Variety, quality, and innovation have all contributed to making San Francisco’s dinging scene arguably the best in the United States. The San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100” is a great resource, as is the annual “Big Eat” provided by the online magazine 7x7. Don’t want to leave your cozy studio? Hit up GrubHub to order online.
SanFran Favorites: Highlights in the Bay Area include Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, widely known for its local food selection and impact on the broader local food movement; the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, one of numerous specialty dining options throughout the city; and Boulevard, a fine dining establishment along the Embarcadero. The modern Vietnamese at the Slanted Door and the famous chain In-n-Out Burger are just two examples of how San Francisco’s selection caters to all tastes and wallets.
Food Trucks: SoMa’s StrEATfood Park, a permanent collection of food trucks, provides variety and cost-effectiveness (plus a bit of outdoor seating). A more itinerant option is Off the Grid, which provides a rotation of food trucks throughout the city, making stops downtown during the day and all around the Bay Area in the evenings. If you’re feeling like south-of-the-border flavors, it’s almost impossible to go wrong at any burrito establishment in the Mission (La Palma, on 24th, is particularly popular). If you’re still not satisfied, there’s an app for that! Roaming Hunger offers interactive maps of the city’s many food truck offerings.
SF Supper Clubs: Forage Kitchen provides a glimpse into yet another side San Francisco cusine: locally grown, organic, and sustainable. It brings local foragers together to find, prepare, and enjoy meals together, seeking a community surrounding local foods. Forage parties, though exclusive, are very popular. Numerous “pop-up” restaurants in the area have coalesced into a fun, sometimes pricey “underground” SF dining scene. Check out the San Francisco Eater for the latest notable pop-ups.
Local Produce: In general, local produce is a San Francisco specialty. A great list of farmers’ markets can be found here, but one of the best is undoubtedly the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, along the Embarcadero, just a short walk from both a BART stop and a number of MUNI lines. Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Coffee & Desserts: A fresh blend from Philz or a New Orleans-style iced coffee at Blue Bottle starts your day off right. Got a sweet tooth? Try a spiced chocolate donut from Dynamo Donuts, a slice from Green Chile Pies, or anything from Bi-Rite Creamery, a staple of the Mission District. Also check out the Bi-Rite Market, which will take care of your local and organic food needs. Tartine Bakery, another popular destination in the Mission, justifies its out-the-door morning lines with phenomenal pastries.
Wine & Bars: San Francisco’s proximity to Napa Valley means great wine; the VINE 29 Express Bus will get you there without a car, and the ferry-to-wine-train combo works just as well. If you’re looking for craft beer, some of the more popular drinking establishments in the bay area include Anchor Brewing Company, 21st Amendment, and Rickhouse. Check San Francisco’s own nightlife guide for more.