Food & Drink

7 off-menu items in SF you ABSOLUTELY have to order

Joe Starkey Published On 09/13/2013 Published On 09/13/2013
Starbelly Doc's Way
Aubrie Pick

The only things that makes you look cooler than ordering off-menu? Wearing Big Dog tees and sagging your pants. But since you're already totally versed in both of those, we're helping you out with the off-menu thing with the seven most must-order-y items that San Francisco has to offer.

Aubrie Pick

Burger "Doc's Way", Starbelly
The Castro
Because it generally worked out for Marty McFly, order Starbelly's hamburger "Doc's Way". It'll come topped with 1.5oz of the next best thing to foie.

French Fry Po' Boy, Boxing Room
Hayes Valley
This is awesome, Saints-hat-wearing chef Justin Simoneaux's secret Creole version of poutine: he slides cheddar-topped French fries slathered in bacon and giblet gravy into a roll and bakes the whole damn thing.

Balsalmic Egg Burger, Foreign Cinema
The Mission
A perfect combination of a pan-fried egg on top of FC's already-fantastic burger is pushed to Saved-By-The-Bell-Tori status with a drizzle of tangy sweet balsamic reduction.

Bartender's Special, Delarosa
The Marina
Weirdly, this isn't actually even a drink; it's a red-sauced pizza topped with burrata, Kalamata olives, sausage, and spicy red peppers.

Burger, Garibaldi's
Pac Heights
Hello, secret burger you can get at the too-schmancy-for-burgers Garibaldi's.

Brass Monkey, Little Star Pizza
The Mission
Okay, so it's not to much of a secret anymore considering it's basically their signature dish, but this still-somehow-not-on-the-menu sausage adder makes the already-delicious Little Star namesake pizza with mushrooms, onions, garlic, spinach, and a mixture of ricotta and feta cheese damn near perfect.

Chicken Ravioli, Jackson Fillmore
Pacific Heights
Almost a secret itself, this have-to-arrive-at-opening-if-you-want-a-seat restaurant also has an amazing chicken ravioli dish that they almost always have, even if it's not exactly on the menu.

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1. Starbelly 3583 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114 (The Castro)

The undisputed cocktail masters behind Beretta also coined Starbelly, a 100-seat California comfort foodery, and this time have chosen to complement the grub with a crazy grip of beer n' wine cocktails shored up with a brewlist that's off the charts.

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2. Boxing Room 399 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Hayes Valley)

This Hayes Valley gem, situated in the back of a spacious former 19th-century Standard Shirts Factory, will satisfy all your Creole cravings with classics like oysters, hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, black eyed peas, and po’boys. The theme carries over to the cocktail menu, where New Orleans favorites like the Milk Punch or Ramos Gin Fizz can help you pretend you're actually in the Big Easy and don’t have to go to work tomorrow.

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3. Foreign Cinema 2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

The Mission's Foreign Cinema projects movies every night and serves a Californian menu with an oyster selection for the books. Where else can you find date-worthy dinner, one of the best brunches in the city (hello, house-made pop tarts), patio seating, and screenings of classic movies all under one roof? Trust us: this James Beard-nominated restaurant is one of the most important places you need to eat at in your lifetime.

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4. Delarosa 2175 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Marina)

A Marina Italian joint with fancy (and delicious) pizzas, craft beer and cocktails, and a high-ceilinged, happening atmosphere.

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5. Little Star Pizza 400 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Mission)

The Mission's Little Star (with other locations in Western Addition and Albany) serves up Chicago-style deep-dish and thin-crust pizzas in a laid-back tavern space. Both pizza styles are available in personal and larger sizes. The house speciality is by far the eponymous Little Star deep-dish, made with spinach, ricotta, feta, mushrooms, onions, and of course, garlic. Little Star serves local drafts on tap and house wine, and if you're into something a little fancier, there's a $10 corkage fee for BYO.

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6. Garibaldi's 347 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Presidio Heights)

Garibaldi's has been around for over 20yrs cranking out ridiculously good eats from risotto croquettes to maple-brined pork chops, plus specialty cocktails like their Presidio Paloma with blanco tequila, elderflower, grapefruit, lime, and a salt rim.

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7. Jackson Fillmore 2506 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

Is there a better way to start dinner off with a smile than with complimentary Bruschetta the minute you sit down? Yes please. Jackson Fillmore might be one of the last Trattoria’s that actually feels like one: Unpretentious, intimate and with a wine bar countertop. There’s always new daily specials like Aspaargus Tortelli or Burrata Funghi and the Zabaione (An Italian dessert made with egg yolk, sugar and sweet wine) is always overflowing with extra toppings.

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