Local Restaurants of San Francisco
This blog won’t mention franchised restaurants but purely local restaurants of San Francisco. I visited these restaurants through my humdrum gig in food industry. To make something benefitual out of it, I thought to write a blog by hoping this will give you a chance to learn more about the local eatery places. Some restaurants speak only one language, such as, Spanish or Cantonese, some are located in industrial area on third or fifth floor, some are specialized on catering only, and some are located at unheard places that you might have seen it but never believe it would be one of the best food spots in the city. In this blog, I am not talking about Saison or Roy’s but something we all might afford no matter if poor or rich!
Above & Beyond Catering: located on 2565 3rd Street, third floor, Dogpatch Neighborhood. It is owned by husband and wife team of Anthony and Anna with over of 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Chef Anthony Barr uses fresh and sustainable products in everything they prepare. Anthony’s inspiration for culinary arrives from his childhood on a farm in the deep south of Georgia. Later he joined the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After earning his culinary degree, he found an opportunity to work with Danny Wisner of Ella’s in San Francisco and followed by supporting open of Rigolo Cafe with Pascal Rig, the owner of Bay Bread. He then was appointed as Executive Chef to Crystal Springs Catering. While his wife, Anna, is the master mind behind all of the baked goods. She pursued her talent by training under Chef Jennifer Altman of Bay Wolf.
Mandalay: located on 4348 California Street, Richmond neighborhood. Mandalay is recommended by Michelin Guide, reviewed by Tasting Table and featured on SF Magazine and SF Cheap Eats. This restaurant has been holding its reputation since 1984. Burmese food is not yet ubiquitous like the cuisines of its neighbors China, India and Thailand. This lends it a mystique that most Asian restaurants just cannot maintain in San Francisco. While Burmese restaurants are rare to find in nationwide, here they have embraced tea salad and coconut-curry noodles. When I asked the owner about the founder of his restaurant, he said “my dad, he retired, moved and having fun in Hawaii.”
Bistro SF Grill: located on 2819 California Street, Western Addition district. Originated at the Farmers’ Market in 2008, launching and grass root business that stirred a cult following of like-minded foodies and colorful personalities. In 2010, they opened a fixed location on California Street for public to enjoy exotic burgers and other traditional Southeastern European delicacies. Bistro SF Grill offers organic food from local farms to promote sustainability. The finely crafted menu provides premium quality meals that utilize the abundance of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients to better improve health within society. They serve the freshest cuisine, offering a fine dinning experience that generate a greater quality of life. Bistro SF Grill represent a true American story formed by two Bosnian biochemist, Hasim Zecic and Seni Felic.
Barbacco Eno Trattoria: located on 220 California Street, in Financial District! In contrast to their restaurant next door, Perbacco, Owners Gibin and Staffan Terje created Barbacco to be a casual place with an emphasis on simple and delicious Italian food. Drawing inspiration from small town trattoria they found on the Ligurian coast, Gibin and Staffan furnished their restaurant with small communal tables. A place with high energy and a convivial atmosphere, Barbacco is a modern trattoria, representing part of San Francisco’s city life, a casual dinning restaurant that still delivers quality food and wine.
Grindz: Located on 832 Clement Street, Richmond neighborhood. Executive Chef Bradley Lum and General Manager Josefa Carballo Lum are a husband and wife team. Chef Bradley, who has roots from the Hawaiian Islands dating back to several generations, he has been cooking for over 30 years. He used to be the Executive Chef and owner of Aloha Kitchen in San Leandro and San Jose until 2008. His wife, Josefa, was a senior practice manager at one of the nation’s top corporate immigration law firms based in San Francisco for over 15 years. She considers the Hawaiian Islands as her second home and she compliments her creative spouse with her many years of management, organizational and problem solving skills.
Jasmine Tea House: Located on 3253 Mission Street. It has been serving Mandarin style Chinese food deep in the Mission since 2001. They offer a variety of familiar Chinese flavors with a California twist! Fantastic duck and dumplings earned this restaurant a cult following, including 42nd President Bill Clinton.
Limón Rotisserie: Located on 5800 3rd Street, The Bay View, southeastern corner of San Francisco. In a small restaurant during the 1950s, an innovative Chef in Peru developed the modern day Pollo a la Brasa. It involves a slow process or richmarinating whole chicken, and then roasting them over a rotating oven to form a crispy skin. Paired with aji sauces made from native spices and coupled with a variety of side dishes, the Pollo a la Brasa became a national sensation. The focal point of Limón’s menu is the Pollo a la Brasa, surrounded by a slew of other authentic Peruvian dishes and flavors.
Beautifull: located on 3401 California Street, Laurel Village, Presidio Heights district. Beautifull was founded by Eric Greenberg, a sucessful entrepreneur who reached a point in his life when he suddenly realized that he had focused more on his business interests than his health. He opened Beautifull to provide people with freshly prepared food that is both healthy and delicious. The kitchen in Laurel Village is passionate about combining premium ingredients with the methods and techniques that result in food you love to eat.
Arashi Sushi House: located on 4724 Geary Boulevard, Richmond district. Their main speciality is the weekly special fishes imported from Japan. Along with the top grade imported foods, Arashi also serves freshly prepared homemade foods daily such as Ebi, Tamago, and Ankimo.
