From the bold flavors to be found in the Mission District to the waterfront seafood spots along the Embarcadero, San Francisco is known for being a diverse haven for all looking to uncover something new. With over 875,000 residents and over 20 million visitors per year, it’s no wonder the city is such a cultural hub!
No matter what cuisine you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it here. From colorful restaurants focused on the diverse flavors of Peru to the masa-filled staples of Oaxacan fare, it’s easy to eat your way around the world just in this one city.
With so many places to eat in San Francisco, you might need help figuring out where to begin. So, we’ve put together a list of some of the best restaurants in San Francisco – from a prix fixe restaurant that was once in the chef’s apartment to a new spot boasting perhaps the best ramen in the city.
With this list helping you navigate the best dining in San Francisco, you’re bound to have a fantastic time eating your way around the Golden City!
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The Top 19 Restaurants in San Francisco
1. Go Vegan at Rad Radish
Rad Radish is a Hayes Valley find and one of the best new restaurants in San Francisco. What’s so cool about it? Well, it’s turning the idea of vegan food on its head.
This vegan menu is filled with vegetables but at a more affordable price point than many other vegan food joints. Plus, all of their food is made with ingredients grown by local farmers.
But “filled with vegetables” isn’t just code for salad. Instead, you’ll find breakfast options like Chilaquiles with vegan eggs and black beans, Chicken & Waffles with red velvet beet and flaxseed waffles with vegan chicken, and French Toast with seasonal fruit and whipped coconut cream.
For lunch and dinner, dine on Eggplant Parmesan, Spicy Sausage Flatbread, and The Vird vegan chicken sandwich with pickled jalapeño, green apple slaw, and herb aioli. But if you want a salad, their Beet Poke Salad can’t be beat!
2. Dine on Italian Fare at the Revamped Delfina
Nearby Mission Dolores Park is an old San Francisco favorite made new again. Delfina – a Mission District staple and easily one of the top restaurants in San Francisco – underwent extensive renovations in 2020 and finally opened its door again in 2022.
The new upscale space features forest green tiles, tan leather banquettes, and a domed ceiling, letting in much more light than the previous space. The restaurant also introduced a full bar, complete with a cocktail menu made up of Italian spirits.
Order up the Grilled Monterey Bay Calamari to share with your group, made of freshly caught squid from the Monterey Bay. And for dinner, you’d be remiss to find a diner who wouldn’t recommend the Spaghetti Pomodoro, a classic Italian dish that’s one of the restaurant’s specialties. But if that’s not your speed, you have plenty of options, from pizza to duck legs.
3. Fill Up on Korean BBQ at Zajang Grill
Located in the Inner Richmond, Zajang Grill is a Korean BBQ restaurant serving up fresh food in a way that makes it one of the most unique restaurants in San Francisco. When you head to this restaurant, you’ll pay a set price for all you can eat.
You’ll grill your dish, where you’ll have plenty of options for what to put on your plate. Meat options include ribeye steak, beef brisket, and miso pork belly, while seafood choices feature spicy baby octopus, calamari, and scallops.
Don’t want to grill yourself? The restaurant does feature ready-to-eat options as well, including Chicken Karaage, Shrimp Tempura, and Soft Tofu Soup. As an added touch, your meal comes with complimentary ice cream!
4. Savor Masterful Ramen at Noodle in a Haystack
Another Inner Richmond find, Noodle in a Haystack, actually started out as a pop-up, but its popularity allowed owners Yoko and Clint Tan to open up their first brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Ramen enthusiasts have fallen in love with this location, which is being called one of the top new restaurants in San Francisco. When you head to this restaurant, you’ll pay for a tasting menu of some of the best ramen you’ve ever had.
The Tans work closely with local noodle maker Iseya Craft Noodle to create dishes you haven’t seen anywhere else. From the rich Chuka Soba to the delicate Shio, you can tell with every bite that these dishes were crafted by true ramen masters.
5. Dine as the Royals do at BANSANG
“Bansang” is a Korean word that refers to the style of table setting meant for nobles of the Joseon, a Korean dynasty that prospered for more than five centuries. So walking into BANSANG feels quite like being treated as royalty. Located in the Fillmore District, this Korean tapas restaurant doesn’t do courses because guests are meant to enjoy the unique flavors of Korean culture simultaneously.
Small tapas options include Broccolini & Persimmon, Lime Soy Fried Chicken, and Korean Steak Tartare. But they also have shareable options that feature complex dishes Like Bulgogi Salad, Jang Cream Pasta, And Radish Kimchi Fried Rice. The menu also includes a diverse array of wine, sake, and soju.
6. Enjoy the Freshest Catch at Angler
Angler is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco with a view thanks to its location on the Embarcadero. As the name implies, this restaurant serves up freshly-caught seafood.
Each day, the menu is inspired by the catch. They work with local fishermen, ranchers, hunters, and farmers to uncover the highest-quality products in the area.
