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EAT LIST FALL 2019

The 50 best San Francisco restaurants to eat at right now

From the Michelin-starred to classic tastes of the city, our top San Francisco restaurants will melt in your mouth

By Amy Sherman and Time Out San Francisco editors
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October 2019: Summer is behind us and it's time to eat with abandon! The fall update to our list of the best restauarants in San Francisco swaps out some older eateries to make room for exciting new spots and this time we've topped out at 50(!) stellar restaurants. For Instagram-worthy dining, we’ve added the Ghirardelli Square dim sum parlor Palette Tea House (#15), downtown fine dining at O' by Claude Le Tohic (our new #1 spot!) and Nari (#2), the latest modern Thai spot in Japantown. In accordance with the comfy season, comfort food takes new shapes and forms from American classics at Corridor (#26) and hearty vegetarian dishes at Wildseed (#39) to warming bowls of ramen in SOMA and meaty favorites at Al’s Deli (#18). Last but not least, Aziza (#8) returns to the scene, filling a void in the Richmond neighborhood.

It’s no exaggeration to say that San Francisco is one of the best cities for food in the world. But with so many interesting dining destinations packed into just 7x7 square miles, it can be as overwhelming to decide where to eat as it can be to choose from our list of the best things to do in the city. But we’re here to help, with 50 picks for the greatest places to eat in this city right now: the freshest, most memorable, most inventive. The ones changing the gastronomic landscape and the ones that have been holding it up for decades.

Our experts scour the city for great dishes, great value and insider info (like a certain restaurant’s off-the-menu homemade Spam). So, the EAT List is a unique, authentic snapshot of SF’s ever-evolving dining experience right now: we update it regularly, whenever somewhere we think is truly spectacular opens. It could be a mega-hyped destination restaurant or a pop-up-turned-permanent joint in a shipping container: if it’s on the list we think it’s terrific, and reckon you will too.

Eaten something you love on this list? Share it under the hashtag #TimeOutEatList to show your appreciation.

Best San Francisco restaurants

O’ by Claude Le Tohic, One65
Photograph: Christian Andrade, Courtesy One65

1. ONE65

Restaurants French Tenderloin

Located a block from Union Square, ONE65 is a six-story French dining destination that includes a patisserie and cafe, bistro, bar and lounge, fine dining restaurant and private dining space. Each floor holds a different tantalizing experience. The ground floor functions as an all-day cafe, with breakfast, lunch and dinner options along with chocolates, fine pastries and ice cream all made in house. The bistro features a long chef's counter where diners can see most of the dishes prepared “a la minute” while the fine dining restaurant decadent nine-course prix fixe menu ($250) that includes three spectacular caviar compositions. 

Nari
Photograph: Anson Smart, Courtesy Nari

2. Nari

Nari is the most recent restaurant from chef Pim Techamuanvivit. A bit more sophisticated in both decor and cuisine than her previous spot, Kin Khao, the restaurant is led by mostly women including chef de cuisine Meghan Clark and bar director Megan Daniel Hoang. A contemporary Thai restaurant, chefs swap out some traditional Thai ingredients for locally grown seasonal ones, all the while preserving classic flavor profiles. The menu features large format dishes appropriate for sharing including rich curries with lamb, eggplant, pork belly and Cornish game hen.

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Liholiho Yacht Club
Photograph: Courtesy Liholiho Yacht Club

3. Liholiho Yacht Club

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Lower Nob Hill

Liholiho brings a sunny dose of Hawaii to fog-shrouded San Francisco, from the bright yellow open kitchen to the “Aloha” spelled out in blue tile underfoot. The menu is divided into small, medium, and large plates, all designed for sharing. Dishes might include tuna poke on nori crackers, scallops with misoyaki pork belly, pecans, squash and grapes, or kimchi fried rice with smoked egg yolk, house-made spam and clamshell mushrooms. Save room for the Baked Hawaii, a fluffy, modern twist on the retro Baked Alaska made with caramelized pineapple ice cream and vanilla chiffon.

taj campton place
Photograph: Ashleigh Reddy, Flickr/Yelp Inc

4. Campton Place

Restaurants Union Square

Chef Srijith Gopinathan creates Cal-Indian cuisine by imbuing farmer’s market ingredients with traditional Indian spices. The result is an exotic, high-end spin on Southern Indian food—one that has earned him at least one Michelin star every year since 2011. The Spice Route prix fixe menu ($167) features dishes like Maine lobster in a curry broth, duck breast with rhubarb and basil, and slow-cooked lamb served over basmati rice, snap peas, and cumin-lime yogurt. (The lamb and game bird dishes are cooked in an authentic tandoori oven.) For a more affordable but still luxurious experience, check out the weekend brunch service.

