The Best Restaurants in San Francisco Right Now
Between indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery, our options are plentiful.
It’s a season of hope here in San Francisco. Vaccines are on the uptick, COVID numbers are down, and restaurants seem to be bustling back to life —the streets are lined with tables, and we hope it stays that way forever. We’re not through this pandemic yet, but we see the other side, and San Francisco’s brilliant food and drink community continues to rise to the occasion.
Some reasons to work up an appetite? These 21 restaurants, all of which opened in 2020 and 2021, once again proving how essential this industry is to our city’s well-being, but also its endless innovation and resilience in the midst of crisis. From brand-new concepts to long-awaited openings and delivery-only popups, these restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and in more and more cases, in-person dining. Currently, San Francisco is allowing outdoor and limited indoor dining, with masks still required whenever you are not eating and drinking. We’re not out of the woods yet, so continue following COVID best practices and be kind to restaurant owners and staff who, like the rest of us, have been through hell and back over the last year.
Here are the best new restaurants in San Francisco that could use your support right now:
The Red Window
The gist: Holding court on Columbus, just off Washington Square Park, Red Window, the latest project from mixologist Elmer Mejicanos, lately of Tony’s, and chef Adam Rosenblum, of Causwells, is a bustling ode to Spanish tapas and Basque pintxos culture, complete with a menu of low-ABV cocktails.
The food: Pintxos, available by the piece, mix classics like ham and cheese croquettes and gilda (anchovy, pickled pepper, and olive) skewers, with playful twists on tradition (see: a chicken and chorizo-laced “paella popper”). Round out a meal with shareable tapas classics (tortilla espanola, patatas bravas) and larger-format stunners including a seafood-filled brothy rice dish and pork shank with white beans and broken herb sauce.
The cost: Pintxos are $3-$4, tapas are $6-$19, and mains are $29-$38.
How to book: Red Window is open for outdoor dining Wednesday to Sunday. Make reservations here. Get empanadas to go from their takeout operation, Little Red Window.
New Belgium Taproom & Restaurant
The gist: Just in time for baseball season, Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing has opened a massive new brewpub in Mission Bay, complete with ample outdoor seating and a view of Oracle Park. In addition to their well-known beers, try a rotating selection of locally-inspired small batch releases.
The food: Beer-friendly fare is the name of the game here, from chicken wings spiced with Calabrian chile and honey to globally-inspired tacos served on paratha. Don’t sleep on the cheese-stuffed Wagyu beef burger, or the San Francisco-inspired, bacon-wrapped Mission Dog, topped with beer onions and jalapeno slaw on a brioche bun.
The cost: Appetizers are $5-$12, tacos and tartines are $8-$11, and salads and sandwiches are $13-$18.
How to book: New Belgium Brewing is open for indoor and outdoor dining, walk-ins only, with reservations to come soon. Order takeout here.
La Cocina Municipal Marketplace
The gist: San Francisco-based nonprofit incubator La Cocina has long focused on supporting immigrant and women-of-color-led food businesses. Now, their long-awaited food hall has opened, with six standout food offerings (eventually seven, with Bini’s Kitchen slinging top-notch Nepalese momos when indoor dining resumes) and a bar called La Paloma.
The food: Take yourself on a delicious world tour with Creole fare from Boug Cali, Salvadoran pupusas from Estrellita’s Snacks, halal North African classics from Kayma, standout Mexican fare from Los Cilantros and Mi Morena, and standout Senegalese offerings from Teranga.
The cost: Prices range depending on the vendor, but snacks and sides start around $4, with full meals topping out at $16.
How to book: The market is currently open for takeout, with indoor dining to follow.
The Tailor’s Son
The gist: The latest opening from Back of the House Inc. restaurant group, The Tailor’s Son showcases comforting, Northern Italian fare alongside classic cocktails in the former Elite Cafe space.
The food: The menu goes heavy on the vegetables, with ample antipasti currently showcasing spring’s bounty, including a fritto misto featuring fennel and asparagus, and a spinach sformato rich with truffled pecorino. Other menu highlights include fresh pastas and a dedicated risotto section with four options on offer, including one made with squid ink and another with bone marrow.
The cost: Starters and snacks are $12-$15, and pastas, risottos, and mains are $17-$26.
How to book: The Tailor’s Son is open for indoor and outdoor dining. Make reservations via OpenTable.
