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36 delicious Michelin star restaurants in San Francisco

These mind-blowing Michelin star restaurants in San Francisco run the gamut from Mexican and Japanese to Indian and Thai

By Shoshi Parks |
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Octavia
Photograph: Courtesy Octavia

October 2019: This summer, Michelin released its first ever all-California guide to the best restaurants in the state. The new guide added gems from Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and elsewhere but with 61 starred restaurants, the Bay Area is still North America's undisputed fine dining capital. For the most part, the San Francisco list remains true to that released earlier in the year, with a few notable exceptions: the return of Campton Place from one-star to two-star status, the knocking down of Saison from three-stars to two, and the addition of Presidio Heights newcomer Sorrel to a crowded one-star category.

One of the culinary capitals of the U.S., San Francisco has no shortage of spectacular Michelin star restaurants. Let's be real, making a restaurant selection for your average Thursday night can be tough, let alone choosing somewhre to celebrate a special occasion. Enter Michelin, the tire-making travel experts who began highlighting the best-of-the-best around the world in the 1930s. Since including San Francisco in their rankings for the first time in 2007, Bay Area restaurants have gone on to earn ore three-star-awards than even New York. Among the list of 2019’s restaurants earning one or more Michelin stars are modern American and California spots as well as San Francisco’s best Japanese, French, and Italian. It’s a 36-restaurant distillation of the city’s most enticing offerings and whatever you fancy, Michelin is sure not to lead you astray.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best San Francisco restaurants

Best Michelin star restaurants in San Francisco

1
Atelier Crenn
Photogaph: Courtesy Atelier Crenn
Restaurants, French

Atelier Crenn

icon-location-pin Cow Hollow

After years on the Michelin list, Atelier Crenn earned French chef Dominique Crenn her third star in 2019. The restaurant isn't just the first of her growing San Francisco dynasty, its the one closest to her heart—a homage to her father Allain, rustic and homey, hung with his art. The poetry the chef composes in the kitchen each night isn't just listed on the menu, it's described in stanzas about seasons and animals and trees and light. The Brittany-inspired tasting menu ($335) focuses on seasonal, sustainable seafood and vegetables with pairings from intriguing French winemakers ($220).

Michelin rating: 3 stars

2
Benu
Photograph: Courtesy Benu/Eric Wolfinger
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Benu

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

It seems wrong to call what chef Corey Lee does "Asian fusion." Lee's fare is creative, boundary-pushing and unexpected, boasting dishes like lobster coral xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and veal short ribs with chrysanthemum-scallion salad, kohlrabi kkakdugi and pear kimchi. Benu's tasting menu ($310) is heavy on seafood and veggies and pairs beautifully with a wine list of over 300 selections from France, California, Germany and Austria.

Michelin rating: 3 stars

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3
Quince
Photograph: Courtesy Quince
Restaurants, Californian

Quince

icon-location-pin Jackson Square

Michael and Lindsay Tusk's first and most decorated restaurant, Quince, continues to set the gold standard for local, seasonal fare. With produce from their partner farm in Bolinas, the restaurant creates Italian- and French-inspired dishes like white asparagus three ways and squab with Douglas fir, fava bean and truffle. Caviar served with creative variations like smoked eel and pumpkin start the 8-10 course tasting menu ($295) off right. In the more accessible Salon, an abbreviated 5-course tasting menu ($180) is served daily. Quince's wine list features a curated collection highlighting older European vintages and small-batch California producers.

Michelin rating: 3 stars

4
Acquerello
Photograph: Courtesy Acquerello
Restaurants, Italian

Acquerello

icon-location-pin Nob Hill

One of the oldest restaurants on San Francisco's Michelin list, Acquerello, with its earth-toned walls, white tablecloths and graceful fresh flower arrangements, has an understated elegance. All the better to highlight the restaurant's interpretations of classic Italian dishes like Dungeness crab risotto and rabbit culurgiones. Unlike most restaurants of this caliber, Acquerello lets diners choose their own culinary adventure with a prix fixe menu of three ($105), four ($130) or five courses ($150) or an 8-10 course seasonal tasting menu ($205). Don't miss a long-standing favorite of regulars and newcomers, alike: a rolling cart packed with specialty cheeses from throughout Italy and paired with housemade accompaniments like tomato-citrus marmalade.

