You are going to DIE. Sorry, dude. Before you do, though, at least make sure you house all 50 of these bucket list-able SF things, from Humphry Slocombe's Secret Breakfast to Craftsman and Wolves' The Rebel Within.
Burger BarAddress and Info
San Francisco’s most expensive sandwich overflows with an embarrassment of luxurious ingredients: “Kobe style Wagyu” beef from Australia, a mega-chunk of foie gras, shaved black truffles, and a black truffle sauce. You’ll feel like a million bucks and will also win Instagram for life. Oh, by the way, it’s $65, which defines decadence, but you're worth it.
2. Secret Breakfast
Humphry SlocombeAddress and Info
HumpSlo has lots of sexy ice cream flavors but they all take a way-way-WAY backseat to this grande dame. Secret Breakfast folds bits of caramelized cornflake cookies into a bourbon base that is lush and rich without tasting (too) boozy. It’s actually perfect for breakfast even though the shops don’t typically open until 11am; you can hit the outpost in the Ferry Building as early as 8am on Saturday mornings, though, which you will now that you've read that sentence.
3. Kouign amann
b. patisserieAddress and Info
One of the best-selling calling cards of this charming Pac Heights bakery is the kouign amann (“queen ah mahn”), an example of fine Viennoiserie made of multiple layers of butter- and sugar-covered pastry dough baked up into a delicate celebration of caramelization and custard. The way it shatters on first bite... yup.
4. Fried veggie po-boy
Brenda’s Meat & ThreeAddress and Info
Get up on this sandwich whether you’re a vegetarian or not because it is San Francisco’s most interesting remix of the New Orleans standard -- a standout even among Brenda’s solid meat and seafood choices. Cornmeal-crusted cauliflower, okra, and yams are drenched in vegan chipotle remoulade to create this filling 'boy.
5. Macadamia-crusted mac 'n' cheese
Palm HouseAddress and Info
It takes a lot for a writer who has burned out her macaroni and cheese palate after judging not one but TWO amateur mac & cheese battles and who's sworn the stuff off for pretty much life. Like, fuck mac 'n cheese for real. But crust it on up with some fatty nuts and it’s a game-changer for sure. Can you feel the brand-new day?
CockscombAddress and Info
Chef/owner Chris Cosentino and his young son Easton came up with the idea to blend ham and beef for the burger at his approachable new SOMA restaurant. The blend yields surprisingly juicy results, dude. Dad serves it with grilled onions, Gruyere cheese, Dijon, and fried potatoes. Pro tip: you should go ahead and put an egg on it.
AnarAddress and Info
There are stuffed grape leaves and then there are the transcendent dolmeh at this family-owned traditional Persian restaurant in SOMA. They’re stuffed with ground beef, rice, and split peas and topped with sweet, tart barberries and if they told you they were served as a dessert instead of an appetizer before the awesome main course kebabs and stews you’d totally believe ‘em.
8. Detroit-style red top
Tony’s Pizza NapoletanaAddress and Info
Despite the titular Napoletana, there are several regional pizza styles at play at Tony’s. If you’re a fiend for fried dough and double cheese, you’ll happily eat way too much of the puffy, deep, and square Detroit-style red top, notable for its thick racing stripes of marinara. Brick cheese is layered on the bottom of the pan and on top of the dough for glorious heart-stopping potential.
9. Russian honey cake
20th Century CafeAddress and Info
A labor-intensive nine-layer Russian honey cake (also called Krasinski torte) is a particularly efficient way for fiends to mainline sugar when the urge is just that strong. The layers of cake taste as if they've been soaked in caramelized honey, and they're sandwiched together with honey buttercream. The slice is slim but fat in flavor. Mmm... fat flavor...
NopalitoAddress and Info
Inner Sunset and The Panhandle
Nopa’s haute Mexican offshoot deals legit crack in the form of a giant hunk of pork that’s been braised in orange, milk, cinnamon, beer, and bay leaf, accompanied with a little cabbage salad, spicy pickled vegetables, and tomatillo salsa to pile into tortillas with it. It's braised until it’s so tender it falls straight off the bone and into your mouth. It’s best experienced in slow motion so you catch all those flavors.
11. Chocolate snacking cake
Charles ChocolatesAddress and Info
This square, layered cake spanks other chocolate cakes both for superior flavor and value. The word snacking implies modest eating but this is an honest-to-goodness mountain of brownie-like cake with chocolate and mocha ganache. It’s inspired by owner Chuck Siegel’s summer camp memories, proof that we were all clearly going to the wrong summer camps.
12. Louisiana andouille pizza
Pauline’s PizzaAddress and Info
OG pizza parlor Pauline’s has a Cajun-style pizza with a light and bubbly crust that isn’t easily duplicated elsewhere around town, which earns it a spot on this list. This particular pie is topped with andouille sausage, red bell peppers, green onions, and a fontina cheese that’s so creamy you will not actually miss the mozzarella.
