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Bellota
Bellota
Patricia Chang

The Ultimate Date Restaurants and Bars in SoMa

The best date spots in the neighborhood

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Bellota
| Patricia Chang

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 SoMa 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, coffee: Samovar Tea Lounge

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730 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 227-9400
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At this San Francisco take on pan-Asian tea culture, you can choose from Zen-quiet seating inside among plush pillows, or the sunny patio overlooking the green Yerba Buena Gardens. Order from a wide and exotic menu of palatable Chinese, Japanese, and Indian teas. The vibe is chill and the ambiance is quiet, making it easy to hold a conversation and linger if you want — or dash if needed.

2. Second date, moderate: Trou Normand

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140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 975-0876
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Located in the historic Pac Bell building (one of San Francisco's most impressive Art Deco buildings), the trendy Trou Normand provides an intimate setting to gather over a board of house-made charcuterie, a glass of wine, and perhaps a pour of Calvados, which owner Thad Vogler hand-selects from France. The atmosphere is lively, but not too loud, making it the perfect place to grab a pair of seats at the long marble bar or in the cozy booths and have a close conversation.

3. Where to lock it down: Mourad

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140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 660-2500
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Amid a town that flaunts its casual fashion, Mourad offers a luxe and elegant setting for its Michelin-starred contemporary Moroccan fare. Large slabs of gleaming white marble, reclaimed branches, huge mid-century modern chandeliers, sweeping ceilings, and its flawlessly executed tasting menu provide the swoon-worthy atmosphere to cinch the deal. If tasting menus aren't your thing, you can go a la carte or — better yet — create a shared memory by ordering the la'acha, a family-style dish to share with a choice between a whole chicken, a whole fish, a whole lamb shoulder, or 72-hour short ribs with four decadent sides.

4. LTR, moderate: Cockscomb

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564 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 974-0700
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True to its farm animal theme, Cockscomb welcomes guests into an inviting, wood-laden farmhouse-style restaurant, which spreads across two floors above an open kitchen. Reserve one of the seats in the dining room for a full dinner of oysters and rich cuts of meat, many of which make use of the wood-fire grill that envelopes the entire space with soft heat. Or grab an easy seat at one of the bars upstairs, downstairs, or in the mezzanine for cocktails and lighter plates.

5. Breakup spot: Driftwood

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1225 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
When the sparks start to fizzle, head down to this damp and dark dive-turned-beach-themed-cocktail bar. The cocktails are unfussy and not too expensive (about $10 a pop) so that you can grab a discreet corner on the couch or a bar seat near the door, get the bad news over with, and then slink out.
Rose Garrett

6. Second date, expensive: Bellota

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888 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 430-6580
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The Absinthe Group knows a thing a or two about creating a great date spot, and its newest, biggest project to date is no exception. Sitting anywhere in this Spanish stunner is ideal date territory, but the prime zone is at the bar or in the lounge. Saddle up to the bar or choose a couch to perch on and order some excellent cocktails alongside tapas, paella, and hearth-cooked mains. As the night goes on, a live piano player often infuses the room with romantic, fun vibes, as do the flamenco dancers.

7. First date, drinks: The Perennial Bar

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59 9th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 500-7788
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A lesser-known area of San Francisco's top dog of sustainability is its expansive bar, which has plenty of high-top seating for the taking. Meet your date here, and if things lag, you can tell them all about the ways in which The Perennial is ultra-environmental (they're all right here, so read up). On the flip side, if all goes well, you can choose from a variety of small plates for sustenance.

8. LTR, expensive: Saison Salon

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178 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 828-7990
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The three-Michelin-starred Saison may be the state's most expensive restaurant, but the salon offers a way to experience it for way, way less. The area, which has six bar seats and a few tables, has its own menu with a la carte options that are often pulled straight from the tasting menu and range between $18 and $50, as well as some very elegant drinks. (The regular $398 tasting menu is available there, too, should you want to go all the way in more ways than one.) If you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking to get fancy, there is no better place to go than here.

