These restaurants serve dishes that are destined to hit all the right tastebuds.
The city of San Francisco is a foodie’s dream. Bold, brave, young and adventurous, its restaurants are a dynamic blend of local favourites, new rotations and classic Americana.
Being a coastal city, seafood is hot fare to tick off your bucket list and is best enjoyed with waterfront views. Head north toward the water, order up Dungeness crab, bay shrimp and abalone and don’t look back.
For iconic eats, make yours a “Joe’s Special”. It’s a fry-up of spinach, onions, ground beef, eggs and mushrooms that can be found on many a cafe menu. For something a little heavier, look out for the “Hangtown fry”. With origins dating back to the gold rush days, it’s a mind-boggling mix of eggs, oysters and bacon.
Cultural cuisine pockets speckle the city in suburbs such as Chinatown and Japantown. Seeking the local favourite? Hit up the suburb of Mission. It's a grand hodgepodge of cheap but good Mexican fare, Michelin-star restaurants and trending cultural cuisines.
Hungry for more? We know where to go.
Top San Francisco restaurants
Craftsman and Wolves
Home to one of the most iconic eats in the city, Craftsman and Wolves’ most famous dish is “The Rebel Within”. It’s a sausage and onion muffin with a hidden soft-boiled egg centre that oozes deliciousness.
It’s not the only pastry on the menu but it is one of the most acclaimed, accompanying other delights such as raspberry sweet corn scones, Valrhona chocolate-chip cookies and Japanese milk bread.
Swing by for brekky or stick around for a brunch of sandwiches, salads or pizza.
Valencia Street, Pacific Avenue, Yosemite Avenue and CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
Swan Oyster Depot
Hailed as one of the places to hone in on for market-fresh seafood, Swan Oyster Depot is a San Franciscan institution that is never pretentious. Locals and visitors alike flock to its doors where you can almost guarantee a mammoth line.
It’s worth it, don’t worry.
Counter dining is the name of the game at Swan Oyster Depot, so be prepared for a quick eat. The restaurant features an oyster bar and seafood restaurant.
Take note, it’s closed on Sundays.
1517 Polk Street, San Francisco
An ever-changing menu, communal dining atmosphere, locally sourced ingredients and open kitchen make Nopa one of the most exciting and refreshing destinations to dine.
The staff are friendly and determined to keep the menu fresh each and every week, with dishes driven by seasonal produce.
Expect generous portions with a focus on wood-fired cooking for a weekend brunch or a dinner.
560 Divisadero Street, Hayes, San Francisco
It’s difficult not to fall in love with Seven Hills, with thousands of TripAdvisor users singing its praises.
The cuisine is Italian with plenty of pasta choices to um and ah over. It’s all good, trust us.
Pair your meal with one of the tipples off the extensive wine list. It’s a mix of quality Italian offerings with a few Napa Valley favourites thrown in for a taste of the local.
1550 Hyde Street, San Francisco
If there’s one place you should go to try a Joe’s Special it’s the restaurant that made it popular.
Original Joe’s is the oldest of all the Joe’s restaurants, dating back to 1937 when it was just a 14-stool countertop.
These days it’s a swankier affair of leather booths, cocktails, Italian-American cuisine and, yes, that famous Joe’s Special.
601 Union Street, North Beach, San Francisco
This local favourite is the talk of the town and, as the name suggests, is a morning java pit stop.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the portions are generous, well-priced and do not disappoint in the flavour department.
Crepes are on offer from open to close and accompany bagels, waffles, French toast and good cups of coffee, naturally.
1323 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Sweet-toothed fiends can sate their needs at Bob’s Donuts. Established in the 1960s, Bob’s Donuts is a San Francisco institution found in the Nob Hill area.
It prides itself on being one of the last independent donut shops in the city, with each and every one still being handmade.
Don’t expect any bold and crazy flavours here. Bob’s is steeped in tradition and boasts classics like chocolate, chocolate with sprinkles, maple and cinnamon.
The best bit? It’s open all day, every day.
1621 Polk Street, San Francisco
House of Prime Rib
Oh my ribness. House of Prime Rib is home to the juiciest, most flavoursome meats. They’re literally carved on the cart in front of your eyes and are a carnivore’s dream.
Its namesake roast prime rib of beef is raised in the Midwest, corn-fed and aged for at least 21-days till tender and mouthwateringly perfect.
For smaller appetites there are city cuts, prime rib cuts and thin English cuts, though true meat lovers should make sure to order the King Henry VIII cut. No explanation required.
1906 Van Ness Avenue, Nob Hill
Being on the west coast of America, Mexican fare is hot in San Francisco and you’ll find everything from burritos and tacos to enchiladas and nachos.
You’ll find all this and more at Taqueria. It’s a Mexican joint in the heart of the popular Mission district that opened with the mission to serve the best burritos and tacos in the city.
You can decide that for yourself.
Corner of 24th and York Streets, Mission, San Francisco
Home to the original San Francisco sourdough, a trip to San Francisco is not complete without a trip to Boudin Bakery. It’s the city’s oldest continuously operating business and uses the mother dough that was cultivated by the goldminer who started it all.
Boudin’s bread is baked fresh daily and at its wharf establishment you can watch the bakers at work as well as dine in its cafe or restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most meals incorporate Boudin’s breads with sandwiches, bread bowl soups and baguette burgers just some of the delectable offerings on the menu.
160 Jefferson Street, San Francisco
Tadich Grill recently spread its wings and opened up a branch on the other side of the country in Washington, DC, but its San Francisco outlet is still the original and, arguably, the best. It’s the type of place you take family and friends to for good, traditional San Francisco fare.
It’s also San Francisco’s oldest restaurant.
Seafood and meat dishes dominate the menu and you’ll discover many of San Fran’s iconic eats available as well. This includes Dungeness crab and prawns a la monza, Hangtown fry, Dalmatian seafood stew and pan-fried sand-dabs.
240 California Street, San Francisco
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Feature image: Nopa