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The 38 Essential San Francisco Restaurants, Fall 2019

Answers to where to eat tonight

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It's time to update the Eater 38, the answer to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all restaurant needs. Every few months, pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game will be added. Sometimes a still great restaurant makes way for another one, in order to keep things new and fresh.

After all, this is San Francisco — 38 restaurants are only a start to the many worthy places to dine in this city. In fact, many of them can be found here, on the Heatmap, or on the East Bay Essential 38. And keep in mind, this list is presented West to East; there's no ranking involved.

Added in July 2019: Heirloom Cafe (a neighborhood restaurant with way above average food and ambiance, Dragon Beaux (classic and modern dim sum), Nightbird (fine dining with a strong sense of place). Coming off are RT Rotisserie, Quince, and Spruce.

Added in October 2019: Mensho Tokyo (exemplary ramen in the Tenderloin), Pearl 6101 (a neighborhood dining favorite with outstanding cocktails), Sotto Mare (a seafood star in North Beach), and Brenda’s Meat & Three (a Cajun crowd-pleaser on Divisadero). Coming off the list are the still-classic Delfina, Hayes Street Grill, Octavia, and a Mano.

Rather than having a stage-four meltdown over the exclusion of a favorite restaurant from the list, wouldn't it be more productive to just nominate it for inclusion?

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fiorella

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2339 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 340-3049
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The Outer Richmond lucked out when this buzzy Italian restaurant hit the scene, bringing an eclectic wine list and pies with a Brooklyn pedigree to the neighborhood (chef/partner Brandon Gillis hails from the iconic Franny’s). There’s far more than pizza, though, with a selection of antipasti and fritti (fried options like arancini stuffed with fior di latte mozzarella), and large plates like Berkshire pork spare ribs. Custom wallpaper adorned with Bay Area icons like Alice Waters and E-40 is a fitting backdrop. (Check out a newly-opened second location on Polk Street.)

2. Pearl 6101

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6101 California St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 592-9777
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Pearl 6101 has won the hearts of city diners far beyond its cozy, residential Richmond neighborhood setting. In an elegantly-tiled corner dining room, chef-partners Mel Lopez and Joyce Conway (alums of sister spot Pizzetta 211), serve handmade pastas and hefty wood-fired pork chops, complemented by drinks like the can’t-miss Pearl Martini from partner/bar manager Nahiel Nazzal (it’s Oakland-distilled “sea gin” with Italian vermouth and pickled sea bean).

3. Dragon Beaux

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5700 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 333-8899
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A mix of classic and creative dim sum is on the menu at this Inner Richmond restaurant from the team behind Bay Area stalwart Koi Palace. The soup dumplings with colored skins are simultaneously tasty and Instagrammable, as are the golden egg yolk lava bao, and rainbow taro bun; try the winter melon hot pot with roasted squab at night, when hot pots appear. The busy restaurant draws lines, but has a streamlined system for taking numbers and getting patrons in and out in a reasonable time period.

Dumplings at Dragon Beaux Dragon Beaux

4. Han Il Kwan

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1802 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 752-4447
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This Outer Richmond staple is known for its high-quality meats, plentiful banchan, and pleasant dining room with well-ventilated grills. Luckily there’s plenty of room for locals and the busloads of Korean tourists that often stop by for plates of tender galbi, bubbling tofu soup, and bibimbap. It’s always busy so reservations are nice, but not required.

Caleb Pershan

5. San Tung

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1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 242-0828
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Though known for its very excellent dry-fried wings, San Tung offers a wide selection of favorites like dumplings, sizzling rice soup, noodles with black bean sauce, and the house shrimp. The Lines form early and the wait can go on for hours, so plan accordingly. But, once inside the dining room with its beige walls, carpeted flooring, and lazy-susan-topped tables, dinner will be worth the wait.

6. Nopalito

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306 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 437-0303
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Though it shares ownership with Nopa, Nopalito is very much its own beast, serving smart, sustainable sit-down Mexican fare that provides a nice counterpoint to the often hectic taqueria experience. From the tangy totopos con chile to the comforting tortilla soup to the killer carnitas, there's something for everyone here (plus damn good margaritas).

