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The best restaurants in San Francisco to check out right now

From Michelin-starred experiences to neighborhood joints, don't miss a chance to try San Francisco's best restaurants

Clara Hogan
Written by
Clara Hogan
Contributor
Amy Sherman
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Dining in San Francisco is unlike anywhere else in the world. One reason: you can eat nearly every type of cuisine—both in the form of cheap eats and fine Michelin dining—all in this one dazzling city. From the vibrant streets of the Mission to the bustling Inner Richmond to the scenic Embarcadero, every corner boasts a mix of beloved long-standing eateries and exciting new hotspots.

Aspiring chefs from all over are drawn to San Francisco to chase their dreams for a reason. Abundant local produce, a spirit of innovation, and rich cultural diversity all converge to craft truly one-of-a-kind dining experiences.

With all this in mind, creating the list of best restaurants in San Francisco is no easy feat. While this list is by no means comprehensive, with it we aim to highlight the promise a gastronomic adventure like no other. From institutions like Zuni Cafe and Lazy Bear to buzzy new spots like Dalida and Copra, we are confident these 50+ best restaurants in San Francisco will give you an experience you won't soon forget. 

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Best restaurants in San Francisco

1. Dalida

Opened in 2023, Dalida is a dream realized for husband-and-wife chef duo Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz, who have worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the country. Nestled within the Presidio, this Eastern Mediterranean restaurant is elegant yet relaxed, perfect for a special occasion, work dinner, or catching up with a friend. The menu features creative yet comforting dishes inspired by North African, Persian, Greek and Turkish and other flavors of the Ottoman Empire. Think braised lamb, chubby pita with spreads, creative pasta and fresh seafood. The menu is vast, so it’s wise to pick the tasting menu (allowing chefs to send you dishes of their choice)—priced at $75, it’s truly a steal for San Francisco.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Mission
  • price 4 of 4

Lazy Bear, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in the Mission, has firmly established itself as a San Francisco culinary institution. What began over a decade ago as a supper club at Chef David Barzelay's home evolved into a Michelin-starred, ticketed affair. Throughout its journey, Lazy Bear has consistently embraced the nostalgia of the American dinner party. The restaurant, reminiscent of a cozy hunting lodge, is housed within a two-level warehouse. Chef Barzelay, who was a Boy Scout in his youth, brings a sense of adventure and ingenuity to the table, crafting familiar and innovative dishes. For many years, Lazy Bear was renowned for its communal-style dining tables, adapted to individual seating during the pandemic. Now, the restaurant is preparing to close for several weeks in the summer of 2024 to reinvent itself once again. Despite these changes, the core concept, exceptional hospitality, and fun-hearted nature of every evening spent here remain the same. 

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3. Copra

In 2022, the SF culinary scene was abuzz when chef Srijith Gopinathan announced he was leaving Campton Place, where he had served for 15 years and earned two Michelin stars, to start his own venture. Copra is that venture—a stunning restaurant in the buzzy Fillmore District. Chef Gopinathan has crafted a heartfelt menu inspired by food enjoyed as a child in Kerala, India, with recipes passed down and rooted in family traditions. The menu ranges from tiny bites to shared plates to larger entrees—each dish is creative, elegant and packed with flavor. The interior is as vibrant as the food, with dramatic, lush, and eclectic decor that creates a sexy, tropical vibe. The colorful cocktails complete the mood. 

4. Aphotic

Seafood-centric Aphotic opened in March 2023, and only four months later, the restaurant earned a coveted Michelin star and a Green Star for its commitment to sustainable practices. With his $165, 10-course, pescatarian tasting menu, chef Peter Hemsley and his team will surprise and delight you all night long with dishes that pair seafood sourced directly from local fishermen with in-season California ingredients. Settle into the moody, low-light ambiance and get ready for a ride. Like most fine dining establishments, the technique and presentation at Aphotic are top-tier, but unlike many, these don’t trump flavor, and you’ll want to devour every last bite of each course. Picture warm milk bread paired with Dungeness crab curry hollandaise or Tsar Nicoulai caviar elegantly encircled with thinly sliced spot prawn. Seafood even extends to dessert: the oyster ice cream is the most creative. Cocktails are another standout, as one of the few restaurants distilling its own spirits in-house. Don’t miss the aphotic martini, served tableside. Tip: if you’re not looking for a tasting menu, book a seat at the bar, which has a separate and equally stunning menu.