13. The Real Korean Tacos
Namu GajiAddress and Info
The Mission and The Embarcadero
Another brilliant ethnic repurpose of the taco concept, this one using nori as the tortilla replacement. Filling options include tofu and chicken, but it's all about the interplay of Korean marinated and grilled bulgogi beef, kimchi salsa, and spicy aïoli.
14. Dried porcini doughnuts
Rich TableAddress and Info
Melted raclette (a cow’s milk cheese) and dried porcini mushroom shards push these sinkers straight over the line of common decency and into food fantasy territory. If you've never had a savory donut, first, we don't even know you, and second, this is the best way to pop that cherry.
15. Oboro tofu
EijiAddress and Info
Even if you're averse to the blocky and boring forms of tofu found at the grocery store, ask for the made-to-order oboro tofu and your perception will shift. It’s kind of like white, unsweetened flan, all warm and jiggly in a wading pool of soy milk made fresh at the restaurant. Soy sauce and toppings like bits of ginger, daikon radish, green onion, sesame seeds, and ribbons of shiso leaf are customizable options to enhance the delicate flavor.
16. Tacos tropical
LolóAddress and Info
Thinly sliced rounds of jicama are used in place of tortillas for the most creative tacos in town. The crunchy vegetable is a clever alternate vehicle for such a ubiquitous dish. Crowned with crispy panko-breaded shrimp and mango salsa, you’ll be tempted to recreate this dish at home but you won’t be able to without injuring yourself (jicama’s The Worst).
17. Pomme d'amour
Knead PatisserieAddress and Info
The signature pastry from the bakery arm of Local Mission Eatery is a vanilla crème brûlée loaded into a puff pastry that's been streaked with crunchy salted caramel. It's beautiful, evil, awesome, and frightening.
18. State bird with provisions
State Bird ProvisionsAddress and Info
Quail is the California state bird and the namesake inspiration for this eclectic and perpetually packed restaurant. Here the quail is crusted in a uniquely awesome batter that has inclusions like pumpkin seeds and house-made croutons before taking a bath in some hot oil and swimming atop a tangle of lemon-stewed onions. You’ll probably need to order two. Wait, no, you'll DEFINITELY need to order two.
19. Coconut black rice pudding
Kin KhaoAddress and Info
Forget the fried bananas, this Thai dessert is served family-style with coconut milk, caramel, and a crunchy mix of brown rice, sesame, and peanuts to put on top. Its ability to stun the eater senseless even after a meal of savory delights should not be underestimated.
Sheba Piano LoungeAddress and Info
Get in touch with your blood-boiling inner carnivore with this luscious Ethiopian steak tartare drenched in spiced, clarified butter. Ironically, even though the meat is uncooked, the menu states that the dish takes an extra 15 minutes to prepare. It’s worth the wait, especially if you’re chilling at the table by the fireplace.
21. Braised lamb “abgoosht”
Fly TrapAddress and Info
Abgoosht is a popular dish in Iran, the home country of Chef/owner Hoss Zaré, who is always on a quest to infuse Mediterranean food with Persian influence. The lamb is braised until stupid tender, the kind that a fork just needs to quiver near to fall in a stew of chickpeas, potatoes, turmeric, and preserved lime. It’s served with lavash squares and torshi, an addictive pickled relish.
22. Coffee crunch cake
Yasukochi’s Sweet StopAddress and Info
For 40 years, this small bakery inside the Super Mira Market in Japantown has sold this homage to a “koffee krunch kake” that was served at Blum’s, a defunct chain of Bay Area soda fountain/bakeshops that was popular in the '50s and '60s. Light, sponge-like layers of coffee-flavored cake are frosted with whipped cream and garnished with shards of honeycomb-like coffee candy. It sells out by 11am daily, which is simply justification to eat cake for breakfast.
23. Custard French toast
NopaAddress and Info
Brunch should be an occasion to pamper oneself to the point of sheer obnoxiousness, and thick slices of butter-bombed French toast filled with silken custard are an exemplary way to achieve this crucial goal. Dish creator Chef Amy Brown now operates Marla Bakery in the Richmond District.
24. Frito pie
Chile PiesAddress and Info
This New Mexico-style junk food hack is served in a split Fritos bag with (or, for vegetarians, without) ground beef and pinto beans, and is dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, New Mexican red chiles, and sour cream. It’s some tasty white-trash business, to be sure, and you need to slum it.
