The Best Restaurants in San Francisco

To pick the best restaurants in San Francisco is no easy task. There are just so many amazing places to choose from.

That's why I've created this page in the San Francisco Travel (Secrets!) Guide to help you out!

What follows below isn't an exhaustive list, but I'm trying to help you narrow down your choices. I've separated them into 3 sections: casual-dining, fine-dining and desserts.

These suggestions are not just my picks for the best restaurants in San Francisco, but are agreed-upon favorites among the local folks who live here!

My mouth waters just thinking about them, and I feel confident that you will enjoy them too!

Best Restaurants in San Francisco for Casual Dining: ($$)

  • SF Brew Pub (and grub!): MAGNOLIA
    Serving hand-crafted, artisan ales and gastropub fare.
    1398 Haight, (415) 864-7468
    Casual and affordable, they also use humanely and sustainably raised beef.
    759 Columbus (415) 296-9907, 86 Carl (415) 566-1274, and
    138 Church (415) 437-2874

    Try their signature dishes, the samusa soup and their tea leaf salad, together with water from a fresh young coconut. Yum! There is often a wait for a table here, but you can leave your cell phone number, and then head over to a nearby bar or cafe to wait for your table to be ready.
    309 Clement, (415) 287-2147
  • Cuban-Inspired Tapas: CHA CHA CHA'S
    Hearty small plates, such as chicken paillard or fried plantains with black beans, this festive location also makes a tasty sangria.
    1801 Haight, (415) 386-7176 and 2327 Mission, (415) 824-1502
    This is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco if you are looking for a very lively atmosphere. Come here to satisfy your craving for authentic German beers and hearty meat and potato dishes. The food will not disappoint! Come early to avoid a wait; seating is at communal tables in a simple and charmingly pastoral interior.
    525 Laguna, (415) 252-9289
    Check out my page on German Restaurants San Francisco for more suggestions!
  • Mediterranean: LA MEDITERRANEÉ
    Affordable but tasty, try their pomegranate chicken drumsticks or the phyllo-dough pastries.
    2210 Fillmore, (415) 921-2956 and 288 Noe, (415) 431-7210
  • Mexican: DON PISTO'S
    With a small menu, high quality food, and a super-cozy brick and wood interior - this is not your typical hole-in-the-wall taqueria.
    510 Union, (415) 395-0939
    Check out my page on Mexican Restaurants San Francisco for more suggestions!
    Gorgeous location on the waterfront, great afternoon stop.
    1 Ferry Building # 11A, (415) 391-7117
  • Picnic items: THE FERRY BUILDING
    Here you will find an artisan bakery, cheese shop, and wine store, plus fresh, sustainable fish, meat, and organic fruit and vegetable markets, as well as gourmet chocolate, a darling patisserie, and Blue Bottle coffee. What else could you need?
    1 Ferry Bldg, (415) 693-0996
  • Seafood: WEIRD FISH
    Savory and sustainable, you'll find fish sandwiches, fish tacos, and fish and chips on their brunch menu, and fish entrees for dinner.
    2193 Mission, (415) 863-4744
  • Soups, Salads and Sandwiches: LA BOULANGE or THE GROVE
    Both are cozy places that serve up great sandwiches, soups and salads, and are great for meeting up with friends.
  • Sushi: SUSHI ZONE or KOO
    There is usually a long wait at Sushi Zone. If it's too crowded, go to KOO in the Inner Sunset. Both offer delicious sushi!
    Sushi Zone - 1815 Market Street, (415) 621-1114
    Koo - 408 Irving, (415) 731-7077
  • Tea House: SAMOVAR
    Nourishing teas and food, with a soothing, zen-like vibe, this is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco for when you want somewhere to slow down and unwind.
    730 Howard (415) 227-9400, 297 Page (415) 861-0303, 498 Sanchez (415) 626-4700
    I think this is hands-down some of the most flavorful Thai food in the city. If you don't mind a bit of kick, try their prawn salad with lots of fresh herbs!
    1243 9th Avenue, (415) 731-9999 and 2225 Irving, (415) 665-9500
  • Vegan: GRACIAS MADRES (Mexican)
    This casual Mexican restaurant is vegan and organic. Enjoy aguas frescas, hand-made tortillas, and a variety of menu items inside a cozy and warm, wooded interior! Try their vegan mole empanada!
    2211 Mission, (415) 683-1346

