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Tosca Cafe
Tosca Cafe
Bill Addison

Where to Take a Date in Chinatown and North Beach

The best date spots in the neighborhood

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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.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

First date, drinks: Tosca Cafe

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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

First date, coffee: Hole in the Wall

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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.

Second date, moderate: Cotogna

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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.

Second date, expensive: Roka Akor

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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

Where to lock it down: Kokkari Estiatorio

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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.

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LTR, moderate: Bix

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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.

LTR, expensive: Mister Jiu's

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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.

Breakup spot: Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge

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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

First date, drinks: Tosca Cafe

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.

Bill Addison

First date, coffee: Hole in the Wall

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.

Second date, moderate: Cotogna

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.

Second date, expensive: Roka Akor

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.

Roka Akor

Where to lock it down: Kokkari Estiatorio

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.

Eater Archives

LTR, moderate: Bix

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.

LTR, expensive: Mister Jiu's

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.

Breakup spot: Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge

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.

Eater Archives

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