clock menu more-arrow no yes
Tosca Cafe
Tosca Cafe
Bill Addison

Where to Take a Date in Chinatown and North Beach

The best date spots in the neighborhood

View as Map
Tosca Cafe
| Bill Addison

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 Chinatown and North Beach you're cornering.

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

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. First date, drinks: Tosca Cafe

Copy Link
242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-9651
Visit Website

At Tosca, the bar is where it's at: stellar drinks, stellar bartenders, and stellar vibes. Just be sure to arrive a little earlier than your date to do the chivalrous thing and secure some seats for the two of you (you can even sneak in a loosen-up drink) — nothing is worse than pretending you love to stand while trying to romanticize a stranger.

Bill Addison

2. First date, coffee: Hole in the Wall

Copy Link
524 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 305-9109
Visit Website

The name of this quirky, hipster coffee shop is not an exaggeration — it's a literal hole in the wall — but the coffee is great, there are real coconuts for the buying (which can be a fun, if confusing, alternative to coffee), and it's right near Washington Square Park, which has top-notch people watching for bonding moments.

3. Second date, moderate: Cotogna

Copy Link
490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8508
Visit Website

There may be no more perfect a meal than pizza, pasta, and wine on a second date, and Cotogna leads San Francisco in those three categories. The lighting is always just right, too.

4. Second date, expensive: Roka Akor

Copy Link
801 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-8887
Visit Website

Fancy sushi and fancy drinks in fancy environs sums Roka Akor up pretty well. And if your date doesn't like sushi, there are plenty of entree options to choose from.

Roka Akor

5. Where to lock it down: Kokkari Estiatorio

Copy Link
200 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 981-0983
Visit Website

Kokkari is a special occasion classic for a reason: It consistently nails the restaurant holy trinity — food, service, and atmosphere — with its wood-fired Greek food and attentive staff.

Eater Archives

6. LTR, moderate: Bix

Copy Link
56 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 433-6300
Visit Website

Live jazz in a supper club setting is just what you need to add romance into a date, and Bix has both (plus tons of whiskey) in spades. The menu of American classics with modern twists always impresses.

7. LTR, expensive: Mister Jiu's

Copy Link
28 Waverly Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 857-9688
Visit Website

The gorgeous dining room at Mister Jiu's is a joy to discover amidst the typically lower key restaurants in Chinatown, especially paired with chef Brandon Jew's contemporary takes on Chinese food (served banquet-style for the two of you to feast on). It all makes for a surprising evening out in a neighborhood that hasn't changed in recent decades; don't skip out on the cocktails or dessert.

8. Breakup spot: Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge

Copy Link
1155 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 421-6730

A karaoke bar may seem an odd choice for a breakup spot, but the more you think about it, the more genius it becomes. There's plenty of music to drown out any of the more heated moments in your conversation, people are too focused on the singer to notice you, and you can even sing a swan song if needed.

Eater Archives

1. First date, drinks: Tosca Cafe

242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Bill Addison

At Tosca, the bar is where it's at: stellar drinks, stellar bartenders, and stellar vibes. Just be sure to arrive a little earlier than your date to do the chivalrous thing and secure some seats for the two of you (you can even sneak in a loosen-up drink) — nothing is worse than pretending you love to stand while trying to romanticize a stranger.

242 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. First date, coffee: Hole in the Wall

524 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

The name of this quirky, hipster coffee shop is not an exaggeration — it's a literal hole in the wall — but the coffee is great, there are real coconuts for the buying (which can be a fun, if confusing, alternative to coffee), and it's right near Washington Square Park, which has top-notch people watching for bonding moments.

524 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133

3. Second date, moderate: Cotogna

490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

There may be no more perfect a meal than pizza, pasta, and wine on a second date, and Cotogna leads San Francisco in those three categories. The lighting is always just right, too.

490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

4. Second date, expensive: Roka Akor

801 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Roka Akor

Fancy sushi and fancy drinks in fancy environs sums Roka Akor up pretty well. And if your date doesn't like sushi, there are plenty of entree options to choose from.

801 Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94133

5. Where to lock it down: Kokkari Estiatorio

200 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Eater Archives

Kokkari is a special occasion classic for a reason: It consistently nails the restaurant holy trinity — food, service, and atmosphere — with its wood-fired Greek food and attentive staff.

200 Jackson St
San Francisco, CA 94111

6. LTR, moderate: Bix

56 Gold St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Live jazz in a supper club setting is just what you need to add romance into a date, and Bix has both (plus tons of whiskey) in spades. The menu of American classics with modern twists always impresses.

56 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133

7. LTR, expensive: Mister Jiu's

28 Waverly Pl., San Francisco, CA 94108

The gorgeous dining room at Mister Jiu's is a joy to discover amidst the typically lower key restaurants in Chinatown, especially paired with chef Brandon Jew's contemporary takes on Chinese food (served banquet-style for the two of you to feast on). It all makes for a surprising evening out in a neighborhood that hasn't changed in recent decades; don't skip out on the cocktails or dessert.

28 Waverly Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94108

8. Breakup spot: Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge

1155 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Eater Archives

A karaoke bar may seem an odd choice for a breakup spot, but the more you think about it, the more genius it becomes. There's plenty of music to drown out any of the more heated moments in your conversation, people are too focused on the singer to notice you, and you can even sing a swan song if needed.

1155 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

Related Maps