Our list of places where locals love to eat in San Francisco is quite varied, with Chinese food, Hawaiian food, Mediterranean food, and classic American all being available in equal measure. The city has a wide variety of restaurants that locals can't seem to get enough of, as they offer the culturally diverse yet positively Californian taste that defines the city.  

    You'll find outstanding restaurants all over town, but quite a few – including a Michelin star winner – can be found in Chinatown. Nevertheless, you should not miss one of the most popular dishes in the city: the Dungeness crab. Found in the waters around San Francisco, it’s available in many seafood restaurants throughout the city. Dine like a local with our guide to the best restaurants in San Francisco

    Where are the best places to eat in San Francisco? 

    1

    Sotto Mare

    Enjoy top-of-the-line seafood

    Sotto Mare is a bustling seafood restaurant with an Italian style that focuses on fresh ingredients, with much of it caught locally, especially the oysters. The food is crafted with zesty flavours and an authentic Italian flair. You can enjoy an order of crab cioppino or other prepared seafood dish, or you can buy fresh fish and oysters here if you're looking to do some cooking of your own. Whatever your goals, you'll find this restaurant in North Beach just a short walk from Washington Square.

    Location: 552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from noon to 9 pm, Friday–Saturday from noon to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +1 415-398-3181

    Map
    2

    Verjus

    Visit a restaurant and wine bar

    Verjus is a popular San Francisco restaurant that focuses on sourcing food from independent, small-scale growers to ensure local, fresh flavour in every dish. The food itself is much like the atmosphere: designed to be casual and fun while also emanating an aura of elegance. The wine bar portion of the restaurant is particularly robust, featuring an eclectic array of wines. Much like the ingredients for the food, the wine is also sourced from independent vineyards with a focus on organic growth. You'll find this restaurant in Jackson Square, across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid.

    Location: 528 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Saturday from noon to 9 pm (closed Sunday–Monday)

    Phone: +1 415-398-3181

    Map
    3

    Sam Wo Restaurant

    Get a taste of Chinatown

    Sam Wo Restaurant is a legendary, century-old Chinese restaurant where you can still find authentic Chinatown fare amongst its rich history and fame. This restaurant has made a serious impact on the local restaurant scene not only for its delicious Chinese offerings, but also for having what was once considered to be the rudest waiter of all time. While that waiter is long gone, the restaurant has still retained some of his iconic serving styles that locals have come to love. You can try it all for yourself just a short walk south from Portsmouth Square.

    Location: 713 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Friday and Monday from 11 am to 8 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 415-989-8898

    Map

    photo by Mobilus In Mobili (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Mister Jiu's

    Enjoy a California spin on Cantonese classics

    Mister Jiu's is a high-end, Michelin-star Chinese restaurant serving incredible Cantonese classics with a California twist. The chef/owner has worked to create a comfortable dining experience where everyone can enjoy the best that contemporary Chinese and Californian cuisine can offer. Some of the more popular dishes on the menu include sourdough scallion pancakes and black cod with celery root, black garlic, and red kuri squash. You can try it for yourself in Chinatown, down the street from Portsmouth Square.

    Location: 28 Waverly Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 3.30 pm to 8.30 pm (closed Sunday–Monday)

    Phone: +1 415-857-9688

    Map
    5

    House of Prime Rib

    Try the best prime rib in town

    House of Prime Rib is a decades-old restaurant focused on steak and American cuisine and specialising in roast beef that's carved at your table. All of their beef consists of only the top 2% of all beef on the market, and it has all been aged for 21 days to ensure tenderness and flavour. In addition to the delectable meats, you can also find numerous accompaniments to your meal, like a salad bowl or mashed potatoes. You can even get a taste of England by ordering the Yorkshire pudding. Give it a try for yourself by heading just a few blocks east of Lafayette Park in Polk Gulch.

    Location: 1906 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 4 pm to 8 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +1 415-885-4605

    Map
    6

    Swan Oyster Depot

    Explore a century-old seafood restaurant

    Swan Oyster Depot is a historic seafood restaurant where you'll find a wide variety of fresh catches, though they focus on oysters, often offering rare oysters. While the proper menu is full of premade dishes and ingredients that you can get for your own cooking, you'll also find a secret menu. The secret menu primarily consists of speciality orders that local regulars have requested so often they just put them on the secret menu. Some of these items include Sicilian sashimi and a Dozen Eggs, which consists of several raw scallops in sriracha and ponzu sauce.

    Location: 1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8 am to 2.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 415-673-1101

    Map

    photo by Daderot (CC0 1.0) modified

    7

    Liholiho Yacht Club

    Grab a refined taste of Hawaii

    Liholiho Yacht Club is a high-end restaurant that fuses traditional Hawaiian cuisine with classic Californian favourites and techniques. Like Hawaii, the food here tends to be served on shareable plates, so everybody at the table can get a taste of everything. You'll find 2 bars here as well, but they tend to fill up quickly. If you're looking to make this a stop during your San Francisco trip, be sure to book your reservation well in advance. You'll find this restaurant in Polk Gulch, just west of Union Square.

    Location: 871 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA

    Open: Thursday–Saturday from noon to 8 pm (closed Sunday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +1 415-440-5446

    Map
    8

    Pearl 6101

    Enjoy Mediterranean dining

    Pearl 6101 is a Mediterranean restaurant that offers a varied menu and a big, airy space that allows you to enjoy your evening whether you're out for food, drinks, or both. The food is notably Mediterranean-inspired, but California makes its presence known as well, especially considering their commitment to local ingredients. You'll find quite a few delights on the menu, from plenty of seafood and pasta dishes to a delicious bone-in grilled pork chop. You'll find this restaurant in Outer Richmond just north of Little Russia.

    Location: 6101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 415-592-9777

    Map
    9

    Super Duper

    Enjoy a proper burger at fast-food speeds

    Super Duper is dedicated to providing premier service to its patrons by serving up high-quality, made-from-scratch burgers that you don't have to wait on. Everything in this restaurant is made from the ground up. The burgers themselves are made from scratch, and even the pickles are housemade. Continuing their commitment to original work, you'll find that their signs are hand-painted, and they work with local artists and designers to support the community. You can see it all for yourself in the Marina District.

    Location: 2201 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA

    Open: Daily from 10.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 415-931-6258

    Map
    10

    Pork Store Cafe

    Enjoy a lovely brunch

    Pork Store Cafe is one of the best places in town to grab brunch, as it offers top-of-the-line dishes, including breakfast platters with a bit of everything on them. The portions tend to be quite generous, so keep that in mind when planning your activities for the day. You'll also find a lunch and dinner menu here featuring items such as salads, burgers, and entrees like steak and pork chops. A vegetarian platter is also available. You can try it out for yourself in Haight-Ashbury, just west of Buena Vista Park.

    Location: 1451 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 2 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 415-864-6981

    Map

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