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Where to Eat and Drink Around Hayes Valley

A guide to one of San Francisco’s very best dining and drinking neighborhoods

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When the Central Freeway was destroyed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, it liberated Hayes Valley and allowed it to grow into the burgeoning neighborhood it is today — with tons of boutiques, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. You can't walk more than 10 feet in the area without stumbling onto another gem, as you'll see from this tightly packed map. The many choices, from sushi omakase counters to vegan pasta.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Smuggler's Cove

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There’s an ongoing push to reconsider the cultural implications of tiki bars — but for those who seek a tropical cocktail or a deep selection of rum, Smuggler’s Cove makes a logical choice. The bar, convincingly designed to look and feel like the inside of a ship, has won just about every award the bar and cocktail world has to offer including being named one of the best bars in the world by World’s 50 Best, Playboy, and Esquire on top of earning nods from both the James Beard Foundation and Tales of the Cocktail.

Robin joins a flood of omakase sushi restaurants but stands out from the rest with adventurous twists on classic nigiri: Think potato chip nigiri with grilled ramp aioli and Ossetra caviar and seared canary rockfish, served with its liver, grapefruit ponzu, and chives. A menu of items divided into lean fish, fatty fish, not fish, dishes, and hand rolls are also available a la carte. This deeply personal restaurant of chef Adam Tortosa, is dramatic, moody, and definitely an experience.

Patricia Chang

Johnny Doughnuts

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The only place in San Francisco to get one of Johnny’s Doughnuts fluffy raised doughnuts or fat, filled bismarks is on the corner of Gough and Fulton streets in Hayes Valley. It’s all doughnuts — ok, and coffee — all the time with a menu offering both traditional and not-so-traditional flavors. Purists can opt for a simple sugar-dusted or chocolate-glazed raised doughnut but there are vegan varieties and a croissant-doughnut hybrid for the more adventurous. 

The first weekend vegan Italian comfort spot Baia opened for takeout in the massive Hayes Valley space that once housed Jardiniere, it sold out of popular dishes like its plant-based mozzarella sticks in a flash. The restaurant is the first SF spot in plant-based empire-builder Matthew Kenney’s domain, and the first outing by SF tech/philanthropy vets Kyle and Tracy Vogt, who worked with Kenney to develop the all-vegan menu.

Vegan Italian food from Baia Courtesy Matthew Kenney

Opened in 2014, Birba is a small wine bar with an outsize list and winning Italian and Spanish small plates. Its lovely backyard patio is available for outdoor dining seven days a week, and if you want something to go, there’s food, bottles, and even sundries available in its online shop.

Birba

Monsieur Benjamin

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The prices aren’t cheap at this popular French bistro from chef Corey Lee (Benu) — appetizers average about $18 a piece while main courses are around $30 — but the refined, indulgent food with a modern spin has found an audience because this place was always packed.

Monsieur Benjamin

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

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Long before Hayes Valley was the new “it” SF neighborhood for dining, this Parisian-inspired bar and restaurant was a popular destination for oysters, fancy drinks, and pre-theater dinners. It’s open for indoor and outdoor dining at lunch, dinner, and brunch, Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Fig & Thistle

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There are a handful of excellent places to get a glass of wine in Hayes Valley, Fig & Thistle most certainly among them — but this spot has something the others don’t and that’s made-to-order pizzas from semi-permanent pop-up Outta Sight (Tuesday through Saturday from 5-9 p.m.). So along with a glass of skin-contact white blend from San Francisco’s own Woods Beer and Wine, you can also order a pie called the Orchard that’s topped with mushrooms, scallions, rosemary honey, and garlic butter. 

A pizza topped with mushrooms and whole basil leaves. Lauren Saria

Hayes Street Grill

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For more than four decades Hayes Street Grill has been a go-to option for a pre-theater dinner or post-opera drink. This is your neighborhood destination for seafood – everything from grilled swordfish to pan-fried oysters – with sides built around seasonal produce like Brentwood corn.  

Hayes Street Grill

The Bird

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A second location of The Bird has joined its SoMa sibling in the former location of Dobbs Ferry, serving a familiar menu of fried chicken sandwiches, wings, fries, and beers.

If you’re looking for a great place to drink outside in Hayes Valley, Anina is here to help. The patio is a perfect venue for sipping any of the bar’s cocktails, which range from classics like a gin-and-maraschino Martinez to the Unfair Trade, a coffee cocktail built on a rum base plus banana and bitters. 

Anina

a Mano

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Instantly-trendy a Mano — yet another venture from prolific San Francisco restaurateur Adriano Paganini — is the spot for affordably priced but carefully prepared pasta and pizza from chef Freedom Rains, dishes like bucatini all’Amatriciana and agnolotti dal plin — small, buttery ravioli filled with roast pork, chicken, and chard.

