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Where to Go on a Date in the Sunset

The best date spots in the neighborhood

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Nailing the perfect venue is an absolutely essential component to the success of a date. But here's the thing: What makes a great first date spot is definitely not the same as what makes a place the best to celebrate a special occasion or even a second date — so deciding where to take a plus-one doesn't always get the same answer. Every situation has different needs — neighborhood, vibes, price point — and it can be tricky to find the right bar or restaurant if you've never been there. So next time you're trying to pick a fitting location, just consult this guide. We've got you covered if it's the Sunset you're cornering.

In need of the best date spots in other neighborhoods? Check out this ultimate guide to dating in San Francisco.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. First date, drinks: Social Kitchen & Brewery

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1326 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 681-0330
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At this Inner Sunset gathering spot, the team brews its own beer and has a well-curated selection of guest taps, but Social Kitchen isn’t just a beer bar. The high-ceilinged neighborhood restaurant also offers cocktails and wine, as well as burgers, entrees, and snacks like truffle mac & cheese and blistered shishitos. Sit at the long, curved bar to be part of the action, or grab a seat on the balcony for a little more privacy. And if things are going well, Social Kitchen’s proximity to other bars like The Little Shamrock make it an ideal home base for bar-hopping.

2. First date, coffee: Devil's Teeth Baking Company

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3876 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 683-5533
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It’s not just that we’ll take any excuse to come here and eat their fabulous, oozy breakfast sandwiches. It’s also that this bakery on Noriega has a parklet outside where you can perch, people-watch, and get to know another human over Bicycle coffee and baked goods like beignets and kale-parmesan scones. And if the parklet is busy (or even if it isn’t), the beach and its romantic walk potential is a mere three blocks away.

3. Second date, moderate: Toyose

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3814 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 731-0232
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Here’s where you can gauge the adventurous spirit of your date: with a meal in the converted garage of this Outer Sunset staple. Toyose is a popular late-night stop, but it’s also open for dinner every day, and the tucked-away feel and semi-private booths foster a feeling of intimacy. Since this is Korean bar food, anything fried is a good bet — chicken wings, kimchi fried rice, and seafood pancake are favorites — but there’s also a lengthy menu of noodles, hot pot, grilled proteins, and soju drinks.

4. Second date, expensive: Nopalito

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1224 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 233-9966
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Come for the margaritas (and excellent popped corn snacks that accompany them); stay for the menu of refined Mexican small plates. The second location of this SF staple from the Nopa folks fits right in with the neighborhood, offering an upscale-casual environment for its tacos, pozole, ceviche, and legendary carnitas with housemade tortillas. If it’s not too cold at night, request a table on the cute heated patio and eat surrounded by cafe lights and potted succulents.

5. Where to lock it down: Beach Chalet

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1000 Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-8439
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Beach Chalet, on the second floor of the Golden Gate Park Visitor’s Center on the Great Highway, is member of a very small club of SF restaurants where you can eat dinner while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Make reservations accordingly. You can splurge on classics like raw oysters, Maine lobster, or New York steak, or stick to basics like burgers and fish and chips. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s house brews or a selection from the full bar.

6. LTR, moderate: Outerlands

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4001 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 661-6140
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There are perennial crowds waiting outside Outerlands for a seat at brunch and dinner, but we like to sneak in during the off-hours, which is why we recommend playing hooky from work and dropping in for a weekday breakfast or lunch date. Mornings bring pastry chef Brooke Mosley’s famous toast and other variations of eggs on bready things (a venerable category), while lunch offers a gooey grilled cheese, brisket sandwich and a few soups and salads; either way, you feel like you’re getting away with something. Walk it off after at Ocean Beach, just a few blocks away.

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7. LTR, expensive: Koo

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408 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 731-7077
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There’s something sexy about spoiling yourself with pristine raw fish, and this cozy Sunset restaurant will certainly oblige. Each omakase ($50 and up) starts with spoons of happiness, bearing uni, ankimo (monkfish liver), and a shot of sake, and then follows with a parade of sashimi and nigiri. The dining room is more comfortable than romantic, but the best seats in the house are at the sushi bar anyway, and a few fabric panels provide semi-private nooks at the tables.