Michelin rating: 2 stars

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5
Californios
Photograph: Flickr/Lou Stejskal
Restaurants, Mexican

Californios

icon-location-pin Mission

What began as a pop-up in 2013 is a full-blown success story today. The dishes prepared for this fine Mexican establishment are the personal reflections of Chef Val M. Cantu on the food traditions south-of-the border. Expect typical fare like ceviche, caldo and tamales made with super-fresh, super high-quality and, sometimes, unexpected ingredients (a "churro" with foie gras, for example, or chicharron made with scallops). $223/person for the chef's 16-course tasting menu.

Michelin rating: 2 stars

6
Lobster at Campton Place
Photograph: Virginia Miller
Restaurants

Campton Place

icon-location-pin Union Square

Campton Place, on the ground floor of the Taj Campton Place in Union Square, hasn't done much to disguise its hotel surroundings. It doesn't need to. The restaurant, quietly elegant and crowned with a red glass statement chandelier, allows chef Srijith Gopinathan's food to do the talking. Melding the flavors of his native Southern India and his adopted California home, Gopinathan creates electric dishes full of flavor in his "Spice Route" ($155) and 4-course ($119) tasting menus (think: poached lobster with heart of palm, heirloom carrot and coconut curry or duck breast with pear variations, endive, walnuts and chanterelles). Whichever menu you choose, the spice pot, which arrives in a wafting cloud of dry ice-formed fog, will prime your senses for the meal ahead.

Michelin rating: 2 stars

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7
Coi
Photograph: Flickr/Chris Connolly
Restaurants, Californian

Coi

icon-location-pin Jackson Square

Opened by chef Daniel Patterson in 2006, and now helmed by executive chef Erik Anderson, this prestigious modern American restaurant is still at the top of its game. Along with their nightly tasting menu—which can be ordered in full for $275/person or in abbreviated, five course form for $175/person—Coi also offers a "duck presse experience," a $325 tasting where everything from the caviar with caramelized duck cream to the vanilla marshmallow with duck fat butterscotch contains an element of the bird.

Michelin rating: 2 stars

8
The Good Drink Hinky Dink at Lazy Bear
Photograph: Virginia Miller
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Lazy Bear

icon-location-pin Mission

In some ways, what Lazy Bear has achieved is as much a theatrical show as it is dinner —they even sell tickets to their two nightly seatings at 6pm and 8:30pm. The spotlight is on the open kitchen and the team of talented chefs hard at work on 15+ courses ($189–$211, depending on the day), each of which must be delivered to hungry guests seated at impossibly long wooden tables all at once. The menu, which comes in book format with space to write your thoughts on each dish, includes everything from snacks (think: geoduck, fennel and preserved citrus or crispy pig head) to treats like beet and blood orange gummy bears. Creative cocktails, high quality spirits and a wide selection of wines (including a regular pairing for $95/person and a reserve pairing for $175/person) round out this unforgettable meal.

Michelin rating: 2 stars

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9
Saison
Photograph: Courtesy Saison
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Saison

icon-location-pin South Beach

Emerging from its first decade on the San Francisco culinary scene, Saison chef Joshua Skenes continues to redefine modern American cuisine. The restaurant highlights seasonal ingredients fished, hunted, gathered and grown by local producers and often cooked over wood fires. The open kitchen, hung with drying herbs and fruits, is at the center of the brick-walled, taxidermy-hung interior, offering a remarkably unstuffy interpretation of fine dining. The multi-course tasting menu, at $298, is among the most expensive in the city with an equally remarkable Burgundian-focused wine list. But, after making it into the World's 50 Best Restaurant list twice, it's safe to say this meal is worth the splurge.

Michelin rating: 2 stars

10
Al's Place
Photograph: Courtesy Al's Place/Molly DeCoudreaux Photography
Restaurants, Californian

Al’s Place

icon-location-pin Mission

This light, bright Mission diner is as much a neighborhood bistro as it is a Michelin-starred fine dining establishment. Aaron London's seasonal menus, heavy on local fruits and vegetables, are fresh and complex, full of dishes like hamachi crudo with crispy potato, bashed turnips and bagna cauda and grits with goat milk curds. The cocktails, too, are full of ingredients from field and tree like bergamot and wormwood. There's no tasting menu here so order as you please.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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11
Angler
Photograph: Bonjwing Lee
Restaurants, Seafood

Angler

icon-location-pin SoMa

This waterfront restaurant’s land-and-sea theme is evident in everything from the taxidermy-lined walls to the kitchen’s open flame grill, which churns out grilled rabbit and a beautiful 28oz bone-in porterhouse steak. Don’t forget to try raw bar delicacies like antelope tartar and caviar spread on Parker House rolls. 

