A Complete Guide to the Best Restaurants in San Francisco
Having decided to relocate to the City by the Bay, you’ve started thinking about some of the best restaurants in San Francisco to explore upon your arrival. The truth is, there is an abundance of top-notch eateries where you can taste something new and enjoy a pleasant atmosphere. World-class gastronomical delicacies are just one of the many reasons why moving to San Francisco is an excellent idea.
Whatever type of eatery you’re looking for and whatever cuisine you prefer, you’ll find it all here. From casual to elegant places for special occasions, from Chinese to Mexican and everything else in between – this city has it all. In fact, there is such a wide range of options that you’ll probably find it hard to decide where to go first. We completely understand the struggle, so we want to help you out by suggesting some of the top places to eat in SF. Let’s see what your first stops when you set foot on the Bay Area should be.
Where to Go to Eat Italian?
The offer of Italian cuisine in SF is quite competitive, so there will be plenty of places to taste some of the most exquisite meals. Whether you enjoy Northern, Sardinian, or contemporary meals, there will be plenty of choices. You can find everything from casual pasta and pizza diners to fancy establishments. Some of the top spots in SF include the following:
- Barzotto– an affordable place serving delicious pasta
- Acquerello– more of a posh destination but with prix fixe
- Seven Hills– a perfect place for a date
- Cotogna– known primarily for excellent pasta, but also grilled meat & fish, and wood-fired pizza
- Sociale– excellent if you’re looking for an intimate setting and fantastic Northern Italian inspired menu
Fiorella – Arguably the Best Italian Restaurant
Located on the Russian Hill and in Richmond District, Fiorella is a hit Italian place serving so much more than just pizza. You can choose from a selection of fritti and antipasti, and taste exquisite wine, too. You may also want to try al dente chitarra pasta and tomato braised chicken. If you feel like staying at home, they receive orders for takeout. And if you do come to this family-friendly restaurant, you’ll enjoy the casual atmosphere and delicious food all under the same roof.
Looking for an Asian-Fusion Spot?
Asian-fusion choices are always intriguing and tasty, so you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of places serving such food in SF. The unique combination of East Asian, South-East Asian, and South Asian dishes has become quite popular in the entire country, so the number of eateries serving those meals in SF has increased, too. Now, you get to choose from a variety of top-notch places, some of which include the following:
- Hula Hoops– serves a unique combination of Hawaiian and Filipino styles, as well as excellent cocktails
- Ozumo– open for two years, Ozumo is a safe place to find both traditional Japanese and Asian fusion fare on the menu
- Sushirrito– they were the first ones to come up with the idea of sushi burritos, bringing Japanese and South American cuisines together
- Social Fusion Kitchen– located a bit outside of SF, in San Mateo, this restaurant serves all kinds of Asian fusion fare, but it’s primarily known for the delicious Ahi Nachos
- Aria Korean Tapas– if you want there, you’ll want to taste their sweet and spicy fried chicken, among many other fantastic meals
Located in Inner Richmond, Dragon Beaux is a lovely place where you can taste, as customers describe it, “above average” meals. These include dim sum, hot pots, soup dumplings, golden egg yolk lava bao, rainbow taro bun, and so much more. This is a rather chic Asian-fusion spot popular among locals, which is the result of their attentive service and outstanding flavors.
Where to Eat Authentic Mexican Food?
Apart from the well-known tacos and burritos, the restaurants here serve all kinds of other authentic Mexican fares. Among others, you can also eat Oaxacan mole and Yucatecan cochinita pibil, as well as find out that these places are among the top bars in the area at the same time. So, you get the full experience. Here are some of the top-ranked places serving authentic Mexican meals so good that you’ll always want to get back for some more:
- El Buen Comer– a family-style restaurant, colorful and cozy, perfect if you’re moving with kids
- La Torta Gorda– from tortas and tacos to quesadillas stuffed with huitlacoche, you can find it all in this cute, old-fashioned spot
- Taqueria Los Mayas– meats marinated in citrus and achiote, empanadas, panuchos, and so much more – you can taste top-notch Mexican fare in this highly-rated spot
- LoLó– this is a great place if you wish to try something non-traditional on a weeknight dinner
- Arguello– this upscale place serves chile verde, cheese, poblano tamales, shrimp ceviche, and similar dishes, as well as excellent cocktails
Now let us draw your attention to a classic Mexican fare located in a vibrant SF neighborhood.
Nopalito is proof of how perfect the combination of traditional Mexican cuisine and local, sustainable ingredients can be. It offers an authentic taste of traditional fare, including tangy totopos con chile, carnitas, and tortilla soup, and the margaritas are quite good, as well. You don’t really need anything else, right?