Doppio Zero

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From the crew behind the Meatball Bar, Doppio Zero fires up Neapolitan pies with classics like margheritas to fried and stuffed Pizza Napule. Besides pizza, there are small plates like croquettes, grilled octopus, and polpettine (Neapolitan meatballs), a full menu of pastas, and larger entrees like fish soup. To go with it all is plenty of Italian wine, local beer, and a full cocktail menu. Diners may be familiar with the restaurants other two restaurants on the Peninsula; this is the third location overall.

Nojo Ramen Tavern

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Unlike most of SF’s ramen restaurants, which focus on pork broth, Nojo Ramen uses rich chicken paitan broth as the base for its artisanal noodles. The small plates are also a signature for this restaurant, which has over 200 locations in Japan (the Hayes Valley restaurant is its first in the U.S.), so be sure to start with some toripan (curry seasoned ground chicken on baguette), corn on the cob, and teriyaki chicken buns.

nojo ramen tavern sf

Nightbird

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Kim Alter’s first solo project (“an elegant boutique restaurant”) delivers the type of whimsical culinary experience that’s become so popular in SF these days (for good reason), with a $125 tasting menu featuring layered flavors and surprising combinations intended to celebrate California’s cultures and landscapes.

People go wild for this fast casual Greek restaurant and its “spit-fired” meats, which you can get in a pita or on a salad. The vibe is very California, with tasty, affordable food, the fries (oh, the fries), and Greek wine or beer.

Suppenküche

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Authentic German fare, beer in a boot, and a very lively atmosphere are just three reasons why this bierhaus is as popular now as it was when it opened in 1993. Head here for happy hour specials like $6.50 beers and both indoor and outdoor dining opportunities.

Suppenkuche

Domo Sushi

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Domo’s inventive specialty rolls, like the temptation roll stuffed with shrimp tempura, unagi, avocado and crab and the spicy hulk (spicy tuna and avocado, tobiko wrapped in a cucumber sheet with ponzu), set this sushi restaurant apart.

Dumpling Home

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The neighborhood got a destination for flaky scallion pancakes and hand-pulled noodles with the debut of Dumpling Home in late 2020. Already recognized by the Michelin Guide for its skillfully prepared dumplings of all shapes, sizes, and fillings, Dumpling Home also earned a shout out for making some of the city’s best xiao long bao — no small feat in town stacked deep with options. 

RT Rotisserie

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The food at Rich Table's fast-casual spinoff restaurant was always been available to-go and for delivery, making it a reliable option even during in pandemic times. Its pork belly is smoky and sweet, its chicken is brined and roasted to perfection, but the must-order items are the extremely generous RT salad and the whole head of roasted cauliflower.

Kassie Borreson

Rich Table

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Rich Table is everything California fare should be: inventive, approachable, locally sourced, and damn tasty. Owners Evan and Sarah Rich continue to cultivate a restaurant that’s both worthy of its Michelin star and casual enough to feel like a neighborhood staple.

Rich Table.
Rich Table.
Aubrie Pick

Le Fantastique

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Owners Emily and chef Robbie Wilson unveiled this upscale seafood restaurant and wine bar in fall 2021, bringing a menu of inventive crudo to a sparsely stylish space just outside Hayes Valley proper. The couple, also behind Palo Alto’s Bird Dog, say they want the hangout to satisfy all your Champagne, Chablis, and caviar-topped eclair cravings. Even bread service stars luxe oceanic ingredients: buttery shokupan-style buns arrive with a side of airy lobster veloute. 

Smuggler's Cove

There’s an ongoing push to reconsider the cultural implications of tiki bars — but for those who seek a tropical cocktail or a deep selection of rum, Smuggler’s Cove makes a logical choice. The bar, convincingly designed to look and feel like the inside of a ship, has won just about every award the bar and cocktail world has to offer including being named one of the best bars in the world by World’s 50 Best, Playboy, and Esquire on top of earning nods from both the James Beard Foundation and Tales of the Cocktail.

Robin

Robin joins a flood of omakase sushi restaurants but stands out from the rest with adventurous twists on classic nigiri: Think potato chip nigiri with grilled ramp aioli and Ossetra caviar and seared canary rockfish, served with its liver, grapefruit ponzu, and chives. A menu of items divided into lean fish, fatty fish, not fish, dishes, and hand rolls are also available a la carte. This deeply personal restaurant of chef Adam Tortosa, is dramatic, moody, and definitely an experience.

Patricia Chang

Johnny Doughnuts

The only place in San Francisco to get one of Johnny’s Doughnuts fluffy raised doughnuts or fat, filled bismarks is on the corner of Gough and Fulton streets in Hayes Valley. It’s all doughnuts — ok, and coffee — all the time with a menu offering both traditional and not-so-traditional flavors. Purists can opt for a simple sugar-dusted or chocolate-glazed raised doughnut but there are vegan varieties and a croissant-doughnut hybrid for the more adventurous. 

BAIA

The first weekend vegan Italian comfort spot Baia opened for takeout in the massive Hayes Valley space that once housed Jardiniere, it sold out of popular dishes like its plant-based mozzarella sticks in a flash. The restaurant is the first SF spot in plant-based empire-builder Matthew Kenney’s domain, and the first outing by SF tech/philanthropy vets Kyle and Tracy Vogt, who worked with Kenney to develop the all-vegan menu.