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5. Nisei

The term "nisei" refers to children born in a new country to Japanese-born immigrants. San Francisco's Nisei restaurant serves as a heartfelt tribute to Chef David Yoshimura's unique experience as a second-generation Japanese American. Awarded one Michelin star in 2022, one year after opening, Chef Yoshimura invites diners on an intimate journey that harmonizes his Japanese heritage with his American upbringing, all while showcasing the finest seasonal California ingredients. Nestled in the charming Russian Hill neighborhood, Nisei is more than just a dining destination—it's an immersive narrative of cultural fusion and culinary innovation. With exceptional service complimenting a menu filled with dishes that both surprise and delight, each plate a testament to Yoshimura’s meticulous craftsmanship and artistic vision, Nisei stands poised on the brink of even greater acclaim.

Opened in late 2021, Osito brought a completely new—and captivating—culinary experience to San Francisco. Here, chef Seth Stowaway and his team cook every single dish over a live fire. Before the restaurant even reached one year open, it was awarded a Michelin star. Diners settle in along a long wooden communal table with views of the flames and the culinary team assembling each of the too many dishes to count on the menu nightly. The intimate atmosphere feels special and intimate, creating a space where strangers can't help but talk to each other about what they're experiencing—and tasting.

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7. Noodle in a Haystack

Called the “most interesting ramen restaurant in America” by Bon Appétit, Noodle in a Haystack evolved from pop-ups in chef Clint and Yoko Tan’s home to a quaint Inner Richmond restaurant that serves just 12 guests each night. The nightly offering is a seasonal, eight-course tasting menu with Japanese-inspired dishes; highlights include pork belly karaage, tsukemono (pickles of the day), and a financier served with Tsar Nicoulai caviar and smoked shoyu crème fraîche. The main event, of course, is the ramen, from a tom yom patina to a duck shoyu version to the yuzu shio version that rocketed the self-taught husband-wife duo to Finalist status at the World Ramen Grand Prix in Osaka in 2017. With just a dozen seats, it’s a hard reservation to get, and bookings for each month open about three weeks prior, so set your alarm.

8. Zuni Cafe

For over 40 years, Zuni Café has retained an iconic status among San Francisco restaurants. With a homey feel across the two-story interior and massive windows that usher in warm daylight, the interior perfectly matches the California cuisine on offer. Here, you order the musts, like the Zuni Caesar salad, the whole romaine leaves piled high and showered in Parmigiano-Reggiano. And, of course, the famous Zuni “chicken for two,” a full bird that’s dry-brined for several days, cooked in the restaurant’s piping hot brick oven and served atop a signature salad of Acme Bread pieces and seasonal greens. (The chicken takes 60 minutes from ordering, so sit back in anticipation.) Don’t miss the house-cured anchovies served with paper-thin celery, hunks of parm and coquillo olives. After decades, the original vibe remains: the walls serve as a rotating art gallery, the Parisian-style copper bar still is standing-room only, and a pianist plays regularly. 

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9. Prik Hom

Chef Jim Suwanpanya quietly opened this Inner Richmond spot with his sister, Tanya, in early 2023, but word quickly spread about the restaurant’s aromatic, complex curries that Jim refined while working in Michelin-starred restaurants in Bangkok. At Prik Hom, which translates to “fragrant chili,” chef Suwanpanya uses a medley of dry spices to impart peak flavor. Start with the Hat Yai Fried Chicken, coated in warming cumin and coriander seed and topped with crispy shallot, before moving onto Northern Thai larb salads, including a vegetarian version starring “mushrooms of the day.” The seasonal curry selections always feature housemade curry pastes, including recent favorites like beef cheek, basil, and cashew panang curry and a spicy Southern Thai fish curry featuring black cod and clams from Monterey Fish Market. 

