Places to Eat
A list of my all time favorite places to eat in San Francisco. Everything from classic French food to a ramen shop smaller than your living room.
Beautiful Italian food, good cocktails.
Ice cream to die for. Get the honey lavender.
Burmese food is so special, and this is the best.
The Ferry Building
Go on a Saturday morning. Get fresh, cold oysters from the Hog Island stand to eat with cocktail sauce and horseradish; wash it down with a pour over coffee from Blue Bottle. It sounds weird, but it's the perfect San Francisco breakfast.
Cal/Mediterranean food, a chic industrial setting, and old movies projected onto the walls of the patio.
Two words: Mediterranean Mezza. A bunch of mediterranean treats that work well for brunch or dinner.
Peruvian tapas-style food. Also: sangria.
Nob Hill Grille
The same place I wrote about here. Such a good neighborhood joint that is wonderfully obsessed with meat. Get the bolognese or the "hum baby" burger (think blue cheese + mushrooms).
Cal-style dining with gorgeous, colorful dishes. An SF classic.
One of the best places to get thin crust in the city. The margherita and the broccoli raab pizzas are my favorite.
You know that Friday when you've worked an exceptionally long week (or few weeks) and you're kinda feeling under the weather and you just need to be alone with some piping hot comfort food? This is the place you want to be. Absolutely amazing ramen with the perfect soft boiled eggs and salty, thin slices of pork. This restaurant is basically a glorified walk-in closet, so you may have to wait for a seat. But, if you're going to wait for something, it should be this. It's like getting a big hug— a big, miso-filled, porky, salty hug.
My absolute favorite for dinner and even a nice lunch. This place is for lovers of classic French fare. Buttery, garlicky escargo, creamy goat cheese with pickled beets, potato gratin— all my favorites are on this menu.
I wrote about the virtues of Tartine's lemon bars here. Also, everything else is good there too. They have this cruel and unusual practice of arranging the line for ordering (always long, but fast-moving) right beside the desert case. Even if you knew what you wanted when you came in, you will immediately want five more things.
Samovar— A tea house that pairs its menu items with tea from different parts of the world. The tea is pricey, but so interesting. If you are usually a coffee-only type person, like myself, this place will get you to open up to drinking tea once in a while. Plus, you cannot beat the view of Yerba Buena gardens on a sunny day.
Swan Oyster Depot
Get there about 30 minutes before it opens. There's always a huge line, but it's the freshest seafood you can get in the city without catching it yourself. If you're feeling like the experience won't be complete without a drink, just go with that instinct. Sure it's 10:30am, but crab legs this good deserve a cold beer.
Places to Drink
This list is not as inclusive as my restaurant list. I like a classic bar with a robust cocktail menu and an occasional margarita. I have a friend who is like a dive bar connoisseur, so maybe we'll collaborate on a post together. But for now, here are my top bars.
The Comstock Saloon
A San Francisco staple, in my opinion. A good place for conversation and a serious martini.
Bourbon & Branch
If you love the idea of a speakeasy, this is for you. It is every bit a speakeasy right down to the password and special knock they give you when you reserve a booth online. All the waiters are vintage cocktail aficionados, and they will tell you everything you wanted to know and more about the items on their giant menu.
An after-work staple for people who work in the Financial District, but also just a great, stylish bar with a 60's newspaper vibe (you'll see what I mean). Everything on their cocktail menu is good, but my personal favorites are their bourbon drinks.
High quality cocktails, good ambiance.
The game plan for this place is to sit at the bar and order margaritas. I'm a huge fan of their cucumber margarita. When you get hungry, order some enchiladas and tamales to the bar. Then order more margaritas.