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Acquerello
Photograph: Courtesy Acquerello

5. Acquerello

Restaurants Italian Nob Hill

Acquerello may be one of the oldest restaurants on this list but it’s far from stuck in its ways. The Italian favorite keeps things innovative by showcasing talented young chefs alongside the expertise of master chef-partner Suzette Gresham. In one of the most Old World refined dining rooms in town, diners revel in a prix fixe ($115 for three courses, $135 for four, $150 for five) or seasonal tasting menu ($225) showcasing dishes like the decadent Dungeness crab risotto with asparagus, cured egg yolk and oxalis. A two-star Michelin restaurant, Acquarello is not just a place to celebrate, its food is a celebration in-and-of itself.

Mahila
Photograph: Courtesy Mahila/ Jane Sim

6. Mahila

Azalina Eusope’s Mamak Malaysian food is bold and beautiful. Eusope elevates rustic home style and street food dishes into vibrant explosions of flavor, often gloriously accented with delicate microgreens that she grows. Plan to share dishes including luscious bowls of salted black cod fish curry, sweet potato dumplings, Mee Mamak (spicy stir-fried noodles) and pasembur, a salad of shredded cucumbers, potatoes, beancurd, turnip, bean sprouts, seafood with a spicy nut sauce. The cheerful and comfortable space with an open kitchen in front and a patio in back is relaxed and inviting, as is the service.

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Angler
Photograph: Bonjwing Lee

7. Angler San Francisco

Restaurants Seafood SoMa

Appropriately located on the Embarcadero, this waterfront restaurant from chef Joshua Skenes, of Saison fame, relishes the taste of the sea with a raw bar and delicacies like Monterey abalone, giant octopus and scorpion fish roasted over an open wood fireplace. With walls hung in taxidermied game, it should be no surprise that Angler's earthly delights, too, are delightful—dishes like smoky, succulent cordycep mushrooms, the signature radicchio salad with vegetarian XO sauce and hot fried quail.

Aziza
Photograph: ©Sabrina Bot Photo, Courtesy Aziza

8. Aziza

Restaurants Moroccan Outer Richmond

It’s back! After a long absence, Aziza is open again, and this time it’s a more neighborhood focused contemporary California restaurant with Moroccan influences. There are still some of the classic Moroccan dishes that diners loved, such as basteeya, beef tagine and hand rolled couscous with aged butter but also fresh new dishes like cured ocean trout with citrus, avocado and marash chile. A glowing new bar is beautiful with blue-green tiles. The airy main dining room can get loud on busy nights, so ask to be seated in the cozy back room if you want a quieter experience.

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Benu
Photograph: Courtesy Benu/Andria Lo

9. Benu

Restaurants Contemporary American Yerba Buena

Dried fruit, flowers, and herbs hang overhead and the kitchen is visible through spotless glass at this three-Michelin-starred restaurant. The French-meets-Asian food is the vision of James Beard Award-winner Corey Lee, formerly the head chef at French Laundry. The nightly tasting menu skews primarily toward seafood and vegetables and Asian influences emerge in dishes like a thousand-year-old quail egg, lobster coral soup dumplings, and abalone-stuffed chicken wings. The wine list includes more than 300 bottles. 

10. El Buen Comer

Restaurants Glen Park

This Bernal Heights cafe is serving up authentic Chilango cuisine from Mexico-born chef Isabel Caudillo in a bright, casual space. Housemade tortillas, beans and rice complement a variety of guisados which change on a daily basis, ranging from slow-cooked stews like tinga (pulled chicken simmered in tomato, onion and chipotle) and albondigas to a variety of mole dishes. Tacos, sopes and tostadas are topped with chicharron in salsa verde, rajas con crema and papas con chorizo. Saturday and Sunday brunch feature irresistible chilaquiles smothered in red or green sauce.

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Cala
Photograph: Chloe LIst

11. Cala

Restaurants Mexican Civic Center

Famed Mexico City chef Gabriela Cámara picked San Francisco to open her seafood-centric wunderkind, Cala. Cala presents sophisticated coastal delights like trout tostadas with chipotle, avocado and fried leeks and mussels over toast with carnitas and shaved egg in an upscale warehouse space in Hayes Valley. Latin American-inspired cocktails like the Sangria Aneja (anejo, jamaica syrup and fresh citrus) beautifully complement the food. If you’re in the mood for a quick bite, the semi-secret Tacos Cala at the rear of the restaurant slings CDMX-style tacos de guisado only for lunch in a tiny, standing room only taqueria.