10. Sula

Tucked within the Cavallo Point Lodge, a historic inn at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sula replaces the hotel's longtime signature restaurant, Murray Circle. The new version does not disappoint, offering a sophisticated New American menu in a gorgeous space that blends the property's military heritage with modern times. The menu is crafted by executive chef Michael Garcia who originally hails from the Bay Area and has cooked at esteemed restaurants in San Francisco. Dishes pull from Mediterranean-style cooking and fresh local ingredients out of Marin. 

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11. Blue Whale Restaurant & Lounge

This latest spot from chef Ho Chee Boon is the casual sibling to his inspired Chinatown restaurant Empress by Boon. Tucked back off the street in Cow Hollow, the pan-Asian menu pulls from the chef’s Cantonese training while incorporating influence from Malaysia, Singapore, and other cuisines. The crispy duck salad is a cross-over dish, with servers tossing tableside the beloved roast duck from Empress with crispy lotus root, pomelo, pomegranate, and a plum duck sauce. Don’t miss the playful cocktails here. They are best sipped on the lush back patio on a warm day (or, more commonly for SF, under a warm heat lamp).

12. Empress by Boon

Empress by Boon—from Malaysia-born Michelin-starred Chef Ho Chee Boon—opened its doors in June 2021, debuting a fully restored interior that modernizes the historic Empress of China space while keeping some of its original woodwork. Chef Ho presents a prix fixe menu at a startingly reasonable rate of $108 and a separate small bites menu served in a trendy bar area. The menu focuses on modern takes on traditional Cantonese fare prepared with local ingredients, many from the restaurant’s own organic farm in Gilroy, California.

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13. Tenderheart

At the heart of the new, chic LINE Hotel—located in the Mid-Market neighborhood—is Tenderheart. Dining at this sleek yet warm restaurant is an experience you won't soon forget and definitely blows any expectations you have of a hotel restaurant out of the water. Executive chef Joe Hou (formerly of Michelin-starred Angler and Per Se) has crafted a menu that features seasonal California ingredients in inspiring ways, often rooted in his Chinese-American upbringing. One dish you can't miss is the burrata, paired with pickled gypsy peppers, salsa macha and crispy wontons. The cocktails are also a welcome departure from the expected, with twists on classics like the Negroni Coast (featuring Thai basil and coconut) and and the New Fashioned (rye and bourbon paired with banana and winter melon sugar).

14. Camino Alto

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The front of the restaurant along this buzzy Cow Hollow street may seem unassuming, but when you step into Camino Alto, a neighborhood favorite, you quickly get a sense that you've stumbled into somewhere special. From the sun-lit window seats to the moody, candlelit tables in the back, to the airy "secret garden" patio, there is no bad seat in the house. In Owner Josh Copeland's uber-local, uber-seasonal California kitchen, fresh ingredients sourced from Bay Area farmers markets are the star. Dishes are simple yet flavorful, such as the wood-oven Japanese sweet potato with romanesco—perfectly tender yet crispy—as well as the Dutch oven pork shoulder with creamy beans and pico de gallo and avocado salsa. Don’t miss this under-the-radar gem.

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15. Nari

After opening in 2019, Nari received a Michelin star in 2023, solidifying its place at the height of San Francisco's culinary scene. From acclaimed chef Pim Techamuanvivit, the restaurant is a bit more sophisticated in decor and cuisine than her other restaurant, Kin Khao. The name "Nari" comes from the Sanskrit-derived Thai word for “women.” With a kitchen team led mainly by women, including chef de cuisine Meghan Clark, Techamuanvivit says the restaurant is a tribute to the women who taught her to cook. Here, chefs swap out some traditional Thai ingredients for locally grown seasonal ones 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.

