The Best Restaurants in San Francisco
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
To hear the locals rave, you'll never drink better coffee or eat a better burrito or share a more authentic pizza than you can here. San Francisco, for its relatively compact size, packs a culinary punch that larger cities never will. Classics like the Tadich Grill, Original Joe's, and Hang Ah Dim Sum Tea House, have served generations of local gourmands, but in the 1970s, firebrand chefs in the kitchens of Zuni Cafe and Greens Restaurant changed American cuisine forever. Come and taste the changes that are brewing by the bay today. You won't go home hungry.
1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
If one is going to throw around the word "iconic," let's make sure it's used appropriately. As with Zuni. The awkwardly shaped restaurant—it's in a narrow storefront with wider spaces on the mezzanine—was opened in 1979 by Billy West....
309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
Burma Superstar lives up to its name. Opened more than 20 years ago, the Inner Richmond restaurant has gained a following for such specialties as hand-wrapped samosas filled with meat and potatoes, chili lamb, and traditional rice salad. Known for...
557 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Locanda’s reputation for authentic Roman food and fresh, local ingredients was already established long before it opened in 2005; this is, after all, a part of the small group of renowned restaurants opened by Craig and Annie Stoll of Delfina,...
1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Nicole Krasinski describes the novel concept of her restaurant State Bird Provisions as “dim sum and a great hors d’oeuvre party morphed into one experience.” She and her husband, chef Stuart Brioza, prepare beautifully executed...
355 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Is Bar Agricole the best bar in the city? It’s certainly in the top five, based on the groundbreaking cocktail program developed by bartender and owner Thad Vogler; the award-winning architecture and interior design by local favorite Aidlin...
101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Most dim sum places in the San Francisco Bay Area are pretty typical of what you can find in Asia, culture and all. And while I love authentic as much as the next person, there is a place that has elevated the art of the dumpling. I am not alone...
3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
There's nothing more San Fransisco (or hipster) than buying a margharita (with pepperoni) and taking it to Dolores Park for some prime people watching. It may be easier than getting a seat in the restaurant. Don't forget the chilli flakes! How I...
2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
The date-night dinner-and-a-movie standard has been taken to a new stylish height at this acclaimed restaurant in the Mission District. Grab a table on the patio under the strings of lights to dine on seasonal California cuisine while...
500 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
3870 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Named after Chef Melissa Perello’s grandmother, Frances is a neighborhood fine-dining restaurant where the focus is on simple but elegant cuisine that lets the Northern California ingredients shine. The restaurant is only open for dinner and...
3316 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
The chef behind the open-hearth fire at Saison described this nasturtium wrap as the best taco in San Francisco. He could be right. The wrap may have been the most beautiful dish from Josh Skenes's tasting menu, but my highlight was a tuna...
1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
The Alembic’s pink quail eggs are pickled overnight in coriander, allspice, and clove. They’re tangy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and beg for a Sazerac or bitter beer. For more drinking tips, check out our feature "How to...
220 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
With its community tables and small bites, Barbacco serves great Italian food meant for sharing. They have a large bruschetta menu that can make up a whole meal if you try every one—easier to do than it might seem, since it's so difficult to...
800 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
One of the best fine dining restaurants in the city, the namesake restaurant of the award-winning chef, Gary Danko, is located in the Fisherman's Wharf area and continues to impresses locals and visitors each season. Why? It does unpretentious...
2337 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
If you're craving some flavor packed Oaxacan-focused Mexican head to Uptown Oakland and check out Calavera. The restaurant by chef Christian Irabien is quickly gaining a reputation as the spot to go for traditionally prepared fare of both the...
2065 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
Lord Stanley is the restaurant love child of married chefs Rupert and Carrie Blease. The pair took their backgrounds in fine dining and created a relaxed yet still sophisticated dining experience on Polk Street in Russian Hill. We especially love...
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
With no sign above its unassuming storefront, Tartine is most easily recognized by the line that snakes out its door and down Guerrero Street. People patiently wait for flaky pains au chocolat (the best outside Paris, in my opinion), decadent...
8 Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Long before it was a tourist mecca filled with souvenir shops and selfie sticks, Fisherman’s Wharf was the industrial hub of San Francisco, crisscrossed by railroad tracks and home to lumberyards and a booming fishing industry. Nunzio Alioto...
576 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
The radical philosophy at this friendly Haight Street place is that good barbecue is not about the sauce. You read that correctly. If you've been smothering your meat in barbecue sauce, you've been doing it all wrong. Real Southern-style...
428 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Walk around the city and you are likely to stumble upon a food truck that dishes out some incredible grub. San Francisco residents love these modern chuck wagons, including native Carlos Muela, who opened SoMa StrEat Food Park in 2012. Its...
515 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
This popular Mexican-food mainstay in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District is one of two places in the city that claim to have invented the Mission-style burrito (the other is El Faro): a hefty, elephant-leg-size wrap distinguished from...
1499 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
In the buzzy Mission neighborhood, Al's Place is the creation of former Ubuntu chef Aaron London and does genius things with seafood and vegetables, especially vegetables—vegetarians love this spot. This is one of the hottest...
871 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
In lower Nob Hill, this playful restaurant has been hot since the moment it opened its doors. Chef Ravi Kapur's Hawaiian meets California menu is like no other in San Francisco, and features such strange, but surprisingly tasty concoctions like...
1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
There's no need to fly all the way to Italy to try the pie that earned first place at the 2007 World Pizza Cup. Just head to North Beach and Tony's Pizza Napoletana, where chef-owner Tony Gemignani was the first American to win the...
Landmark Building A, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
Greens was founded by the San Francisco Zen Center in 1979, and the original chef, Deborah Madison, shifted the idea of vegetarian cuisine from bland sustenance to sensational tastes. Chef Annie Somerville took over in 1985 and elevated Greens to...
601 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Original Joe's has the same birth year as another pretty famous San Francisco landmark: the Golden Gate Bridge. Both are definitely worth checking out, but only Original Joe's will serve you a hearty Italian meal in a red leather booth. Back in...
1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
With killer views of the waves crashing onto Ocean Beach, the Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant is one of the best places to grab a bite and watch the sunset in San Francisco. Before its current incarnation, the 1925 Spanish revival building...
1 Pagoda Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
Hang Ah Tea Room's brick facade and missing letters may not be much to look at from the outside, and the interior's low ceilings, fluorescent lights, and basic furnishings won't win awards, either, but the inexpensive dim sum served inside...
One Ferry Building #3, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Chef Charles Phan's restaurant Slanted Door helped elevate Vietnamese cuisine in the United States, introducing it in all of its nuance and complexity to diners who may have tried pho soup only once, if that. When the original location closed in...
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Few restaurants more than 150 years old can be called trendy, but in innovation-crazy San Francisco, there is novelty in the classics, and Tadich Grill is the classic. The late Chronicle columnist and unabashed San Francisco-lover Herb Caen...
4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Outerlands is an Outer Sunset institution. The small restaurant near Ocean Beach serves local, organic cuisine in a rustic-chic setting. Covered floor-to-ceiling in warm, rough-hewn wood, the interior invites lingering over an artisan cocktail or...
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