Best Restaurants in San Francisco for Fine-Dining: ($$$+)

  • Indian: DOSA
    They specialize in Southern Indian cuisine, and have a warm, hip atmosphere. Order family style and share plates with your friends.
    995 Valencia, (415) 642-3672 and 1700 Fillmore, (415) 441-3672
  • Italian: BAR BAMBINO
    Small, warm, cozy, this restaurant offers small plates and an extensive wine menu with a focus on more obscure wines from smaller producers.
    2931 16th St, (415) 701-8466
  • Mediterranean: AZIZA
    Everything about this place is sophisticated, from the atmosphere, to the service, from the carefully mixed cocktails, and the details in each dish. Definitely one of the best restaurants in San Francisco!
    5800 Geary, (415) 752-2222
  • Pizza: A16
    Fine-dining pizza? Yes! The rumor is that there is a 50-page manual on how to make the dough! They have other items, but I come here for their pies. It's what they are known for after all!
    2355 Chestnut, (415) 771-2216
    Check out my page on Pizza Restaurants San Francisco for more suggestions!
  • Seafood: BAR CRUDO
    Perhaps the best seafood chowder in the city, as well as delicious sashimi appetizers, lobster, crab, clams, scallops and mussels on the menu.
    655 Divisadero, (415) 409-0679
  • Vegetarian: GREENS
    Situated right on the water with a view of the picturesque San Francisco bay, this is that rare fine-dining restaurant where vegetarians can order anything on the menu!
    Fort Mason, (415) 771-6222
  • Vietnamese: THE SLANTED DOOR
    Cocktails, and a wine menu that pairs well with their cuisine, you often have to make reservations at least 2 weeks in advance. Try the grass-fed shaking beef or the wood-oven roasted whole branzino!
    1 Ferry Building # 3, (415) 861-8032
  • Waterfront: THE SLANTED DOOR (again!)
    You might also consider The Cliff House for a spectacular view facing the Pacific Ocean, but I think the atmosphere is more fun and the food more interesting at Slanted Door.
    1 Ferry Building # 3, (415) 861-8032

Best Restaurants in San Francisco for Dessert: ($-$$)

  • Candy and Cake Shop: MIETTE Patiserrie
    This is the most darling candy shop you have ever seen. You can find handmade artisanal chocolates, gum cigarettes and other lost favorites from your childhood, and cakes that almost look too pretty to eat!
    449 Octavia, (415) 626-6221 and 2109 Chestnut, (415) 837-0300
    *You can also find Miette in the Ferry Building!
  • Bakery: TARTINE
    This bakery doesn't even have any signage outside, and yet there is still always a line out the door on weekends. Go, and you will understand why...
    600 Guerrero, (415) 487 2600
  • Gelato: CAFE GRECO
    Everyone always talks about Cafe Trieste in North Beach, and although it is a cool coffee shop with a significant history, I always find myself going to Cafe Greco for their silently superior desserts.
    423 Columbus, (415) 397-6261
    Check out my page on San Francisco Coffee Houses for more places to grab a cappuccino!
    I think it's a bit unfair that both of the city's best ice cream shops are in the Mission, but that's the way it is. They both offer creative flavors, such as roasted banana, salted caramel or balsamic strawberry. If you aren't feeling adventurous, the chocolate flavor is always a winner.
    Bi-Rite: 3692 18th St, (415) 626-5600
    Humphrey Slocombe's: 2790 Harrison, (415) 550-6971
  • Dessert Restaurant: CANDYBAR
    Located in the Western Addition neighborhood, this is a hip lounge restaurant that dedicates its entire menu to dessert! This is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco for celebrating a special occasion, as well as a guaranteed spot to impress a date!
    1135 Fulton, (415) 673-7078

This page is just a simple list of recommendations on the best restaurants in San Francisco. If you are curious for even more suggestions, check out my page on Restaurants in San Francisco.

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