San Francisco is a food lover's dream. There are far too many wonderful restaurants for me to tackle on this site, so the list below is really just my top list of favorites right now. I urge readers to do a little independent research using the following resources as well:

  • The 38 Essential San Francisco restaurants ("the Eater38") updated regularly to keep tabs on restaurant openings, closings, and changes. When traveling, I consult the Eater 38 list for other cities in the US before booking dinner reservations.
  • San Francisco Chronicle's Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants list (updated annually)
  • San Francisco Chronicle's Inside Scoop blog

What I think is very now:

  • Coqueta - Spanish cuisine from Michael Chiarello in a warm, energetic space with a scenic, waterfront setting
  • Kin Khao - Terrific Thai food from pioneering food blogger Pim Techamuanvivit in the Parc 55 Hotel
  • Lazy Bear - Adventurous, communal dining awarded with a Michelin star; read about my visit here
  • State Bird Provisions - Internationally influenced, California cuisine served dim sum style
  • The Progress - Fun, family style dining from the State Bird owners

When I want a classic San Francisco dining experience:

  • Boulevard - One of the best places to take visitors for an upscale dining experience followed by a Bay Lights viewing
  • Da Flora - This North Beach restaurant is owned by my siblings-in-law and serves delicious Italian food in an intimate setting
  • Frances - Intimate atmosphere in a sliver of a space in the Castro from Chef Melissa Perello
  • Kokkari - Incredible Greek cuisine served in a very warm and comfortable Jackson Square space
  • Rich Table - Innovative yet familiar cuisine served in a naturally warm, wood-laden dining room
  • Slanted Door - Refined Vietnamese food served in a stylish and scenic Ferry Building location
  • Yank Sing - This is my favorite place to go for upscale dim sum
  • Zuni Cafe - Casual but sexy, rustic yet refined, and always in fashion

When I want nostalgia and old school offerings:

  • Tadich Grill - The place to go for classic cocktails, Crab Louie, and traditional seafood fare
  • House of Prime Rib - Go hungry and enjoy everything in this classic SF restaurant fit only for meat eaters
  • Swan Oyster Depot - Prepare to stand in line outside but the wait is worth it for this tiny, casual, counter seating-only joint
  • Tony's Pizza Napoletana - Great pizza and Italian fare in a casual environment in North Beach

When I want to do lunch and shop or stroll the neighborhood:

When I want to grab a quick coffee or snack on the go:

When I want brunch:

  • Brenda's French Soul Food - classic Southern food in the Tenderloin
  • Foreign Cinema - Cal-Med cuisine served in a groovy space surrounding an outdoor patio
  • Little Skillet - Order at the street-side counter, pull up a crate, and gobble up chicken & waffles or Andouille & grits
  • Rocco's Cafe - My old neighborhood joint for great breakfast and really comforting Italian classics
  • Tartine - The best bakery in San Francisco on an idyllic SF residential area between Dolores Park and the Mission