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Where to Eat and Drink in Cow Hollow

A vetted guide to the dining and drinking in the neighborhood

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Whether you live in Cow Hollow or are just dropping by, it's important to know which places to frequent and which to skip, because there are plenty of both, and the wrong decision could send you into some not-so-great food. But the right decision can do the opposite. Because sprinkled throughout the gyms and juice bars, there are some local gems good for your varied eating and drinking needs.

Whether it's a first (or 20th) date spot you need (very different places!), somewhere to go with your girl or guy friends, a spot to impress visitors or a quick dinner to go, this guide has you covered (and more). Here are Cow Hollow's best restaurants and bars.

Did we miss your favorite spot? Tell us all about it in the comments.

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Go with friends and nosh on hummus, chicken spiedini skewers and other Mediterranean fare while sipping on wine and soaking up the good vibes.

Rose's Cafe

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The food at Rose's Cafe isn't going to rock your world, but that's not why you go. It's the atmosphere you're seeking out; those perfect buzzy-but-relaxing daytime brunch vibes everyone craves come Saturday morning.

Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

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Wrecking Ball has the best coffee in the neighborhood, and the pineapple wallpaper is eminently Instagrammable. Grab an expertly- prepared latte, upload a photo and sip while you rack in the likes. (This is also a solid place to hang while waiting for a table at Rose's across the street.)

Tacko's Cal-Mexican burritos, quesadillos, tacos and and other fresh Mex fare are still popular in the neighborhood. The counter service menu has a seafood bent, with a lobster roll and Nick's Crispy fish tacos rounding out the menu. Fair warning: this is not a Mission taco like La Taqueria, but it's high-quality, and quick. Plus, there's wine and beer, which is pretty essential to a Cow Hollow spot's success.

Balboa Cafe

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This SF institution with decent food (a well-known burger is notably served on a baguette) can be many things to many people, and here are just a few:
1. A place to take your parents for dinner.

2. Great for brunch and bloodies.

3. Eating a solid burger at the bar, which is easily the best of the food.

4. A cougar-catching pick-up bar any night of the week.

5. Good men-in-suits watching, also any night of the week.

6. Crowded Saturday nights with people in their late 20s and early 30s looking for well-heeled women or men with money not wearing a hoodie.

Choose which fits your needs and head at the appropriate times.

Atelier Crenn

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In a serious departure from the rest of the neighborhood's establishments, Atelier Crenn is among the crème de la crème of SF fine dining. Chef Dominique Crenn's menu is written as a poem, so best of luck figuring out what you'll be eating. Just trust in Crenn that spending most of your paycheck on one meal will be worth it. You can take the Michelin Guide’s word for it: They awarded Atelier Crenn three stars in 2018, making Crenn the first woman chef to achieve that honor in the United States.

West Coast Wine and Cheese

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This tiny wine bar has strong local vibes, along with tasty food offerings. Head here for a really good glass (or three) of West Coast wine, cheese and charcuterie, and better-than-expected small plates like burrata with cherry tomatoes.

The Brixton

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A go-to neighborhood pub, the Brixton is a known quantity among Cow Hollow regulars. Fans have come to count on it for everything from a quick beer and a burger to a weekend bloody Mary bar and big cinnamon rolls at brunch.

Palm House

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Palm House claims to have the second-oldest palm tree in San Francisco planted in its patio, anchoring the Caribbean theme. Outdoor diners sip on tropical cocktails and dig into jerk chicken and coconut prawns.

Punch bowl at Palm House Palm House

The Brazen Head

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Old-school is the best word for the Brazen Head: It applies equally to the dark environs, classic American food with French influences, cocktails, and longtime patrons. Dates will be impressed if you take them here, especially as it's open late for food.

Caleb Pershan

Also from the Back of the House group, Flores offers fresh Mexican fare for happy hour and brunch crews, with a good list of tequila and mezcal cocktails, guacamole and salsas smashed from the molcajete, and fish tacos and crab tostadas.

Flores
Flores
Aubrie Pick

Wildseed

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Taking over the former Belga space, Wildseed is still within the Back of the House restaurant group (also behind Beretta, Lolinda, Super Duper). This new vegan spot was one of the freshest openings of 2019, serving up beet poke, green pizza, and freshly squeezed cocktails. 

Perry's

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Perry's is classic SF and great for a traditional American meal — think steaks, salads, a burger, and the like. Head there for some upscale sports game watching, or an easy meal for even the pickiest of eaters.

The Italian Homemade Company

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It's shocking how few take-out places exist in Cow Hollow, so the Italian Homemade Company fills a major niche. Fresh pasta, flatbread sandwiches and salads can be made in a variety of ways to eat in the shop or take home. Plus, there are a lot of gluten-free options, if that matters to you.

Ly's Vietnamese Cuisine

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Tasty, large bowls of pho in a no-frills environment makes this a more takeout-friendly spot, but definitely a very worthy one.

Tamashisoul

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Is Tamashisoul the best sushi ever? No, but it's what you've got in the vicinity, and it's definitely good enough. It's also always easy to get in, and very comfortable inside. Don't skip the kitchen items, like udon noodle soups.

Kaiyo colorfully and creatively blends Japanese and Peruvian flavors, serving both whisky and pisco cocktails, alongside sushi and ceviche, karaage and yucca fries. It’s the rare fusion restaurant that’s actually fun, coming from the team behind Whitechapel and Novela. 

