Everywhere You Need to Eat in San Francisco Right Now
There are NOLA-inspired sandwiches in the Upper Haight, casual Cal-Italian in the Lower Pacific Heights, and more.
San Francisco will always have its classic go-to spots, like Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Bix, and House of Nanking. Still, while we’ll never turn down a night at any of those old-school favorites, one of the best things about living in SF is that there’s always a new restaurant to discover. Whether you’re in the mood for Taiwanese street food, casual Cal-Italian from a classic San Francisco chef, a NOLA-inspired sandwich with an SF twist, or possibly the best Indian food you’ll ever eat, here are the best restaurants in San Francisco to eat at right now.
After eight different locations, chef Mike Lahnham’s phenomenal pop-up restaurant has a permanent home in Lower Pac Heights. This is excellent news for everyone because now we can indulge in his inventive and delicious (“post-modern”) 11-course tasting menu whenever we want. Well, maybe not whenever we want because it’s $128 (which, considering the ingredients and technique and number of courses, is actually a steal) and also because it’s open Tuesday through Saturday, but still, it feels good to know that this talented chef’s concept and his amiable and knowledgeable staff have finally found a home.
How to book: Reserve on Tock.
There’s just something about walking into a restaurant that is stunning from floor to ceiling that makes a dining experience feel that much more unique, and that’s precisely what happens the second you step foot inside Copra, the Southern Indian restaurant from chef Srijith Gopinathan (Ettan in Palo Alto) that opened in the old Dosa space on Fillmore in February. The airy vibe is like a tropical oasis with lush greenery, climbing vines, macrame art, and light fixtures that hang from the soaring ceilings. It’s the kind of restaurant you want to stay at for a while, which you will because Copra also happens to be serving some of the best food and cocktails you can get in San Francisco right now. The food is inspired by Gopinathan’s childhood in Kerala (located in the southwest corner of India). And while many dishes may not be familiar to diners, the servers will surely lead you on a journey of fantastic flavors and a lot of heat if you’re up for it. The cocktails are also excellent—the lemon chili with lemongrass, mint, yellow chartreuse, Thai chili, and gin became one of our instant favorites—and the wine program is also incredibly interesting, with some unexpected pairings if you’re willing to be adventurous.
How to book: Reserve a table on Resy.
The Laundromat SF
SF may not have many actual laundromats left, but you know what’s a lot more fun than washing your clothes? Eating plump, freshly baked bagels by morning and Detroit-style pizza, accompanied by a local beer or glass of natural wine, by night. And those bagels aren’t just any old bagels. They’re the famous organic, hand-rolled, boiled, and baked Holey Roller Bagels that popped up in 2020 to instant accolades. Yes, SF is having a bagel and Detroit-style pizza, but we promise the folks behind this new spot aren’t “just” capitalizing on that. The bagels and pizza are legit, and really, it’s more of a “Which came first?” kind of situation that we’re just happy exists at all.
How to enjoy: Walk in or order online for to-go orders.
Liholiho Yacht Club
If you haven’t been to Liholiho since before COVID, now’s the time to revisit, as the popular family-owned restaurant has a new look and a (mostly) new menu. Diners can still get their favorite heritage-inspired dishes from chef Ravi Kapur dishes, including the Tuna Poke with nori crackers and Instagram-famous Baked Hawaii. But there are also new dishes, such as a crispy Swordfish Katsu with Russian dressing, and the larger plates were scaled back so guests can try more dishes. The interior changes are subtle but give the space a more open and comfortable feel, all the better to enjoy the creative cocktails and buzzy vibe.
How to book: Reserve a table on Resy.
Chef Matthey Accarrino has been delighting SF diners with his Italian food at SPQR but at $100 for a tasting menu meal before wine pairings, the Michelin-star restaurant is more of a special occasion destination. But now, Chef has a new casual Cal-Italian spot perfect for those of us on more of a budget. Mattina is a much more approachable restaurant where you can stop in on a whim for any meal of the day, including coffee and housemade pastries until 2 pm, and an all-day menu for lunch and (as of mid-May) dinner. Lunch and dinner feature a range of dishes cooked over the charcoal grill, in the brick oven, and in the smoker, including skewers, seafood options, pastas, delicious salads (since sometimes lunch really IS a salad), and all kinds of gelato for dessert (topped with a pizzelle made with Accarrino’s grandmother’s recipe). Go between 4 pm and 6 pm for “Appi Hour” with vermouth spritz-inspired drinks and snacks, which, in the coming weeks, you’ll be able to enjoy in the outdoor parklet.
How to book: Reservations are available on Resy.