7. Brenda's Meat & Three

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919 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 926-8657
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Brenda Buenviaje, beignet queen of San Francisco, opened this neighborhood outpost for classic Southern cooking and sides (to which the “three” refers) in 2014 after she and wife/partner Libby Libby Truesdell struck gold with their brunch spot Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk Street back in 2007. Fried chicken, cream biscuits, gumbo and po’ boys are the focus from weekend brunches to weeknight suppers, and a meal here wouldn’t be complete without sweet or savory beignets like Buenviaje’s popular crawfish-stuffed option.

8. The Progress

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1525 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 673-1294
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The bigger sibling to Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s original (and still excellent) hit restaurant next door, State Bird Provisions, the Progress has evolved into a true essential restaurant, including the addition of a Michelin star in 2018. A spacious, high-ceilinged dining room and buzzy bar area are right for date night, or a large group. In addition to inventive a la carte dishes, you can order a platter for two to six people, like a whole fried Mcfarland Springs trout with pickled ginger, Japanese mushrooms, and lime butter. And don’t leave without ordering one (or two) of the best martinis in town, made with gin or vodka, vermouth, smoked Castelvetrano olive juice, and rosemary oil.

9. La Ciccia

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291 30th St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 550-8114
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Not so much San Francisco Italian as pure unadulterated regional Italian (Sardinian, to be specific), this family-run sparkler is free of pretension. Don’t miss the spicy octopus stew, the sea urchin pasta, and the unusual wine selection at this cozy Noe Valley spot.

10. Petit Crenn

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609 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 864-1744
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Inspired by the cuisine of Brittany, chef Dominique Crenn's more casual spinoff to three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn offers a dinner party vibe, in an intimate space. A multi-course set menu is centered around seafood, like oysters and roasted whole fish; the crisp wine list, and extensive offering of cider are part of the charm. Reservations are required for a table, but walk-ins are always welcome at the white marble bar that has a prime view of the kitchen.

11. Robin

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620 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 548-2429
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This Hayes Valley sushi restaurant is firing on all cylinders, from the service to the style of sushi made by chef Adam Tortosa and his team. The omakase includes new signatures like potato chip nigiri topped with caviar, and wagyu with foie gras “snow,” all served in a moody space. Definitely aim for a seat at the sushi bar.

12. Nightbird

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330 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 829-7565
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Diners enter chef Kim Alter’s minimalist dining room through an impressive door carved with the image of an owl. Inside, the constantly changing ten-course tasting menu ($145) starts with an amuse of quail egg and caviar in a fried shallot nest, in keeping with the bird theme. The rest of the menu is an expression of Alter’s complete understanding of technique and local produce, in dishes like halibut with green garlic and asparagus.

Nightbird

13. Rich Table

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199 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 355-9085
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Evan and Sarah Rich's Hayes Valley favorite is a challenging reservation, thanks to wildly inventive, consistently delicious food and a smart wine selection and cocktail program. Don't miss the sardine chips, porcini doughnuts with raclette fondue, seasonal salads, pastas, and one of Sarah Rich’s desserts. If a seat in the small dining room isn’t available, try for a place at the bar for dinner and drinks.

Burrata Caramelle, brown butter, aged balsamic vinegar @richtable

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14. House of Prime Rib

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1906 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 885-4605

This 30-year-old Nob Hill classic is a trip back in time to when plating with tweezers was not yet a thing. The restaurant's apropos name says it all — it serves one thing and one thing only, and it does that roast beef very, very well. The only choices to make are: meat temperature, cut thickness, mashed or loaded baked potatoes, and martini or manhattan. Each plate comes with a salad prepared tableside, creamed spinach, Yorkshire pudding, and potatoes — and of course a hulking piece of beef cut from roving meat carts. Take visiting friends and family, celebrate momentous occasions, or just satisfy cravings for steak here.

