Are you moving to the Golden Gate City soon? While exploring this Californian gem, make sure you stop by the best restaurants in San Francisco and enjoy some of the finest meals you can get in this part of the country.
The cultural, financial, and commercial center of Northern California is brimming with different flavors from all over the world. From casual places for hanging out to elegant diners, the city has everything you need, and much more. But with so many amazing spots, which one should you choose? We’ve prepared a list of places you have to check out right after moving to San Francisco.
This town is well-known for its excellent meal options, not only in the US but worldwide. Both locals and visitors will have no problem finding a restaurant to experience local delicacies, due to SF’s culture of using locally-sourced ingredients to make excellent dishes with international influences.
However, since the cost of living in San Francisco can be high when compared to other parts of the country, you should carefully plan your moving-out budget and potential expenses you might encounter after paying for moving services. So, make sure you save some money when you move out of state to be able to enjoy the delicious tastes of SF.
Let’s start with a genuine neighborhood gem. Pearl 6101 is located inside a restored apothecary. It was designed as a modern dining room and lounge concept restaurant, offering California-inspired Mediterranean dishes combined with local drinks. It brings back neighborhood dining habits with its plates of pasta, family-style fish and meat, and other creative fares. Keep in mind that it’s closed on Mondays, though.
Chef Kellan of Kellan’s Kitchen has created an intimate place with delicious courses paired with good local wine. He organizes private dinner events, family meals, large corporate barbecues, beer dinners, even cooking lessons. Chef’s cuisine is influenced by his Californian origins and world travels, offering fresh meals for everyone’s taste.
Lauren of Lomade, owned by a creative lady named Lauren Rose, specializes in seasonal, Mediterranean dishes with a touch of its own. Since Rose previously worked in the wine industry, she was inspired to create her own meals and wine combos, making a tasteful fusion for an authentic experience.
What can be better than sipping a cocktail or some other drink while sitting in a lounge with a panoramic view over the rooftops? Add a breathtaking sunset, and you have a full experience. When relocating to SF, you’d want to spend your days or nights enjoying your meals with a view of your new hometown. And the greatest way to do that is to check the top rooftop bars in SF.
Charmaine’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge is situated 120 feet over Market Street. Along with a laid-back vibe, this Proper Hotel’s stylish rooftop place offers a creative cocktail menu inspired by the city’s seven-by-seven miles size, serving drinks divided into seven categories, each containing seven cocktails.
Rooftop25 offers an interesting setting comprised of mini-olive trees and heat lamps for comfort. It is accompanied by a great view of the sunset from the west side. It offers wood-fired pizzas and a variety of drinks, including Spicy Passion Fruit Margaritas and Pina Coladas.
A trendy open-air rooftop place, inspired by Latin America, El Techo de Lolinda is protected from the breeze by glass walls, from sunlight by sun-shading umbrellas and from coolness by heat lamps, so you are totally covered. Add happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm, and who can resist? If you arrive before 5 pm, you will be able to skip the line.
Equipped with picnic benches and heat lamps and arranged in two levels, Mad Oak rooftop place offers a laid-back atmosphere and chefs working in six-month cycles for ultimate diversity. Excellent craft beers are on offer, too.
Being a densely populated continent, Europe has a plethora of food styles and tastes which can hardly be presented and described in a few words, so some aspects of it are always going to be left out unintentionally and undeservedly. One of the most exciting things you can do in San Francisco is to explore the tastes of places you’ve never been to and possibly find your new travel destination.
Eastern Europe has a specific cuisine that fits its climate and includes various historical influences, with fermented and smoked snacks being among its main features.
You will find a lot of these specialties in Dear Inga, an Eastern European place that offers live-fire cooking, smoked fish, stuffed cabbage, sausages, and other Hungarian delicacies, as well as Georgian wines. All served in a rustic environment decorated with white marble and Prussian blue tile.
Paprika is a global gastropub that serves traditional Czech and Hungarian meals and German and Czech beers. Red Tavern is another place that offers a menu of Eastern European classic meals like borscht, blintzes, pelmeni, goulash, Beef Stroganoff, and many others.
Known for their elegance and tradition in meal serving, French eateries are popular all over the world, and SF is no different. Most of the best places to live in San Francisco have their own little French place that you can go to.
Situated in the basement of Hotel Cornell, Jeanne D’Arc Restaurant is a romantic classic French spot decorated with tapestries, stained glass, and artifacts to add to its charm and celebrate the legendary French heroine, Joan of Arc. They serve authentic French meals and both French and Californian wines.
Holder of a Michelin star, La Folie has a long tradition in the City by the Bay, and its chef and owner grew up in Lyon, the culinary capital of France.
Le P’tit Laurent is another place that was established by a French-born chef who studied at the prominent Ecole Hoteliere and worked at some of the most celebrated Parisian eateries. He came here for a vacation and loved it so much that he decided to settle down and open a few restaurants, Le P’tit Laurent being one of them.
