The Best Things to Eat and Drink at This Year’s Outside Lands

Outside Lands has way more than just music to offer.

Courtesy of Outside Lands
Courtesy of Outside Lands

Outside Lands returns to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park August 11–13 with amazing music (Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, and Odesza are headlining, plus over 90 other performers), but maybe just as importantly, there will be legitimately tasty food and beverages to enjoy as well. Like, if you eat a meal before you show up, you’re doing it completely wrong. 

As with most festivals these days, there are some VIP-only food and drink situations, but the truth is that those aren’t necessarily reasons to upgrade (the bathroom situation, on the other hand, absolutely is) because, with over 95 food purveyors, plus 35 wineries, 30 breweries, and eight cocktail bars, it’ll be a challenge even to experience a small percentage. But we have faith in you—especially if you use the festival app to note everything you want to eat and drink ahead of time. Again, there’s so much to try, but here’s what we have our eyes on thus far.

FOOD

The food at Outside Lands is some of the best you’ll find at any music festival, and we have Tanya Koller, who has been leading the festival’s Taste of the Bay Area since 2017, to thank. Her goal is to showcase everything from nationally renowned restaurants to new pop-ups, including pretty much every kind of cuisine you can imagine for any dietary requirements you may have. Oh, and in case that wasn’t amazing enough, nearly 90% of this year’s food lineup is crafted by minority and/or female-led restaurateurs and chefs, which only makes us want to try that many more dishes.

And therein lies the challenge as Outside Lands is welcoming the return of 79 restaurants from last year and 17 newcomers. So if you want to maximize your food experience, you should definitely go in with a plan, friends to share dishes with, and, of course, some spontaneity so that you try whatever yummy offerings everyone’s dishing about. Here are just a few on our list.

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

When the temps drop, head to this popular Vietnamese restaurant’s booth for bo kho spicy beef stew and spicy wontons.

This crispy pork lumpia and stir-fried veggie glass noodles from this Filipino hot spot in North Oakland were some of our favorite bites last year, and we know that will be the case again this year.

We’re super stoked for pitmaster Matt Horn’s Outside Lands debut and crossing our fingers that the line won’t be as long as it sometimes is at his Oakland eatery. But even so, it’ll be worth the wait for brisket chopped cheeses, burnt ends sandwiches, and messy fries.

It’s hard to believe that this is Kaiyō’s first year at Outside Lands because the crispy karaage chicken sandwiches seem like ideal festival food. The restaurant (Cow Hollow and Mission Bay) will also be serving sushi rolls and Peruvian Anticucho Skewers. But you’ll need VIP tickets if you want to enjoy it.

This California-inspired Palestinian restaurant, which opened in 2021 after making a move from pop-up to brick-and-mortar, is making its first-ever Outside Lands appearance with falafel nachos, tabbouleh ceviche, and hawashi stuffed pitas.

Moon

Be among the first to try the food from this yet-to-open casual restaurant from the folks behind Michelin-starred Sorrel. Moon is all about Coastal California/Asian-inspired food cooked over an open flame and has harissa-spiced lamb skewers, ginger beef skewers, and smashed chili cucumbers on the menu.

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

This Mission spot, which started serving Asian comfort food inspired by Taiwanese night markets in the Mission earlier this year, is also making its debut with its popular Taiwanese hot dogs and lou rou fan braised pork rice bowls.

We were stoked when this muffuletta spot opened on Haight Street a few months ago because the New Orleans-Style muffuletta sandwich was one of our favorite bites last year. Vegetarian? There’s a mushroom version, also. And we’ll keep our fingers crossed that they’ll also have the chocolate chip cookies, which we are convinced are the best in San Francisco. 

Another newbie to the Outside Lands food scene, the Kon-Tiki, a tropical escape in Oakland’s Chinatown, is guaranteed to please the crowd with its pork tocino bites, signature burgers with pineapple jam, and grilled king trumpet mushrooms.

We’re not sure how it’s possible that Trick Dog has never had a booth at Outside Lands before, but this is the beloved Mission bar’s first year. Expect the classics: Mission Dogs, Veggie Mission Dogs, kale salads, and husky fries. Keep an eye out for its sibling restaurant Quik Dog, which will also be there serving a similar menu.

If you have a hankering for seafood, look no further than the VIP section, where Woodhouse Fish Co. will be serving Lobster Rolls, freshly shucked oysters, and Clam Chowder in a bread bowl.