Michelin rating: 1 star 

12
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Bars, Wine bars

Bar Crenn

icon-location-pin Cow Hollow

Technically this is a wine bar, but you wouldn't know it from the food. Crenn sticks to the French classics but adds subtle details that hint at her not-so-invisible hand. Dishes like poulet roti (organic chicken) with white asparagus, and tarte flambee made with 36 month-old comte (gruyere), lardons and shallots are served to guests lounging in plush easy chairs beneath elegant chandeliers in the Old World European salon. Bar Crenn's ten page wine list focuses on biodynamic, sustainable French wines, as well as those made using traditional methods.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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Restaurants

Birdsong

icon-location-pin SoMa

Chef Christopher Bleidorn uses ancient methods like cooking over an open fire, smoking, dry-aging and fermentation to highlight key ingredients from purveyors in the Pacific Northwest. The menus he creates evoke a kind of exploration into the heart of the region's indigenous foods. Guests can choose from five ($130), seven ($165) or 13 courses ($190) that feature succulent dishes like the three-part creek raised trout sequence (cedar cured and smoked, a sandwich made with skin, roe, spine meat and horseradish, and a custard made of dried bones and aged radish). Watch the chefs in action from the communal wooden bars facing the open kitchen or from tables lined beneath firefly-lit pendulum fixtures.

Michelin rating: 1 star

14
Commonwealth
Photograph: Flickr/Yuichi Sakuraba
Restaurants, Californian

Commonwealth

icon-location-pin Mission

Executive chef Jason Fox describes his work at Commonwealth as "progressive Californian cuisine." But it's not just the food, which is made using a broad range of modern techniques, that's progressive. The restaurant, itself, is too, with a portion of the sales from each tasting menu donated to a local charity. Dishes like crispy okra, trout roe and corn pudding and redwood-grilled lamb shoulder with sprouting grain porridge, wheatgrass and spring alliums are refined and satisfying. Dinner comes a la carte or in a tasting menu (a 7-course version for $95 or an "extended" version for $140). 

Michelin rating: 1 star

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15
Gary Danko
Restaurants, Californian

Gary Danko

icon-location-pin Fisherman's Wharf

The James Beard Award winning, Michelin starred Gary Danko has been wowing diners with its theatrical flair and inventive flavor profiles for nearly 20 years. The Old World-style dining room is thick with the trappings of traditional luxury—white tablecloths, elaborate flower arrangements, and softly colored modern art that blends with the space. The menu, too, is luxurious, with intricate meat, poultry and seafood dishes. Servers take extra care with their guests, presenting cheese selections and preparing flambeed pinapple with coconut tres leches cake tableside. A five-course tasting menu ($134) or a choose-your-own-adventure three-course ($92), four-course ($113), or five-course ($134) meal are available. Select wine from their 91-page (!!) list or trust the tastes of the sommelier, with a $95 pairing that includes vintages from Northern California, France and Spain.

Michelin rating: 1 star

16
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Restaurants, Japanese

Hashiri

icon-location-pin SoMa

At Hashiri, executive chefs Shinichi Aoki and Tokunori Mekaru blend two historical Japanaese culinary concepts, Kyo-Kaiseki and Edomae, with seasonal ingredients and fish flown in directly from Tokyo. Each month, the two masters create a new tasting menu focused on foods at the peak of freshness. Along with omakase nigiri, dishes like owan with wild red tilefish, winter melon and water shield, and sous vide octopus are prepared from behind the Japanese cypress bar beneath a seasonal sky projected on the ceiling above. Most of us will experience Hashiri through its "Omakase Edomae Sushi" menu ($175/person) or "Kaiseki & Omakase Edomae Sushi" menu ($250/person), but high-rollers can indulge in a Chef's Table experience, a private curated culinary journey with a dedicated sushi chef ($500/person). 

