SF Restaurants by Neighborhood

Especially on weeknights, a convenient location is an important factor when I’m deciding where to get dinner. This is a running list of all the dinner options in SF that I’ve mentioned in other posts. I’ve organized them by neighborhood (roughly north to south), and I’ll update it monthly as I add new posts.

Marina / Cow Hollow / Russian Hill

  • Bar Crenn (for wine and refined bar bites in a very elegant atmosphere — reserve seats at the bar via Tock when you’re in the mood for a sophisticated night of brioche, oysters, and tarte flambeé)
  • Blue Barn (for my favorite salad shop in this city — or really in any city)
  • Causwell’s (for a great burger in the Marina — but skip brunch, it’s nothing special)
  • Chubby Noodle (for all you can eat and drink Asian fusion brunch in the Marina or North Beach — order the breakfast jook and come with a group)
  • Flores (for surprisingly tasty Mexican food in an attractive restaurant that’s way too loud)
  • Gioia (For reliable Italian brunch or dinner on Polk street — order the pizza if you’re hungry, but the rest of the menu is good too)
  • Lite Bite (for healthy food that you actually enjoy eating — I eat here at least once per week)
  • Stones Throw (for a comforting dinner or brunch that works for parents, friends, or dates — just be prepared to be seated late — get the puffed potatoes while you wait)
  • Roam Burger (for the best veggie burger in town — it’s especially good with bacon on top and sweet potato fries on the side — additional location on Fillmore Street)
  • Tacolicious (for tacos and pozole made with high quality ingredients — you might as well get a margarita and churros too — additional locations in North Beach and Mission as well)
  • Zushi Puzzle (for a cool backroom 6 person sushi bar with a no nonsense chef — make reservations to sit at the counter and order the omakase)

Pacific Heights / Presidio Heights / Inner Richmond

  • Burma Superstar (for the always packed Burmese restaurant out on Clement that taught SF to love tea leaf salad)
  • Octavia (for a high-quality meal in Pac Heights that everyone will enjoy — the deviled egg and the squid ink noodles are their signature dishes, but you can’t go wrong)
  • Pizzeria Delfina (for the perfect weeknight meal — chicken alla diavola with a side of seasonal veggies — Additional location in the Mission)
  • Spruce (for a fancy night out — one of the few places where you should dress up in SF — will feel like a special occasion even if you just order the burger off of the bar menu)
  • Wako (for semi-fancy sushi in a perfect blonde wood box out on Clement — get the omakase and/or the Kobe nigiri)

Financial District / China Town / North Beach

  • Campton Place Bistro (for a well-prepared lunch in the bar attached to Campton Place — perfect for when you’re christmas shopping in Union Square — I would recommend the fish curry that I ordered)
  • China Live (for a beautiful space with delicious “Working Hands Dumplings” and soft serve sesame ice cream — dumplings are much better than anything else on the menu)
  • Cotogna (for a cozy environment with A+ Cal Italian food — the Sunday suppers are one of my favorite traditions)
  • Gibson (for one of the best hotel restaurants I’ve been to in awhile — we ordered the tasting menu, but I’d come back just for drinks and share plates. The bread is addictive, so be careful to save room)
  • International Smoke (for BBQ dishes from all over the world — cocktails were good, but the food was mediocre and expensive)
  • Leo’s Oyster Bar (for the most fun restaurant in the Financial District — could be hard to order if you don’t like seafood)
  • Liho Liho Yacht Club (for dressed-up Hawaiian food in a lively setting with a fun bar downstairs — I could eat their poke daily)
  • Louie’s Gen-Gen Room (for cocktails that make you feel like you’re on vacation served with fun small-ish plates in a room beneath Liho Liho Yacht Club)
  • Kin Khao (for Michelin starred Thai food that has complex flavors and a good amount of spice— luckily they have good cocktails to help cool you down)
  • Mister Jiu’s (for fancy Chinese food in a beautiful room off a nondescript alley in China Town — the dutch crunch BBQ pork buns are a great starter)
  • Mourad (for delicious Middle Eastern cuisine fitting of a special occasion — it’s all good, so order as much as you can possibly eat)
  • Salzburg (for Austrian wines, hearty bites, and a fire pit in North Beach — get the rabbit sausage and a glass of dry riesling)-!
  • Sweetgreen (for my favorite national chain — such great salads and delicious bowls)
  • Tosca Cafe (for rich Italian in an old school San Francisco restaurant — order the bucatini with a Line In The Sand cocktail)

