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Where to Eat and Drink in Russian Hill

A curated guide to the best of the neighborhood's dining and drinking

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Russian Hill is an excellent place to live, boasting some of the city's top views and idyllic settings. And once you know where to go, you can find much of what you want to eat within this neighborhood, and not at terribly high prices, either. Are they the city's most inventive spots? Not generally. But they're the kinds of places you'd want to live near, and that works for locals.

On this list you'll find Afghan food, refined French fare, Vietnamese, sushi, and plenty of good old neighborhood joints.

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Helmand Palace

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There aren't many Afghan restaurants in SF, making Helmand Palace a true gem. Lamb is the specialty here, so choose from any of the many lamb-focused dishes, such as chowpan, or a half rack of lamb marinated, grilled, and served with Afghan bread, sauteed eggplant, and pallow rice. The interior here is a little staid, but taking it to go is also an excellent option.

Mezcalito

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Mezcalito has breathed new life into a space that's seen several restaurants pass through in recent years; now it's a lively, mezcal-fueled bar and restaurant serving Oaxacan cuisine. Octopus tostadas, ceviche, and fish tacos headline the menu — though don't miss the burger — alongside a robust list of mezcal cocktails and bottles.

Aux Delices

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Aux Delices is a cozy, white tableclothed Vietnamese mainstay on Polk Street, that’s been serving classics like pho, banh xeo, and fried imperial rolls for over 30 years. It’s an excellent takeout option, but always pleasant to dine in with a glass of beer, wine, or sake.

Woods Polk Station

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Woods, named for owner/brewer Jim Woods, is a small chain of tiny brew pubs from Oakland to the Outer Sunset. Stop by this one, which has a vague chalet theme, for a flight of creative beers including some with Yerba Mate and an empanada or two from El Porteño, who has their food covered.

Berber SF

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An intriguing addition to the neighborhood, Berber brings North African flavors and live performances to a space that’s seen several businesses come and go in recent years. Dishes like shakshouka with crispy potatoes, charred beer kebabs, and bissara, a warm sprouted fava bean dip, are served in a five-course set menu that is paired with belly dancers, aerialists, and live music. Grab a la carte dishes and craft cocktails in the bar, too, without the commitment to a show.

Saint Frank

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A minimal interior leaves the focus on the coffee at this Russian Hill spot. Food is very limited to just a few pastries, so go for the well-made pour overs and espresso drinks, made with coffee sourced from independent producers.

Macondray

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Macondray is a lush, narrow bar on Polk Street that feels like a breath of fresh air from the usual dive-hopping scene. It serves fruity cocktails, natural wine, and local beer, along with oysters, lobster rolls, and vinegar-dusted fries in the old Bullitt space, since transformed into a bright, tropical oasis.

Wallpaper at Macondray Ashley Wacker

Greens Sports Bar

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Greens is never short on crowds of sports-loving neighborhood dwellers, who flock there for draft beers and whatever game is on TV. The windows open onto Polk Street, giving it an airier feel than most dark, divey sports bars in town. Check out the many autographed, framed photos on the wall for a quick lesson in sports history.

Blue Barn Gourmet

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You'll pay for them, but if it's a big salad you crave, Blue Barn has what you need. There are seasonal sandwiches and grilled cheese, too, but it's the salads you want here. This is also a great place to work during the day, as there's Wifi aplenty.

Royal Ground Coffee

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Low-key coffee drinking and hanging is what you do here, evidenced by the many laptops that dot the tables at Royal Ground. Wifi is strong enough, there are plenty of outlets, and the inexpensive, yet hearty banh mi sandwiches will fuel you through your work.

Royal Ground Coffee

Split American Kitchen

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Split has anything you need, any time of day. Breakfast sandwich? Check. Coffee? Always. Big lunch salad? No problem. Hearty steak dinner? You got it. Beer or wine? Yup. And it's all well-priced, tasty, and fast, since it's a counter service set-up.