 Michelin rating: 1 star

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17
In Situ
Photograph: Flickr/Dale Cruse
Restaurants, American

In Situ

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

In Situ, the cafe on the ground floor of the San Francisco MOMA, is an unlikely candidate for a Michelin restaurant. But Michelin it is, thanks to Benu mastermind Corey Lee and a cadre of the world's most respected chefs. In Situ acts draws recipes from lauded restaurants and taste makerstomato velvet and shrimp (first made in 2001) from Carme Ruscalleda of Sant Pau in Spain and braised lamb with sheep's milk yogurt (first made in 2017) from Clare Smyth of Core in London, for exampleto recreate and serve alongside dishes devised in house, like spicy egglplant bolognese with fresh noodles, hen of the wood mushrooms and sesame leaf. 

Michelin rating: 1 star

18
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Restaurants, Japanese

Ju-Ni

icon-location-pin NoPa

This spare omakase Japanese joint is smallthe L-shaped sushi bar provides 100% of the seating here, 12 chairs altogetherbut the food is mighty, with 90% of their fish flown in from Tokyo's famed Toyosu Market. The restaurant's diminutive size is intentional, allowing Ju Ni to assign a personal sushi chef to every four guests. The 18-course menu ($165/person), designed by chef Geoffrey Lee, is tied intimately to the seasons with dishes like white soy cured king salmon, wild cherry trout and Japanese butterfish with truffle crystalized soy, appearing only when ingredients are at their peak of freshness and flavor. A carefully selected list of sake, wine and beer round out the meal.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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19
Restaurants, French

Keiko à Nob Hill

icon-location-pin Nob Hill

A holy marriage of Japanese and French culinary traditions resides in blissful splendor at Nob Hill's Keiko. Tucked inside an unassuming art deco apartment building, sumptuous draperies and chandeliers, antique-inspired seating and intricately designed tablewares evoke a kind of vintage luxury in Keiko's lounge, bar and salon. Chef Keiko Takahashi's tasting menu ($165) is a brilliant progression of flavors from Europe and Asia with dishes like foie gras "espresso" appearing side-by-side with Japanese scampi and fresh fish from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. Three separate wine pairings—from the entry-level "Grand" pairing ($148/person) to the exquisite "Kyukyoku" pairing ($850/person)—enhance each inspired course.

Michelin rating: 1 star

20
Kin Khao
Photograph: Flickr/Kirk K
Restaurants, Thai

Kin Khao

icon-location-pin Tenderloin

It would be easy to spend a lifetime passing by Kin Khao without ever knowing what was here. So unassuming is this Michelin starred cafe that the only thing adorning the tables are metal mugs stocked with chopsticks. But Bangkok-born chef Pim Techamuanvivit has more up her sleeve than Thai takeaway smothered in peanut sauce. This renaissance woman (among her list of superpowers: teacher, writer and award-winning jam maker) unleashes the flavors of her homeland in one of the city's most affordable tasting menus, a $65, eight-course meal which includes plah pla muek (charred squid with peanuts and cilantro) and massaman nuea (braised beef cheeks with curry, coconut milk, burnt shallots and potatoes). These dishes (and others) can also be found on Kin Khao's a la carte dinner menu; a lunch version features Thai-inspired sandwiches and salads alongside heartier noodle and curry dishes.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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21
Restaurants, Contemporary European

Lord Stanley

icon-location-pin Nob Hill

Voted one of the best new restaurants in the U.S. by Bon Appetit upon opening in 2016, Lord Stanley is creating refined European cuisine with an eye towards sustainability and climate-impact reduction in their operations and ingredients. The minimalist restaurant, all white chairs and walls hung with sculptural lighting, is helmed by co-chefs Rupert and Carrie Blease. On the plate (available a la carte or in a $105/person tasting menu): Confit globe artichokes with yukon potato, chervil and red wine jus; crispy duck leg with English peas, favas and citrus gastrique; and tantalizing seasonal deserts like blue cheese custard and spiced tart with black olive and herbs. Wine director Louisa Smith keeps the restaurant stocked with regularly rotating unique selections from a variety of small producers.