Hayes / Western Addition / NOPA

  • a Mano (for pizza, pasta, veggies when you’re on Hayes street and want to eat at an off hour (or don’t mind a wait) — the bucatini is great, but don’t miss ordering a salad or roasted cauliflower)
  • Barcino (for Spanish tapas by the Bellota team in Hayes Valley — order the lamb meatballs and a cocktail)
  • Cala (for an nontraditional, fish heavy, fancy Mexican meal — don’t underestimate the sweet potato with bone marrow — it’s one of my favorite dishes in SF)
  • Horsefeather (for great cocktails, a little bit of outdoor space, and food than is much better than what you’d expect from a bar — they don’t advertise it, but they’ll add meat to your salad if you ask nicely)
  • Ju-Ni (for a special omakase dinner with one chef for every 4 diners preparing super fresh fish with unique touches in a small space off of Divisadero)
  • Little Gem (for healthy eats that are pretty good if you order right)
  • Monsieur Benjamin (for very good, but very expensive, French bistro food in a glass box)
  • Nojo (for the best ramen in SF — add the chicken leg and a spice bomb on the side — and skip ordering the small plates)
  • Rich Table (for a similar vibe to Octavia, Frances, and Stones Throw, but with an Italian focus — good pastas and great porcini puffs)
  • Robin (for an inventive Japanese tasting menu with a great hip hop soundtrack playing in the background — choose how much you want to pay from $75–$175/pp)
  • RT Rotisserie (for rotisserie chicken, cauliflower, and sides from the Rich Table team — a great option for a semi-healthy fast-casual meal)
  • Souvla (for salads and soft serve that I eat multiple times a week — get the chicken salad with the lamb set up and the soft serve with olive oil and sea salt — more locations in the Mission and on Divisadero)
  • State Bird Provisions (for Californian cuisine small plates served dim sum style — a perpetual crowd pleaser — get the sauerkraut pancakes and the state bird)
  • Suppenkuche (for affordable German food on Hayes when you’re with a big group and someone wants to order a boot — go to Salt & Straw for dessert after if you still have room)
  • The Progress (for creative family-style courses with generous portions and great cocktails — by the State Bird team but feels totally original — the menu changes regularly, but order the roti when it’s offered)

SOMA / South Beach / Market

  • Bar Agricole (for one of my favorite charcuterie spreads and delicious, but $$$, seasonal dishes — ask to sit outside when it’s warm)
  • Dumpling Time (for dumplings and noodles that are good, but maybe not worth the huge wait — come at 11am on weekdays to get ahead of the crowds)
  • Kaya (for great jerk chicken and cod fritters in the old Alta space — but too many bones in the goat curry and overcooked string beans — I think they just need a bit more time to iron out the kinks)
  • Petit Marlowe (for champagne, crudo, and other tasty snacks in the cutest, happiest space — I want to return for a full meal)
  • Rooh (for delicious Indian near the ballpark — traditional flavors mixed with nontraditional ingredients — great food, but the service at was very spotty)
  • Saison (for the most expensive dinner in the city — but an amazing one!)
  • Trou Normand (for delicious meatballs and other protein dishes in SOMA — good for happy hours and group dinners)
  • Villon (for a new brunch option on mid-Market that accepts reservations — go for the retro decor and smoked salmon socca bread)