25. The Bird
Bacon BaconAddress and Info
Ashbury Heights and Upper Haight
There are few things more boring than a turkey sandwich unless it’s The Bird. It’s layered with provolone, coleslaw, avocado, and chicken-fried bacon (!!!!) for a sweet combo of textures and flavors. The thick and satisfying chicken-fried bacon is not to be confused with Bacon Bacon’s bacon fried chicken, which is like regular fried chicken only with bacon-studded batter.
26. Sweet Southern Lady
Crème Brûlée CartAddress and Info
The Mission, FiDi, and The Castro
Crème brûlée used to be known as a lazy dessert item for restaurants without imagination, but this cart, truck, and shop that originally started from a makeshift set-up in Dolores Park elevates the confection with the crackable candy shell into something fun. A vanilla bean base gets candied pecans and bourbon caramel sauce on top. Like all desserts should.
Ike’s PlaceAddress and Info
Assuming you're not Superman (you're not are you???), you'll need this hero of a sandwich, it’s got six different meats inside: corned beef, roast beef, pastrami, ham, salami, and turkey. Oh, but that’s not all, layer those with avocado, bacon, beer-battered onion rings, extra pepper Jack cheese, mozzarella sticks, pesto, and jalapeño poppers. And good night.
28. The Rebel Within
Craftsman and WolvesAddress and Info
This Scotch egg-style bad boy conceals a poached egg inside a bacon, Asiago cheese, and scallion muffin. It's served with the yolk still runny, but toast it up and it becomes a whole other taste sensation to experience. Diminutive in size, it’s satisfying as heck. Also: get two.
29. Pastrami cheese fries
Wise Sons DeliAddress and Info
The Mission and SOMA
This is a fairly genius combination because you’ve got a whole meal right here in one go: thick, soft fries piled high with chopped pastrami, Reuben sauce, green onions, and a kicky relish to pull it all together. Now we’re talking animal style!
30. Gaeng pa pla
Hawker FareAddress and Info
The closest your city-dwelling self is going to get to the jungle might very well be via the “jungle curry” on the menu at James Syhabout’s ambitious Thai restaurant. Catfish, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, galangal, and shallots swim in a bath of deep red oil, leaving an addictive funk and burn behind.
31. French fries
Al’s PlaceAddress and Info
Listed under the “Snackles” section of the menu at this meat-on-the-side restaurant (huh??), these thin-cut potatoes were called “fermented French fries” but that was quickly dropped because it sounds kind of gross. But they’re incredibly not-gross, they’re just brined in vinegar (and probably some secret stuff) for a few days to give them that salt and vinegar potato chip-type irresistibility. They’re served with a nice sauce made from smoked apples because San Francisco.
32. Frozen Greek yogurt
SouvlaAddress and Info
Screw your mother’s fro-yo shop and come to this charming Greek cafe for frozen Greek yogurt topped with crumbled pieces of baklava, a dessert made of phyllo dough layered with walnuts and honey. Ask them to add some sour cherry syrup too and welcome your new dependency issue.
33. Tuna poke
Liholiho Yacht ClubAddress and Info
Your broke or relatively broke ass probably isn’t going to Hawaii anytime soon, but you can get a transportive taste of the islands at this welcoming restaurant that rocks a potluck vibe. Raw, melt-in-your-mouth tuna poke is one of the only traditional items here, plated beautifully on an edible nori seaweed cracker and garnished with sesame oil and radishes.
34. Noodles with peanut sauce
San Tung Chinese RestaurantAddress and Info
Everyone’s always giving all the shine to the dry-fried chicken wings at this Sunset institution. But the restaurant’s spectacular homemade noodles drowning in a rich peanut sauce with scallops, shrimp, onions, peas, and some key crunch from water chestnuts quietly rules. (Get the wings too, though.)
35. Marlowe Burger
MarloweAddress and Info
So nice, they serve it thrice! At three places, that is: Marlowe and both its sister restaurants -- The Cavalier and Park Tavern. Topped with caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, and horseradish aioli, you should already be heading to the location nearest you. It’s probably most fun to consume it in the dimly lit English pub environs of The Cavalier, though.
Helmand PalaceAddress and Info
It’s really not cool that pumpkin has become the domain of the basic bitch and been almost universally ruined. The only pumpkin dish in San Francisco still keeping it real is the baked baby pumpkin appetizer topped with ground beef and yogurt sauce at this Afghan restaurant. It can be served vegetarian or vegan (the latter without sauce). Reclaim the pumpkin here.
37. Foie gras torchon sandwich
Naked LunchAddress and Info
With the recent overturn of California’s ban on the sale of foie gras, this North Beach sandwich has been resurrected from the dead, Jesus-style. A generous lobe of foie is combined with smoked duck breast, oven-dried tomato, butter lettuce, and a sprinkle of truffle salt.