15. El Buen Comer

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3435 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 817-1542
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Mexico City native Isabel Caudillo is serving family recipes at her two-year-old restaurant, with a menu focused on guisados, slow-cooked meat and vegetable stews served with rice and beans. Tacos and enchiladas are also excellent, using handmade tortillas and organic masa. Stop by for chilaquiles at brunch, or enjoy the warm embrace of a truly welcoming neighborhood restaurant at dinner.

16. Zuni Café

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1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 552-2522
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Besides "the" chicken, Zuni's burger, Caesar salad and bloody mary have all been called the best in the city. Sitting on the edge of Hayes Valley, it’s the utility belt of restaurants: good for brunch, for late-night dining, for oysters and a cocktail at the bar, or for a lovely sit-down meal with a date. And don’t forget the chicken.

Zuni’s famous chicken with bread salad Bill Addison

17. Loló

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974 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 643-5656
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This busy, colorful oasis in the Mission with craft cocktails and Mexican dishes is always a great choice. Not only does it have queso — a surprisingly elusive dip in SF — but its taco options are on point with fillings like panko-crusted shrimp, fish, and grilled beef. Grab a seat at the bustling bar or make a reservation for a table, since this place is always bumpin’, especially during brunch.

The bar at Lolo Patricia Chang

18. Swan Oyster Depot

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1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-1101
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Open only for lunch, Polk Street’s 100-year-old gem still churns out the best crab, oysters and sourdough in town. The late Anthony Bourdain unfortunately clued the tourist crowd onto this one a while back, so get there early to snag one of the handful of seats (and a prime view of the quirky, old-school staff), or be prepared for a long wait.

Italian sashimi at Swan OysterDepot Caleb Pershan

19. Lazy Bear

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3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 874-9921
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For a dining experience that deviates from the norm, head to chef David Barzelay’s ticketed Lazy Bear in the Mission. The communal tables and attentive, casual service evokes a dinner party, but comparisons to your friend’s house stop there. An evening here kicks off with a cocktail hour of passed appetizers in the mezzanine before heading to the loft-like, yet cozy dining room with seating at two long, live-edge oak slab tables. Chefs deliver the modern American dishes like grilled lamb with spring herbs to the table themselves and invite guests into the kitchen to peer over their shoulder while they work.

The dining room at Lazy Bear Patricia Chang

20. Foreign Cinema

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2534 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-7600
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While the beloved brunch, flickering hearth, and nightly movies continue to be projected onto its patio walls, Gayle Pirie and John Clark are keeping things fresh at their Mission standby, with a menu that leans North African and Mediterranean and a deep wine program. It’s one of the city’s most romantic restaurants, with high ceilings, low lighting, and dishes like the ever-popular Madras curry-sesame fried chicken with chickpea hummus, Moroccan carrots, radicchio salad, and ice-cold raw oysters.

Foreign Cinema Foreign Cinema

21. La Taqueria

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2889 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 285-7117
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It wouldn’t be San Francisco without the Mission’s squadron of high-quality taquerias. This one continues to lead the pack with unwavering rave reviews for its sublime, spot-on Mexican staples, including an America's Best Burrito title, and a deep-dive via Eater Elements. The carnitas here are the best around.

22. Californios

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3115 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 757-0994
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The stunning, polished decor of Californios is matched only by its very precise, intricate food. Chef Val M. Cantu has created a stylish menu that offers Mexican flavors embedded in the format of a formal tasting experience. Delicate dishes with layers of flavors are the order of the day, accompanied by small-production wines curated by Charlotte Randolph (The French Laundry).

23. Rintaro

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82 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 589-7022
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Rintaro feels like a secret hideout in the Mission, with a lovely front patio guarded from the street by a bamboo fence. Enter, and find an inviting, wood-clad izakaya from Chez Panisse alum Sylvan Brackett, whose menu draws a stylish, bustling crowd. Gyoza, yakitori of all kinds, pristine sashimi, and the platonic ideal of fried tori katsu (fried chicken stuffed with Cowgirl Creamery cheese) are all on order. Sit at the bar to watch chefs deftly turning skewers of meats on the grill and sip on sake or Japanese beer.