Mission / Castro / Bernal

  • Al’s Place (for a meal that puts vegetables first without being vegetarian — order the salad and the curry and follow the restaurant’s great playlist on Spotify)
  • Ardiana (for Mediterranean/Italian food way out in Bernal — next time I’d skip the pizza and go all in on the breads and dips plus an entree)
  • Botellon (for sharable plates, froze, and blended cocktails when you’re in the mood for a night out — order the chicken sandwich and the potato bomba and be prepared for loud music)
  • Californios (for my kind of tasting menu — Mexican influenced, you can wear jeans, and you want a second serving of every course)
  • Commonwealth (for beautifully plated courses, interesting vegetarian options, and an optional tasting menu)
  • Duna (for Eastern European food in the Mission — I loved the cabbage roles, but the most important thing is to not miss the potato bread)
  • Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine (for good quality Thai food in a very lively atmosphere — it’s perfect for a casual date or a fun night out with friends — definitely make a reservation to avoid a wait)
  • Finn Town Tavern (for large portions of heavy food — not rushing back)
  • Flour & Water / Central Kitchen (for freshly made pastas and decadent desserts in a space that manages to feel relaxed and special at the same time)
  • Foreign Cinema (for brunch on a beautiful day — has outdoor tables and takes reservations)
  • Foxsister (for a festive group night out eating fried chicken, strawberry frose, and Korean inspired treats in a dark room with a loud, fun playlist)
  • Frances (for the original restaurant from the Octavia team — same vibe, but in the Castro with a different menu — the lumberjack cake is always a nice end to the meal)
  • Heirloom (for Cal-Italian that isn’t particularly inventive, but is executed very well — bonus: if you’re sharing dishes, they will portion the food onto two plates for you)
  • Izakaya Rintaro (for skewers and fresh tofu in a room that transports you to Japan — don’t miss the chicken oysters and sesame ice cream)
  • Lazy Bear (for a novel approach to fancy tasting menu dinners — cocktails and small bites served upstairs, communal tables, and accessible chefs)
  • Locanda (for pasta in the Mission at a restaurant that’s cool without being too cool — owned by the Delfina team, but I like this better than their original restaurant)
  • Mau (for a big bowl of pho ga when you’re feeling under the weather — always get the hue rolls to start)
  • Media Noche (for fast casual salads and bowls that come with HUGE servings of well seasoned pork in a bright, cheery restaurant — I’m so glad I finally made it!)
  • Mission Chinese (for salt cod fried rice, thrice cooked bacon, and other unauthentic but delicious Chinese influenced dishes by legend Danny Bowien)
  • Old Bus Tavern (for a cool Bernal bar with surprisingly good food)
  • Tartine Manufactory (for ingredient-focused, seasonal, family-style dishes that are simply and excellently prepared)
  • Tawla (for generous portions of Middle Eastern food served in a room that always seems a bit too cold — try the cute patio for a private group)
  • Son’s Addition (for a new addition to 24th street — order the deviled egg and tuna tostada appetizers, the entrees were fine but not exciting)
  • Sugoi (for a surprise hit — high quality sushi in an attractive space in the Mission that’s open on Monday, isn’t outrageously priced, and doesn’t require reservations)

Portero Hill / Dogpatch

  • Alta @ Minnestoa Street Project (for the newest restaurant in the Daniel Patterson Group — try the sparkling wine coolers on tap and the brown rice puffs with avocado)
  • ‘Aina (for a filling Hawaiian brunch or dinner in the happiest Dogpatch room — my favorites are the ribs at dinner and the Portuguese sausage hash at brunch)
  • Glena’s Tacos (for Mexican food that is overpriced and not amazing, but made with high quality ingredients — they do make a great paloma)
  • Noon All Day (for the casual, new spot from the Piccino team — I love the roasted carrot salad or the braised butter beans with an egg)
  • Piccino (for Italian in the Dogpatch when you want something semi-fancy that doesn’t require a reservation weeks in advance — get the meatballs)
  • The Morris (for a surprisingly ambitious restaurant in an odd part of Potrero Hill — portions were substantial and flavors were bright and interesting — order the tomato salad with smoked avocado)