Californios
Photograph: Flickr/Lou Stejskal

12. Californios

Restaurants Mexican Mission

This Michelin-starred Mexican spot is a design-lover’s dream, from the mirrored, unmarked facade to the neon art in the restroom. With its black walls, low lighting, and vibrant art, the decor matches the food: splurgy and surprising. Slip into the leather banquette or snag a spot at the bar for a view of the open kitchen. Chef Val Cantu’s decadent, 16-course tasting menu changes seasonally—expect heart-stoppingly rich dishes like lobster tacos, wagyu steak, and foie gras-garnished churros. The beverage pairing typically includes wine, beer, and cider.

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Swan Oyster Depot
Photograph: Flickr/Rob Hyndman

13. Swan Oyster Depot

Restaurants Seafood Nob Hill

You might not notice this hole-in-the-wall Nob Hill seafood joint if it weren’t for the long line outside. Part market, part restaurant, Swan Oyster Depot has been hocking fresh seafood since four Danish brothers started the business in 1912. Belly up to the bar to indulge in local oysters, Dungeness crab, chowder and smoked fish. If you’re looking for something a little different try one of their secret menu offerings like Sicilian sashimi (thinly sliced raw salmon, tuna and scallops drizzled in olive oil) or Crabsanthemum (crab legs in a flower arrangement with Louie sauce). Cash only.

Prairie
Photograph: Courtesy Prairie

14. PRAIRIE

Restaurants Italian Mission

PRAIRIE, which opened late last year, is one of the city's most talked about new restaurants. Former Delfina chef Anthony Strong combines Italian and Asian flavors to build creative dishes like bone marrow with snails and mochi wrapped with guanciale. Charcoal grilled goodies from the garden, ocean and land dominate the menu and cocktails like Becky with the Good Hair, made with the sour sea buckthorn and gin, deliciously complement the meal. Brunch here is particularly outstanding with dishes like the crunchy waffles with eggs and Calabrian XO sauce.

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Palette Tea House
Photograph: Courtesy Palette Tea House

15. Palette Tea House

Restaurants Seafood Fisherman's Wharf

The latest and greatest dim sum parlor is at Ghirardelli Square and features eye-popping, Instagram-ready dumplings and fresh seafood. A sister restaurant to Koi Palace and Dragon Beaux, Palette Tea House feels the most modern and sophisticated of the three. Share elevated versions of Chinese restaurant favorites like the rainbow-colored soup dumplings, swan-shaped taro puffs and wagyu beef chow fun noodles. 

Petit Crenn
Photograph: Jordan Wise Photography, Courtesy Petit Crenn

16. Petit Crenn

Restaurants French Hayes Valley

The rustic sister restaurant to the chic Atelier Crenn, this sleek, bright bistro offers a window into the flavors of chef Dominique Crenn’s childhood in Brittany. Tucked in among the painted ladies of Hayes Valley, Petit Crenn’s very reasonably priced five-course tasting menu ($105 including tip) is focused on vegetables and delicate seasonal seafood dishes such as squid ink boudin, trout in sauce vierge and acorn squash custard with uni. The restaurant does not serve meat.

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The Progress
Photograph: Courtesy The Progress

17. The Progress

Restaurants Contemporary American Western Addition

This buzzy follow-up to State Bird Provisions by Nicole Krasinski and Stuart Brioza is named after The Progress Theatre, which opened in 1911. The spot serves banquet-style meals in an inviting, wood-swathed space. The shareable dishes are broken down into sections: raw and salads; vegetables and grains; and seafood and meats. We recommend the squid ink noodles with oyster mushrooms, tomato-kale dashi and toasted sesame, and the dry-fried brussels sprouts. Cocktails here are inventive and festive. For a kick, try the Wendy Peffercorn made with kampot pepper vodka, aperol, amaro, lemon and blood orange.

AL's Deli
Photograph: Molly DeCoudreaux, Courtesy AL's Deli

18. AL’s Deli

A pink-and-turquoise love letter to Montreal deli food and Israeli street food, AL’s Deli is chef Aaron London’s casual dining spot just blocks from Dolores Park. The menu consists of shawarma spiced chicken, Montreal-style smoked meat and blistered eggplant and cauliflower served on platters, stuffed into pita sandwiches or served with salad. Everything oozes and overflows with hummus, cucumber and tomato salad, garlicky sauce, tahini, pickles and sumac onions. Creative inventions include stuffed potato latkes and falafel corn dog bites.