Michelin rating: 1 star

22
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Luce - InterContinental San Francisco

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

Luce, the sophisticated "wine restaurant" (part wine bar, part fine dining establishment) in the InterContinental Hotel, is detailed in shiny metallics, white tablecloths and a panorama of floor-to-ceiling windows. For the glass, there's a 350-label wine collection with an emphasis on California and Italian producers. On the plate, chef Daniel Corey creates a globally influenced seasonal menu inspired by local ingredients such as this spring's wagyu beef tartar with confit yolk, crispy shallots and garlic, anchoiade and Thai basil or seared snapper with roasted little gems, cauliflower, hazelnut and golden raisin. A la carte selections are available from breakfast through dinner daily. At the dinner service Tuesday through Saturday, a nine-course tasting menu ($115) aggregates the best of the best for those who want a little bit of everything.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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23
Michael Mina
Restaurants, American

Michael Mina

icon-location-pin Downtown

Despite more than 15 years in the annals of the "best of" San Francisco's culinary scene, Michael Mina still has a few surprises up his sleeve. Previously focused on French techniques with Japanese accents, Mina has returned to his Middle Eastern roots. Pairing family traditions with innovative techniques, the current menu features dishes like wild mushroom and hazelnut dukkah, Yemenite-style beef ribeye, and sweet onion koshary with rabbit dolma in a six-course tasting menu for $195/person. Vegetarians will relish the meat-free version which includes alternatives like cauliflower "schnitzel" and tenbrink kuri veloute squash for $145/person. Don't be overwhelmed by the expansive 77-page wine list; regular ($180) and reserve ($300) wine pairings and a knowledgeable som will help you navigate its pages.

Michelin rating: 1 star

24
Caviar Cheong Fun
Photograph: Flickr/T.Tseng/CC
Restaurants, Chinese

Mister Jiu’s

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Yes, Mister Jiu's boasts stunning gold lotus blossom chandeliers and a dark modern bar but at its heart, it's not a whole lot different from the family-owned Chinese restaurants that populate Chinatown with their large, unadorned dining rooms and statues straight out of Chinese mythology. Really it should come as no surprise; chef/owner Brandon Jew grew up in this neighborhood and this same space once held one of his favorite childhood restaurants. Now, Jew's traditional Chinese food with a local, seasonal foundation in Northern California is being heralded as some of the best in the city. Among the most affordable tasting menus in the city, Mister Jiu's Classics is packed with seven savory dishes like Dutch crunch BBQ pork buns and pork "lion's head" meatballs ($69/person). A much wider range of elevated classics, including several vegetarian options like tofu skin with spring onions, cured egg yolk and asparagus, appear on the a la carte menu. Upstairs, Jew's more recent addition, the plush, mid-century Chinatown inspired Moongate Lounge, serves bites from the kitchen below along with a selection of creative, Chinese-inspired cocktails like the Io, made with mezcal, montenegro, black garlic and plum.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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25
Foie gras and toast
Photograph: Flickr/Kirk K/CC
Restaurants, Californian

Mourad

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

After the fall of Aziza, Chef Mourad Lahlou started over in the Financial District with a new venture, Mourad, in an elegant, ultra-modern space framed by pillars of light, starburst chandeliers and navy blue walls. And while the digs are less intimate and cozy than Lahlou's former home, the North African flavors remain as rich and flavorful as ever. Fare here is available in both a la carte and tasting menu forms, with the latter made up of eight-courses ($155) that include dishes like squid with almond, Moroccan milk and dill and aged squab with prune and hazelnut. Wine pairings, which feature tastes from Europe, California and Japan, run an additional $110/person.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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Restaurants, Contemporary European

Nico

icon-location-pin Jackson Square

This intimate, brick-walled Jackson Square restaurant serves contemporary French fare in an atmosphere reminiscent of a Parisian bistro. The menu, too, is French to its core, combining fine dining traditions with local, seasonal ingredients to create dishes like baked oysters with brown butter and sage and black cod with turnips and mussels. Lunch and dinner are available a la carte and a six-course dinner tasting menu ($89) is on order at dinner. Even the cocktail menu feels decidedly French with drinks like the Pate de Coing, which features Pierre Ferrand Ambre cognac with quince brandy and syrup and sorrel. And who could forget the wine list: Thirteen pages of French-dominated red, white and sparklings to quench your thirst.