And just as each day’s catch is unique, the way in which Angler cooks is just as special. All cooking revolves around an open wood fire and a fireplace designed specifically for the restaurant.
Although the menu changes with the ingredients available, you can expect upscale finds like Whole Grilled Maine Lobster and Grilled Monterey Bay Abalone. Angler also takes pride in its extensive cellar featuring specialties from the greatest wine regions in the world.
7. Get a Taste of Oaxaca at Donaji
For years, Chef Isai Cuevas served tamalitos at farmers’ markets across San Francisco. Now, he’s opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, Donaji, in the city’s Mission District. This Mexican restaurant is focused on Oaxacan fare, with the whole menu being built around one key ingredient: masa.
This colorful location serves up a menu that changes each week, but you can expect to find masa-filled treats like tamales and tacos. Grab a horchata drink to go along with your meal, or explore their signature house cocktails, like the Epazote Mojito.
8. Travel to the Yucatán Peninsula at Al Carajo
Also in the Mission District is the Mayan-inspired Al Carajo. Chef Javier León built a restaurant based around the flavors of his childhood, creating one of the best new San Francisco restaurants. With bright red adorning the walls and lush plant life filling the space, it’s a perfect place to stop for a quick bite when you’re in the Mission.
The menu changes with the seasons, with new dishes coming in all the time. You can find classic Mexican options, like tacos or plates that are specific to the Yucatán Peninsula, like Panucho, a flash-fried tortilla filled with black beans, habanero, octopus, cabbage, and pickled onions.
9. Wine and Dine on California Cuisine at Marlena
In Bernal Heights is a Michelin-star restaurant that quickly became one of the best places to eat in San Francisco. Marlena, owned by husband and wife team Chefs David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher, create seasonal menus focused on the freshness and richness of California cuisine. Grab a seat in the elegant dining room or take a table outside to enjoy the San Francisco evening air.
This restaurant is prix fixe only, and the menu changes every few weeks. But you can always expect dishes made from fresh and local ingredients. Marlena also serves an extensive wine list with bottles crafted by vintners in California and other famous wine regions across the world.
10. Eat all the Pasta at Flour + Water
Located in the Mission District, Flour + Water is a mix of traditional Italian and Californian cuisine, creating something that feels at the same time both classic and new. At the heart of the restaurant are fresh, handmade pasta. Although you could order a pasta dish off their dinner menu, which changes daily, you could also treat yourself to the Pasting Tasting Menu.
The dinner menu also features Neapolitan-style pizzas and seasonal antipasti. You’re not going to want to skip dessert here, which features treats like Chocolate Budino and Salted Caramel Gelato. With soft lighting and an intimate atmosphere, Flour + Water is one of our favorite San Francisco restaurants for date night!
11. Get a Coveted Ticket to Lazy Bear
Lazy Bear is easily one of the coolest and most unique restaurants in San Francisco. This location is designed to feel like an intimate dinner party rather than a traditional restaurant. What started as an underground restaurant in Chef David Barzelay’s apartment has turned into a two-Michelin-star dining experience.
Getting into Lazy Bear isn’t easy, but it is worth it. You don’t make a reservation. You buy a ticket! Tickets only release on the 15th of every month at 10 am for all dinners until the next 15th.
When your time arrives, you’ll be seated either in the dining room or in an outdoor space, where you’ll be served a one-of-a-kind tasting menu featuring seasonal and local ingredients. Each course also includes a perfectly-paired beverage.
12. Do Brunch at Cauliflower
Located in the Mission-Dolores Corridor, Cauliflower is one of the best places to eat in San Francisco if you’re a brunch fan. Although it’s open for dinner, brunch is really where this location shines.
The restaurant is designed to feel like home, making you feel like you could walk right in donning your PJs. But the upscale food will certainly remind you that you’re in a stunning French restaurant.
Although Cauliflower has French roots, you’ll find that their brunch menu has a mix of many different influences. From Chorizo con Huevos to the Florentine Benedict to the Fried Chicken Hollandaise, there’s something for every palate here.
And if you’d rather go sweet over savory, the Pain Perdu French Toast is a perfect option, with creamy vanilla batter creating one of the best French toasts around!
13. Savor Seasonal Ingredients at Rosemary & Pine
Over in the Design District is an eatery that’s the casual cousin of the upscale steakhouse Niku. Rosemary & Pine is run by the same Michelin-starred executive chef, Dustin Falcon, who now splits his time between Rosemary & Pine and Niku.
In this new restaurant, you’ll find a menu inspired by Falcon’s East Coast roots and Florida childhood. For lunch, dinner, and brunch, you can dine inside the light-filled dining room. Or grab a seat under the yellow and white striped umbrellas while you sit outside on a quiet neighborhood corner.
The menus, which change seasonally, reflect the eclectic nature of the chef’s upbringing. From the New Jersey-inspired Crispy Burrata to the oysters from Washington, you’ll dine your way around the 50 states at Rosemary & Pine. You’ll also find an extensive wine list alongside specialty cocktails like the Round of Apple-ause, made with apple brandy, poppy amaro, and Earl Grey tea.