24. Heirloom Café

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2500 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 821-2500
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Eating in Heirloom’s dining room feels like being at a cozy dinner party, but with a better wine selection. Owner Matt Straus has one of the city’s best wine collections to accompany a menu of dishes like fettuccine with trumpet mushrooms and fava leaves, and roasted halibut with cauliflower purée, English peas, and ramp vinaigrette. Go for the set menu for $85 that includes wine pairings for the best value. The burger, with pungent époisses cheese and shallots mixed into the patty, might be “off menu,” but it’s hardly a secret: Your server is likely to rave about it.

25. Liholiho Yacht Club

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871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 440-5446
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This sleek, sophisticated and slightly cheeky tribute to the Hawaiian islands blends chef Ravi Kapur’s heritage with his Prospect pedigree. The Hawaiian-Indian-NorCal cuisine results in dishes like poppy seed steam buns with beef tongue and kimchi that are uniquely Kapur’s. It all takes place in a high-energy space in Lower Nob Hill with a bright yellow open kitchen as the centerpiece. Pros know to stalk the bar, where stools open up much quicker than the oft-quoted two-and-a-half hour wait.

26. Mensho Tokyo SF

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672 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 800-8345
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In a city of a thousand fatty-rich tonkotsu ramen specialists, this one noodle shop stands above the rest. Here at Mensho, however, instead of pork tonkotsu, the specialty of the house is a chicken-based tori paitan ramen with thick, springy, slurpable noodles and a milky-white umami bomb of a broth. It’s for good reason that even three years after this little slip of a restaurant opened in the Tenderloin, the hype has never really died down. Would-be customers routinely line up on the sidewalk outside for an hour-plus — just like they would at any hip, well-regarded ramen-ya in Tokyo proper.

27. Tartine Manufactory

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595 Alabama St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 757-0007
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Tartine Manufactory scratches all the itches, starting with excellent coffee from its own brand Coffee Manufactory; bread and pastries in the morning; and moving on to an airy light-filled lunch experience, complete with porchetta sandwiches, grain bowls, and smørrebrød. Dinner brings heartier versions of Tartine’s aesthetic, including pork ribs with pumpkin seed salsa and yogurt, and an 18-ounce dry-aged ribeye with chanterelles, all paired with wines selected for quality, sustainability, and diversity. At all hours it’s a lively Mission spot filled with locals eating, bakers baking, and seekers of beautifully lit Instagrams hard at work.

Caleb Pershan

28. Kin Khao

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55 Cyril Magnin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 362-7456
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The dynamic food at Kin Khao, a Thai respite in Union Square’s Parc 55 hotel, induces cravings. Owner (and well-respected Chez Pim food blogger) Pim Techamuanvivit doesn’t blog much anymore; she’s too busy translating the recipes of her native Bangkok into pedigreed, Bay Area-appropriate fare. Don’t overlook the selection of unparalleled curries — all cooked from spice pastes that are made fresh daily in house — and craft cocktails.

Ellen Fort

29. The Morris

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2501 Mariposa St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 612-8480
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Not only is sommelier/owner Paul Einbund’s Mission restaurant a wine-lover’s dream, it’s a meat-lover’s paradise. From the smoked duck with perfectly browned and crispy skin to the foie gras dumplings and country paté, it’s a hearty menu of nuanced dishes in a packed dining room. Don’t sleep on the Chartreuse slushie, an ode to Einbund’s love of the herbaceous liqueur. Read more about it in Eater SF’s review.

The duck at the Morris
Patricia Chang

30. Sotto Mare

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552 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 398-3181
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Locals and tourists alike swarm to Sotto Mare for an exemplary taste of San Francisco’s famous seafood creation: cioppino, an Italian-American stew likely adapted by Ligurian immigrants in North Beach. It’s on every table at this old-school, kitschy establishment, served in heaping silver bowls for two that brim with slightly spicy tomato broth, Dungeness crab, assorted Pacific shellfish, and some penne pasta thrown in for good measure. More seafood staples like Louie salads round out the meal.