16. Bodega SF

For nearly 15 years, Bodega Bistro was a solid choice for Vietnamese fare in the Tenderloin until it shut down in 2017. Matt Ho's father and uncles ran the eatery, and Ho always wanted to bring it back. He did just that in the form of a pop-up in 2019. That plan shifted during the pandemic to offering weekly meal kits out of Rooster and Rice in the Castro. Finally, in June 2022, Ho opened Bodega SF in its original neighborhood of the Tenderloin as a sit-down restaurant offering high-end yet approachable dishes packed with flavor and heart, including favorites such as the mouth-watering lobster curry, whole branzino, tamarind tiger prawns, and bo tai chanh, a beef carpaccio of sorts with seared filet mignon paired with Thai basil, crispy shallots, and citrus fish sauce. The sleek restaurant also offers a full bar, including a stellar menu of Asian-inspired cocktails.

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  • Restaurants
  • Glen Park

This Bernal Heights cafe serves 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 daily. They range 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Nob Hill
  • price 4 of 4

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 ($165) or seasonal tasting menu ($275) showcasing decadent and innovative dishes. A two-star Michelin restaurant, Acquarello is not just a place to celebrate; the food is a celebration in and of itself.

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19. Sorella

Sorella ('sister' in Italian) is the newer, more relaxed restaurant and bar from the team behind Acquerello (two Michelin stars). The sleek interior feels chic yet relaxed, and every dish's level of technique and care gives you the clear impression you're getting a steal for the price point. The menu comprises antipasti, vegetable sides, and secondi, but the heart of the menu is the mouthwatering homemade pasta. Try as many as you can. And don't skip ordering from the playful cocktail menu or extensive wine list.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Mission
  • price 4 of 4

This two 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 to view the open kitchen. Chef Val Cantu’s decadent tasting menu changes seasonally. The beverage pairing typically includes wine, beer, and cider.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Nob Hill
  • price 2 of 4

You might overlook 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).

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Fisherman's Wharf

This fantastic dim sum parlor at Ghirardelli Square 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 rainbow-colored soup dumplings, swan-shaped taro puffs and wagyu beef chow fun noodles. 

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23. Waterbar

You can't beat the panoramic views from Waterbar, which sits right along the Embarcadero. Take a seat outside on the patio (complete with heat lamps) or near the window for views of the stunning Bay Bridge—at night, it lights up as the sky turns dark. Primarily a seafood restaurant, Waterbar has high standards for sustainability and quality throughout its dishes, seared scallops, fish and chips, lobster rolls, and pretty much any of its fresh fish dishes. The perfectly prepared seafood and the scenic atmosphere have made Waterbar a favorite for tourists and locals for a special dining experience for years.

24. Terrene

This buzzy spot may be within the luxury-meets-sustainability 1 Hotel San Francisco, but you won’t just find tourists here. Terrene has become a go-to spot for locals, too, be it for happy hour, coffee, dinner or brunch. During the day, grab a latte, smoothie, or healthy bowls. For dinner, grab seat on the patio overlooking the Embarcadero and the Ferry Building, warmed by the many heaters spread throughout, and try one of their zero-waste cocktails and array of dips—on Thursdays and Fridays, a DJ will be spinning hits as you watch the Bay Bridge light up at night. No matter the time of day, ingredients within the dishes are largely grown on the rooftop chef’s garden. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Western Addition
  • price 4 of 4

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 one Michelin-starred spot serves bold, creative dishes in an inviting, two-story, wood-swathed space. Shareable plates are split into sections: vegetables, meats, seafood, and "western additions." Each dish is a winner; don't hesitate or question yourself when ordering. Cocktails here are inventive and festive. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • NoPa
  • price 4 of 4

Chef Geoffrey Lee earned his stripes at Sushi Ran and Akiko’s before opening this intimate, 12-seat omakase bar. The expert training paid off—Ju Ni earned a Michelin star in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. Locals felt the restaurant was robbed when their Michelin star was taken away in 2022. Behind the bar, three sushi chefs toil over a dozen diners, meticulously preparing each bite of a chef's menu ($198) that spans 14 eye-opening courses. The fish, flown from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, might be garnished with citrus, miso butter, or yuzu-tinged hot sauce. No matter the garnish, it is stunningly delicious.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Mission
  • price 2 of 4

If you’ve only been to Manufactory for the line-out-the-door brunch, you’re missing out. The dinner menu includes elevated comfort food, from roast chicken and fresh pasta, to deftly dressed veggies and a daily-baked array of bread 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • SoMa
  • price 4 of 4

Appropriately located on the Embarcadero, this one Michelin star waterfront restaurant 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 covered in taxidermied game, it should be no surprise that Angler's earthly delights, too, are delightful—dishes like smoky, succulent, slowly grilled Hen of Woods mushrooms, the signature radicchio salad with vegetarian XO sauce, and the Angler Potato, which is thinly sliced and reassembled before being deep fried and served with a Sonoma cheese sauce. 

