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Best San Francisco Restaurants: A Guide to Find the Best Food in the City

What are the best San Francisco restaurants? This can be a tough question to answer since there are more than 3,500 restaurants in SF.

This section is designed as a guide to help you narrow down your options. Choose from lists of top restaurants in each neighborhood or by budget. 

If it's a particular cuisine you're craving, you will also find some of the top steakhouses, the best sushi restaurants, and more. 

Breakfast at Buena VistaBreakfast at Buena Vista Cafe in Fisherman's Wharf

I've also included a list of my all-time favorites throughout the city. 

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Recommendations by Neighborhood 

Each SF district has a number of great restaurants. Here are a few of my favorites in the following neighborhoods:

Best Options by Types of Cuisine

Clam and corn chowder in a sourdough breadbowl from Boudin's BakeryOne of the best ways to warm up on a chilly SF day is with a bowl of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at Boudin Bakery.

Other SF Restaurants

Here are a few other categories that might be helpful as you look for one of the best San Francisco restaurants. 

Off the Grid: Gourmet Food Truck Dining

Food trucks are becoming more and more popular in SF and around the US. They are no longer the hot dog stands that used to be everywhere. Many of these trucks now offer gourmet delicacies from Indian cuisine to some of the best burgers in town.

How do you find them? It's easy with Off the Grid.

Off the Grid works with local food trucks and the city to set up events where you can choose from between five to ten different trucks in one location.

The events are mostly weekday lunches catering to the work crowd, but there is one location, the Fort Mason Center, that does Friday dinners. 

Many events include live music and a few places to sit. In some locations, you can also grab a beer to enjoy with your meal. It's a fun way to sample the best food in SF and meet some locals.

The following are the current Off the Grid locations and times in SF: 

Salesforce Tower: 415 Mission Street, downtown

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am to 2 pm

Levi’s Plaza: 1155 Battery Street, near Pier 23

  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 11 am to 2 pm

Vallejo and Front Streets: near the Embarcadero

  • Wednesdays from 11 am to 2 pm

Fort Mason Center: 2 Marina Boulevard, in the Marina District

  • Fridays from 5 pm to 10 pm

SFO: Terminal 1 at the San Francisco International Airport

  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10:30 am to 2 pm

>> Visit their site for a full schedule of where they will be each day of the week around SF

My 10 Favorite Restaurants in San Francisco

If you are looking for a list of what I would consider the best San Francisco restaurants, here are my "go to" top 10. New places are opening up all the time, but these are a few places that I frequent. I love them because I can always count on having outstanding service, amazing food, and an overall great experience.

My list includes high-end spots as well as casual places for brunch, lunch, and dinner.

1. Buena Vista Cafe

This San Francisco institution is particularly renowned for two things: their Irish coffee and their brunches (though they're open all day for lunch and dinner, too). 

For those who love breakfast items, you're in luck, because here they're served until 1:30 pm every day. They've got all the classic indulgences, including cinnamon French toast and corned beef hash, but what I really love here is their crab benedict due to its local touch.

And don't walk away without sipping that perfectly cream-topped hot Irish coffee that will hit the spot every time. The Buena Vista Cafe is famed for being the first place in the nation to offer this tasty cocktail.

Average Price: Most dishes are around $15 to $20

Address: 2765 Hyde Street (right next to the Powell-Hyde cable car terminal)

District: Fisherman's Wharf

Best For: Brunch, bar

2. Gary Danko

My favorite top-of-the-line restaurant in San Francisco is Gary Danko. I've only had the chance to eat here a couple of times, but they did everything they could to make each occasion unforgettable. They use fresh, local ingredients and change their menu frequently. They offer several wonderful fish dishes as well as meat and game birds. 

Gary Danko has an amazing selection of cheeses and some of the best desserts in the city. Make sure to check out their wine list too. The downside to this place is that you do need to call several weeks in advance to book your table. However, it's still one of the best San Francisco restaurants.

Average Price: Usually a minimum of around $75 to $100 per person

Address: 800 North Point Street

District: Fisherman's Wharf

Best For: Special occasion dinners 

3. Kokkari Estiatorio

Kokkari is a high-end restaurant in San Francisco's Financial District. This upscale restaurant offers mostly Greek dishes. Their lamb chops are amazing, and I love their spanakotiropita (filo pie with spinach, feta, leeks, and dill). Other popular main dishes include the Pacific Halibut, lamb burgers, and moussaka. 

They also offer weekday lunch specials. 

Average Price: For lunch, it's around $25 to $30 a person. For dinner, it will be around $35 to $55 per person

Address: 200 Jackson Street

District: Financial District

Best For: Dinner, Mediterranean cuisine

4. Little Star Pizza

If you love pizza, you are going to drool over the pizzas at Little Star. Their menu features both deep dish and thin crust options. You can either order one of their pre-planned pizzas or create your own. While their deep dish is AMAZING, I often order their pesto chicken or white pie thin crust pizzas.