Micheling rating: 1 star

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27
Octavia
Photograph: Courtesy Octavia
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Octavia

icon-location-pin Pacific Heights

Chef Melissa Perello has been richly rewarded for her second foray into the restaurant biz: Octavia has not only earned Michelin stars several years running but accolades from former SF Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer and a place on the Zagat 50-best list. Inside the homey restaurant done up with rustic hardwood floors and tree-trunk columns, Perello and her team produce seasonal modern American fare. Dishes here, all of which come a la carte, range from chilled squid ink noodles with cortez bottarga, fennel and lemon agrumato to dumplings with fried green tomatoes, wild ramps, maitake mushrooms and buttermilk ranch, and desserts like caramelized yogurt cake with roasted strawberry and rhubarb and sesame ice cream. Wines selected from around the world appear side-by-side with curated list of vermouths, served straight, on the rocks or with tonic, bitters and orange.

Michelin rating: 1 star

28
Wagyu beef with sanshu at Omakase
Photograph: John Storey
Restaurants, Japanese

Omakase

icon-location-pin SoMa

The appropriately named Omakase (the Japanese culinary term for "chef's choice"), is full of exquisite details selected by Edomae-style trained chef Jackson Yu and business partner Kash Feng—from the cuts of fresh, seasonal fish flown in from Tokyo to the curated selection of rare sake, handcrafted Kyoto sashimono champagne coolers and Gen-emon kiln-style Japanese porcelain. The tiny restaurant, just 14-seats at a minimalist L-shaped sushi bar, has earned itself not only a Michelin star but a spot among the SF Chronicle's top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area in 2018. The ever-changing tasting menu (the six-course Hideaki at $150 and the eight-course Yamato at $200) features ingredients at their seasonal peak in nigiri and dishes like chawanmushi (Alaskan king crab and black truffle) and wagyu beef with fresh wasabi and gold flakes. Perfectly paired sake ($80) is served in pewter cups and pitchers from Japan's only pewter craft shop, Seikado.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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29
The Progress
Photograph: Courtesy The Progress
Restaurants, Contemporary American

The Progress

icon-location-pin Western Addition

The majestic The Progress, is an early 20th-century theater turned showcase of modern style with sculptural, sloping wooden walls, hexagonal tiled floors and a bar accented in bronze and crowned in living plants and branches. A passion project for chef-owners Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (also the proprietor-chefs of the Michelin starred State Bird Provisions next door), the focus at The Progress is on banquet-style meals meant for sharing. Local producers provide the ingredients for dishes like quail egg roti with greens and fondue, lamb shank meatballs with wine-braised onions and prunes, and duck with spicy peanuts, Thai basil and smoked chili vinegar served on specially designed pottery from Mary Mar Keenan. Memorable wines adorn the drink list, along with reinterpreted classic cocktails like a martini with smoked castelvetrano olive juice and rosemary oil. The a la carte meal is bookended by desserts like espresso sugar doughnuts with black sesame ice cream, coconut curd and candied kumquat made by Krasinski.

Michelin rating: 1 star

30
Sardine chips with horesradish and pepper cress at Rich Table
Photograph: Michael O'Neal
Restaurants, Californian

Rich Table

icon-location-pin Hayes Valley

Husband and wife team Evan and Sarah Rich lend their laid-back ethos to this modern-rustic, farm-to-table Hayes Valley mainstay. Seasonal bounty takes center stage in dinners which come in a variety of forms—tasting menu ($99/person), a la carte, or family style ($89/person for parties of seven or more). Dishes here are decidedly American with the kind of subtle global influences that reflect San Francisco, itself: Duck carnitas tacos with green tomato and shiso sals; beef wontons with black sesame and chive; bucatini with English pea, carrot and harissa. Cocktails are equally as fresh and tasty, representing the sweet (the Guava Have It with rum, guava, bergamot, lime and washed almond milk), bitter (the Green with Envy with vodka, lillet, snap peas and tonic) and smoky (the High Times with scotch, rye, honey, chamomile and soda). Can't make it to the restaurant? The Riches released a host of their innovative recipes in a 2018 cookbook called, simply, Rich Table.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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Restaurants, Contemporary American

Sons & Daughters

icon-location-pin Union Square

Santa Cruz-born surfer-chef Teague Moriarty's Sons & Daughters is an expression of the flavors grown, caught and raised by local Bay Area farmers, fisherman and ranchers. The elegant Nob Hill restaurant, a modern salon in an Old World tradition, is tiny, with only 28 seats and an energetic open kitchen. On the eight-course tasting menu ($145), find dishes like grilled white asparagus with lime, white chocolate and escargot, and pork belly glazed with preserved citrus, celeriac puree and fried capers. A carefully curated, worldly wine list heavy on Northern California cabs, pinots and chardonnays, pairs with the meal for $95.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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Sorrel