The gist: Wood-fired pizza, wine, and coffee combine at this Outer Sunset spot, centered around a 5,000-pound wood-fired oven. Currently open for dinner, with a nice selection of cocktails and Italian wine to go with your pies, expect coffee and pastries in the coming weeks.
The food: Three-day, cold-fermented dough forms the base for a selection of blistered wood-fired pizzas, with toppings ranging from simple cheese and pepperoni pies to more ambitious options like the Slow n’ Low, which comes topped with spicy tomato sauce, kale, slow-braised pork shoulder, Calabrian chiles, and housemade pickled onions.
The cost: Salads are $14, and pizzas are $17-$24.
How to book: DamnFine is currently open for takeout Wednesday to Sunday, with a few outdoor tables set up out front. Order online here.
The gist: Chef Rob Lam opened Lily in the Inner Richmond as an homage to his Vietnamese heritage, but has upped the ante on classic dishes with top-notch ingredients and playful presentations in a subtly sumptuous space complete with leather banquettes and a carved wooden lattice ceiling.
The food: From a French dip-style banh mi, served with a side of pho broth for dipping, to a heritage barbecue pork noodle bowl, loaded with grilled meatballs, belly, and shoulder, Lily’s cuisine is all about big, luxurious flavors (see: duck confit egg rolls) balanced with fresh herbs and zippy sauces.
The cost: Appetizers are $12-$16, and mains are $16-$28.
How to book: Indoor and outdoor dining reservations can be made on Tock, or order online via Toast.
The gist: This takeout and delivery-only restaurant has put together a menu of Chinese American classics, thoughtfully and flavorfully executed by Chef Eric Ehler.
The food: Tuck into classics like General Tso’s chicken, wonton soup, pepper steak, and mapo tofu with vegan Impossible meat, all cooked to order and iterated to remain as texturally sound as possible through the takeout experience. Definitely try the house-made Umami Crunch on anything and everything.
The cost: Appetizers and soups are $7.95-$8.95, and mains are $11.96-$14.95.
How to book: Order pickup or delivery online here.
The gist: This long-awaited full-service restaurant from star pastry chef Belinda Leong has opened just down the block from her beloved B. Patisserie for in-person dining and takeout.
The food: The menu boasts “French-ish” classics like seasonal pate and salmon rillettes, hearty mains of truffled pork tenderloin and braised beef short ribs, plus a lobster grand aioli, featuring cold, poached lobster with miso-laced aioli for dipping. Desserts, which include both dark chocolate and tropical fruit-laced mousses, are not to be missed.
The cost: Starters and salads are $15-$18, with mains ranging from $26 (for pork shoulder confit) to $45 for lobster. A three-course menu is also available at $39 per person.
How to book: Indoor and outdoor reservations are available Thursday to Sunday, 5:30–8 pm. Full menus are still available for pick-up.
The gist: Valencia Street stalwart Beretta has opened a second location in the space formerly occupied by Spanish outpost Barvale on Divisadero.
The food: Beretta has been a staple for on-point antipasti, thin crust pizzas, and reliably excellent cocktails since 2008. All of that is on offer at the Divisadero location, along with a weeknight happy hour and weekend brunch.
The cost: Antipasti runs from $6-$14, pizzas from $14- $18, secondi are $19, and cocktails are $12. At happy hour, select wine and cocktails are $6, plus select antipasti for $4-$6 and margherita pizzas for $10.
How to book: Beretta on Divisadero is open for outdoor dining Monday–Friday, 4–10 pm and Saturday–Sunday from 12–10 pm. Make reservations for dinner, brunch, or happy hour here. You can also order takeout, or delivery via Caviar and DoorDash.
The gist: Housed in the former Jardiniere space, Baia, a collaboration between Chef Matthew Kenney and Kyle and Tracy Vogt, is now open for dinner and brunch in Hayes Valley, boasting a seasonal menu of cravable, entirely plant-based Italian fare.
The food: The menus offer vegan versions of Italian-American classics including cacio e pepe pasta and pizza, eggplant parmesan, fried mozzarella sticks, and garlic knots, plus sandwiches and scrambles for brunch. Italian beer and wine, plus cocktails, are also available.
The cost: Appetizers are $10-$17, pasta and pizzas are $17-$25, and mains are $22-$27.
How to book: Make reservations for indoor and outdoor dining here, call 415-861-0625 for pickup, or order online for pickup and delivery.
The gist: The latest offering from the Absinthe group, Arbor has remade Arlequin Cafe, and its wonderful back garden, into a fast-casual restaurant with a low-key emphasis on plant-based offerings.