Primavera stand at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (address and info)
Every Saturday, the folks from Sonoma County restaurant El Molino Central and food business Primavera set up a Mexican food stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. The menu in SF changes weekly and sells out early, but their famous chilaquiles make frequent appearances and are basically the reason breakfast was invented. Corn tortilla chips are simmered in spicy salsa and served with refried beans, avocado, crema, and eggs. Don’t sleep.
39. Paper masala dosa
Udupi PalaceAddress and Info
Described on the menu as a “jumbo thin rice crepe filled with spiced potatoes and onions,” the paper masala dosa at this South Indian vegetarian restaurant is more than jumbo, it’s actually insanely big -- like a baseball bat or something. It only marginally and awkwardly fits on your table, which is pretty fun in itself.
40. Roast beef nigiri
DelicaAddress and Info
A sliver of seared roast beef, arugula, and shallots blanket a pat of sushi rice for a unique nigiri available at this streamlined Japanese deli counter in the Ferry Building. It’s served chilled, which really makes the flavors come together. While a lot of sushi joints have stunt rolls with meat inside, this is an elegant and affordable alternative with more than novelty value.
41. The Best Indian Pizza
Zante Pizza & Indian CuisineAddress and Info
If the idea of combining Indian food with pizza sounds scary, ever notice how pizza-like good Indian naan bread can be? Zante’s has done all the work for you here, combining a fine Indian meal of tandoori lamb, chicken, and prawns with spinach, eggplant, and cauliflower, all on an edible pizza plate. They already call it “The Best Indian Pizza” for a reason.
House of BagelsAddress and Info
This incredibly fun twist-up of a croissant and a bagel comes in crazy flavors like Nutella and jalapeño, but the plain, original version best shows off this wondrous hybrid. Bonus: there’s no Cronut-like line.
43. California croissant
Mr. Holmes BakehouseAddress and Info
So coveted are the hybridized pastries at this upstart hipster bakery in the Tenderknob, someone infamously broke into the place and stole the recipe book, leaving the cash. (Either that, or they are PR geniuses.) As zany as it sounds, a wasabi- and ginger-spiked salmon sushi roll without rice stuffed into an airy croissant is one of the best non-corner store sandwich options in the vicinity, a surprisingly harmonious concoction that really comes together when drizzling soy sauce on it. No guys, really.
44. Quattro forni
Capo'sAddress and Info
Tony Gemignani’s Chicago mob-style pizzeria only makes 20 of these thick, square-cut pizzas per day. The name comes from the four different ovens that put in work on this bad boy, including coal- and wood-fired beauties that impart fluffy, chewy, and crispy textures, plus a final oven that gives the bottom a sizzling fry-up not unlike a donut that’s fresh out of the oil. There’s a basic version with mozzarella, garlic, and oregano, or you can tart it up with prosciutto, arugula, and Parmesan; both are wonderfully intense.
45. Tiger tail
Uncle Benny's DoughnutsAddress and Info
You’ve already no doubt sidled up to Bob’s Donuts in the middle of the night to soak up your confusicants with delicious, fresh-out-the-fryer sinkers. Now you’re ready to venture out to the Avenues and eat a donut the size of your arm, a glazed, twisted treat stuffed with chocolate, cinnamon, and walnuts. Fun fact: an actual adult tiger’s tail can be over 3ft in length.
46. Saffron linguine & clams
Scala’s BistroAddress and Info
When you need to escape the schlock of Union Square tourists and shopping (see: always), duck into the Sir Francis Drake’s restaurant for some handmade pasta. The linguine is infused with saffron for an unbelievable golden color and rich flavor, an elegant bed for garlic-amped Manila clams, roasted tomato, white wine, and spicy Calabrian chile.
47. Bao de chicharon
ChinoAddress and Info
You’ve probably had plenty of Chinese steamed pork buns in your time in San Francisco (you have, RIGHT??). Well, they do ‘em differently out in La Mission at Chino, where Mexican influences intermingle on the plate, resulting in a soft, fluffy Chinese bao stuffed with fried pork skin (chicharrones), pork belly, avocado salsa, and pickled onions. A perfect foil to one of Chino’s inventive alcoholic boba tapioca slushies (paging 50 SF Things You Need to Drink in SF Before You Die).
48. Peking duck pizza
MozzeriaAddress and Info
Most of the pizzas at Mozzeria are in the Italian-leaning Neapolitan style, but this is a remarkable Asian detour. Topped with hoisin, sesame seeds, green onion, and cucumber, it's strongly reminiscent of a savory Chinese green-onion pancake. Incidentally, Mozzeria is owned and operated by a hearing-impaired couple who both employ and attract other members of the deaf community to the restaurant, thus all the note-writing and use of sign language.