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Kin Khao
Photograph: Flickr/Kirk K

19. Kin Khao

Restaurants Thai Tenderloin

This casual and informal (and Michelin-starred!) Thai restaurant offers bold dishes made utilizing pristine local ingredients. Kin Khao—which translates to “eat rice”—is the passion project of Bangkok-born chef Pim Techamuanvivit with the aim "to liberate her beloved Thai cuisine from the tyranny of peanut sauce.” The menu is separated into bites, meats, seafood, greens, and curries. The dishes are shareable and generously spiced, from the “Pretty Hot Wings” glazed with fish sauce, garlic marinade, tamarind, and Sriracha to the caramelized pork belly. 

Dear Inga
Photograph: Courtesy Dear Inga

20. Dear Inga

Dear Inga is named for chef David Golovin's grandmother and inspired by his Eastern European heritage. Golovin utilizes fermentation, smoking and live fire in dishes that range from smoked sturgeon, cured salmon and pickled mussels to farmer’s cheese, bratwurst and beef-stuffed cabbage. The clean and modern restaurant has a long bar and chef's counter which make for a lively atmosphere. 

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A man in an orange apron holding a round platter of seafood charcuterie
Photograph: Ayala Restaurant/Yelp

21. Ayala

Restaurants Seafood Union Square

Ayala feels timeless. The wide-open and unadorned California seafood restaurant helmed by executive chef Melissa Perfit prepares fish and shellfish in both classic and creative ways. The restaurant features an extensive raw bar as well a fresh dishes like Louie salad, a noteworthy spaghettini with nori, crab, white miso and lemon, and a must-order English muffin served with honey butter. The cocktail program, curated by Julian Cox, has revamped martinis and sazeracs to include locally sourced ingredients and unusual spirits.

Soft serve ice cream at Tartine Manufactory
Photograph: Ana Kamin

22. Tartine Manufactory

Restaurants Bakeries Mission

If you’ve only been to Manufactory for the line-out-the-door brunch, you’re missing out. The dinner menu consists of elevated comfort food, from roast chicken and fresh pasta to deftly dressed veggies and a daily-baked array of breads and spreads. Designed by architect Charles Hemminger—the aesthetic genius behind Progress, Cala, and State Bird Provisions—the wood-on-white space is somehow both chic and calming. Giant orb paper lanterns glow overhead, glinting off the white Heath tiles and Doug fir beams.

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Gibson
Photograph: Virginia Miller

23. Gibson

Restaurants American Tenderloin

Chef Louis Maldonado leads the kitchen team at Gibson, where each chef bring dishes directly to the table in the elegant and richly colorful dining room. The menu offers succulent fire-roasted meats and seafood, often served with classic French touches like Bordelaise sauce on beef, scallops with smoked trout roe and brassicas with comte fondue. Adam Chapman, a chef-turned-operations director leads the innovative bar program with a flair for pairing drinks with food; his creative cocktails highlight a variety of sophisticated and savory flavor profiles.

House of Prime Rib
Photograph: Flickr/Travis Wise

24. House of Prime Rib

Restaurants Steakhouse Nob Hill

Seventy years after first opening, the House of Prime Rib can still be found on almost every "best of" list in San Francisco. It's just that good. The old school restaurant hasn't changed much over the years, and that's part of its charm. The dining rooms are still dominated by white tablecloths and oversized red booths. The simplified menu boasts five different cuts of prime rib, served to diners directly from rolling carving carts, and classic accompaniments like mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and creamed spinach. On the cocktail menu, find simple favorites like martinis, Manhattans and cosmopolitans. 

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Interior Cassava
Photograph: Courtesy Cassava

25. Cassava

Restaurants Californian Outer Richmond

Husband-and-wife team chef Kristoffer Toliao (who cooked for several years under Dominique Crenn) and GM Yuka Ioroi are responsible for a menu of modern California flavors like Spanish octopus and pork chop with rutabaga-green garlic sauce, cream of Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas and garlic oil, and buttermilk fried chicken with sous-vide chicken thigh and chipotle aioli. The four-course tasting menu is a steal at just $48 (add the beverage pairing for an additional $34).

Corridor restaurant in San Francisco
Photograph: Nader Khouri, Courtesy Corridor

26. Corridor

Restaurants Californian Civic Center

Comfort food from Chef Jason Halverson, friendly service from everyone’s favorite host Tai Ricci and craft cocktails make budget-friendly Corridor an ideal spot before heading to the performing arts centers nearby. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a winning $20 three-course prix fixe brunch on Saturdays. A lively open space with a small cozy mezzanine, the menu features snackable treats like the famous monkey bread, spicy meatballs and crispy falafel croquettes, hearty pasta dishes and refined versions of crowd favorites including a puff pastry topped vegetable pot pie.