Vegan Italian food from Baia Courtesy Matthew Kenney

Birba

Opened in 2014, Birba is a small wine bar with an outsize list and winning Italian and Spanish small plates. Its lovely backyard patio is available for outdoor dining seven days a week, and if you want something to go, there’s food, bottles, and even sundries available in its online shop.

Birba

Monsieur Benjamin

The prices aren’t cheap at this popular French bistro from chef Corey Lee (Benu) — appetizers average about $18 a piece while main courses are around $30 — but the refined, indulgent food with a modern spin has found an audience because this place was always packed.

Monsieur Benjamin

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

Long before Hayes Valley was the new “it” SF neighborhood for dining, this Parisian-inspired bar and restaurant was a popular destination for oysters, fancy drinks, and pre-theater dinners. It’s open for indoor and outdoor dining at lunch, dinner, and brunch, Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Fig & Thistle

There are a handful of excellent places to get a glass of wine in Hayes Valley, Fig & Thistle most certainly among them — but this spot has something the others don’t and that’s made-to-order pizzas from semi-permanent pop-up Outta Sight (Tuesday through Saturday from 5-9 p.m.). So along with a glass of skin-contact white blend from San Francisco’s own Woods Beer and Wine, you can also order a pie called the Orchard that’s topped with mushrooms, scallions, rosemary honey, and garlic butter. 

A pizza topped with mushrooms and whole basil leaves. Lauren Saria

Hayes Street Grill

For more than four decades Hayes Street Grill has been a go-to option for a pre-theater dinner or post-opera drink. This is your neighborhood destination for seafood – everything from grilled swordfish to pan-fried oysters – with sides built around seasonal produce like Brentwood corn.  

Hayes Street Grill

The Bird

A second location of The Bird has joined its SoMa sibling in the former location of Dobbs Ferry, serving a familiar menu of fried chicken sandwiches, wings, fries, and beers.

ANINA

If you’re looking for a great place to drink outside in Hayes Valley, Anina is here to help. The patio is a perfect venue for sipping any of the bar’s cocktails, which range from classics like a gin-and-maraschino Martinez to the Unfair Trade, a coffee cocktail built on a rum base plus banana and bitters. 

Anina

a Mano

Instantly-trendy a Mano — yet another venture from prolific San Francisco restaurateur Adriano Paganini — is the spot for affordably priced but carefully prepared pasta and pizza from chef Freedom Rains, dishes like bucatini all’Amatriciana and agnolotti dal plin — small, buttery ravioli filled with roast pork, chicken, and chard.

Doppio Zero

From the crew behind the Meatball Bar, Doppio Zero fires up Neapolitan pies with classics like margheritas to fried and stuffed Pizza Napule. Besides pizza, there are small plates like croquettes, grilled octopus, and polpettine (Neapolitan meatballs), a full menu of pastas, and larger entrees like fish soup. To go with it all is plenty of Italian wine, local beer, and a full cocktail menu. Diners may be familiar with the restaurants other two restaurants on the Peninsula; this is the third location overall.

Nojo Ramen Tavern

Unlike most of SF’s ramen restaurants, which focus on pork broth, Nojo Ramen uses rich chicken paitan broth as the base for its artisanal noodles. The small plates are also a signature for this restaurant, which has over 200 locations in Japan (the Hayes Valley restaurant is its first in the U.S.), so be sure to start with some toripan (curry seasoned ground chicken on baguette), corn on the cob, and teriyaki chicken buns.

nojo ramen tavern sf

Nightbird

Kim Alter’s first solo project (“an elegant boutique restaurant”) delivers the type of whimsical culinary experience that’s become so popular in SF these days (for good reason), with a $125 tasting menu featuring layered flavors and surprising combinations intended to celebrate California’s cultures and landscapes.

Related Maps

Souvla

People go wild for this fast casual Greek restaurant and its “spit-fired” meats, which you can get in a pita or on a salad. The vibe is very California, with tasty, affordable food, the fries (oh, the fries), and Greek wine or beer.

Suppenküche

Authentic German fare, beer in a boot, and a very lively atmosphere are just three reasons why this bierhaus is as popular now as it was when it opened in 1993. Head here for happy hour specials like $6.50 beers and both indoor and outdoor dining opportunities.

Suppenkuche

Domo Sushi

Domo’s inventive specialty rolls, like the temptation roll stuffed with shrimp tempura, unagi, avocado and crab and the spicy hulk (spicy tuna and avocado, tobiko wrapped in a cucumber sheet with ponzu), set this sushi restaurant apart.

Dumpling Home

The neighborhood got a destination for flaky scallion pancakes and hand-pulled noodles with the debut of Dumpling Home in late 2020. Already recognized by the Michelin Guide for its skillfully prepared dumplings of all shapes, sizes, and fillings, Dumpling Home also earned a shout out for making some of the city’s best xiao long bao — no small feat in town stacked deep with options.