49. The Drifter
Basik CafeAddress and Info
Superfood-packed, sorbet-like acai bowls are all the rage in tropical places like Hawaii and Brazil, but their deliciousness made it into the fog this year with the debut of new shops like this Hawaiian import. A hint of raw cacao blended into the acai fruit with cashew milk and toppings like raw cacao nibs, almonds, banana, and strawberry make a bowl called The Drifter taste naughty even though it’s mega-healthy. Who knows? It may just buy you another day or two to get through this list.
50. Rainbow salad
Burma SuperstarAddress and Info
We promise we’re not trying to fuck with you by telling you to eat a damn salad before you die. We're telling you to eat THE damn salad: 22 different ingredients (including dried shrimp, green papaya, potato, rice noodles, flour noodles, and fried garlic) go into this colorful Burmese beauty, which is mixed for you tableside and will impress the hell out of your date.
Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.
1. Burger Bar251 Geary St, San Francisco
2. Humphry Slocombe2790 Harrison St, San Francisco
3. B. Patisserie2821 California St, San Francisco
4. Brenda's Meat & Three919 Divisadero St, San Francisco
5. Palm House2032 Union St, San Francisco
6. Cockscomb564 4th St, San Francisco
7. Anar937 Harrison St, San Francisco
8. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana1570 Stockton St, San Francisco
9. 20th Century Cafe198 Gough St, San Francisco
10. Nopalito Inner Sunset1224 9th Ave, San Francisco
11. Charles Chocolates535 Florida St, San Francisco
12. Pauline's Pizza260 Valencia St, San Francisco
13. Namu Gaji499 Dolores St, San Francisco
14. Rich Table199 Gough St, San Francisco
15. Eiji317 Sanchez St, San Francisco
16. Loló974 Valencia St, San Francisco
17. Knead Patisserie3111 24th St, San Francisco
18. State Bird Provisions1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco
19. Kin Khao55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco
20. Sheba Piano Lounge1419 Fillmore St, San Francisco
21. The Fly Trap606 Folsom St, San Francisco
22. Yasukochi's Sweet Stop1790 Sutter St, San Francisco
23. Nopa560 Divisadero St, San Francisco
24. Chile Pies & Ice Cream601 Baker St, San Francisco
25. Ike’s Place3489 16th St, San Francisco
26. Craftsman & Wolves746 Valencia St, San Francisco
27. Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen3150 24th St, San Francisco
28. Hawker Fare680 Valencia St, San Francisco
29. Al's Place1499 Valencia St, San Francisco
30. Souvla517 Hayes St, San Francisco
31. Liholiho Yacht Club871 Sutter St, San Francisco
32. San Tung Chinese Restaurant1031 Irving St, San Francisco
33. Marlowe500 Brannan St, San Francisco
34. Marlowe500 Brannan St, San Francisco
35. The Cavalier360 Jesse St, San Francisco
36. Helmand Palace2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco
37. Naked Lunch514 Broadway, San Francisco
38. Udupi Palace1007 Valencia St, San Francisco
39. DELICA1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco
40. Zante Pizza & Indian Cuisine3489 Mission St, San Francisco
41. House of Bagels5030 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
42. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse1042 Larkin St, San Francisco
43. Capo's641 Vallejo St, San Francisco
44. Uncle Benny's Doughnuts2049 Irving St, San Francisco
45. Scala's Bistro432 Powell St, San Francisco
46. Chino3198 16th St, San Francisco
47. Mozzeria3228 16th St, San Francisco
48. Basik Cafe1958 Polk St, San Francisco
49. Burma Superstar309 Clement St, San Francisco
Obviously you need to try every burger on the menu here, but if you have to pick one, go with the Hangover Burger: the Certified Angus beef patty comes with chopped lettuce (so good), and a toasted sesame bun (also so good), but it’s the magical “hangover sauce” that makes this a bread-meat-bread situation you’ll want to eat again and again. Fast food style, but with amazing ingredients that won’t make you feel gross afterwards. Welcome to burger perfection.
The folks at Humphry Slocombe's are the inventors of Secret Breakfast, the ice cream flavor that incorporates vanilla, corn-flake cookies, and Jim Beam Bourbon.
You may have noticed that buttery, sugary Breton pastry, kouign amann, in just about every bakery these days. Well, you can thank B. Patisserie's Belinda Leong for introducing it to pastry-crazed San Franciscans several years ago. Beyond said sweet standout, you can also hit this Pac Heights institution for other Gallic treats like colorful macarons and impeccable croissants (plus more American creations like key lime tarts and chocolate banana bread). Feeling more savory? Tartines like mushroom ragout with goat cheese or ham and gruyere are equally covetable.