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In Situ
Photograph: Eric Wolfinger, Courtesy SFMOMA

27. In Situ

Restaurants American Yerba Buena

Fittingly for a restaurant situated in a museum, In Situ transforms food into fine art on a global scale. The menu is the result of foodie crowdsourcing: Chef Corey Lee contacts renowned, boundary-pushing chefs around the world—from Chicago to Berlin—to contribute a dish and its recipe, which he faithfully recreates using local ingredients. The resulting 14-dish menu, which notes the name of each dish’s creator, their location, the ingredients, and the date it was conceived, is a dazzling display of ingenuity and inventive flavors.

28. Ju-Ni

Restaurants Japanese NoPa

Chef Geoffrey Lee earned his stripes at Sushi Ran and Akiko’s before opening this intimate, 12-seat omakase bar. (The name translates to “twelve” in Japanese.) The expert training paid off—Ju Ni earned a Michelin star in 2017. Behind the bar, three sushi chefs toil over a dozen diners, meticulously preparing each bite of a chef's menu ($165) that spans 18 eye-opening courses, from sake-cured albacore to golden eye snapper flecked with kelp salt. The fish, which is all flown from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, might be garnished with citrus, miso butter, or yuzu-tinged hot sauce.

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Seating inside KUSAKABE
Photograph: Courtesy KUSAKABE

29. KUSAKABE

Restaurants Japanese Jackson Square

Named for chef Mitsunori Kusakabe, an alum of Nobu and Sausalito's Sushi Ran, this restaurant has made a name for itself as one of the best sushi spots in the city. Omakase (chef's choice) is the only option here—either eight courses for $98 or 11 for $175—and they're well worth it. Dishes like shiizakana with braised white eel, monkfish liver, buckwheat risotto and wasabi leaf are carefully calibrated to balance taste, color and cooking methods (raw, roasted, steamed, fried, simmered). It's a meal that takes time, so order from KUSAKABE's extensive sake selection and settle in for an experience.

China Live
Photograph: Virginia Miller

30. China Live

Restaurants Chinese Russian Hill

China Live is a multi-floored ode to modern Chinese food in a 30,000-foot space with two restaurants, a retail market, three bars and tea café. Upstairs, Eight Tables by George Chen, the emporium's fine dining restaurant, is a refined, intimate experience inspired by the historic Chinese concept of si fang cai or "private chateau cuisine." Its execution so impressed Time Magazine when it opened in 2018 that Eight Tables was named one of the world's 100 greatest destinations to experience right now. At the more laid-back first floor Market Restaurant, made-to-order Peking duck, soup dumplings and rice bowls are made at eight specialized culinary stations and served to diners seated in the cavernous yet stylish dining room.

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La Ciccia
Photograph: Courtesy La Ciccia

31. La Ciccia

Restaurants Italian Glen Park

This cozy Noe Valley mainstay is known for its neighborhood vibe and Italian hospitality. Co-owner Massimiliano Conti cooks recipes from his native Sardinia using organic produce and sustainable fish. Even the wine list is all Italian. The space is narrow and intimate, lit by candlelight and dotted with crisp white tablecloths. The specials change frequently, but a few local favorites are in regular rotation: The Prupisceddu in Umidu cun Tomatiga, a baby octopus stew in a spicy tomato base and the squid ink pasta with fresh seafood and citrus zest.   

La Taqueria
Photograph: Marcia Gagliardi

32. La Taqueria

Restaurants Mexican Mission

Owned by Miguel Jara for nearly 50 years, this modest Mission taqueria has rightfully earned national acclaim. Jara opened the spot in 1973 serving simple, authentic recipes cribbed from his mother and tasting tours across Mexico. La Taqueria has since been named a “classic” American restaurant by the James Beard Foundation, as well as the best burrito-maker in America by FiveThirtyEight. It’s known for quintessential Mission-style burritos; The carnitas, which are slow-cooked for hours with orange, garlic, and salt, are the way to go. Regulars know to order theirs dorado-style—seared on the grill for a crispy, golden-brown finish.

