This Fried Chicken Sandwich With Sushi Rice Buns Is the Best of Both Worlds
Open until 1 am
Enjoy your hungry night owl tendencies and get one of the hardest-to-get tables in town by living it up after hours. When you want sophisticated post-midnight grub, Nopa’s full dinner menu is available until 1am. Enjoy classy late-night eats like tender house-made pappardelle, roasted king salmon, or crispy little fried fish. Nopa is typically a place where you need a reservation, but if you come by late, you should easily be able to snag seat at the bar or a communal table.
Kitchen open until 1am
Who said that the Financial District is dead after working hours? Southside Spirit House’s menu is perfectly curated to your rumbling late-night hunger pangs, and they’re serving awesome twists on classic cocktails to pair with your late-night snacks. Truffled tater tots, burrata pesto flatbread, big platters of charcuterie, and coleslaw-topped fried chicken sandwiches are served up late. Late night food is available until midnight Monday through Wednesday, and until 1am Thursday through Saturday.
Lower Nob Hill
Open until 2am
Bite is the place to go for a late-night sandwich fix, with fresh bread, fantastic fillings, and flavor combinations that will haunt your dreams. Sure, you could go during “normal” sandwich eating hours, but a big fresh sandwich tastes way better after midnight. Closing time is 2am seven nights a week, so order up a Mama Mia (hot coppa salami, ham, provolone cheese, and presto sauce on sourdough) or a Moshe Moshe (rotisserie chicken, pepper jack cheese, teriyaki sauce on soft roll).
This is not a dream, but you could certainly chow down during the hours where most of the city is dreaming (they clearly don’t know what they’re missing). Happy Donuts on 24th St has a super-fresh selection of glossy, puffy donuts, as well as dense cake donuts for your late-night sugar fix. They also offer an assortment of pastries and perfect breakfast sandwiches on bagels or croissants. Watch the sunrise while biting into a warm glazed donut and forget that you might have to be at work in a few hours.
Open until 3am, Monday-Sunday
Some nights call for a classic diner ending, complete with slick booths, a jukebox on every table, and a waitstaff in throwback diner duds. You know the drill: roll in buzzed and chow down on a heap of waffles and pancakes, or get the ball rolling with a hamburger and a crispy golden pile of perfectly fried onion rings. For late-night breakfast lovers, don’t skip out on the stuffed waffles, which you can jam full of cinnamon apple pie, bacon, and more. It’s technically the morning, right? Right.
Lower Nob Hill
Open until 1:20am
The pure crackling energy of Ryoko’s keeps the lively nightlife vibe (complete with live DJ on the weekends) alive while you indulge in some of San Francisco’s freshest sushi. This little underground Japanese restaurant on Taylor St is perfectly located for post-drink, end of the night wandering, or another round of sake and Sapporo. There are also plenty of other delicious Japanese foods on the menu for folks not into sushi, as well as a great assortment of drinks. Last call for the kitchen is 12:50am and last call for sushi is 1:20am, because we know you’ll want another roll after the clock strikes one.
Open until 2:30am or 3:30am
You can’t go wrong with late-night Mexican food, and El Farolito always delivers. From thick and juicy super burritos, to fresh tacos, to an order of nachos that could feed a small army, this SF franchise feeds the late-eating masses all over the city. It’s also cheap and guaranteed to fill you up if you’re hitting a surprise wall of late-night hanger, or just gearing up for the next few rounds of the evening. All of the Mission locations are open until at least 2:30am on Fridays and Saturdays. For major night owls, the Mission and 24th location is open until 3:30am on weekends.
Open until 4am seven nights a week
A little late-night Portuguese feast, anyone? Or how about a gigantic diner breakfast? Take your pick, but know that The Grubstake late night grub game is strong from steaming caldo verde soup to classic diner patty melts. This SF institution is housed in an bustling, cozy old red railroad car that’s bursting with wild decor and memorabilia. Upcoming construction may put an end to Grubstake’s days in a railcar (though the diner promises it will reopen in a new space), so head over there soon to chow down in the original locale.
Open until 2am
What says late-night food like wings? It’s like they were invented to be the spicy, finger-licking conclusion to the evening (or you know, to get you psyched for round two). Wing Wings’ menu is full of different sauces and add-ons so you can create your ideal wing -- throw in chicharrones or bacon, or get your wings slathered in orange miso or papalote salsa. Fried chicken, fresh-cut fries, and a bunch of biscuit options makes this the perfect late-night menu if wings aren’t your thing. Wing Wings is open until 2am Friday and Saturday, and until midnight every night but Tuesday.