This Western Addition diner is Brenda Buenviaje's follow-up to her Tenderloin gem, Brenda's French Soul Food. The spot is more casual and more Southern than the original, but equally crowded for weekend brunch and dinner. The hallmark of the menu is the namesake meat & three, where you choose one meat (fried chicken, meatloaf, BBQ beef brisket, to name a few) and three down-home sides (potato bacon hash, collard greens, glazed yams). The spicy, peppery, and crispy fried chicken is near addictive, as is the veggie po' boy.
This skylit, tropics-channeling Marina go-to offers island-influenced fare (and a beverage program to match) that'll have you quickly putting your mind into vacation mode. Sip a mai tai while nibbling on tuna poke, coconut crusted prawns, and macadamia-topped mac and cheese. Groups will want to tackle a boozy punch bowl complete with rubber ducky garnishes that make drinking even more fun.
Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino celebrates the many tastes of San Francisco with his lauded restaurant Cockscomb. Warm, welcoming, and a bit rustic, Cockscomb welcomes diners for lunch and dinner with “nose to tail” delicacies like beef heart tartare, braised lamb shoulder, and pork belly with fermented black bean aioli and fried clams. Classic cocktails like San Francisco’s own Pisco Punch round out the menu for a uniquely delicious night out.
This family-owned Persian favorite in SoMa has a casual vibe and contemporary ambience in which to enjoy much raved about dishes like the koobideh lamb skewers with saffron seasoning. The traditional desserts such as the bastani (Persian ice cream with rose water, saffron, and pistachio) add a sweet ending to an already flavorful meal.
This North Beach pizzeria makes authentic Neapolitan pizza. In 2007, owner Tony Gemignani became the first American ever to win the World Pizza Cup in Naples, and if that's not enough of an accolade, he's also the US Ambassador of Neapolitan Pizza, as awarded by Naples. So yeah, his pizza is legit. The ingredients are shipped direct from Naples, and the pies are made in a 900-degree wood-fired oven. Aside from traditional Neapolitan pies, Tony's nails New York and Detroit styles too.
Hayes Valley isn’t exactly a grand European capital setting but we can work with it, especially for this immaculate café that literally could've been a set for a scene in The Third Man. Michelle Polzine’s parade of never-too-sweet, never-not-satisfying Sacher tortes, linzertortes, and Russian honey cake are all musts, and don’t underestimate the savory items in the midst of the pastries. Your long lost search for a bonafide homemade bagel ends here.
This second iteration of the Mexican mainstay is on 9th Ave and serves up classics like carne asada (w/ nopales, chorizo, guac, quesillo & salsa cascabel) and carnitas (w/ orange, bay leaf, milk, cinnamon & beer cabbage salad).
With everything hand made to order, Charles Chocolates believes their products are food and so should be made with the freshest possible ingredients. Be sure to try the Chocolate Snacking Cake, a real live mountain of brownie-like cake with chocolate and mocha ganache.
If you haven't already been to Pauline's Pizza go now. Right now. It's California style pizza topped with delicious veggies and meats and cheeses and all the things you could (reasonably) want on a pizza.
This New Korean American restaurant is a family affair, owned by three brothers who utilize ingredients harvested from their own farm. Korean-inflected spins on favorites, like a pickled daikon-topped double cheeseburger and Korean tacos (nori replaces a tortilla shell, and is filled with marinated and grilled bulgogi beef, kimchi salsa, and spicy aïoli, are well-worth your time during the week, but the real star is the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) brunch dish.
Rich Table's reclaimed-wood decor belies its menu of eclectic American dishes, which range from rainbow trout and rabbit leg to hangar steak and cured hamachi. There's also an impressive wine list, a range of beers on tap and in bottles, and handcrafted cocktails.
The most notable thing about this Mission Mexican is the vivid and eccentric interior, and for some reason, it makes sense that their tacos are as creative and untraditional as the decor. The panko avocado taco is a crispy and creamy dream and the fish tacos are good no matter what the catch of the day is. Loló is a great option for a group dinner because it's totally possible to order everything on the menu to share.
Located inside Local Mission Eatery is Knead Patisserie, serving fresh pastries and a small breakfast menu in the mornings and brunch on the weekends. Bonus: They brew Four Barrel coffee to really get your day going.
State Bird Provisions opened in the Fillmore in 2013, won the James Beard Award for best new restaurant, earned a Michelin star, and has been one of city's hottest spots ever since. After you score a reservation, State Bird will likely be one of your most memorable meals ever thanks to the fact that creative Northern California small plates are served from dim sum carts. The atmosphere is fun, the food is affordable (plates range from $3 to $20), and the dining experience is anything but ordinary.
Located above the Wyndam Parc 55 Hotel, Kin Khao might be hard to locate, but its menu of even harder to find Thai dishes justifies the journey. The kao mun gai features the single best taste on the menu: a profound chicken consommé that will solve your sniffles and brighten your Tenderloin walk home. But also worth a try are the sour gaeng som curry and rare Crab sen chan made with Dungeness crab and rice noodles. The low-ceilinged space is furnished with austere wood tables and burgundy carpeting, evidence that even familial, homey restaurants like Kin Khao are worthy of a Michelin star.