Don’t Forget About Elegant French Restaurants
Are you looking for some elegant French dining destinations or you’re now beginning to fancy this idea? You are welcome to enjoy a series of the finest French foods all around SF. Even though the city is not particularly known for French cuisine, it does boast fancy places where you can enjoy French gastronomical delights. Some of them include the following:
- L’Ardoise Bistro– a highly rated, cozy, intimate, and romantic place offering top-notch dining services
- Castagna– located at Chestnut street, this upscale bistro eatery serves some classics like beef daube and ratatouille, combined with seafood and even some pasta
- La Folie– it has been as many as 30 years since this place was opened, and it still serves top-notch French dishes from butter-poached lobster to lofty cheese soufflé, and so much more
- NICO– this is the right place for those looking for a modern French place serving modern French delicacies
- Cocotte– a warm and intimate place serving classics such as foie gras, coq au vin, tart tatin, and many more
Located in historic Jackson Square neighborhood, Quince is a well-known elegant establishment serving fantastic meals in just as fantastic ambiance. This is only the sixth restaurant in SF area to get three Michelin stars by the Michelin Guide, which already says a lot about the quality of the service you can expect there.
Don’t Miss out on World-Class Sushi Restaurants
All sushi aficionados will be happy to hear that there are many world-class sushi places waiting for you. Whether you just want a couple of pieces of unagi and maki rolls or you’re looking for pristine nigiri and sashimi, you can find all kinds of sushi delicacies prepared by exquisite sushi masters. Eating sushi in world-renowned places will be an unrivaled experience. Let’s take a look at some of the top places to eat sushi:
- Daigo Sushi– perfect if you’re looking for a small place and relaxed atmosphere with excellent sushi rolls and sashimi, as well as some innovative combinations
- Sushi Ran– even though it might seem like just a small sushi bar with not much to offer, this place serves world-class sushi and it’s known for fresh fish delivered from Japan’s Tsukiji market
- Wako– another tiny eatery with quite much to offer aside from excellent sushi, such as housemade sesame tofu and mountain yam
- Ju-Ni – Ju-Ni means 12, which refers to the fact that this bistro serves only 12 customers at the time, and there are three chefs – talk about commitment, right?
- Saru Sushi Bar– a miniature sushi and sake bar serves many delicious specialties, with hamachi with truffle oil being among the most popular ones
Let’s take a look at one particular sushi destination that stands out from the rest in its quality and excellent reviews.
Here, in Robin, we come to a unique combination of artsy and modern in a highly rated sushi dining place. You can expect a “thoughtfully personalized omakase experience” as they describe it. You can be sure you’ll get exquisite service and pristine fish in a modern and laid-back interior. Some of the most popular delicacies you can taste there include king salmon topped with whipped tofu, confit tomato, and opal basil or potato chip nigiri topped with caviar.
Check out Excellent English Restaurants
When you feel the craving for lamb, beef, pork, chicken, or fish, along with potatoes and vegetables served in the English style, head to one of SF’s many superb English diners. Depending on the occasion, you can find all types of places, from casual to fancy and elegant. Here are some of the top-recommended ones:
- The Cavalier– a London-inspired brasserie serving delicious food whether you’re going there for breakfast, brunch, or a fancy dinner event
- The Pig and Whistle– a more casual English-style restaurant where you can try excellent draft beers alongside traditional English pub grub
- Lovejoy’s Tea Room– an eclectic and quirky tea house serving a variety of tea selections, as well as pub fate
- Sutter Pub & Restaurant– a perfect place if you’re looking for English classics such as bangers and mash combined with American burgers
We would like to single out the following restaurant, a top-rated place that has been serving the best rib you can find since the 1940s.
House of Prime Rib
You’ll go to House of Prime Rib if you’re looking for an old-school, English-style eatery which serves exquisite beef, among other delicious dishes. They will serve the beef according to your individual specifications regarding cut thickness and meat temperature. You can also choose between mashed and baked potatoes. In addition to potatoes, they serve each meal with creamed spinach and Yorkshire pudding, too.