Outta Sight Pizza
Chef Eric Ehler’s Outta Sight pizza pop-up at Fig & Thistle wine bar quickly became one of our favorite pies in the city, so we were stoked when he opened a permanent spot open seven days a week in the TL with colorful chill vibes and those same delicious crisp-bottomed and generously-sized slices. Options include all of the classics (cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, sausage, and peppers, etc.), plus, like it or not, what’s become a California classic: the #50 with ham and pineapple. You can also get all of them as whole pies except the Lunch Lady, a square slice topped with vodka sauce, three cheeses, and basil. Salads, hoagies, and other snacks are in the work.
How to order: Walk-in. For pick-up, call 415-829-3108 or get it delivered from DoorDash.
Pasta Supply Co
We’re always excited to see what chef Anthony Strong is up to. You may know him from his stints at Pizzeria Delfina, Locanda, or his restaurant Prarie which closed during the pandemic despite Strong being among the first to pivot to a general store concept. And considering how much pretty everyone with a stomach loves pasta, we’re elated that his newest venture is literally all about pasta in whichever way you want it. Want to cook pasta at home? He’s got you covered with an enormous retail selection of more than 30 freshly-made and dried pasta. All the fixings make it even more delicious, such as sauces that are packaged for the exact portion of the pasta, which seems like a thing the rest of the world should have started doing eons ago. The restaurant part of this new venture is set to open any day now (it was scheduled for mid-April, but we all know how these things go) and will have about 40 seats at tables, plus a walk-in counter, that will have a much more pared down pasta menu of delicious pasta concoctions. Keep an eye on Instagram for more info. And once it’s entirely up and running, feel free to bring the kiddos to this neighborhood spot; crayons will be provided so they can entertain themselves while you enjoy your affordably-priced wine by the bottle or glass.
How to book: Walk-ins only (for now).
Piglet & Co
In order to find this highly-anticipated restaurant inspired by Taiwan and its night market culture, you’ll need to keep an eye out for two smiling pig faces on the front door of a glass facade otherwise hidden by wooden boards. Open that door and walk into a dark and moody room with an exposed brick wall, red lanterns, and a bar lit with blue lights. It’ll likely be crowded because Piglet & Co was an instant hit when it opened earlier this year, delighting people with what the owners describe as “Asian comfort food.” The menu changes with the seasons, but you can expect sharable dishes like honey walnut shrimp and pork toast, mala bbq pork ribs, triple fried chicken wings, and a Taiwan hotdog with kimchi cabbage, togarashi mayo, and furikake.
How to book: Reservations can be made on Resy and are highly recommended.
Is there anything better than fresh oysters and cold beer on a sunny day? Or even a foggy day? Not really, which is clearly something Top Chef alum and former Bar Crudo chef, Melissa Perfit, understands. Located on a bustling stretch of Chestnut Street, the cozy corner spot with beachy touches has a menu of standout seafood favorites, including Dungeness crab served three different ways (classic and cracked with cocktail sauce, marinated in Fresno Chile-citrus, and garlic roasted), a Louie salad with crab or shrimp, fish and chips made with Anchor Steam batter (of course), clam chowder, and a green cioppino. Go at happy hour, when you can sit outside at a sidewalk table and enjoy discounted steamed manilla clams, barbecue oysters, and wine and beer. And be sure to try the hot sauce, although do so knowing that you’ll definitely be taking a bottle of it home to enjoy later.
How to book: Reservations are available on OpenTable.
Muffulettas aren’t exactly synonymous with San Francisco—in fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if most people around these parts have never had one. But Sandy’s, a new muffuletta shop on Haight Street, is here to change that and make the classic New Orleans sandwich a part of SF food culture. Okay, sure, Sandy’s muffuletta may not be exactly like the ones you’ll find in Louisiana, but since we’re not experts, who cares? All we know is that it’s delicious. And craveable (so watch out). So what is it exactly? It’s a sandwich made on a large, round sesame loaf and stacked with Italian mortadella, prosciutto, soppressata, and provolone with a spicy olive spread and Duke’s mayo. The latter is one of Sandy’s more controversial decisions (apparently, muffulettas don’t have mayo), but we’re not mad about it. Also, muffulettas are apparently never toasted, but the good folks at Sandy’s understand that sometimes a toasted sandwich is precisely what one needs. The sandwiches are displayed like pizzas and can be sliced into eighths and fourths (you can also get a whole one, perfect for parties). And though the muffuletta is incredibly satisfying on its own, don’t sleep on the chocolate chip cookies, which may be the best ones you’ll find in SF.
How to book: Walk-in. Order ahead for pickup online.