Sheba Piano lounge is welcoming and warm (literally, there's a fireplace). Music begins at 8pm on weeknights and goes well into the evening on weekends when it begins at 9pm, so grab yourself a cocktail and a spot by the fire, you won't be disappointed.
The Fly Trap has roots in San Francisco that go back to the early 1900s. Although the original location no longer stands, the Persian restaurant’s charm and incredible flavors live on in their modern day Financial District space. Dimly lit and full of vintage charisma, the Fly Trap has won over a new generation of diners with their tender rack of lamb, cinnamon braised beef cheek, and lovingly crafted cocktails.
For 40 years, Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop has served delicious sweet treats inside the Super Mira Market in Japantown. Of course, the all time favorite is the coffee crunch cake that sells out by 11am every day, but for the late-riser there is still plenty to be had, like the fantastic green tea rolls.
Nopa is a San Francisco institution that does everything really, really well. It's the best brunch in Western Addition and one of the best in the whole city. Its burger is perfect with pickled onions and French fries, especially when eaten at the bar. It's a one-stop-shop for a date, a birthday dinner, or dinner with your parents. Plus, the kitchen is open until 1 AM for a full dinner. Yeah, this place wins at everything.
These guys churn out delicious organic homemade pies (both savory to sweet) daily, so you're always getting a fresh-baked version no matter when you come in.
Ike's serves up a myriad of delicious sandwiches (with quirky names) and features vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to satisfy all. Out of all the sandwich shops in San Francisco, this is the best place for vegetarians and vegans in the area.
This communal-equipped, industrial-looking noshery is anchored by a 20ft display case behind which hang pictures of a torn-in-half plane and an abandoned van on an island... almost makes you wonder if they got LOST.
If it's a little difficult to make it from your office to the deep Mission-located Wise Sons, you are in luck, because this pastrami paradise has started a delivery service using TCB Courier that -- provided you make a minimum order -- delivers to the less-deep Mission with no extra charge and Downtown for an extra fiver.
The Mission outpost of this beloved Oakland eatery turns up the heat with spicy Thai-style street food and Tiki cocktails. The Thai-Issan menu features coconut milk curries and grilled meat dishes, as well as spicy salads and sides like chicken fat rice and fermented mustard greens. The family-style portions, picnic tables, and massive space make Hawker Fare an island oasis perfect for a group dinner.
Aaron London proves that meat doesn't have to be the main event at his vegetarian- and pescatarian-centric restaurant in the Mission. Al's Place won a Michelin star a year after opening for its menu of truly inventive dishes, like cured trout with potato and smashed turnip and the best poached egg you'll probably ever eat. That the restaurant is reasonably priced -- most dishes hover below $20 -- is all the more reason it's garnered fans from all over San Francisco.
This is not your parents' gyro stand. Souvla turns the concept of Greek meat cooked on a spit on its head, with juicy rotisserie chickens marinated in feta, olive oil, lemon and oregano, served in pita wrapped souvlaki-style sandwiches. The pork and lamb options are equally impressive and high quality. Get the Greek-style wraps with French fries inside and finish off the meal with frozen Greek yogurt with olive oil and sea salt.
Liholiho Yacht Club is a pop-up restaurant that found a permanent home in Nob Hill...and isn't a yacht club by any means. The kitchen serves a mash-up of Hawaiian, Californian, and Southeast Asian flavors, led by dishes like poppy seed steamed buns with beef tongue, tuna poke on a nori cracker, and twice-cooked pork belly. Aside from an à la carte menu, there's a family-style tasting dinner that's served at the Ohana Table, a communal table in the front of the restaurant.
The dry-fried chicken wings at this Sunset institution are some of the best in the city, but you'd be remiss to ignore the rest of the menu from this quick and casual Chinese joint, from dry-fried long beans to and endless army of well-prepared noodle dishes. You may encounter a wait, but those wings (and everything else) are worth it.
Marlowe has been a favorite for locals since 2010, so you’ll undoubtedly want to make a reservation before making your way over, as it would be a shame to miss out on their much-celebrated burger, topped with caramelized onions, horseradish aioli, cheddar, and bacon. The burger, while amazing, is far from the whole show. Reminiscent of a southern country kitchen, Marlowe diners love their warm open faced deviled egg sandwich, rock shrimp roll, and crispy fried chicken sandwich.
This French-American bistro in SOMA has all the things that make a neighborhood restaurant so recommendable: excellent brunch; a fine wine selection featuring French, Italian, and Californian wines; an outdoor patio; and last but definitely not least: one of the best burgers in the city. Served with fries, the $16 Marlowe Burger is stacked with caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, and horseradish aioli. It's so darn good that it's also served at sister restaurants Park Tavern and The Cavalier.