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Del Popolo
Photograph: Liam Passmore

33. Del Popolo

Restaurants Pizza Lower Nob Hill

From humble beginnings as a food truck, Del Popolo has graduated to one of the city's best Neapolitan pizza purveyors. The stylish pizzeria boasts long wooden communal tables and a half-moon green tiled bar, behind which sits the massive wood-fired pizza oven. Small plates like cauliflower tempura served with horseradish crema and dill and charred mixed chicory with lady apple, pecorina jagas and hazelnuts hold their own against beloved classic thin-crust pies including two types of margherita and a mouthwatering bianca made with mozzarella, ricotta, basil and garlic.

Sardine chips with horesradish and pepper cress at Rich Table
Photograph: Michael O'Neal

34. Rich Table

Restaurants Californian Hayes Valley

Husband-and-wife chefs Evan and Sarah Rich serve creative, but down-to-earth fare in this wood-paneled Hayes Valley spot. For starters, that means thick, chewy slabs of Douglas fir-infused levain slathered in house cultured butter, porcini mushroom doughnuts, and addictive sardine chips dunked in a horseradish crème fraîche. But the true standouts are the house-made pastas in bold flavor combinations, from sea urchin cacio e pepe to roasted squash dumplings with spring onion and kumquat. Spring for the tasting menu ($99) to sample a bit of everything, from salads to sweetbreads to spaghetti.

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Caviar Cheong Fun
Photograph: Flickr/T.Tseng/CC

35. Mister Jiu’s

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Bar Agricole alum Brandon Jew opened this ambitious homage to Cantonese food in 2016, melding traditional flavors and modern cooking techniques. The restaurant serves inventive twists on classic dishes—think Dutch Crunch BBQ pork buns, chicken feet terrine flavored with lime, chili, and sorrel, and Hodo tofu skin served with sungold tomatoes, purslane, and cured egg yolk. The vibe is lively and fun, from the open kitchen to the spicy, sweet, and tea-steeped cocktails by bar manager Danny Louie. Upstairs is Moongate Lounge serving cocktails, snacks and larger format dishes such as salt and pepper squid and cha siu pork collar bao.

Mourad
Photograph: Eric Wolfinger

36. Mourad

Restaurants Californian Yerba Buena

Chef Mourad Lahlou’s Michelin-starred Moroccan restaurant blends old-world flavors with modern cooking techniques and design. The glamorous 6,000-square-foot space is modeled after a grand Moroccan home, decked with intricate tiling, vibrant rugs, and twinkling lights. The highlight of the menu is the La’acha family-style dishes, such as lamb shoulder cooked with moyer prune, cumin, almond, and chicories, or snapper served alongside calcot onion, radish, summer beans, and charmoula. Pair your meal with a European red, displayed in the glass-encased wine cage suspended above the lounge.

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Nopalito
Photograph: Flickr/Premshree Pillai

37. Nopalito

Restaurants Mexican Lower Haight

At Nopalito, the authentic flavors of Mexico are combined with local, sustainable and organic ingredients to create complex, slow-cooked deliciousness. Here you’ll find traditional dishes like pozole rojo and gorditas campechanas as well as an offering or two featuring the restaurant’s namesake, nopales. The indoor-outdoor heated patio at the original location is pleasant no matter the weather outside but both the original location, and that in the Inner Sunset, have lively Mexican-inspired indoor spaces.

Fiorella
Photograph: Courtesy Fiorella

38. Fiorella

Restaurants Pizza Outer Richmond

This little Italian joint has singlehandedly upped the foodie-cred of San Francisco's outerlands since opening in 2016. From the wood-fired pizza oven to the creative toile wallpaper featuring Bay Area legends, Fiorella is as much a neighborhood spot as it is a destination. Helmed by chef Brandon Gillis and Boris Nemchenok of Lower Haight's Uva Enoteca, the menu here is full of well-executed classics like spaghetti alla cacio e pepe and spicy salami pie with marinated onions, chilis and provolone picante. Brunch ranges from the sweet banana bread with whipped coconut, hazelnuts, cocoa and coconut crisps to the savory green, egg & ham pie (broccolini with egg, pancetta, fior di latte and Bellwether ricotta). 

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Wildseed
Photograph: Courtesy Wildseed

39. Wildseed

This plant-based restaurant is easy breezy and the food is approachable and frankly, delicious. The menu offers snacks and salads (no surprise there) as well as heartier dishes like the Neatball Masala. What looks like meatballs are made from lentils and mushrooms, served with a creamy sauce and pickled carrots over a bowl of whole grains. While the Impossible Burger is incorporated into a bolognese and burger, the Wildseed burger made from mushrooms and spinach is particularly good, in part because it’s topped with roasted tomatoes and onions. The curried cauliflower is also a must as is the warm chocolate cake served with chocolate gelato.

