San Francisco really does have the best chocolate on the west coast, let’s be honest. The history of chocolate factories in the Bay is a rich one, going back as far as the roots of the area itself. These days there are up-and-coming chocolatiers all throughout the Bay Area, as well as titans of cacao like the Mission District’s Dandelion Chocolate and the old brass — with a bit of a facelift — Ghirardelli Chocolate. Artisan-crafted truffles and bonbons aren’t always cheap, but chocolate shouldn’t cost $1 anyways, as Megan Giller points out in her book Bean to Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution. For whatever occasion, not that one ever needs to justify a craving for a bittersweet bite, here are the 10 best chocolate shops in San Francisco.Read More
10 Sweet Spots to Pick Up Quality Chocolate in San Francisco
The city’s finest cacao crafters, from brick and mortar legends to popup phenomenons
The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop
The oldest continuously run chocolate factory in the United States dates back to the Gold Rush, though it’s now owned by Lindt, a massive international company. The chocolate is contestable at times, but it’s the destination chocolate company in San Francisco. A warm day spent at Ghirardelli Square with the iconic hot fudge sundae is tough to top.
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This North Beach truffle shop has supplied locals and tourists with chocolate since 1997, and owner Jean-Marc Gorce hands over any coffee or hot chocolate with a free sample. Fans love the dark chocolate dusted in cocoa, rolled toasted hazelnuts, and soaked in cognac. As of 2021, there are three vegan options, too.
Recchiuti Confections at the Ferry Building
Michael Recchiuti is a former musician turned confectioner, who set up shop in the Ferry Building in 1997 (the same year his friend Scharffenberger blazed onto the local chocolate scene). He’s known for smooth and powerful dark chocolates inflected with fresh ingredients from the farmers’ market, from the lilt of lemon verbena to heady pink peppercorns.
Jade Chocolates Teahouse & Cafe
Mindy Fong opened her tea lounge and chocolate shop in March 2022 and immediately the cafe became a must-try for Chinatown residents and tourists alike. Buddha heads filled with peanut butter and mango jam, chocolate-covered ginger, fortune cookie inclusion bars, and much, much more make this chocolatier one of San Francisco’s premiere confectioners working today.
Sisters Wendy and Susan Lieu set up shop in SoMa in 2014. The chocolates and truffles rely on local Guittard chocolate and Straus dairy, feature many of their favorite Vietnamese flavors, and come in minty fresh boxes stamped with a super cute alpaca.
Topogato’s owners Simon Brown and Beau Monroe keep dishing out delectable delights. Brown’s talent shines through creations like coconut passionfruit bars that look more like art pieces than candies, and Monroe’s keen eye for design makes them thoughtful gifts. The business is entirely online, but pick-up is available at Lower Haight shop Her Urban Herbs. Topogato also ships nationwide.
Kokak is the newest addition to this list, opening in 2020. And thank goodness — the Castro could use a fresh new storefront, especially one with such sweet treats. Chocolatier Carol Gancia plays up childhood nostalgia with chocolate frogs and pond leaves in her tropical designs.
This small shop in Noe Valley opened around 1994 and has been wall-to-wall with craft chocolate ever since. Owner Jack Epstein doesn’t make chocolate, and he doesn’t shape chocolate, he just stocks chocolate in an astonishing selection — he says that at any given time, he has more than 1,000 different bars from around the world. He also makes custom blue-and-white tins featuring San Francisco street signs.
Feve Artisan Chocolatier
Shawn Williams is a former chef turned chocolatier, working out of a small space in the Bayview. He’s known for his sea salt caramel, tucked into dark modern boxes, which can be spotted at many markets, bakeries, and coffee shops. But there’s also a retail shop attached to his facility if fans want to go straight to the source.
J Street Chocolate
Recovering tech worker Julia Street wants chocolate lovers to remember two things: chocolate is a fermented food, and chocolate farmers deserve more than they’ve got. Her bars are tinkerings in chocolatiering gone right, incorporating ingredients from miso to beer, and are available at Gratta Wines or for delivery. Address is for scheduled pickup only.