The food: Find comforting classics, including chili cheese fries, mac and cheese, and a double cheeseburger alongside equally satisfying vegan options, including a double patty bean burger loaded with garlic tahini sauce and a hearty slice of heirloom tomato. Wine is available on tap, and by the bottle from next door Arlequin Wine Merchant.
The cost: Small plates are $6-$10, salads and sandwiches are $8-$16.
How to order: Arbor is open for outdoor dining Wednesday to Sunday, 12–8 pm. Order online for pickup, or via DoorDash for delivery.
The gist: The much-loved Mexican restaurant from the Nopa family has opened a small takeout window on 18th Street in the Mission serving a limited menu of Nopalito classics and a few new offerings.
The food: Find Nopalito favorites, including a seasonal market salad and totopos tossed in salsa de arbol, plus a loaded rice and bean bowl with your choice of protein, and a whole pound of their melt-in-your-mouth carnitas available as a heat-and-serve meal kit. The window is also open for breakfast serving spiced cafe de olla, champurrado, or masa-based hot chocolate, and pan dulce from Norte 54.
The cost: Totopos are $9, meals are $12-$25, ice cream is $5-$8, carnitas meal kit is $30.
How to book: Order online for pickup and via Caviar or DoorDash for delivery.
The gist: Hi Neighbor Restaurant Group opened this 100-seat socially distanced outdoor restaurant in the plaza of 555 California Street, outside of The Vault restaurant.
The food: Expect a menu of high class comfort food, featuring everything from a double pattied burger with Fiscalini cheddar and special sauce to a roasted pork and Manila clam stew in kimchi broth with XO butter (plus caviar and oysters for good measure). Brunch offerings include sweet treats like beignets and a cinnamon roll with cream cheese icing, plus hearty fare like eggs Benedict and chicken fried steak served with country gravy. Whenever you dine, be sure to try the fresh-baked Parker House rolls.
The cost: Dinner mains range from $20 to $45 for a dry-aged steak, brunch dishes are $16-$26.
How to book: The Vault Garden is open for outdoor dining, and is home to a number of events including comedy shows and drag queen-hosted brunches. Make reservations on OpenTable.
The gist: Married couple Monica Wong and Dennis Cantwell, previously of staple SF restaurants Zuni, Nopa, and A16, opened this low-key neighborhood bottle shop selling beer, natural wine, and stellar sandwiches that have quickly earned a following far beyond the outer avenues.
The food: Loaded, delicious hoagies, all served on custom-made sesame seed-topped rolls from Rosalind Bakery, are the name of the game here. Meat-eaters won’t want to miss the Italian American, a pile of thinly sliced mortadella and and finocchiona topped with arugula and cheese on an 'nduja mayo-slicked roll, or the garlic roast pork hoagie, a California take on a Philly classic, boasting meltingly tender meat, broccoli rabe, and Toma cheese from Point Reyes Farmstead. The roasted cauliflower hoagie is a favorite for vegetarians and carnivores alike. This is also a fine place to pick up wine for a beach or park picnic.
The cost: Hoagies are $16-18.
How to book: Order online for pickup here.
The gist: Reem Asil opened the San Francisco location of her Oakland-based bakery in the former Mission Pie space in March 2020, and suffered another setback in the form of a massive fire in December. But the bright, airy cafe that puts a modern twist on Arab baked goods is back, with a full menu of hot, prepared dishes, sweet and savory pastries, and beer and wine available.
The food: Fresh-baked mana’eesh, or ten-inch flatbreads topped with everything from za’atar to sumac-spiced chicken and seasonal vegetables, are on offer, along with a selection of mezze, salads, and ka’ik, toasted sesame bread sandwiches loaded with slow-cooked lamb and Oaxacan cheese, falafel and house-made pickles, and more. Don’t sleep on the weekends-only Arab brunch menu, which features shakshuka, a sujuk scramble, and classic ful madammas.
The cost: Breads, pastries, and flatbreads are $3.50-$15, mezze are $8-$10, salads and topped ka’ik are $10-$15.
How to book: Reem’s is open Wednesday to Saturday, 9 am to 9 pm (extended Ramadan hours), and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Order online here.
The gist: The owner of the hugely popular, now shuttered Oakland-based Grocery Cafe opened Herbal in the Tenderloin, slinging similarly affordable, flavorful Burmese fare.