The Boy's Deli

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Hidden in the back of Polk & Green Produce Market, The Boy's Deli has a massive, meaty sandwich menu that will surely satisfy. And if it doesn't, you can always make your own.

Fiorella Polk

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This is the second location of the popular Outer Richmond restaurant, bringing its thin-crusted Neapolitan pies, calzones, and plates like octopus and pork chops to Russian Hill. There’s also plenty of handmade pasta and charcuterie, and a larger bar than its original spot, with wines from Italy and California, and low ABV cocktails like a Fiorella spritz (prosecco, Cappelletti, orange).

Lord Stanley

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The husband and wife team behind Lord Stanley have garnered many accolades for their modern European menu, including one Michelin star. It's all for the inventive cuisine, which pulls influences from Britain, Europe, and Japan, and pays particular attention to produce. Last thing: definitely don't skip dessert.

Okoze Sushi

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Get your nigiri and sashimi fill at the tiny Okoze, where it's highly recommended you make a reservation. P.S. If it's more creative rolls or cooked Japanese plates you crave, head around the corner to Elephant Sushi at 1916 Hyde St.

Okoze Sushi

Swensen's Ice Cream

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It’s all old-school all the time at this charming Russian Hill ice cream parlor — which has since gone international. They’re scooping up standbys such as sticky chewy chocolate and Turkish coffee, plus turning them into massive classic sundaes, too.

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Union Larder

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Union Larder sets the bar for wine bars in San Francisco, with its glowy interior, excellent wine list, and just-enough food menu. It's casual and comfortable inside, and you'll likely encounter plenty of first dates, but there's a reason for that. And that reason is because it's a great first date spot.

Za Pizza

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Za is your basic pizzeria, delivering pies to the neighborhood, along with a slim selection of salads. Stop in if it's just a slice or two you crave.

Seven Hills

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Now officially in Russian Hill after a three block move at the end of 2019, Seven Hills is known for comforting Italian and Californian fare, particularly its fresh and filled pasta. The special occasion dinner destination counts crowd favorites like the maccheroncelli, a tube-shaped extruded pasta tossed with crushed tomatoes, chiles, and dolloped with fresh ricotta; and heritage pork chops brined for 24 hours.

Seven Hills

Helmand Palace

There aren't many Afghan restaurants in SF, making Helmand Palace a true gem. Lamb is the specialty here, so choose from any of the many lamb-focused dishes, such as chowpan, or a half rack of lamb marinated, grilled, and served with Afghan bread, sauteed eggplant, and pallow rice. The interior here is a little staid, but taking it to go is also an excellent option.

Mezcalito

Mezcalito has breathed new life into a space that's seen several restaurants pass through in recent years; now it's a lively, mezcal-fueled bar and restaurant serving Oaxacan cuisine. Octopus tostadas, ceviche, and fish tacos headline the menu — though don't miss the burger — alongside a robust list of mezcal cocktails and bottles.

Aux Delices

Aux Delices is a cozy, white tableclothed Vietnamese mainstay on Polk Street, that’s been serving classics like pho, banh xeo, and fried imperial rolls for over 30 years. It’s an excellent takeout option, but always pleasant to dine in with a glass of beer, wine, or sake.

Woods Polk Station

Woods, named for owner/brewer Jim Woods, is a small chain of tiny brew pubs from Oakland to the Outer Sunset. Stop by this one, which has a vague chalet theme, for a flight of creative beers including some with Yerba Mate and an empanada or two from El Porteño, who has their food covered.

Berber SF

An intriguing addition to the neighborhood, Berber brings North African flavors and live performances to a space that’s seen several businesses come and go in recent years. Dishes like shakshouka with crispy potatoes, charred beer kebabs, and bissara, a warm sprouted fava bean dip, are served in a five-course set menu that is paired with belly dancers, aerialists, and live music. Grab a la carte dishes and craft cocktails in the bar, too, without the commitment to a show.