From the palate of executive chef Alex Hong, a veteran of three-starred Michelin darlings Jean George and Quince, Sorrel creates sumptuous California comfort food with an Italian twist. At home in Presidio Heights, the minimalist space is festooned with foliage and bookended by the kitchen on one end and a marble bar at the other. It’s there that the restaurant opens Tuesday through Saturday from 8am to 2pm for coffee, tea and rotating pastry service. The evenings, though, are when the kitchen roars to life with both a la carte and seven-course tasting menus ($115/person) featuring bright, seasonal dishes like squash blossom fritta made with pickled green strawberry, ricotta and red pepper jelly and rack of pork served with wheat berry, yellow peach, cashew, tomatillo and ancho chili. For Sunday supper, Sorrel goes cozy with a $65 five-course tasting menu and a handful of a la carte dishes (oysters and sorrel with sorrel ice and pear mignonette, for example) to add on. On the drink menu, find a well-curated list of California and European wines and carefully crafted cocktails like the Day Tripper, made with tarragon and sorrel, lemon and Comoz Blanc vermouth.

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Restaurants

Spruce

icon-location-pin Presidio Heights

Spruce is celebrated not just for its food, which has been earning Michelin stars since 2011, but for its wine, which won the restaurant a coveted Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2018 (one of only 91 in the country). Spruce's interior is a lesson in luxury, with chocolate mohair walls, faux ostrich chairs and whimsical charcoal sketches. On the plate: Chef Mark Sullivan's California-inspired fare, 80% of which comes from a five acre farm above Woodside. Look for seasonal a la carte dishes like pistachio-crusted, dry aged duck breast with turnips, apples and civet, and asparagus salad with trout roe, toasted pinenuts and sauce gribiche or order from the lunchtime Harvest Menu, a three-course meal priced at $38. If you're in the mood for something slightly less formal, Spruce's bar menu includes satisfying snacks like a pastrami sandwich with gruyere or mussels with garlic crostone and fines herbes.

Michelin rating: 1 star

34
State Bird Provisions
Photograph: Dylan + Jeni
Restaurants, Contemporary American

State Bird Provisions

icon-location-pin Western Addition

Chef-proprietors Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski exploded onto the San Francisco culinary scene with this, their first restaurant, in 2011. And while they've gone on to open two additional spaces in an modest empire of creative fare on Fillmore Street, State Bird Provisions remains a cult favorite. The menu here is eclectic, originating with their recipe for quail (the state bird), then expanding out to include larger plates like steak with hon shimejis, local nori and black garlic ponzu, and a whole host of dim-sum style small bites (whole grain cheddar pancakes with apple and walnut; duck liver mousse with almond biscuit; heart of palm spring rolls with buddha's hand and pistachio chili) delivered on rolling carts. 

Michelin rating: 1 star

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SPQR
Photograph: Ed Anderson

SPQR

At this narrow restaurant, moodily lit and intimate, James Beard nominated chef Matthew Accarrino is producing contemporary Italian fare with a California twist. Open for both lunch and dinner (with a la carte menus for each and a $29-39 2-3 course menu for lunch), SPQR serves "primis" of fresh pasta and seasonal delights like spring pea agnolotti, ramp pesto, ricotta salata and quercia ham and hearty "secondis" like flatiron beef with asparagus, preserved vegetable condimento and black garlic. Not surprisingly, the wine menu almost entirely hails from Italy, with curated selections including those made in the classic and "natural" style. Round out your meal with a selection of cheeses or decadant "dolce" like chocolate "pie" with sea salt and virgin olive oil.

Michelin rating: 1 star

36
Restaurants, Japanese

Wako Japanese Restaurant

icon-location-pin Inner Richmond

Nestled amongst the Japanese and Chinese restaurants of the Richmond, this "little restaurant next door" cuts an unassuming figure; the magic here is reserved for the plate. Two daily omakase menus, $95 for the seven-course menu #1 or $135 for the nine-course menu #2, include a starter and appetizer, nigiri, miso soup, a seasonal warm dish and desert. Sake pairings can be added for $80 or $95, respectively.

Michelin rating: 1 star

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