Ciopinno at Sotto Mare Caleb Pershan

31. China Live - Market Restaurant

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644 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 788-8188
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China Live’s Market Restaurant burst onto the Chinatown scene last year with a sleek dining room and a deep selection of dishes. From pan-fried shen jian bao to Peking duck and char siu, it’s all an inviting exploration of the cuisine as part of a larger emporium of retail goods, a smaller cafe, with a fine dining restaurant and Scotch bar upstairs. The Market Restaurant combines craft cocktails, a finely matched wine list, and a casual atmosphere to make it a wise choice for lunch or dinner.

32. Deli Board

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1058 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 552-7687
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This SoMa deli doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to heaping flavorful meats onto its pillowy rolls. The menu changes daily, but it always includes Romanian pastrami (a fatter, more delicious cut according to owner Adam Mesnick). Sandwiches like the “Mina,” made with pastrami, roast beef, cheddar and muenster cheese, cole slaw and the signature “board sauce” might make it onto the menu more than once, but check back daily for meaty surprises.

Deli Board Stefanie Tuder

33. Mister Jiu's

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28 Waverly Pl
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 857-9688
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Mister Jiu's has breathed new life into the shuttered Four Seas restaurant in the heart of Chinatown. Chef Brandon Jew translates his Chinese-American heritage and SF upbringing into a fresh take on the cuisine in a modern setting. Cocktails are excellent, the wine list is filled with local producers, and classics like tea-smoked duck are made new again.

Kassie Borreson

34. Cotogna

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490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8508
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With a warm, flickering hearth in the kitchen, friendly service, an innovative fixed-price wine program, and Michael Tusk's pasta throwbacks from the old Quince days (the raviolo al uovo is a favorite), Cotogna is an easy E38 pick. Good luck getting a table, though, as the warm, firelit dining room in Jackson Square fills up fast at dinnertime. It's also an ideal destination for a relaxed lunch at one of the sidewalk tables.

35. Bix

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56 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 433-6300
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Bix’s art deco oasis can be found down an alley in Jackson Square, marked by a neon sign and the strains of live music coming from within. Inside, find waiters in white jackets, classic cocktails, and a menu of upscale California food like oysters, steak tartare, Dungeness crab rolls, and Mt. Lassen trout with cardoons. (When summer comes around again, keep an eye out for the return of Bix’s tomato cart, which rolls through the dining room serving Marquita Farm heirloom tomatoes tableside with burrata or mozzarella, basil, and olive oil.)

36. Mourad

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140 New Montgomery St #1
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 660-2500
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The SoMa restaurant’s big and beautiful interior is matched by chef Mourad Lahlou's bold, Moroccan-inspired flavors. Choose from a la carte options like duck basteeya and shareable, large-format dishes of lamb and short rib — or go for the tasting menu. Drinks are equally inspired, featuring combinations like pineapple and artichoke, while the wine cellar — on view in a gorgeous glass-enclosed mezzanine — is filled with old- and new-world treasures.

37. Benu

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22 Hawthorne St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 685-4860
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Three Michelin stars aren’t easy to come by, and chef Corey Lee earned his trio via an obsessively refined tasting menu ($310). A unique mix of East and West flavors bring Lee’s French technique, California produce, and Korean heritage into focus in SoMa, with dishes like foie gras xiao long bao.

Benu Bill Addison

38. Marlowe

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500 Brannan St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-1413
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The epicenter of the Big Night Group’s restaurant empire (which also includes Park Tavern, Petite Marlowe, and Leo’s Oyster Bar), Marlowe brings a high-energy, casual bistro vibe to SoMa. White tiled floors and walls and leather banquettes are the perfect setting for rich and juicy Marlowe burgers, deviled eggs, and its signature brussels sprout chips. It’s loud and busy at all times, so grab a cocktail at the bar if there’s a wait.

Marlowe

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1. Fiorella

2339 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

The Outer Richmond lucked out when this buzzy Italian restaurant hit the scene, bringing an eclectic wine list and pies with a Brooklyn pedigree to the neighborhood (chef/partner Brandon Gillis hails from the iconic Franny’s). There’s far more than pizza, though, with a selection of antipasti and fritti (fried options like arancini stuffed with fior di latte mozzarella), and large plates like Berkshire pork spare ribs. Custom wallpaper adorned with Bay Area icons like Alice Waters and E-40 is a fitting backdrop. (Check out a newly-opened second location on Polk Street.)

