconic Italian restaurant, and the Sides, Beer, and Cocktail categories are the best for stocking up on gifts. Get bottled Manhattans and Negronis (for two or six people), Bloody Mary kits with house-made mix that come with Scoma-branded glasses, local brews like Firestone’s Union Jack West Coast IPA, and even 16-ounce tubs of cocktail and tartar sauces for the dip-lovers in your life. A new offering for the holiday season is a 500-milliliter bottle of Scoma’s vintage egg nog, which is definitely just for adults with its triple threat blend of rum, cognac, and sherry.
How to order: Online for store pick-up.
The retail section of China Live with pantry staples was actually part of the restaurant’s concept from its opening in 2017, but still stands out as one of the consistently best restaurant market selections in the city. Several of the offerings are Good Food Award finalists. A gently pungent ginger-infused vinegar is a great accompaniment to soup dumplings. Signature chili bean sauce is a perfect balance of spicy, sour, and salty. And don’t forget the snacks. The Peking duck fat popcorn is wildly popular, which customers can also purchase in a movie night bundle with Cindy’s Asian Granola, and dark chocolate-covered broken fortune cookies.
How to order: Walk in, or order online for pick-up or delivery.
The neighboring sister restaurant to Che Fico is a full-service restaurant whose marketplace actually has three delivery subscriptions available, one for pantry, provisions, and wine—the ultimate restaurant market convenience. From shelf-stable goods like house-made arrabbiata sauce, dry pasta, and select local and imported products, to fresh produce from local farms and meal kits, you can mix and match to your heart’s desire. If you don’t want to commit to a box every month, try the items a la carte, like the Calabrian Chili Bomba (a chili and roasted garlic sauce), frozen tiramisu, frozen eggplant parmigiana, house-made seasonal jams, or house-cured meats like bresaola.
How to order: Subscribe to boxes, or order a la carte pantry items for delivery or pickup online.
Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒
Known for its modern and higher-end dim sum, Dragon Beaux may be most well-known for its Instagram-friendly Five Guys Xiao Long Bao platter, which uses natural vegetable juices and spices to create a spread of vibrant soup dumplings. While you can’t get these frozen to prepare at home, you can choose from ten kinds of frozen dim sum, including the original version of xiao long bao, Peking pork dumplings, and sweet salted egg lava buns. Plus, Dragon Beaux offers four types of its house-made jarred condiments, including a beef chili sauce and a version of the spicy seafood XO sauce.
How to order: Walk in or order online.
Those chicharrones. Yes, they’ve gotten huge to the point of being available in big bags at grocery stores, even Costco at times. But straight from the source is best, and there are a few other pantry goodies to pick up from 4505, as well. Fried pork aficionados know that there is a difference between chicharrones (light and airy) and cracklings (hearty and crunchy), and 4505 started to offer both a few years ago, with the newer Cracklins in sea salt and spicy green chili and lime flavors. Feeling saucy? Get squeeze bottles full of the signature Sweet & Thick barbecue sauce; House White sauce made with pickled jalapeños and a secret blend of spices; or a Mustard & Vinegar blend with a hint of cayenne. You can also get four ounces of pickles, in addition to some local brews and bottles of wine.
How to order: Walk in, or order online for delivery/pick-up; national shipping is via Goldbelly.
The Italian Homemade Company
Fresh and simple is what drives this North Beach-based restaurant—super fresh pasta and homemade sauces in any combination you like. For your fridge or freezer at home, choose between 16-ounce and whopping 32-ounce containers of pasticciata, pesto, bolognese, white, and marinara sauces. Imported Italian cookies and olive oil are a must, and even gluten-free pasta is available for those who can't eat the restaurant’s traditional handmade pastas.
How to order: Walk in, order pickup/delivery online; North Bay delivery/pickup sometimes available via SF2Bay.