Top Seafood Eateries
Given its vicinity to the Pacific Ocean, the Fog City is a place with outstanding seafood credentials. Whether you want to taste the well-known cioppino, a stew of mixed fish and shellfish, or you’re looking for anchovies, crabs, or clams, you can find it all and more in many fantastic eateries in the City by the Bay. Let’s take a look at some of the top-recommended ones:
- Anchor Oyster Bar– a cozy, nautical-themed eatery serving fresh fish and shellfish
- Leo’s Oyster Bar– the right place if you’re looking for a posh venue which serves excellent oysters
- Swan Oyster Depot– a restaurant opened back in 1912, making it a landmark
- Tadich Grill– another institution for fresh fish dating back to 1849
- Anchor & Hope– a place with excellent fare and good beer menu
Sotto Mare is an old-school place with an excellent reputation located in North Beach. It serves delicious Italian seafood along with penne pasta and cioppino. You can order Dungeness crab, assorted Pacific shellfish, or Louie salads, to name a few. Whatever you go for, you’ll be amazed by the outstanding combination of flavors.
Get a Taste of Spanish Cuisine
If you enjoy Spanish cuisine, you can visit quite a few places offering a variety of dishes, including tapas, authentic paella, and so much more. These are devoted to both Basque and Catalonian cuisine, so you can choose depending on your preferences. Let us mention a couple of the top Spanish eateries in SF.
- Barvale– a perfect place if you want to feel like you’re in Spain eating tapas, spirits, and drinking tasty Spanish wines
- Alegrias – here you can enjoy paellas, small plates, sherry, and so much more, all in a pleasant atmosphere and subtle candlelit space
- Barcino– head to Barcino if you enjoy Catalonian tapas, raw plates, as well as delicious desserts
- Picaro– enjoy a perfect combination of lovely atmosphere, friendly service, and, of course, tasty bites and good sangria
- Abrazo– enjoy a variety of modern Spanish foods on the menu in an intimate atmosphere
In addition to the previously listed, we’d like to single out one more that you should put at the top of your list when you get there – Piperade.
If you want to experience fantastic Basque cuisine, Piperade is the right place to go to. The chefs in this place deliver a top-notch combination of fresh local ingredients and Basque recipes. The cozy ambiance is just ideal for your date night, but also for family gatherings.
Best Restaurants in San Francisco with a View
SF is a hilly city with many beautiful places from which you can enjoy the spectacular city skyline. Among these places are several world-class eateries, too. Remember the following to go there when you wish to soak in the view of Pacific Ocean over lunch, or look at magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, or the Bay – the options are endless.
- Top of the Mark
- Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant
- Cliff House
- Greens Restaurant
- El Techo de Lolinda
New Bar Restaurants in San Francisco
The food and drink scene in SF is constantly evolving, with a number of new dining destinations and other places emerging on a daily basis. Thus, it might even be hard to pick the right place, especially when you’re looking for something new. How do you know it’s good? We’d like to help you narrow your choice down. If you’re looking for recently opened and chic spots where you can count on high-quality food and excellent drinks, you should stop by some of the following:
- Rich Table
- Street Restaurant and Bar
- MKT Restaurant and Bar
- The Saratoga
- Trou Normand
- Dirty Habit
Enjoy Diverse Food Delights in SF and Explore the Rest of the City
As you can see, there are plenty of hot places to enjoy gastronomical delights in SF, so don’t miss your chance to explore as many as possible to make your time in the city even more worthwhile. Let’s take a look at just a few more places that you should keep in mind once you begin to explore all those mouth-watering destinations. You’ll fall in love with SF more and more every day.
All That’s Left to Do Is to Move to SF
Whether you’re thinking about moving to another state alone, with your family, or you’re relocating for a relationship, rest assured that there will be plenty of excellent dining destinations to enjoy in SF. If you’re moving during the holidays, the holiday spirit might make the experience even more delightful.
Given that the cost of living in San Francisco can be somewhat high, it’s a good idea to first plan your moving budget carefully, and find reasonably priced moving services. You can also look for the cheapest way to move out of state or reschedule your move for the cheapest time of the year to relocate. Don’t forget to set aside some money for your first days there, and then set out to explore the city and its dining spots. Even if you have a tight budget and you’re moving into a smaller home, there will still be some more affordable options as this marvelous city has something to offer to everyone.
You’re about to relocate to one of the most fantastic cities both in the country and worldwide, so you should be able to look forward to it and be excited about what lies ahead. To be able to do so, it might be a good idea to hire professional packing services to make the relocation process run more smoothly and forget anxiety about moving out. Your chosen SF professional movers can even provide you with auto transport services if you need your car to get around the city, as well as storage if need may be. If this is your first time to relocate, a professional company will be glad to explain to you how car shipping works and what their storage services include.
Your task? Relax and search through the best places to live in San Francisco and plan all kinds of exciting things to do in San Francisco, including exploring the above mentioned and many other top-notch eateries.