8. Breakup spot: Yancy's Saloon

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734 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 665-6551

Yancy’s is a big, lively Irish bar. Which means that any sort of scene can be absorbed, because there’s always enough going on to distract from whatever’s happening at your table. The bar also has many beers on tap, several TV screens to fix your attention on if things get too awkward, and a few dart boards in back in case either of you need to take out some aggression.

1. First date, drinks: Social Kitchen & Brewery

1326 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

At this Inner Sunset gathering spot, the team brews its own beer and has a well-curated selection of guest taps, but Social Kitchen isn’t just a beer bar. The high-ceilinged neighborhood restaurant also offers cocktails and wine, as well as burgers, entrees, and snacks like truffle mac & cheese and blistered shishitos. Sit at the long, curved bar to be part of the action, or grab a seat on the balcony for a little more privacy. And if things are going well, Social Kitchen’s proximity to other bars like The Little Shamrock make it an ideal home base for bar-hopping.

1326 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122

2. First date, coffee: Devil's Teeth Baking Company

3876 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

It’s not just that we’ll take any excuse to come here and eat their fabulous, oozy breakfast sandwiches. It’s also that this bakery on Noriega has a parklet outside where you can perch, people-watch, and get to know another human over Bicycle coffee and baked goods like beignets and kale-parmesan scones. And if the parklet is busy (or even if it isn’t), the beach and its romantic walk potential is a mere three blocks away.

3876 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122

3. Second date, moderate: Toyose

3814 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Here’s where you can gauge the adventurous spirit of your date: with a meal in the converted garage of this Outer Sunset staple. Toyose is a popular late-night stop, but it’s also open for dinner every day, and the tucked-away feel and semi-private booths foster a feeling of intimacy. Since this is Korean bar food, anything fried is a good bet — chicken wings, kimchi fried rice, and seafood pancake are favorites — but there’s also a lengthy menu of noodles, hot pot, grilled proteins, and soju drinks.

3814 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122

4. Second date, expensive: Nopalito

1224 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

Come for the margaritas (and excellent popped corn snacks that accompany them); stay for the menu of refined Mexican small plates. The second location of this SF staple from the Nopa folks fits right in with the neighborhood, offering an upscale-casual environment for its tacos, pozole, ceviche, and legendary carnitas with housemade tortillas. If it’s not too cold at night, request a table on the cute heated patio and eat surrounded by cafe lights and potted succulents.

1224 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122

5. Where to lock it down: Beach Chalet

1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121

Beach Chalet, on the second floor of the Golden Gate Park Visitor’s Center on the Great Highway, is member of a very small club of SF restaurants where you can eat dinner while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Make reservations accordingly. You can splurge on classics like raw oysters, Maine lobster, or New York steak, or stick to basics like burgers and fish and chips. Wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s house brews or a selection from the full bar.

1000 Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA 94121

6. LTR, moderate: Outerlands

4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
Eater Archives

There are perennial crowds waiting outside Outerlands for a seat at brunch and dinner, but we like to sneak in during the off-hours, which is why we recommend playing hooky from work and dropping in for a weekday breakfast or lunch date. Mornings bring pastry chef Brooke Mosley’s famous toast and other variations of eggs on bready things (a venerable category), while lunch offers a gooey grilled cheese, brisket sandwich and a few soups and salads; either way, you feel like you’re getting away with something. Walk it off after at Ocean Beach, just a few blocks away.

4001 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122

7. LTR, expensive: Koo

408 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

There’s something sexy about spoiling yourself with pristine raw fish, and this cozy Sunset restaurant will certainly oblige. Each omakase ($50 and up) starts with spoons of happiness, bearing uni, ankimo (monkfish liver), and a shot of sake, and then follows with a parade of sashimi and nigiri. The dining room is more comfortable than romantic, but the best seats in the house are at the sushi bar anyway, and a few fabric panels provide semi-private nooks at the tables.

408 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

8. Breakup spot: Yancy's Saloon

734 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Yancy’s is a big, lively Irish bar. Which means that any sort of scene can be absorbed, because there’s always enough going on to distract from whatever’s happening at your table. The bar also has many beers on tap, several TV screens to fix your attention on if things get too awkward, and a few dart boards in back in case either of you need to take out some aggression.

734 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

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