Italian cuisine is known worldwide for its exquisite taste and simplicity, yet refinement that not many people can resist. One of the most famous places is Fiorella. It presents more than just traditional Italian meals such as pizza, offering a variety of pies and antipasti, all accompanied by diverse wines.
Even though many would go to some of the best restaurants in Chicago for a great slice of pizza, SF also has some great places where you can enjoy this popular Italian meal. Che Fico is a rustic Italian place that offers casual Italian meals, but with a token of California. Pizzas are made in an oven imported from Naples, but with imaginative extras, such as pineapples, fermented chili, and so on. Pasta is delicious, and there are also meals that reflect the Jewish-Italian tradition. Finally, they have an unusual but exquisite olive oil cake.
Another option is La Ciccia, a family-run place that offers Sardinian-style cuisine based on seafood. The meals are authentic, as the owner is actually a Sard, and their savors will definitely take you across the Atlantic to the sunny Mediterranean.
A mix of influences makes English cuisine an exciting blend, and there are some authentic meals that are served in certain San Fran eateries. One of them is The Cavalier. It is a brasserie inspired by London, serving typical meals such as fish and chips, roasted chicken breast, and others, but also excellent sandwiches, like a smoked salmon sandwich.
The Pig and Whistle is an English tavern that serves pub-grub meals and various draft beers not only from the UK but from Holland, France, and SF as well. In a very English style, it also entertains its guests with soccer games on TV. It has the charm of an English pub with a touch of America.
Mediterranean cuisine is not only tasty and presentable, but it is also based on very healthy meals that fit any cardio diet. Being a country surrounded by water from three sides, seafood is the basis for a lot of meals, and Spanish wines are famous all over the world.
Coqueta is a very popular place among people in SF. Its name translates to “flirt” to depict the attitude of the owner towards Spanish cuisine. They offer imaginative cocktails and dishes at reasonable prices for a waterfront restaurant and the quality it provides.
Located in a landmark building in SoMa, Bellota is a refined Spanish bistro that offers meals prepared on a wood fire. Among their specialties are paellas, tapas, stews, and an excellent choice of cheese and vegetable meals and grilled meat. It also has an exquisite wine list, and it all comes with live music entertainment.
Asian cuisine is not only healthy but also imaginative and full of surprises, at least regarding the types and combos of meals.
At Dragon Beaux, you can try a mix of classic and creative dim sum and soup dumplings, golden egg yolk lava bao, and other delicacies.
Han Il Kwan serves high-quality meat in a pleasant environment, which is a key feature of this Korean place. It is often visited by Korean tourists and rather busy.
San Tung serves typical Asian meals, from dumplings, rice soup, noodles with various sauces, shrimps, and other specialties, but it is famous for its dry-fried wings. It is very busy, so you might have to queue, but in the end, it is worthwhile.
Sushi has become extremely popular worldwide, not only for being healthy but also for its oriental charm and elegance. Daigo Sushi is a small corner place that offers traditional sushi and sashimi rolls, but also some new, imaginative combos. Saru Sushi Bar is an energetic, casual, miniature sushi and sake bar that offers Japanese dishes with a little Californian sway.
The chef of Zushi Puzzle is highly appreciated by culinary experts, as he uses traditional sushi ingredients in an exploratory manner. Not only will you enjoy classic sushi staples, but also other sushi-inspired delicacies of the sea.
Burmese meals are inspired by coastal, forest, tropical, and mountainous cultures it represents and embodies. This clash of cultures has resulted in the rich tastes of this exotic cuisine.
Burma Superstar is a small Burmese eatery that is famous for its tea-leaf salad. It opened in 1992 when there were only two Burmese joints in the whole of SF. Today, it has made an impact on the city and its inhabitants, encouraging more and more Burmese eateries to pop up all over SF. They offer different meals that vary from intense curries with ginger, spices, meats, and garlic to complex salads that have over 20 ingredients, including green papaya and chickpeas mixed with a tamarind vinaigrette.
The perk of Burmese cuisine is that it is not as popular and omnipresent as Chinese or Thai, for example, so it still offers mystique that intrigues people. With that in mind, Mandalay is one of the rare places that serves traditional Burmese dishes in an Asian-style decorated ambient to round up the entire experience.
This trendy neighborhood is filled with eateries that offer delicious meals. It stretches across the northern waterfront area of SF, occupying the area between Ghirardelli Square and Kearny Street.
One of the most popular places is the Boudin Bakery. The place offers made-to-order meals that you can enjoy at reasonable prices. They have meals for any time of the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, dessert, or dinner. And all that in a family-friendly atmosphere. If you don’t want to stay and eat, they also offer to-go orders and even catering.
One of the most popular seafood places in Fisherman’s Wharf is the Crab Station. Unlike all those fancy places, this stand resembles a fast food joint rather than a restaurant. They have stay-in and take-out options, so you can choose how you would like to eat. They have fresh fish that seems like it came straight from the sea.