2339 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121

2. Pearl 6101

6101 California St, San Francisco, CA 94121

Pearl 6101 has won the hearts of city diners far beyond its cozy, residential Richmond neighborhood setting. In an elegantly-tiled corner dining room, chef-partners Mel Lopez and Joyce Conway (alums of sister spot Pizzetta 211), serve handmade pastas and hefty wood-fired pork chops, complemented by drinks like the can’t-miss Pearl Martini from partner/bar manager Nahiel Nazzal (it’s Oakland-distilled “sea gin” with Italian vermouth and pickled sea bean).

6101 California St
San Francisco, CA 94121

3. Dragon Beaux

5700 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121
Dumplings at Dragon Beaux Dragon Beaux

A mix of classic and creative dim sum is on the menu at this Inner Richmond restaurant from the team behind Bay Area stalwart Koi Palace. The soup dumplings with colored skins are simultaneously tasty and Instagrammable, as are the golden egg yolk lava bao, and rainbow taro bun; try the winter melon hot pot with roasted squab at night, when hot pots appear. The busy restaurant draws lines, but has a streamlined system for taking numbers and getting patrons in and out in a reasonable time period.

5700 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

4. Han Il Kwan

1802 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121
Caleb Pershan

This Outer Richmond staple is known for its high-quality meats, plentiful banchan, and pleasant dining room with well-ventilated grills. Luckily there’s plenty of room for locals and the busloads of Korean tourists that often stop by for plates of tender galbi, bubbling tofu soup, and bibimbap. It’s always busy so reservations are nice, but not required.

1802 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

5. San Tung

1031 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Though known for its very excellent dry-fried wings, San Tung offers a wide selection of favorites like dumplings, sizzling rice soup, noodles with black bean sauce, and the house shrimp. The Lines form early and the wait can go on for hours, so plan accordingly. But, once inside the dining room with its beige walls, carpeted flooring, and lazy-susan-topped tables, dinner will be worth the wait.

1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

6. Nopalito

306 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Though it shares ownership with Nopa, Nopalito is very much its own beast, serving smart, sustainable sit-down Mexican fare that provides a nice counterpoint to the often hectic taqueria experience. From the tangy totopos con chile to the comforting tortilla soup to the killer carnitas, there's something for everyone here (plus damn good margaritas).

306 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94117

7. Brenda's Meat & Three

919 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Brenda Buenviaje, beignet queen of San Francisco, opened this neighborhood outpost for classic Southern cooking and sides (to which the “three” refers) in 2014 after she and wife/partner Libby Libby Truesdell struck gold with their brunch spot Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk Street back in 2007. Fried chicken, cream biscuits, gumbo and po’ boys are the focus from weekend brunches to weeknight suppers, and a meal here wouldn’t be complete without sweet or savory beignets like Buenviaje’s popular crawfish-stuffed option.

919 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115

8. The Progress

1525 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

The bigger sibling to Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s original (and still excellent) hit restaurant next door, State Bird Provisions, the Progress has evolved into a true essential restaurant, including the addition of a Michelin star in 2018. A spacious, high-ceilinged dining room and buzzy bar area are right for date night, or a large group. In addition to inventive a la carte dishes, you can order a platter for two to six people, like a whole fried Mcfarland Springs trout with pickled ginger, Japanese mushrooms, and lime butter. And don’t leave without ordering one (or two) of the best martinis in town, made with gin or vodka, vermouth, smoked Castelvetrano olive juice, and rosemary oil.

1525 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

9. La Ciccia

291 30th St, San Francisco, CA 94131

Not so much San Francisco Italian as pure unadulterated regional Italian (Sardinian, to be specific), this family-run sparkler is free of pretension. Don’t miss the spicy octopus stew, the sea urchin pasta, and the unusual wine selection at this cozy Noe Valley spot.

291 30th St
San Francisco, CA 94131