An upscale pub-style joint in Soma from the folks behind Park Tavern, Marlowe, and S&R Lounge, The Cav serves a British-themed menu with hearty standouts like venison tartare; a bacon, caramelized onion, and cheddar burger; and Shepherd's pie.
This cozy neighborhood resto in Russian Hill cooks up authentic Afghani fare like kaddo (baked pumpkin), aushak (scallion dumplings), and pallow (baked rice with lamb shanks, raisins, and julienned carrots). What the spot lacks in ambiance (the interior is pretty standard with a few tables but is comfortable nonetheless) it makes up for in flavor with bold, homestyle dishes.
This North Beach cafe is what lunch hour dreams are made of. Naked Lunch's menu is filled with fancy soups, salads, and sandwiches. The signature foie gras torchon sandwich is made with a generous lobe of foie, smoked duck breast, oven-dried tomato, butter lettuce, and a sprinkle of truffle salt. On top of decadent food, the spot has a large patio, a dining room with pool tables, and a full bar.
With an entire menu of great and filling Indian fare, there is no reason not to drop in at this neighborhood spot. But if nothing else, come for the paper masala dosa, roughly the size of a baseball bat. Or perhaps your entire arm. The menu describes it as a “jumbo thin rice crepe filled with spiced potatoes and onions,” and it's definitely a fun thing to try to consume as un-awkwardly as possible.
DELICA is an elegant deli counter in the Ferry Building offering Japanese cuisine made with local, sustainably grown and harvested products -- from their vegetables to their fish. Their Roast Beef Nigiri is truly fantastic, a sliver of seared roast beef, arugula, and shallots wrapped around a pat of sushi rice and served chilled.
Alright, we know the idea of combining Indian food with pizza sounds a little off but trust us. It's awesome. Plus, they have free delivery city wide, so you really have no excuse for not ordering "The Best Indian Pizza" with tandoori lamb, chicken, and prawns with spinach, eggplant, and cauliflower, right now.
Although their building isn't literally made of bagels (sigh), they're absolutely bagel-loaded, baking them fresh every day along with other delicious treats like artisan breads, traditional cookies, and other pastries.
They open at 7am (8am on the weekends) and they close when they're sold out -- and you better believe they're not open all night. This hipster bakery specializes in hybrid pastries. That's right, like a Crufin (a croissant-muffin). Or, a croissant stuffed with a wasabi and ginger spiked salmon sushi roll called the California Croissant. Or just get a donut with caramelized banana filling. You get the idea.
San Francisco pizza legend Tony Gemignani (the same Tony of Tony's Pizza Napoletana) is behind this North Beach pizzeria dedicated to Chicago-style pies. Capo's specializes in four kinds of crust popular in the Windy City: deep-dish, cast iron pan, stuffed, and cracker thin. The restaurant pays tribute to the mobsters of 1930s Chicago and feels like an old-school speakeasy with red vinyl booths. As for drinks, there are more than 100 whiskies on the menu plus whiskey flights, and if you're more of a cocktail person, there's a make-your-own Old Fashioned option.
You've probably had yourself a late-night Bob's Donut, but now try going to Uncle Benny's during the daylight hours and get yourself a Tiger Tail donut, the size of your arm, glazed, twisted and stuffed with chocolate, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Escape the hustle of Union Square shopping for an elegant meal that puts a modern, seasonal twist on Italian and French favorites. Order from the daily rotating or prix fixe menus, but don’t expect much of a pasta selection here. Instead, opt for the roasted duck breast, risotto, or mahi mahi mains and pair it with a glass from Scala’s extensive wine list.
Chino's a Chinese dumpling haven serving all of your wonton desires. They just opened their doors, so Spring into action already and give them a visit.
All of the pizzas at this Mission spot are cooked in a 5,000-pound Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven. Offering all of the Italian classics (margherita, marina, quattro formaggi), as well as some Asian-leaning pies (Peking duck, for example), Mozzeria's got any and all of your pizza cravings covered. It's run by a deaf couple, which makes it the first deaf-owned restaurant to get pie certification from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). If you don't know sign language, you just place your order using pen and paper.
Imported from the big island of Hawaii, Basik Cafe has brought sorbet-like acai bowls to the bay area. Try The Drifter, with raw cacao and cashew milk blended into the acai and topped with raw cacao nibs, almonds, banana, and strawberry.
Burma Superstar has been a mega-hit with locals for a while now. The commitment to serving authentic Burmese food is apparent in every mouth-watering bite and all-time favorites, like the rainbow salad and samosa soup, keep people always coming back for more.