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29. La Société

Located in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma, La Société is a new, modern French brasserie that stays true to French technique while infusing California flair and ingredients. Despite being in the lobby of a hotel chain, it's far from a typical hotel restaurant for tourists. La Société is a destination in itself for visitors and locals alike. 

Chef Alexandre Viriot has cooked around the world, including under French masters such as Joel Robuchon, and it's obvious in the care of each dish. The menu is Paris-meets-San Francisco, with French classics infused with a local twist, such as puffy Dutch crunch gougères, pate sourced from Heritage Pork and creamy Liberty Duck mousse. Mains include mussels and frites, a grilled Berkshire pork chop and a beautiful duck a l'orange. Save room for tiramisu to round out your meal. 

  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Nob Hill
  • price 3 of 4

Seventy years after its first opening, the House of Prime Rib remains 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. White tablecloths and oversized red booths still dominate the dining rooms. The simplified menu boasts five 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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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 4 of 4

Dried fruit, flowers, and herbs hang overhead at this three-Michelin-starred restaurant, and the kitchen is visible through the spotless glass. 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 the creative dishes. The wine list includes more than 300 bottles. 

  • 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 that will take your breath away. The three-course tasting menu is a steal, starting at just $52 a person (add the beverage pairing for an additional $30). Formerly in the Outer Richmond, Cassava opened in a new location in North Beach in 2022.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Russian Hill
  • price 2 of 4

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 a 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." 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Glen Park
  • price 3 of 4

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, and even the extensive 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, is divine.

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35. Alora

Feel whisked away from the California waterfront to the shores of the Mediterranean at Alora, a new restaurant along Pier 3 of the Embarcadero. The menu showcases Greek, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, and Middle Eastern flavors using locally sourced California ingredients. Think mezze, handmade pastas, kebabs, seafood dishes, and dry-aged meats. Grab a spot on the patio if you can, a perfect place to sip a cocktail and watch the action of the Bay.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Mission
  • price 1 of 4

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 and the best burrito-maker in America by FiveThirtyEight. It’s known for quintessential Mission-style burritos; the carnitas, 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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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lower Nob Hill
  • price 2 of 4

From humble beginnings as a food truck, Del Popolo has graduated into 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 the massive wood-fired pizza oven. Small plates like brussels sprouts with olives, pomegranate, and golden raisin vinaigrette and an eggplant-and-Jimmy Nardello caponata 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Jackson Square
  • price 4 of 4

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—18 courses for $198—and they're well worth it. Dishes like Japanese Umami dashi egg custard with soy sauce cured quail egg and Japanese sardine braised in ume-boshi Dashi 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Hayes Valley
  • price 3 of 4

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 bread 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 pasta in bold flavor combinations, from sea urchin cacio e pepe to roasted squash dumplings with crispy kale and pomegranate. Spring for the chef's pick menu and let the chefs take you on a real journey.

  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Outer Richmond
  • price 2 of 4

This little Italian joint has singlehandedly upped the foodie-cred of San Francisco's outlands. 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 chitarra alla cacio e pepe and "The Good Neighbor Pie" with spicy salami, meatball, fennel sausage, and provolone Picante. Brunch ranges from 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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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Chinatown
  • price 4 of 4
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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 sourdough scallion pancakes, dayboat scallops and pork belly dumpling with scallop XO, and whole sizzled fish. The vibe is lively and fun, from the open kitchen to bar director Garrett Marks's spicy, sweet, and tea-steeped cocktails. Upstairs is the Moongate Lounge, serving cocktails, snacks and larger format dishes such as salt and pepper squid and cha siu pork collar bao.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 3 of 4

Chef Mourad Lahlou’s once-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 menu highlight is the La’acha family-style dishes, such as short rib served with little gem, gochujang tahini, furikake, and bone marrow, or a saffron-spiced striped bass with mushroom escabeche and red chermoula. Pair your meal with a European red, displayed in the glass-encased wine cage suspended above the lounge.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Lower Haight
  • price 2 of 4

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 and 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.