Open until 4am
Sam’s is the late-night king of burgers. A classic San Francisco hole-in-the-wall, this no-frills spot on Broadway slings the finest burgers and fries a late-night reveler could hope for. It’s also perfectly situated on the border of North Beach and Chinatown, stumbling distance from all kinds of good times. And it’s Tony Bourdain approved, so you know you can trust it. Check out their whole menu, including their famous double cheeseburger, until 4am every night of the week.
1. Nopa560 Divisadero St, San Francisco
2. Southside Spirit House575 Howard Street, San Francisco
3. Bite912 Sutter St, San Francisco
4. Happy Donuts3801 24th St, San Francisco
5. It's Tops Coffee Shop1801 Market St, San Francisco
6. Ryoko's Japanese Restaurant & Bar619 Taylor St, San Francisco
7. El Farolito2779 Mission St, San Francisco
8. Grubstake Diner1525 Pine St, San Francisco
9. Wing Wings422 Haight St, San Francisco
10. Sam's618 Broadway St, San Francisco
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.
Two words: truffle tots. Ther are not just any tots, but rather tots tossed in truffle oil, garlic, and Parmesan, served with a homemade blue cheese dipping sauce. The Financial District’s Southside Spirit House serves up these pillowy potatoes alongside a bevy of other tasty sharable items and craft cocktails in a stylish, unpretentious 2,000sqft space. A handcrafted wooden bar anchors the establishment, while a rotating selection of local artists showcase their work on the spacious walls.
For consistently good sandwiches, follow your nose to Bite and try to narrow down the specialty deli menu to one choice. These huge sammys are reasonably priced at $8-$13 and begin with crispy, toasted bread. From there, the choice is up to you: the gouda good with rotisserie chicken and peppercorn sauce is a hit, as is the branding iron sandwich with roast beef, bacon and horseradish cheddar. Like its neighbor Grubsteak, Bite is also open late to serve industry folks and those with the drunchies.
Happy Donuts keeps it simple with tasty breakfast sandwiches and croissants, cheap, perfectly made glazed donuts, and other pastries and sandwiches that are available 24/7.
Run by the same family for decades, this retro 1950s diner is the kind of place you'd base an entire burger chain off of. To the tunes of its old-school jukebox, It's Tops serves classic diner faves like breakfast specials (stuffed waffles, sourdough French toast, make-your-own-omelettes) and giant burgers with hand-cut fries. You can enjoy it all in a cozy, neon-lit, and wood-paneled space that's retained the same charm since its mid-century opening.
Ryoko's, on the border of Nob Hill and Tenderloin, is a lively basement sushi spot helmed by high-skilled Japanese chefs. The sake and Sapporo flow like water, and on weekend nights, a live DJ turns up the party factor considerably. Last call for food and drink isn't until 1:30am, making it an awesome spot to hit when you're out late with a group of friends, or if your drinks date unexpectedly turns into dinner.
Figuring out which taqueria to go to in the MIssion can be tough, but you can’t go wrong with El Farolito, one of the neighborhood's OG burrito havens, which happens to also be within perfect stumbling distance of numerous bars and the 24th Street BART. The super burrito is where it’s at, with a hefty dose of rice, beans, salsa, guac, sour cream, and whatever delicious meat you choose (carne asada is a good call).
This San Francisco institution has been in the business of serving up unforgettable grub since 1937, by way of greasy goodness from a converted railroad car until 4am (daily). Burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, fries & wings are all great options, as are the omelets and pancakes. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, order up a steak dinner or the pork chops with two eggs while you gaze at impressionist paintings or people-watch.
From a Baltimore-repping former Little Skillet chef, WW is a house of wing-y awesomeness that'll sling fried chicken to Lower Haight-ians 'til 2a outta a clean-lined, bright orange-floored, personalized saloon door-equipped interior that seats 10 at stools and four more at out-front benches, presumably pre-warmed by Brian Cardinal.
This Bourdain-approved burger (and pizza) hole-in-the-wall has been keeping San Francisco fed on the cheap since 1956 (often well after midnight). If you've had a long night in Chinatown there are few better decisions than spending $8.99 on a beautifully simple old-school cheeseburger, a pile of fries, and a Coke.