The food: Slow-cooked meat mains, including a pork and mango chutney stew, oxtail, and a whole lamb shank cooked in red curry, are on offer, along with vegetarian fare like tea leaf salad and falafels and samusas.
The cost: Falafels and samosas from $7, to a $15 lamb shank.
How to order: Call 415-896-4839 to order, or order online.
Ernest At Home
The gist: Chef Brandon Rice, former Chef de Cuisine of much-lauded Rich Table, had been gearing up to open his own restaurant, Ernest, when the pandemic hit. After offering Ernest at Home, a high-end takeout experience, through the ups and downs of 2020, the restaurant—now just Ernest—has finally opened for dinner.
The food: Expect a lively, regularly changing menu of globally influenced shareable dishes, like beef tartare seasoned with nori and ikura, lo mein prepared carbonara style with sea urchin, and pork tonkatsu served “Nashville hot.” Large format dishes, including a whole Liberty Farm duck with ginger scallion sauce and a 35 day dry-aged Txuleton steak serve two or more.
The cost: Snacks and starters range from $9 to $21, mains are $23 to $39, and the large-format dishes are $60 (for half a duck) to $175 (for the steak). You can also opt to have the kitchen cook for you, for $95 per person.
How to book: Ernest is open for outdoor dining, Wednesday to Sunday. Make reservations here.
The gist: A takeout-only restaurant within a restaurant, Hetchy’s Hots is the fried chicken sandwich-centered project courtesy of Square Pie Guys, one of the city’s preeminent purveyors of Detroit-style pizza. Three percent of all of their proceeds are donated to One Fair Wage, Frontline Foods, and Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
The food: Find five riffs on a spicy fried chicken sandwich, all of which are doused in chili oil before being tossed in specific spices which include taco, Calabrian, schezuan, and ranch powder (the signature Hetchy’s Hot is tossed in flamin’ hot dust and topped with hot Cheetos). Other options include fries, a fried chicken-topped salad, and pints of Double Rainbow ice cream.
The cost: Sandwiches are $13.13-$14.18, fries are $5.25-$6.30, salad is $15, ice cream pints are $10.75.
How to book: Order online for takeout and delivery.
The gist: San Francisco’s first konditorei, or German bakery specializing in cakes, opened last year. Chef-owner Ha Do is keeping the sweet stuff coming—the bakery is still selling ample baked goods and coffee to go.
The food: Berliner donuts, fresh-baked pretzels, and croissants are all on offer, along with a variety of pies and cakes, available whole or by the slice. Cake types change regularly, and seasonally, but regular standouts include brandy-soaked Black Forest cake, honey and almond-topped Beesting cake, and kasekuchen, or cheesecake with homemade quark cheese.
The cost: Cake slices are $7.50-$8.50, berliners are $3.75, pretzels are $3.50, croissants and turnovers are $4.50. Whole cakes are $28-$104, depending on size and type.
How to book: Order whole cakes or select baked goods by the dozen online; order to-go in person at the shop.
The gist: Casements, a modern Irish bar opened by Gillian Fitzgerald, Chris Hastings, and Sean O’Donovan in January 2020, has staked their claim on San Francisco’s outdoor social scene with one of the best mural-covered back patios in town.
The food: In addition to stellar cocktails and the best proper Guinness in San Francisco, Casements has became a go-to for hearty, thoughtfully done pub fare, including warm soda bread with herb butter, beef stew and chicken curry, and fresh-caught local fish battered in Guinness and fried for a proper plate of fish and chips.
The cost: Snacks are $5-$10, pies are $14-15, curry and stew are $15, and fish and chips are $18.
How to book: Casements is open for outdoor dining. Order large-batch cocktails, curry, stew, and soda bread for delivery online.
The gist: If Mister Jiu’s acts as Chef Brandon Jew’s Michelin-starred interpretation of classic Chinese banquet fare, Mamahuhu is his ode to Chinese American takeout, made with top-notch ingredients and serious chef skills.
The food: Flavor-forward and texturally satisfying iterations of classic takeout fare, including sweet and sour chicken, broccoli beef, and mapo tofu are all standout. Side dishes including shrimp and pork fried rice, egg rolls, and chili oil-laced cucumbers also hold their own on the menu.
The cost: Main dishes are $15-17, combo for one, with rice and vegetables, is $14, and a family meal that generously serves three to four people is $65.
How to order: Mamauhu is open for limited indoor dining, or order online for pickup and delivery.