Best 10 Delicious Restaurants in San Francisco
This polished bistro is one part Hawaiian, one part Californian, and one part Chinese. Walking in the door is like the first sip of a mai tai hitting your palate: It's potent, vibrant, and you know you're about to have some fun. When it comes to the food, you won't find similar dishes anywhere else in the city. From the duck liver toast with jalapeño and pickled pineapple to the roasted octopus with curried raisins, castelvetrano olives, butterball potatoes, and fresh coriander.
This chic and bright former warehouse has a choose-your-own-adventure setup: It touts a bakery this is Tartine after all, a coffee counter, an ice cream window, and a small wine bar. The rule of thumb here is that there are no wrong choices, whether you’re stopping in for an item from the bakery case (the pain suisse is a must); staying for lunch (in which case, order the coddled eggs, with sea trout roe, fresh horseradish, and za’atar toast; or making it a destination dinner for the fresh-milled durum pappardelle, lamb neck ragu, and ricotta.
Cala’s interior is straight out of La Condesa, Mexico City’s trendy modern district. , where she runs Contramar. ensures every dish on the menu has a trifecta: classic ingredients, unique preparation, and artful presentation. Case in point: a sweet potato broiled until creamy on the inside, then tossed into the fire until the skin is crisped, served with bone marrow salsa negra and warm tortillas. Come for a casual night chatting up new friends at the communal table (or bring your own).
Thai spot Hawker Fare packs some serious culinary cred ( but customers are encouraged to be loud, be merry, and to eat the fried chicken and Isaan-style pork sausage with their hands. If you’re in the mood for a secluded, dark watering hole inspired by the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, check out their upstairs bar, Holy Mountain. Hawker Fare is located in the heart of the bustling Mission District.
Spruce's decor is about as posh as San Francisco restaurant interiors get: Elegant without being stuffy, expect white tablecloths, leather chairs, a marbled bar, and dark tones, all under a cathedral ceiling. Even the liquor bottles are organized by color. The food is Californian cuisine through and through (try the spiced duck breast roasted to perfection, served with fennel marmalade, roasted beats, and pears).
The 45-seat industrial-chic dining room is perpetually packed, so be prepared to make a reservation far in advance: San Francisco's most elite foodies eat here regularly. The food is served dim sum-style, with carts wheeling around the dining room throughout dinner service. The chef has a knack for finding eclectic flavors that pair surprisingly well together, like pork belly with citrus salad and the namesake state bird (quail) with provisions. The wine list includes bottles from across Europe from Portugal to Hungary, and most range between $60 to $200.
Strolling through the foggy Inner Sunset district, it would almost be easy to pass by Tartine Bakery and dismiss it as a house, if not for the line out front. The bakery behemoth’s third San Francisco location serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch, with highlights including coddled eggs with trout roe, smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), and the famous leavened flatbreads. But the holy grail is always the pastry case, which is stocked with morning buns, pain au chocolate, frangipane croissants, and salted buckwheat cookies.
This beloved pop-up-turned-restaurant is a testament ability to host a dynamic dining experience that is as memorable as his food. The midcentury space provides a homey ambience for the restaurant’s theme: a 1950s-era supper club. A chef introduces each of the 15 courses as they arrive, making for a presentation that’s both theatrical and hospitable. Though the dishes are constantly changing, expect items like porcini with egg yolk fudge in a wild mushroom broth, and bay scallop with celtuce, pine nuts, and little gem.
To San Franciscans, taquerias are like sports teams: Everyone is devoted to their favorite one. Though the Mission District has dozens of them, La Taqueria has some of the most die-hard fans. That’s because this no-frills, old-school taqueria stays true to its roots, no matter how many times it gets cited as rolling one of the best burritos in America. Whether you opt for carne asada (recommended), pollo, or vegetarian, it’s an absolute must to get it El Dorado-style: pressed on the grill until it’s golden brown and slightly blistered. In the mood for a taco? Make it a super, with the works.
Walking into Zuni feels like stumbling upon a hidden gem, no matter how renowned it is or many times you've been. This bi-level bistro is old time, romantic San Francisco: vested bartenders, soft, live piano music, the works. The food is classic and thoughtful, not trendy, and that’s exactly why people love it. The cuisine is California with heavy French and Italian influences. The chicken for two, roasted in the wood-fired brick oven and served with a warm bread salad of scallions, garlic, mustard greens, dried currants, and pine nuts has been famous for decades, and is well-worth the one-hour wait.