Wipeout Bar & Grill has been serving great surf meals and beach snacks since 2005. This Pier 39 place has become a wildly-popular surfing restaurant. The interior has an outdoor wide-open patio, surfboards that were signed by celebrities, and even some of the world’s most famous beach signs. It’s a great hangout spot with delicious meals.
For fans of fishing, the Wharf also has plenty of spots where you can catch your own seafood. Just make sure you properly pack your fishing rod for transport.
When you think of Mexican cuisine, you have to think of hot spices. Well, you can find spicy meals in a variety of Mexican joints in SF, out of which we will mention just a few.
Nopalito has a pleasant ambiance, lively atmosphere, and you do not have to wait long to be seated and served. The service is polite, and the noise is moderate, which is good if you are visiting with friends. The portions may not be as large as you might be used to, the prices are a bit high for their size, but the overall experience is pleasant.
Matador is a modern taco bar, established as a joint venture of two successful restaurant and bar operators. It offers an array of cocktails inspired by Mexico, as well as authentic Mexican drinks such as sangria, michelada, margaritas, tequila, etc.
Tropisueno is a popular and crowded place with charming Mexican ambiance and outdoor seating, tucked between the buildings and shopping malls. Service is fast and efficient, and the dishes are big, served with various complementary sauces. The music is known to be a bit loud, but it really depends on your mood.
El Farolito is a small place with limited seating, so large groups can only order take-out. It is open late, and the turnover is rather good since they serve huge portions that will satisfy all Mexican food fans and at reasonable prices, too.
When moving to another state alone, what better way to feel at home than with some traditional meals? The traditional Southern cuisine has a variety of types, such as Appalachian, Creole, Lowcountry, Tidewater, etc. Basically, it consists of pan-fried chicken, field peas, greens, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and a typical dessert is a pie, most commonly sweet potato, pecan, peach, and so on.
The Front Porch is a small and intimate restaurant in a nice neighborhood. Even though it has first floor and basement seating capacity, it is somewhat limited, so reservations are recommended, particularly if you are in a group of more than five. They serve excellent happy hour specials at reasonable prices, but parking options in the area are challenging, so coming earlier is advisable.
How about some singing and dining? Karaoke lovers, Tupelo is a place for you. Not only will you have the karaoke experience of your life, but you will also hear some good saxophone music with disco lights and smoke. It comes with inflated prices, though, just like other North Beach bars in SF.
Rusty’s Southern is a modern and casual-chic place that offers old fashioned customer service and huge meals. It has a nice interior, which is not consistent with a modest exterior. The service is warm and efficient, and the menu comprises Southern meals, from grits to pork biscuits, accompanied by craft beer.
Unlike the best restaurants in Seattle, breakfast and brunch joints are not crowded. If you’re into brunch, there are plenty of places you can try. Not to mention that there are a lot of brunch places close to San Francisco high schools, which means you can enjoy some time alone after you drop off your kids to school.
One of the most popular places for brunch is Palette Tea House – and for a good reason. Situated in Ghirardelli Square, it has a lot of luxurious meals on its menu. Another place you might enjoy is Rose’s Café. It can be described in just two words: breakfast pizza. It’s one of the rare places where you can order breakfast pizza with fontina, sunny-side-up eggs, and smoked ham. But, apart from that, they also offer various delicious meals with an Italian spin and the mandatory brunch addition – mimosas.
The City by the Bay’s eateries have invented or perfected a lot of new things that are now considered traditional American dishes. The typical meals you can try here are bay shrimp, sand dabs, Dungeness crab, abalone, and crusty sourdough French bread. But, the town also has many venues that serve traditional American meals. You can try the old-fashioned American burgers, pancakes, and many more. All the best neighborhoods in San Francisco have a local place where you can taste some traditional meals.
SF’s dining scene is growing each day, so it’s no wonder that the number of dining out options keeps rising. If you are in the mood to explore new places and be one of their first customers, then we suggest you go to some of the newly opened joints in town.
Even though it’s newly-opened, Ocean Ale House already attracts a lot of customers. They serve fresh quality local meals, along with some craft beer – both local and from all of the world. It is the perfect
If you’re looking to dine with a little fun, then Fifth Arrow is the place for you. You can have fun with skee ball, bowling, and other games, or you can relax with some great cocktails and try their great pizza.
All this talk of meals with meat, and no vegetarian options. Don’t worry, SF has got you covered. The town also has great choices for both vegetarians and vegans. One of the hottest places with vegetarian menus is the newly opened Wildseed. Their menu has a lot of options, with 100% plant-based ingredients and meals that are flavorful, fresh, and hearty. Another place you can try is the Greens Restaurant. Their menu has different vegetarian-friendly meals that won’t leave you craving for meat – according to many customer reviews at least.
If you’re wondering where to live in California, keep in mind that San Francisco is a go-to place that offers meals and restaurants for everybody to enjoy. So don’t miss out on trying out all the diverse SF’s food delights. If you decide to employ professional SF movers with packing services to handle your belongings, you’ll have enough time to explore this magnificent city and check out the top SF restaurants we’ve mentioned above.