1. First date, coffee: Samovar Tea Lounge

730 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103
At this San Francisco take on pan-Asian tea culture, you can choose from Zen-quiet seating inside among plush pillows, or the sunny patio overlooking the green Yerba Buena Gardens. Order from a wide and exotic menu of palatable Chinese, Japanese, and Indian teas. The vibe is chill and the ambiance is quiet, making it easy to hold a conversation and linger if you want — or dash if needed.
730 Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103

2. Second date, moderate: Trou Normand

140 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Located in the historic Pac Bell building (one of San Francisco's most impressive Art Deco buildings), the trendy Trou Normand provides an intimate setting to gather over a board of house-made charcuterie, a glass of wine, and perhaps a pour of Calvados, which owner Thad Vogler hand-selects from France. The atmosphere is lively, but not too loud, making it the perfect place to grab a pair of seats at the long marble bar or in the cozy booths and have a close conversation.
140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105

3. Where to lock it down: Mourad

140 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Amid a town that flaunts its casual fashion, Mourad offers a luxe and elegant setting for its Michelin-starred contemporary Moroccan fare. Large slabs of gleaming white marble, reclaimed branches, huge mid-century modern chandeliers, sweeping ceilings, and its flawlessly executed tasting menu provide the swoon-worthy atmosphere to cinch the deal. If tasting menus aren't your thing, you can go a la carte or — better yet — create a shared memory by ordering the la'acha, a family-style dish to share with a choice between a whole chicken, a whole fish, a whole lamb shoulder, or 72-hour short ribs with four decadent sides.
140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105

4. LTR, moderate: Cockscomb

564 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
True to its farm animal theme, Cockscomb welcomes guests into an inviting, wood-laden farmhouse-style restaurant, which spreads across two floors above an open kitchen. Reserve one of the seats in the dining room for a full dinner of oysters and rich cuts of meat, many of which make use of the wood-fire grill that envelopes the entire space with soft heat. Or grab an easy seat at one of the bars upstairs, downstairs, or in the mezzanine for cocktails and lighter plates.
564 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

5. Breakup spot: Driftwood

1225 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Rose Garrett
When the sparks start to fizzle, head down to this damp and dark dive-turned-beach-themed-cocktail bar. The cocktails are unfussy and not too expensive (about $10 a pop) so that you can grab a discreet corner on the couch or a bar seat near the door, get the bad news over with, and then slink out.
1225 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103

6. Second date, expensive: Bellota

888 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94103
The Absinthe Group knows a thing a or two about creating a great date spot, and its newest, biggest project to date is no exception. Sitting anywhere in this Spanish stunner is ideal date territory, but the prime zone is at the bar or in the lounge. Saddle up to the bar or choose a couch to perch on and order some excellent cocktails alongside tapas, paella, and hearth-cooked mains. As the night goes on, a live piano player often infuses the room with romantic, fun vibes, as do the flamenco dancers.
888 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94103

7. First date, drinks: The Perennial Bar

59 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
A lesser-known area of San Francisco's top dog of sustainability is its expansive bar, which has plenty of high-top seating for the taking. Meet your date here, and if things lag, you can tell them all about the ways in which The Perennial is ultra-environmental (they're all right here, so read up). On the flip side, if all goes well, you can choose from a variety of small plates for sustenance.
59 9th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. LTR, expensive: Saison Salon

178 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94107
The three-Michelin-starred Saison may be the state's most expensive restaurant, but the salon offers a way to experience it for way, way less. The area, which has six bar seats and a few tables, has its own menu with a la carte options that are often pulled straight from the tasting menu and range between $18 and $50, as well as some very elegant drinks. (The regular $398 tasting menu is available there, too, should you want to go all the way in more ways than one.) If you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking to get fancy, there is no better place to go than here.
178 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94107

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