Whether you’re a native San Franciscan, a transplant or an eager tourist, getting the skinny on the best spots to indulge your inner foodie in SF is imperative. Boasting more restaurants per capita than any other city in America—and by a large margin, no less—San Francisco is the ideal hot spot for lovers of delicious cuisine in the States. The drawback, of course, is that you couldn’t possibly enjoy every single restaurant in the city!
To help you narrow down your list of places to eat in SF, we’ve compiled a list of some of the absolute bucket list destinations for foodies in the city!
If you’re looking for an all around amazing spot for a meal morning, day or night, Nopa’s your best bet in the city! Rather than specializing in any one thing, Nopa manages to do everything well, from brunch to lunch to dinner up ’til one in the morning. Touting one of the best burgers in the city, top notch cocktails, and plenty of room for big groups, Nopa offers everything you could want in an eatery.
Swan Oyster Depot
Hoping to grab some unbeatable shellfish while you’re in the city? Swan Oyster Depot is the place to go! It’s a small venue, and you’re more likely to get in alone than with a friend—management likes to keep each of the 18 bar stools in the venue occupied throughout the day—but once you get your seat, you’ll swear you’ve died and gone to shellfish heaven. Swan offers oysters and clams on the half shell, incredible chowder, and plenty of fish to boot.
Golden Boy Pizza
If you find yourself in North Beach and craving pizza, you’ve gotta hit up Golden Boy. You’re almost guaranteed to spend time in line, but you’ll swear it’s worth it once you bite into Golden Boy’s signature square-cut, Sicilian-style pizza.
Located in the bustling downtown financial district, Yank Sing offers an amazing dim sum brunch experience—a lovely traditional Chinese meal served bit by bit in little steamer bowls with tea on the side—that you’re sure to enjoy. Make sure to make reservations, since this iconic brunch spot is regularly packed to the gills.
An outstanding award winning venue owned by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, Tartine Bakery is one of the most reputable and regularly recommended pastry spots in the city—and for good reason! Their morning buns and hot-pressed sandwiches are absolutely worth the wait.
I finally got to try Tartine Bakery! These are hands down the best pastries I've ever had, we ate till we were stuffed and still wanted more! We ordered Frangipane Croissant, Morning Bun, Pain Au Jambon, Lemon Cream Tart, Cheese Scone, Almond Cookie and Iced Coffee. #tartinebakerysf #sanfrancisco #pasteries
Owned by one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs” of 2017, Val Cantu, this 15-course tasting restaurant revolutionizes authentic Mexican cuisine! You might have to save up for a trip to Californios, though: their per-plate cost is $157—but you’re guaranteed to enjoy Cantu’s fresh new take on Mexican food.
LihoLiho Yacht Club
For a Hawaiian-inspired seafood meal, LihoLiho is one of the best venues in the city! The restaurant itself is also has a fantastic atmosphere, with wonderful lighting, an open kitchen, and an upstairs and downstairs bar. They also have an “Ohana Table”—ohana means family, if you never caught Lilo & Stitch as a kid—where you can share 10-12 dishes with a large group of your friends or family!
If you’re in the mood for a more vegetable-centric meal, Al’s is the place for you. Don’t worry; you can still order carnivorous delights off of the sides menu, but the headliner at Al’s is an amazing array of delicious vegetarian food, like fermented potato French fries and yellow eye bean stew.
A vintage cafe shut down in 1953, Tosca was reopened in 2014 to great acclaim! Tosca is open ’til one in the morning, and serves fantastic Italian-American cuisine. They’re so popular that since their reopening, they’ve played host to several celebrities, including Jay Z and Beyonce, and even President Barack Obama.
There you have it! Nine great venues in San Francisco for the most storied, veteran foodies among us to enjoy. Make sure to reserve a plate at these restaurants the next time you’re in the city! Splurge on the dinner and save on the travel!