14. Dine on the Prix Fixe Menu at Cassava
Cassava, located in the North Beach neighborhood, is a value-driven restaurant that’s striving for equity in the restaurant industry. Because the restaurant pays servers and kitchen staff equal wages, alongside full medical benefits, they attract some of the best in the business. You can expect excellent service alongside exquisite meals at this location.
This restaurant only serves prix fixe menus, but you have options depending on the time you visit. For dinner, you can choose from a three-course prix fixe menu or go for the five-course tasting menu.
Made from fresh ingredients from non-exploitative producers, you’ll find classic Italian dishes with Californian twists, as well as plates inspired by other locations around the world, including France and Japan.
15. Get a Taste of Turkish Cuisine at Taksim
Taksim is a SoMa spot featuring some of the best food in San Francisco. The massive multi-level restaurant is at once both rustic and upscale.
It’s a semi-formal dining experience with a menu inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, with a focus on Turkish culture. The menu is seasonal, with dishes made from local ingredients cooked with inventive techniques.
Many other Turkish places in San Francisco are more casual, but this restaurant focuses intensely on presentation. From the sweet to the savory, the flavors here are truly bold.
Although there’s an extensive wine list here, you’re going to want to try one of Taksim’s signature cocktails, of which there are many to choose. From the pomegranate-sweetened Raki Martini to the strawberry gin-based Danger Zone, you’ll have a hard time stopping at just one drink.
16. Sample Peruvian-Style Fare at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
Thanks to its Embarcadero location, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco with a view. La Mar is focused on making Peruvian cuisine, which itself is such diverse fare thanks to Peru’s many different cultures.
From seafood to meat to vegetarian, there’s something for everyone on this menu. You’ll find Peruvian classics, like Lomo Saltado, a stir-fry of beef tenderloin with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and soy sauce, topped with a fried egg, papas fritas, and rice. But you’ll also find dishes with more Californian twists, like the Cebiche Clásico, made with California halibut in a leche de tigre with red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn, and yam.
The cocktail menu is just as unique as the meal. Cocktails are built around pisco, the national drink of Peru. You’ll find classics like the Pisco Sour or more one-of-a-kind finds like the Chilcano, with pisco, ginger beer, lime, and angostura bitters. You’ll also find non-alcoholic beverages that are traditional to Peru, like Inca Kola.
17. Sample Creative ‘Heritage-Driven’ Dishes at the Liholiho Yacht Club
Over in Lower Nob Hill is a casual dining spot inspired by Chef Ravi Kapur’s Chinese, Indian, and Hawaiian heritage. Featuring brick walls, soft colors, and industrial-looking lighting, what makes this restaurant so vibrant are the bright colors of the fresh ingredients in each dish.
Although the menu changes depending on which ingredients are available for the season, you’ll find plenty of Chef Ravi’s signature “heritage-driven” dishes and desserts here. From Tuna Poke and Duck Liver Mousse to Shaved Pig Head and Mom’s Mochi, you’ll always get unique and bold flavors here.
Liholiho Yacht Club is also known for its “Cherry Cuts,” which feature meat and seafood options like Swordfish Katsu, Fried Game Hen, and Rendang Curry. The restaurant also includes a specialty cocktail menu crafted around unique flavors.
18. Do Dinner and a Movie at Foreign Cinema
This Mission staple has long been one of the most famous restaurants in San Francisco, and for a good reason. This upscale yet relaxed atmosphere is known for providing a perfect date night spot for San Franciscans.
But you’ll want to take a seat on the illuminated patio if you’re dining in the evenings. Here you’ll watch movies projected on the patio walls, with vintage drive-in speakers emitting sound around the courtyard.
While the movie showings are a big draw, Foreign Cinema does brunch just as well as they do dinner, just without the films. The restaurant is known for its oysters, which you can get during both brunch and dinner. It’s also known for its miles-long wine list, featuring bottles that perfectly pair with the restaurant’s Californian-Mediterranean dishes.
19. Go Quail Crazy at State Bird Provisions
Located in the Fillmore District, State Bird Provisions has long been one of the top restaurants in San Francisco. Before the pandemic, the restaurant’s delicious small plates danced around the room, dim sum style. But while the dim sum style of dining has changed some, the dishes themselves have remained as exquisite as ever.
State Bird Provisions doesn’t specialize in just one cuisine. Here you’ll find Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and many more influences. And if small plates aren’t your thing, you’ll find plenty of bigger plate options as well.
The restaurant’s signature dish, as its name implies, is the California state bird itself, the quail. The fried quail comes with a crunchy golden brown outside but a melt-in-your-mouth inside. Though the menu frequently changes to fit available local ingredients, you’ll always find the state bird here.
There you have it! The 19 best restaurants in San Francisco. What’s your favorite place to eat in San Francisco?
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