Pizza

All pizza is good, especially when one needs fuel to keep going well into the evening, and in true San Francisco style, there are many different options. Mozzeria, a deaf-owned business that puts out a legit Neapolitan pizza, will be there again, as will newcomer Shuggie’s Trash Pie + Natural Wine, a climate-friendly spot in the Mission that will be serving Cheddah & Feta Pizza, Sausage Party Pizza, and cheese pizza. Pink Onion (a classic Mission pizza spot) will have one of our favorites: the Pink Alarm Fire pizza (pepperoni, chile pepper, garlic, red onion), as well as truffle pizza and truffle bruschetta. A16, another classic SF restaurant known for its pizza, will have Salsiccia pizzas (fennel sausage, broccolini, fior di latte, grana padano, caciocavallo, garlic, chili) on the menu, as well as pork meatball sandwiches and kale Caesar salads, but you’ll need to be in VIP if you want to indulge. Looking for a perfect slice after an excursion to Grasslands? You can’t beat Nizario’s, a San Francisco staple since the early ’80s that will be dishing out slices of pesto pizza, pepperoni pizza, and vegan pizza.

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

Dessert

If you have a sweet tooth, the only problem will be deciding which desserts to try throughout the weekend. Warm up at Bloomstock with coffee, cocoa, and churro waffles, or cool off with frozen hot chocolate and brownie ice cream sundaes at Charles Chocolates. Dairy-free? Newcomer FroGo has you covered with chocolate-strawberry swirl dairy-free soft serve. You can get mini donuts at Hookt Mini Donuts (plus cold brew coffee) or regular-sized donuts (and donut sundaes!) at Johnny Doughnuts. Humphry Slocombe will be scooping out ice cream sundaes and floats, and if you’re looking for something to Instagram, Marley’s Treats will have ube milkshakes and flan ube cheesesteak.

You can also get French macarons, Basque cheesecakes, and sea salt chocolate chip cookies at Oui Oui! Macaron and cookie dough bites, cookie dough sundaes, and cookie dough coffee at Out The Dough. And, of course, don’t skip the ice cream tacos from Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos (which also has ice cream tacos, cookie dough sandos, frozen bananas, and caramel lattes). And last but not least, you’ll find chocolate-covered brownies and chocolate-covered s’mores at Sharona’s Chocolate Shop, signature bread pudding at Sweet July, Ayesha Curry’s retail store and cafe (VIP only), and Americanos, mocha lattes, bear claws, and cinnamon rolls (perfect for a late breakfast) at Timeless Coffee & Bakery (new this year).

If you prefer your Outside Lands experience with a heavy dose of fancy, Golden Gate Club private lounge tickets are still available. The Ken Fulk-designed experience includes complimentary all-day food from Bay Area Chefs Tyler Florence of Miller & Lux, Nancy Oakes and Dana Younkin of Boulevard, and Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club, as well as endless beer, wine, and cocktails. You also get a dedicated entrance, coat check, premium restrooms, a decked-out skydeck, and front-of-stage viewing (with more free beverages) at the three main stages. Of course, all of this comes with a pretty hefty price tag: $2,199 for a single day and $4,899 for three days.

DRINKS

Outside Lands takes its drink program seriously with three different destinations, Cocktail Magic, Wine Lands, and Beer Lands, including a total of 35 wineries, 30 breweries, and eight cocktail bars.

Highlights of Cocktail Magic will surely be Trick Dog and The Kon-Tiki, both of which will also offer food alongside their cocktails. There will also be bar experiences like Less Is More, a lounge with low ABV drinks; Shaken Not Stirred, with espresso martinis and the latest martini trends; and Spin the Wheel, where a spin of a wheel will determine your order. Find it at its new location in Lindley Meadow, previously home to Wine Lands (directly across from the Sutro Stage).

Wine Lands has a whole new look and location this year—McLaren Pass, nestled amidst Golden Gate Park’s eucalyptus trees (where Cocktail Magic used to be). There will be 25 wineries, a bar dedicated to sparkling wine, and another 10 wineries within VIP at Wine Lands Reserve. All-in-all, there will be over 100 wines being poured onsite, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to discover a new friend or revisit an old favorite.

Beer Lands will be in the same place it’s been for years—right in the heart of the Polo Field—with over 30 breweries and ciders pouring lagers, hazy IPAs, sustainability-brewed hard kombucha, apple-driven dry ciders, and more. The entire experience is curated by Dave McLean, the founder and (former) brewmaster of Magnolia Brewing Company, who wants people to not only be able to try some amazing local beers but also learn about sustainable craft brewing and cool collaborations.

And in case none of that appeals to you and you want to keep things super basic (no judgment, okay, maybe a little, but we get it), there will also be plenty of White Claw available throughout the festival grounds.

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Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer who has been eating her way through San Francisco since she was six years old. Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see all the food and drinks she consumes at this year’s Outside Lands.