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12 San Francisco restaurants that tourists should definitely visit

12 San Francisco restaurants that tourists should definitely visit
Photograph: Flickr/Yuichi Sakuraba

San Francisco is a world-famous food town, but for those visiting for the first time, it can be hard to know which of our thousands of restaurants to choose. Guide books might lead tourists astray, but when it comes to experiencing the best food in the City by the Bay, trust us to hook you up with the spots you definitely won't want to miss. 

1. High rollers, head to Spruce. Gary Danko might be on the tips of every concierge's tongue but Spruce delivers everything this town does great when it comes to classic fine dining. 

2. There are so many spectacular Chinese restaurants in San Francisco but we think Z&Y is the best. 

3. Avoid the brunch lines at Mama's on Washington Square and wait in the brunch line at Zazie instead. 

4. Seafood fans would do well to believe the hype about Swan Oyster Depot

5. Some call it a tourist trap but if it's good, who cares? The Ghirardelli Soda Fountain is a hit with visitors and natives alike - although a local would never buy a big bag of chocolate squares from the attached gift shop. 

6. Order the Marlowe burger at Marlowe (or Park Tavern). 

7. Cotogna might be just south of North Beach but its pizzas and pastas taste like Italy on a plate. (Fun fact: we saw James Spader there once.)

8. Find out what all the fuss is about and get a burrito at La Taqueria

9. The 98-year-old bar at Tosca might be far more famous but the revamped restaurant in the back is a sure winner. 

10. Cutting edge, nationally recognized spots like Atelier Crenn and State Bird Provisions are worth the visit if you can score a table. And for those willing to shell out big (and we mean big) bucks, try Benu or Saison

11. Jet-lagged? Hit up Mel's. On the weekend, this classic diner is open 24-hours. 

12. Hop that ferry to Sausalito and score a seat at Sushi Ran, the best sushi spot this side of the Pacific. 

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