Dino & Santino’s Pizza & Dinning: Located on 2101 Fillmore Street, on Pacific Heights ‘hood. From the beginning, Dino and Santino has been all about family. Dino Stavrikikis opened the original Dino’s on corner of Fillmore and California Streets in 1988, with support of his mom Koula. This familial bond is what has kept Dino’s alive for so long, serving the community with this familial feeling that we all feel when we visit their restaurant, as what in Greek called “oikogéneia” for family! Dino invites you to join his oikogéneia and enjoy authentic Greek recipes and hand made pizzaaaaa!
El Burrito Express: Located on 1601 Taraval Street, Sunset district. They have been serving San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area authentic Mexican food since 1981. They use hormone free meatt and poultry. Their produce arrives fresh every morning and their recipes have been in their family for decades. El Burrito Express enjoy providing their customers a variety of options of gluten-free, low-carb, vegan, vegetarians, and low fat menus.
V-105: Located on 105 Valencia Street, South Market district. Art enthusiast flock to V-105 to find food imitating art, Chef Daniel, a true artist at heart, painted all the lively pieces in the cafe and extends his creativity to his beautiful food. With his wife, Susy Martes opened V-105 as a way to bring the flavor Latin America, Morocco, France, Italy and Asia to their dishes, which are all made of 100% locally produced ingredients. Every item is made in-house, from the focaccia to the hand-made dressings.
Mission Picnic: Located on 3275 22nd Street, Mission District. You won’t imagine how this tiny unheard location is prominent to its local community! Mission Picnic is one of the hottest lunch spots in the city! Founded by Sterling Tatsumi who previously transformed a near by sushi place into a Michelin-recommended restaurant, Mission Picnic offers a delicious range of gourmet salads and sandwiches.
Fine & Rare at The Hall: Located on 1028 Market Street. Ted Wilson and Scott Peterson created Fine & Rare out of a shared passion for sourcing local seasonal ingredients. Northern California’s rich history of King Salmon, Halibut, and Dungeness Crab, plays and important role on their cuisine along with the amazing produce from Bay Area farms.
Yama Sushi: Located on 850 Holloway Avenue, in Ocean View district. This probably a pure local restaurant that I guarantee no single tourist to show up on that neighborhood unless if he/she traveling unmapped. Yama Sushi is a Chinese family business specializing in Japanese food.
Freshroll: Located on 157 4th Street, South Market. Best buds and Freshroll owners, Nam Joang and Chad Pini, met in their freshman year at Stanford university
Kaka Udon Kitchen: Located on 1535 Franklin Street, border of beginning of Western Addition district. Kaka Udon delivers until 2am everyday of the week, making it the go-to choice for late-night sushi seekers. All Kaka Udon’s dishes are fresh using high-quality ingredients and their Udon is made from scratch. From Sashimi and Nigiri combos to teriyaki and udon bowls, Kaka Udon offer a variety of yummy Japanese cuisine.
Fleur de Sel: Located on 308 Kearny Street, Financial District. Stephen Gregoire, Chef and owner of Fleur de Sel, is the former Chef of acclaimed Chapeau Bistro and the Aqua restaurant group in San Francisco. Stephane has 18 years of experience as a Chef, including working at Harvey’s restaurant in London with Gordon Ramsey, at the French Elysee Palace for President Francois Mitterrand, as well as the Five Start Ritz-Carlton dining room in Atlanta. Stephane also worked for some of the best French catering in Paris, such as, Lenôtre and Pottel et Chabot.
Bamboo Asia: Loacted on 41 Montgomery Street, that is like in the midst of heart of downtown San Francisco and probably is the only restaurant in that building, you only can reach it by walking or bicycle as parking is permitted to commercial plates only. Bamboo Asia was founded by Anjou Ahlborn and managed by Dutchman Sebastiaan Van De Rijt, to offer a fusion of her favorite Asian cuisine in a healther and easier to eat format. Delivering delicious Indian, Japanese and Vietnamese food, Bamboo Asia cares about high-quality local sourcing, using natural and halal chicken meat, and California wild-caught yellowtail.
Radio Africa & Kitchen: 4800 3rd Street, almost near end of San Francisco county from its southern map. The restaurant was created by its chef Eskender Aseged, he is of Ethopian origin who immigrated to San Francisco in 1980s where he spent the next 20 years working in Bay Area with such luminaire chefs as Jeremiah Tower, Joyce Goldstein, Nancy Oaks, Daniel Peterson and Daniel Humm. During this time, inspired by these great chefs, he began experimenting with different food preparations of his own. When I asked him about the type of culinary he cook, he said “something from Ethiopia with something from Egypt and something from Morocco.” Radio Africa & Kitchen boasts seasonal, nutritionally well-balanced meal that always include organic vegetables, greens, grains, nuts, wild fish, shellfish and fruit, accompanied by fine and exotic herbs and spices. In the fall of 2004, Eskender started his first reaturant right in his own home by serving meals to his friends. In 2012, Radio Africa was established in Bayview district.
Which one would you like to go to now? About mine, none from the above because I have a secret place that I do not wish to publicize it!