Saint Frank

A minimal interior leaves the focus on the coffee at this Russian Hill spot. Food is very limited to just a few pastries, so go for the well-made pour overs and espresso drinks, made with coffee sourced from independent producers.

Macondray

Macondray is a lush, narrow bar on Polk Street that feels like a breath of fresh air from the usual dive-hopping scene. It serves fruity cocktails, natural wine, and local beer, along with oysters, lobster rolls, and vinegar-dusted fries in the old Bullitt space, since transformed into a bright, tropical oasis.

Wallpaper at Macondray Ashley Wacker

Greens Sports Bar

Greens is never short on crowds of sports-loving neighborhood dwellers, who flock there for draft beers and whatever game is on TV. The windows open onto Polk Street, giving it an airier feel than most dark, divey sports bars in town. Check out the many autographed, framed photos on the wall for a quick lesson in sports history.

Blue Barn Gourmet

You'll pay for them, but if it's a big salad you crave, Blue Barn has what you need. There are seasonal sandwiches and grilled cheese, too, but it's the salads you want here. This is also a great place to work during the day, as there's Wifi aplenty.

Royal Ground Coffee

Low-key coffee drinking and hanging is what you do here, evidenced by the many laptops that dot the tables at Royal Ground. Wifi is strong enough, there are plenty of outlets, and the inexpensive, yet hearty banh mi sandwiches will fuel you through your work.

Royal Ground Coffee

Split American Kitchen

Split has anything you need, any time of day. Breakfast sandwich? Check. Coffee? Always. Big lunch salad? No problem. Hearty steak dinner? You got it. Beer or wine? Yup. And it's all well-priced, tasty, and fast, since it's a counter service set-up.

The Boy's Deli

Hidden in the back of Polk & Green Produce Market, The Boy's Deli has a massive, meaty sandwich menu that will surely satisfy. And if it doesn't, you can always make your own.

Fiorella Polk

This is the second location of the popular Outer Richmond restaurant, bringing its thin-crusted Neapolitan pies, calzones, and plates like octopus and pork chops to Russian Hill. There’s also plenty of handmade pasta and charcuterie, and a larger bar than its original spot, with wines from Italy and California, and low ABV cocktails like a Fiorella spritz (prosecco, Cappelletti, orange).

Lord Stanley

The husband and wife team behind Lord Stanley have garnered many accolades for their modern European menu, including one Michelin star. It's all for the inventive cuisine, which pulls influences from Britain, Europe, and Japan, and pays particular attention to produce. Last thing: definitely don't skip dessert.

Okoze Sushi

Get your nigiri and sashimi fill at the tiny Okoze, where it's highly recommended you make a reservation. P.S. If it's more creative rolls or cooked Japanese plates you crave, head around the corner to Elephant Sushi at 1916 Hyde St.

Okoze Sushi

Related Maps

Swensen's Ice Cream

It’s all old-school all the time at this charming Russian Hill ice cream parlor — which has since gone international. They’re scooping up standbys such as sticky chewy chocolate and Turkish coffee, plus turning them into massive classic sundaes, too.

Shutterstock

Union Larder

Union Larder sets the bar for wine bars in San Francisco, with its glowy interior, excellent wine list, and just-enough food menu. It's casual and comfortable inside, and you'll likely encounter plenty of first dates, but there's a reason for that. And that reason is because it's a great first date spot.

Za Pizza

Za is your basic pizzeria, delivering pies to the neighborhood, along with a slim selection of salads. Stop in if it's just a slice or two you crave.

Seven Hills

Now officially in Russian Hill after a three block move at the end of 2019, Seven Hills is known for comforting Italian and Californian fare, particularly its fresh and filled pasta. The special occasion dinner destination counts crowd favorites like the maccheroncelli, a tube-shaped extruded pasta tossed with crushed tomatoes, chiles, and dolloped with fresh ricotta; and heritage pork chops brined for 24 hours.

Seven Hills

Related Maps