Tsuta
Photograph: Courtesy Tsuta

40. Tsuta

San Francisco is ramen crazy, and the latest hot spot comes from the world’s only Michelin-starred ramen spot. Chef Yuki Onishi allows only housemade noodles at Tsuta, using a specific blend of several types of whole wheat flour to achieve soft textured noodles that complement his soup bases. The signature bowl is shoyu, with a soy and dashi (soup stock), made with chicken, vegetables, clams, and other seafood; it’s gilded with a rich dab of black truffle sauce which adds earthy notes and complexity. A lighter version is the salt or Shio soba with a chicken-seafood broth featuring Okinawa sea salt and Mongolian rock salt, Asari clams, and a blob of green olives blended with fragrant white truffle oil.

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Dutch pancake at Outerlands
Photograph: Eric Wolfinger

41. Outerlands

Restaurants Californian Outer Sunset

Most know Outerlands for its perpetually-slammed weekend brunch, which includes Instagram-famous dishes like the Eggs-in-Jail and cast iron Dutch pancakes. But at night, the restaurant becomes the ideal neighborhood spot. Candlelight flickers off the driftwood-collaged walls, regulars congregate around the polished concrete bar (the cocktails are excellent), and the scent of baking bread and braised meats fill the air. Whatever you do, start with the bread and butter, which is baked in house and is some of the best in the city. The rotating menu marries inventive flavor profiles and seasonal ingredients in salads, roasted vegetable starters, steak, ricotta dumplings, clam and mussel stew, and butter drenched fish. 

Lazy Bear
Photograph: Virginia Miller

42. Lazy Bear

Restaurants Contemporary American Mission

Lazy Bear began a decade ago as a self-serious supper club in the home of David Barzelay; today it’s morphed into a Michelin-starred, ticketed affair where seats often sell out a month in advance. Modeled after those original in-home affairs, guests are first invited to mingle in the restaurant’s loungey mezzanine for cocktail hour. Then they’re seated at two long, communal dining tables for a 15-course dinner while a crew of chefs slave away so that everyone in the restaurant can be served at once. The eclectic menu is set anew nightly. Splurge for the beverage pairing (an extra $95), which consists of seven or eight drinks (wine, beer and cocktails) spaced out over the course of the meal. 

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The Morris
Photograph: Leo Gong, Courtesy The Morris

43. The Morris

Restaurants American Mission

This 48-seat bistro serves upscale comfort food in an unpretentious setting. Founded by Paul Einbund, formerly the beverage director at Frances, the concise menu is inventive and a little fun, featuring items like a Chartreuse slushy, fried pork cracklins served with honey and cayenne, beef rib with chicories and mushroom bordelaise, and buckwheat doughnuts dunked in a whisky creme anglaise. The restaurant is known for smoked duck, which can be ordered whole ($140) or halved ($70) and is served with root vegetables.

Nopa
Photograph: Courtesy Nopa

44. Nopa

Restaurants Californian Alamo Square

Nopa is still holding strong on the corner of Hayes and Divisadero serving its "urban rustic" cuisine to a perennially packed house. Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes like porchetta with potatoes, strawberry mostarda, peppercress and cracklings and cannellone made with housemade ricotta, tomato, leeks, radish and shiso are consistently delicious, as are brunch offerings like butter basted eggs with fried asparagus, shitake mushrooms, orange and horseradish creme fresh. If you come without a reservation at peak hours, be prepared to wait for seats at both the bar and restaurant.

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Delfina
Photograph: Eric Wolfinger / OpenKitchenPhotography

45. Delfina

Restaurants Italian Mission Dolores

Delfina has been a neighborhood mainstay since before the Mission was cool (read: gentrified). Owners Anne and Craig Stoll set up shop in 1998, offering fresh Italian fare in an upscale setting. The decor is minimalist, with wood accents and industrial fixtures; all the better for people-watching out the wrap-around windows facing Valencia Street. Delfina is known for its pasta, including the classic spaghetti, made with plump plum tomatoes and deftly spiced with pepperoncinis, and the tripe alla fiorentina. Heartier dishes include grilled fish, roast chicken, and wood-grilled steak. 