Unlike most pizza crusts, theirs is made with cornmeal and has a totally different taste and texture, which I love. In fact, this little detail is why it's one of the best San Francisco restaurants. 

Little Star has two locations in San Francisco. I frequent both locations. 

Average Price: Pizzas range from around $13 to $26 each

Best For: Dinner, gourmet pizzas

Locations:

  • 846 Divisadero Street (Western Addition/NOPA)
  • 400 Valencia Street (Mission District)

5. Rosamunde Sausage Grill

One of my favorite budget-friendly dining options is Rosamunde Sausage Grill. They offer an interesting selection of sausages, as well as some tasty side dishes. My favorites include their chicken habanero and the cheddar brat.

In addition to their basic sausages, they also offer specialty options, including wild boar, duck, and lamb. They have also expanded their vegan options so there's a little something for everyone.

What had started as a hole-in-the-wall in the Lower Haight back in 1998 then spread out to the Mission to include craft beers and brunch. This is an amazing place for happy hour on any sunny SF evening.

Average Price: Sausages are $9 each

Address: 2832 Mission Street 

District: Mission

Best For: Casual lunch, late afternoon snack, happy hour

6. Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar and Izakaya

This fully vegan sushi bar is perfect for those who love the taste of sushi, but don't want to break their commitment to being vegan. The innovative chefs use mountain yams, konjac (a root vegetable), soybean curd, and other plant-based ingredients to make their vegan sushi delicacies. Some of my top picks for rolls include the Boddy & Soul, the Candlestick, and the Proud Peacock. 

It's also fun to order their Surprise Ending comprised of small servings, of which you never know which ones are spicy and which ones are cool and mild. The prices, location, and tasty dishes are what make it one of the best San Francisco restaurants. 

Average Price: Rolls are around $10 - 12 each

Address: 370 14th Street

District: Mission

Best For: Dinner, vegan cuisine

7. State Bird Provisions

State Bird Provisions opened in 2011, and from the minute they opened their doors, it's been one of the hottest restaurants in town. Their menu changes constantly, so you can always try something different and exciting. They serve a large variety of small plates as well as their specialty: CA State Bird with Provisions. 

Some of my favorites include their Hog Island oysters, the pork belly citrus salad, and the grilled beef with maitake. If you plan to eat here, make sure you call well in advance to book your table.

Average Price: Tapas range from $3 to $12, Main dishes are around $9 to $22

Address: 1529 Fillmore Street

District: Western Addition

Best For: Dinner for two

8. The Codmother Fish & Chips

The Codmother Fish & Chips is an inexpensive permanent food truck that serves up traditional British fish n' chips. The quick meals are tasty, and the prices are very reasonable (especially for San Francisco). I also love their Baja Fish Tacos. 

This casual joint is nicely located in Fisherman's Wharf next to many of SF's top attractions. It's also a great place to take the kids for lunch or an afternoon snack. 

Average Price: $11 - $17 

Address: 496 Beach Street

District: Fisherman's Wharf

Best For: Lunch on a sunny afternoon (outdoor seating only)

9. Nari 

Located in Japantown, Nari is an elegant Thai restaurant and wine bar. It offers artful and very flavorful dishes that highlight authentic Thai traditions.

Try the chili-lime Monterrey squid and pork jowl for a perfect example of the bold flavors and local ingredients that this place features. The lamb shank in its perfect curry sauce will also melt in your mouth.

They've got a nice wine and cocktail bar here to round out your fun night out. 

Average Price: Total price per person ends up around $30 to $50 (without drinks); there is also a Chef's Pick tasting menu for $115 per person

Address: 1625 Post Street

District: Japantown

Best For: Romantic dinners

10. The Italian Homemade Company

This cute place is the perfect spot for casual lunches or early dinners. It's a hidden gem in the North Beach District.

The pasta here is fresh, since nothing is out of a box from these real Italians, and the service is always wonderful. I dream about their fresh ravioli with Bolognese sauce. I've also had their lasagna and it's just as tasty. 

The only thing I don't like is they serve their food on paper plates. I would prefer real plates, but I'll sacrifice that for this authentic Italian cuisine.

Average Price: Dishes are around $12 to $14 each

Address: 716 Columbus Avenue

District: North Beach

Best For: Lunch or an early dinner (they close at 9 pm)

Other Pages to Explore

Food Festivals: If you love gastronomy, then you must check out one of the annual food festivals. At each one, you will find delicious gourmet goodies from top San Francisco and Bay Area chefs. In addition to tasty treats, most offer live entertainment, beverages, and the chance to mingle with other foodies. More here

Music Festivals: Another fun way to enjoy your time in San Francisco is at one of our yearly music festivals. You will find one-day, two-day, and three-day festivals with live music all day long. In addition, they offer yummy food from local chefs, a variety of beverages, and a day of fun with other music lovers. More here.

Beer Festivals: You can enjoy both beer and food at these annual beer festivals. You can sample craft beers from around the world or enjoy some of the top local favorites. It's a great way to find a few favorite brew. Full list here.

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Best SF Restaurants in San Francisco

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