44. Wildseed

This plant-based restaurant is easy breezy, and the food is approachable and delicious. The menu offers snacks, salads (no surprise there), and 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 fabulous, partly because it’s topped with roasted tomatoes and onions. The curried cauliflower, as is the warm chocolate cake served with chocolate gelato, is also a must.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Outer Sunset
  • price 2 of 4

Most know Outerlands for its perpetually-slammed weekend brunch, which includes Instagram-famous dishes like the 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 fills the air. Whatever you do, start with the bread and butter, baked in-house and some of the city's best. The rotating menu marries inventive flavor profiles and seasonal ingredients in salads, roasted vegetable starters, steak, house-made pasta, local halibut, and a riff on the Zuni Cafe classic of roasted chicken with crispy levain croutons and a chicory-fennel salad.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Alamo Square
  • price 3 of 4

Nopa still holds strong on the corner of Hayes and Divisadero, serving its "urban rustic" cuisine to a perennially packed house. Italian- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes fill out the menu, which changes daily and relies heavily on the wood-burning grill and oven. Think porchetta with potatoes, strawberry mostarda, pepper cress, and cracklings and cannelloni made with housemade ricotta, tomato, leeks, radish, and shiso. Brunch offerings are just as crave-able: butter-basted eggs come with fried asparagus, shitake mushrooms, orange, and horseradish crème fraîche. If you arrive without a reservation at peak hours, be prepared to wait for seats at the bar and restaurant.

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  • 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 gulf snapper served with grilled cabbage, prince of orange potato, and longer table piperade to a pasta dish of casarecce with maitake and beech mushroom, broccoli rapini, and parmigiano reggiano. Start with the chickpea fritters and order a smattering of the vegetable sides to share.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Jackson Square
  • price 4 of 4

Having just reopened after a nearly a year-long closure, the 20-year-old Quince emerges with a new menu and refreshed interior that's lighter and brighter than before. Led by the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Lindsay Tusk, this elegant Cal-French restaurant now offers two tasting menus, from four to ten courses, and will be built around what's fresh from Bolinas' Fresh Run Farm, which partners with to supply fruit, vegetables, and flowers exclusively to the Tusks' restaurants. Tasting menus typically reveal a choreographed array of elaborate, eclectic dishes that have earned the spot three Michelin stars.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Mission Dolores
  • price 3 of 4

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. Delfina is known for its pasta, including the classic spaghetti, made with plump plum tomatoes and deftly spiced with pepperoncini, and the trippa alla Fiorentina. Heartier dishes include wood-grilled short rib stracotto for two or a whole grilled fish with salsa verde. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Union Square

This Nob Hill restaurant exclusively serves a seasonal tasting menu. The $229 tasting menu is delicate and thoughtful, with produce selected from local farms, including owner Teague Moriarty's one-acre garden and orchard in Los Gatos. Moriarty handed over the kitchen reins to executive chef Harrison Cheney, who was awarded Michelin's "Young Chef Award" for California in 2023. 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.

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  • 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Downtown
  • price 3 of 4

Kokkari is an upscale Greek restaurant that 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 most delicious grilled octopus in town. Once you’ve plowed through those, enjoy 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, loukoumades, and Greek donuts with honey, cinnamon, and walnuts round out the menu. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Presidio Heights
  • price 3 of 4

The ambiance here is old-school elegance, from the Baccarat crystal chandelier overhead to the dark mohair walls. Here, classic dishes emphasize local ingredients, relying on SMIP Ranch, a private farm near Woodside, to supply 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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