As a native San Franciscan, nothing warms my heart more than someone asking for recommendations on where to eat in my hometown. SF may be a small city, but it has an impressive and diverse selection of places to eat.
And that is just in the city limits, not counting culinary destinations across the Bay like Berkeley and Oakland.
One type of cuisine that you must try in SF is Chinese, from dim sum to traditional family-style feasts, it’s highly recommended that you say yes to all of it. Make sure to head out to the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods for an embarrassing wealth of options that are authentic and delicious.
What other types of food does this city excel in? Burmese, Russian, seafood, Mission-style burritos, and not to mention we are extremely spoiled with excellent bakeries.
Here’s a list of my favorite places to go around town divided up by neighborhoods.
We recently had my birthday dinner here and the hot pot was on point with kobe beef meat options, and an endless array of side dishes to thrown in the pot. They also known for their inventive dim sum, and the rainbow XLB are delicious.
Seakor Polish Delicatessen
This deli is strictly take-out only, but worth stopping by for sandwiches with their smoked deli meats, kielbasa and mostly importantly of all their homemade poppy seed cake.
Han Il Kwan
I’ve been going here since I was a little girl, and this is the place to go for a giant Korean BBQ feast where you can grill your own meat. The banchan is generous, and the braised short ribs tender and flavorful.
The main star of this restaurant is the Japanese curry that has customizable levels of spiciness, including the volcano level that is no joke.
Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery
This Russian bakery is the spot to get cheap, giant piroshkis, blintzes, and poppy seed rolls in the middle of Little Russia.
One of my favorite places to grab a solid meal of chicken satay, summer rolls, yellow curry, and pad see ew after an afternoon in Golden Gate Park.
It feels like eating in someone home in this cozy family-run restaurant, with steaming bowls of dolsot bibimbap and flavorful banchan. Make sure to get there early.
This neighborhood spot is one of my go-to places for fresh sushi in the city and has some great specialty rolls. There are also non-sushi menu items, like bento boxes and udon, but sushi is really the star here.
There are many good bakeries in San Francisco but this co-op owned one has my heart. The daily pizza slice is not to be missed and the daily scones are crazy good. If you get there early enough make sure to grab a pecan roll before they sell out.
Pho Huynh Hiep 2-Kevin’s Noodle House
For a reasonably priced bowl of pho and a side of spring rolls, this spot has never disappointed me. Perfect for warming up on a foggy day (nearly every day) in the avenues.
Swan Oyster Depot
Worth waiting in the intimidating line for their fresh oysters, or if you’re oyster-adverse there are plenty of delicious alternatives like the shrimp or smoked salmon.
The 5-spice chicken has been one of my favorite dishes at this closet-sized Vietnamee comfort food spot for decades. It’s delicious and affordable, and best ordered as take-out.
Bob’s Donuts and Pastry Shop
This donut shop might not have artisanal flavors, but it has the worn-in charm of a shop that has been in the neighborhood for decades, and I swear I can smell the apple fritters a block away.
Tuba Authentic Turkish Restaurant
There seems to be a recent trend of Turkish restaurants in the city, but I’ve always loved this one for its consistently good kofte and fresh bread with a trio of dips. Also the atmosphere is so warm and inviting. Definitely date night material.
If you’re going to go for the Mission-style burrito this is one of the places that should definitely be on your short list. You can never go wrong with the carne asada buritto.
Tartine Bakery and Café
There’s no sign out front, but you can tell you’ve come to the right place if there’s a line spilling into the sidewalk. Some benefits of the often long wait is you can decide whether you should get a chocolate croissant or a morning bun. Important decisions.
Four words words: salted carmel ice cream. It’s insanely addicting and though I vow to try different flavors each time, I always end up back at this one.
Rosemunde Sausage Grill
I joke that this is my informal meeting place, since it’s a great casual place to meet up with friends and grab a beer ad a sausage roll. They have unusual flavors like wild boar, but I usually go for something more mellow like the all-beef knockwurst. Cash only.
For legit tacos, this is the place to go. There is a taco cart where they grill the meat right in front of you and there’s a self-serve toppings bar next to the grill. Late night bites don’t get better than this.
I’m not a vegetarian, but this veggie-only Japanese restaurant does not make me miss meat one bit. I’m a big fan of the kinoko (mushroom medley) miso and the garden roll. Cash only.
A La Turca
This Turkish restaurant never fails to satisfy my Turkish food cravings for traditional dishes like kofte and mercemek soup. This Turkish food is the real deal.
Love this spot so much that I catered our wedding reception party from here. Big fan of their chicken kebabs.
When I use to work in the Financial District I would often crave the massive falafel wrap. The perfect amount of crunch in the middle of lightly toasted lavash bread is the cure for anything.
For a casual sushi spot, this is at the top of my list. The underground spot is tucked into the first floor of a mall and the fish is always fresh. I always opt for the Barbie roll (salmon with a lemon slice on top). Make sure to go early to snag a spot at one of the few tables.
Where are your favorite places to eat in San Francisco?