Black Horse London Pub

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Black Horse has the proud distinction of being the smallest bar in SF (just ask the hop on/hop off buses that proudly announce that fact every time they drive by), and it would be wise to not forget it. Don't go expecting a place to rage, but do go expecting strong local vibes — as most of the patrons live on the block — so be prepared to chat with friendly strangers. Beers by the bottle are your (only) drink of choice, and occasionally the owner will fry up some bacon or order pizza for the whole bar (which, by the way, consists of eight seats). And don't even think about talking on your cell phone, or the owner will kick your anti-social self out.

Terzo

Go with friends and nosh on hummus, chicken spiedini skewers and other Mediterranean fare while sipping on wine and soaking up the good vibes.

Rose's Cafe

The food at Rose's Cafe isn't going to rock your world, but that's not why you go. It's the atmosphere you're seeking out; those perfect buzzy-but-relaxing daytime brunch vibes everyone craves come Saturday morning.

Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters

Wrecking Ball has the best coffee in the neighborhood, and the pineapple wallpaper is eminently Instagrammable. Grab an expertly- prepared latte, upload a photo and sip while you rack in the likes. (This is also a solid place to hang while waiting for a table at Rose's across the street.)

Tacko

Tacko's Cal-Mexican burritos, quesadillos, tacos and and other fresh Mex fare are still popular in the neighborhood. The counter service menu has a seafood bent, with a lobster roll and Nick's Crispy fish tacos rounding out the menu. Fair warning: this is not a Mission taco like La Taqueria, but it's high-quality, and quick. Plus, there's wine and beer, which is pretty essential to a Cow Hollow spot's success.

Balboa Cafe

This SF institution with decent food (a well-known burger is notably served on a baguette) can be many things to many people, and here are just a few:
1. A place to take your parents for dinner.

2. Great for brunch and bloodies.

3. Eating a solid burger at the bar, which is easily the best of the food.

4. A cougar-catching pick-up bar any night of the week.

5. Good men-in-suits watching, also any night of the week.

6. Crowded Saturday nights with people in their late 20s and early 30s looking for well-heeled women or men with money not wearing a hoodie.

Choose which fits your needs and head at the appropriate times.

Atelier Crenn

In a serious departure from the rest of the neighborhood's establishments, Atelier Crenn is among the crème de la crème of SF fine dining. Chef Dominique Crenn's menu is written as a poem, so best of luck figuring out what you'll be eating. Just trust in Crenn that spending most of your paycheck on one meal will be worth it. You can take the Michelin Guide’s word for it: They awarded Atelier Crenn three stars in 2018, making Crenn the first woman chef to achieve that honor in the United States.

West Coast Wine and Cheese

This tiny wine bar has strong local vibes, along with tasty food offerings. Head here for a really good glass (or three) of West Coast wine, cheese and charcuterie, and better-than-expected small plates like burrata with cherry tomatoes.

The Brixton

A go-to neighborhood pub, the Brixton is a known quantity among Cow Hollow regulars. Fans have come to count on it for everything from a quick beer and a burger to a weekend bloody Mary bar and big cinnamon rolls at brunch.

Palm House

Palm House claims to have the second-oldest palm tree in San Francisco planted in its patio, anchoring the Caribbean theme. Outdoor diners sip on tropical cocktails and dig into jerk chicken and coconut prawns.

Punch bowl at Palm House Palm House

The Brazen Head

Old-school is the best word for the Brazen Head: It applies equally to the dark environs, classic American food with French influences, cocktails, and longtime patrons. Dates will be impressed if you take them here, especially as it's open late for food.

Caleb Pershan

Flores

Also from the Back of the House group, Flores offers fresh Mexican fare for happy hour and brunch crews, with a good list of tequila and mezcal cocktails, guacamole and salsas smashed from the molcajete, and fish tacos and crab tostadas.

Flores
Flores
Aubrie Pick

Wildseed

Taking over the former Belga space, Wildseed is still within the Back of the House restaurant group (also behind Beretta, Lolinda, Super Duper). This new vegan spot was one of the freshest openings of 2019, serving up beet poke, green pizza, and freshly squeezed cocktails. 

Perry's

Perry's is classic SF and great for a traditional American meal — think steaks, salads, a burger, and the like. Head there for some upscale sports game watching, or an easy meal for even the pickiest of eaters.

The Italian Homemade Company

It's shocking how few take-out places exist in Cow Hollow, so the Italian Homemade Company fills a major niche. Fresh pasta, flatbread sandwiches and salads can be made in a variety of ways to eat in the shop or take home. Plus, there are a lot of gluten-free options, if that matters to you.

Ly's Vietnamese Cuisine

Tasty, large bowls of pho in a no-frills environment makes this a more takeout-friendly spot, but definitely a very worthy one.

Related Maps

Tamashisoul

Is Tamashisoul the best sushi ever? No, but it's what you've got in the vicinity, and it's definitely good enough. It's also always easy to get in, and very comfortable inside. Don't skip the kitchen items, like udon noodle soups.

KAIYŌ

Kaiyo colorfully and creatively blends Japanese and Peruvian flavors, serving both whisky and pisco cocktails, alongside sushi and ceviche, karaage and yucca fries. It’s the rare fusion restaurant that’s actually fun, coming from the team behind Whitechapel and Novela. 

Black Horse London Pub

Black Horse has the proud distinction of being the smallest bar in SF (just ask the hop on/hop off buses that proudly announce that fact every time they drive by), and it would be wise to not forget it. Don't go expecting a place to rage, but do go expecting strong local vibes — as most of the patrons live on the block — so be prepared to chat with friendly strangers. Beers by the bottle are your (only) drink of choice, and occasionally the owner will fry up some bacon or order pizza for the whole bar (which, by the way, consists of eight seats). And don't even think about talking on your cell phone, or the owner will kick your anti-social self out.

Related Maps