The Best Restaurants in San Francisco
Collected by Kimberley Lovato , AFAR Local Expert
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.
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...
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...
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
ArKi, short for The Architect’s Kitchen as the owner, Tim Setiawan, used to be just that serves divine beignet-style donuts and fried chicken - both fried to order and delicious. They travel the usual food truck circuit in the San Francisco...
2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
If you're in the city and looking for a great spot to gather with friends and celebrate, head over to the Foreign Cinema. If you can snag a table at the outdoor patio, they have movies showing on the big screen. The food is excellent as are the...
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...
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...
151 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Chef Corey Lee’s new food project, In Situ, is less a restaurant than an archive of the world’s best dishes (current count: 24). Travel back to the 1994 opening of the French Laundry with Thomas Keller’s Liberty Duck Breast, a bowl of tiny green...
3870 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Frances is the neighborhood restaurant you wish were just around the corner from you. The place is small and cozy with just 50 seats and a bar. The menu changes daily. Their oysters and quail were fantastic. While I've had better desserts than...
470 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
A window looks in onto the pasta station in Quince's kitchen, and pedestrians strolling by on Pacific Avenue can gawk at the carefully folded tortellini—likely to be stuffed with suckling pig, or nettles. Those who actually gain...
373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Chef Daniel Patterson is a quiet storm. You might see him at the Ferry Building Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings (as I have), obsessing over the perfectly perfect cherries at Hamada Farms. He's always got a million things going on—he has...
Landmark Building A, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
A leader in vegetarian fine dining, Greens will make you feel at home and feed you healthfully and well. The personal pizzas with light cornmeal crust always contain seasonal ingredients and the curry is a consistent crowd pleaser. Leave room for...
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
During the Great Depression the United States government supported artists by commissioning murals in public buildings. There are several places where you can see the WPA (Works Progress Administration) murals in San Francisco. My favorite spot is...
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
From its waiters in crisp white jackets to the bowl of lemon wedges adorning each table, Tadich Grill is an unabashed San Francisco classic. Go for the seafood: sand dabs (breaded and sautéed), crab Louie, or the much-loved cioppino. The...
199 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
It was the sardine chips that sealed the deal: When Rich Table opened, these fried potato chips with sardine fillets threaded through were all the food media wanted to talk about. Salty, fishy, crispy: a flavor trifecta that won Evan and Sarah...
3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
The food at Atelier Crenn—with its two Michelin stars—might not even look like food. This is tweezer food, every morsel painstakingly styled on the plate. (Well, "plate" is not quite right: Food is served on unconventional surfaces like slate...
1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
San Francisco is one of the best dining cities in the world - so deciding where to dine when visiting is no easy feat. This small, dimly lit restaurant emanates comfort and warmth while maintaining a modern feel. My guest and I ordered eight...
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