Sons & Daughters
Photograph: Courtesy Sons & Daughters

46. Sons & Daughters

Restaurants Contemporary American Union Square

This Nob Hill restaurant exclusively serves a seasonal tasting menu. The nine-course, $145 menu is delicate and thoughtful with produce selected from local farms, including chef-owners Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara's one-acre garden and orchard in Los Gatos. The NorCal preoccupation with the hyper-local is on full display here—you can watch the plating in the open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. Expect dishes that spotlight each ingredient such as scallop crudo with asian pear aguachile and fresh wasabi and hibachi-grilled lamb crusted in local seaweed and peppercorn.

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Kokkari Estiatorio
Photograph: Courtesy Kokkari Estiatorio

47. Kokkari Estiatorio

Restaurants Greek Downtown

Kokkari is an upscale Greek restaurant that truly offers the “food of the gods.” Begin your meal with mezethes (small plates) like marithes tiganites (crispy smelt with garlic-potato skordalia and lemon, also affectionately referred to as “fries with eyes”) or some of the best grilled octopus in town. Once you’ve plowed through those, dig in to Kokkari’s traditional moussaka—a rich, creamy baked casserole of eggplant, lamb ragout and béchamel—or their famed lamb chops. For dessert? Various iterations of baklava and loukoumades, Greek donuts with honey, cinnamon and walnuts, round out the menu. 

48. Spruce

Restaurants Presidio Heights

The ambiance here is one of old-school elegance, from the Baccarat crystal chandelier overhead to the dark mohair walls. Chef Mark Sullivan turns out classic dishes that emphasize local ingredients, relying on SMIP Ranch, a private farm near Woodside, for his supply of  just-picked herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Spruce is particularly beloved by oenophiles: The wine list features more than 2,500 bottles from around the world. In addition, the restaurant works with distillers and wine-makers to create its own house spirits and wines, including a single barrel Kentucky bourbon, a single malt scotch, a Willamette Valley pinot noir, a German riesling, and an array of gins.

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Quince
Photograph: Courtesy Quince

49. Quince

Restaurants Californian Jackson Square

With its white tablecloths, glimmering chandeliers, and larger-than-life floral arrangements, this elegant California-French restaurant by chef Michael Tusk feels like a throwback to a more sophisticated time. The prix fixe tasting menu ($295) changes every night, revealing a choreographed array of elaborate, eclectic dishes that have earned the spot three Michelin stars. The organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers are all sourced from Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas, which supplies Tusk’s restaurants exclusively. You can opt for the more formal dining room or the salon, where there’s a menu of a dozen caviars, spanning California to Bulgaria. 

Frances' Lumberjack Cake
Photograph: Courtesy Frances

50. Frances

Restaurants Californian The Castro

This cozy, narrow neighborhood restaurant serves peak Californian cuisine. All the ingredients are sourced from Northern California farms and local city markets, and the menu changes daily according to what’s fresh. Chef Melissa Perello named the restaurant after her grandmother, aiming for a homey, comfortable vibe. The food is refined without being intimidating, from a red snapper served with cranberry beans, tomatoes, kaffir lime, and red pepper jus to the spaghetti topped with basil, garlic, Sungold tomatoes, Grana Padano, and uni butter. Start with the chickpea fritters and order a smattering of the vegetable sides to share.

More places to eat in San Francisco

Szechuan Cuisine
Photograph: Yelp/Greg G

The best Chinese restaurants in San Francisco

Restaurants

With the highest percentage of Chinese residents of any major city in the country, there’s no shortage of delicious Chinese restaurants in San Francisco ranging from dim sum to hand-pulled noodles and bakeries to fine dining. Whether it’s Szechuan, Cantonese, Hunan, or fusion-cuisine you’re seeking, San Francisco’s Chinese restaurants have got it all and more. And just one note: There are outstanding Chinese restaurants scattered all over town, from Downtown to the Richmond, so don't be afraid to venture outside of Chinatown.  RECOMMENDED: The full guide to Chinatown, San Francisco

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HRD
Photograph: Flickr/jpellgen

The 9 best burritos in San Francisco

Restaurants

San Franciscans have a long history of fighting over who makes the best burritos in San Francisco. To start, the city is famous for its Mission-style burritos, which date back to the 1960s. Various taquerias claim to have originated the ultimate to-go meal, which typically includes meat, rice, beans and in the case of super burritos, much more. (Side note: these joints are also whipping up some of the best tacos in San Francisco.) But Mexican burritos aren’t the only game in town. Pretty much anything wrapped in a tortilla qualifies and these days you can find fusion versions that stuff Indian, Filipino and Korean ingredients (and even sushi!) into a tortilla. Versatile, customizable, affordable, quick, convenient and quite frankly delicious, burritos may evolve, but the best burritos in San Francisco will never go out of style. RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in San Francisco 

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