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Pasta from Delfina.
Delfina’s pasta is just one of the star-studded dishes at these James Beard Award-winning restaurants.
Albert Law

13 James Beard Award-Winning Restaurants to Try in San Francisco

There are, truly, so many award-winning restaurants to try. Start here.

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Delfina’s pasta is just one of the star-studded dishes at these James Beard Award-winning restaurants.
| Albert Law

Nobody would say the James Beard Foundation is without its issues. But those accolades still mean a lot to many. Some want to experience the classics — the Quinces and the Zuni Cafes. Then there are those looking to check out the breakout stars, the Brandon Jews and Belinda Leongs of the dining world. Here are just 13 of San Francisco’s James Beard Award-winning restaurants and bakeries to throw on your must-try list.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.

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This Italian dynamo opened in 2004, and in 2015 its wine program, helmed by Shelley Lindgren, took home the Outstanding Wine Program James Beard Award. The Chestnut Street favorite sports a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation, to boot. Come for the creamy pasta, stay for the creamy pasta (as well as the pizza).

Atelier Crenn

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Alongside Corey Lee, Dominque Crenn is one of the few San Francisco chefs who can claim three Michelin stars at one of their restaurants. For Crenn, that restaurant would be her eponymous Atelier Crenn, recently redesigned to resemble a The Menu-esque platonic ideal of a fine dining restaurant. Crenn won a James Beard Award in 2018 for the Best Chef: West category.

Jason Bowman

There aren’t too many restaurateurs as well-known as Michael Tusk, nor restaurants as well-loved as his Quince in Jackson Square. He and his wife Lindsay Tusk reopened the 20-year-old restaurant, brightening the dining room and rolling out a blockbuster 10-course $360 tasting menu. Get a taste of what made Tusk land a Best Chef: Pacific James Beard Award in 2011 at his other outpost Cotogna.

Quince

Mister Jiu's

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Brandon Jew is quite comfortable atop San Francisco’s restaurant game. He was awarded the Best Chef: California award in 2022, winning another James Beard just the week before, a Media Award, this time for his cookbook Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food, co-authored by Tienlon Ho. Plus, his roasted duck is legendary all in its own right.

Mister Jiu’s

Estiatorio Ornos by Michael Mina

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Michael Mina’s sprawling empire is a San Francisco born-and-raised institution. His reborn flagship restaurant — taking new life during the pandemic after a long tenure as the Michael Mina restaurant — offers decadent lamb hummus, Egyptian-style falafel, and a fish sommelier offering supreme Petrale Sole. Mina, for his part, won his first, and not last, James Beard Award in 1997, the Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Fish dish at Estiatorio Ornos Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina Restaurant

Yank Sing

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There’s a reason this dumpling dealer was recognized with an America’s Classic James Beard Award in 2009. The restaurant was involved in a wage theft lawsuit in 2014, which has since been settled, and remains a standout Chinese restaurant in the city, offering plump siu mai and shrimp dumplings to its legions of fans.

Dim sum from Yank Sing Yank Sing

b. patisserie

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This Lower Pacific Heights institution is loved for its black sesame kouign amann, available for two weeks every Lunar New Year. The masterminds behind the sweet operation, Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, both won Outstanding Baker James Beard Awards in 2018. 

Kouign amann at B. Patisserie B. Patisserie

Much has been written about Corey Lee’s tutelage under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry and his subsequent rise to fame with his SoMa restaurant Benu. Nevertheless, Benu remains one of the only restaurants to tout all three Michelin stars in San Francisco. And in 2017 Lee won the Best Chef: West award, followed by a 2019 Outstanding Wine Program win for the restaurant.

Benu's courtyard.
Benu’s courtyard.
Photo: Eater SF Flickr Pool/phomchick

State Bird Provisions

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In 2015, this Fillmore District restaurant was given a thumbs up by the James Beard Awards for both of its chefs, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski. Each received a Best Chef: West award, only two years after State Bird won the coveted James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. Diners delight in Brioza and Krasinski’s low-lit dim sum-style service.

Ice cream sandwich from State Bird Provisions State Bird Provisions

Zuni Café

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If you’ve yet to try this Market Street icon, or sink your teeth into its roast chicken, take this as your sign to do so. In 2018 James Beard recognized the restaurant with its Outstanding Service award, and in 2022 it won a Media Award from the organization for its book The Zuni Café Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco’s Beloved Restaurant, which entered the group’s Cookbook Hall of Fame.

Roast chicken at Zuni Cafe Zuni Cafe

Delfina

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Reopening in October 2022 after a 2020 pandemic-induced closure, this 18th Street Italian restaurant is a love letter to seasonal produce, housemade focaccia, cacio e pepe potato chips, and more. Co-owners Annie and Craig Stoll first opened Delifina in 1998, and Craig won a Best Chef award in 2008.

Inside of a restaurant. Albert Law

Tartine Bakery

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Then husband-and-wife titans Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt took the world by storm in 2008 with sourdough country loaves at their Mission District bakery Tartine. Such was the power of their baking prowess that they each won a James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. Still, it’s worth noting the bakery has ongoing union trifles.

Tartine’s original Mission District bakery Tartine Bakery

La Taqueria

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Over the years, the minds behind the James Beard Awards have learned to recognize community destinations as well as fine dining outposts. Enter La Taqueria, which has won plenty of acclaim for its burritos — and is possibly the best in the nation. In 2017, the restaurant was recognized with an America’s Classic James Beard Award.

A16

This Italian dynamo opened in 2004, and in 2015 its wine program, helmed by Shelley Lindgren, took home the Outstanding Wine Program James Beard Award. The Chestnut Street favorite sports a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation, to boot. Come for the creamy pasta, stay for the creamy pasta (as well as the pizza).

Atelier Crenn

Alongside Corey Lee, Dominque Crenn is one of the few San Francisco chefs who can claim three Michelin stars at one of their restaurants. For Crenn, that restaurant would be her eponymous Atelier Crenn, recently redesigned to resemble a The Menu-esque platonic ideal of a fine dining restaurant. Crenn won a James Beard Award in 2018 for the Best Chef: West category.

Jason Bowman

Quince

There aren’t too many restaurateurs as well-known as Michael Tusk, nor restaurants as well-loved as his Quince in Jackson Square. He and his wife Lindsay Tusk reopened the 20-year-old restaurant, brightening the dining room and rolling out a blockbuster 10-course $360 tasting menu. Get a taste of what made Tusk land a Best Chef: Pacific James Beard Award in 2011 at his other outpost Cotogna.

Quince

Mister Jiu's

Brandon Jew is quite comfortable atop San Francisco’s restaurant game. He was awarded the Best Chef: California award in 2022, winning another James Beard just the week before, a Media Award, this time for his cookbook Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food, co-authored by Tienlon Ho. Plus, his roasted duck is legendary all in its own right.

Mister Jiu’s

Estiatorio Ornos by Michael Mina

Michael Mina’s sprawling empire is a San Francisco born-and-raised institution. His reborn flagship restaurant — taking new life during the pandemic after a long tenure as the Michael Mina restaurant — offers decadent lamb hummus, Egyptian-style falafel, and a fish sommelier offering supreme Petrale Sole. Mina, for his part, won his first, and not last, James Beard Award in 1997, the Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Fish dish at Estiatorio Ornos Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina Restaurant

Yank Sing

There’s a reason this dumpling dealer was recognized with an America’s Classic James Beard Award in 2009. The restaurant was involved in a wage theft lawsuit in 2014, which has since been settled, and remains a standout Chinese restaurant in the city, offering plump siu mai and shrimp dumplings to its legions of fans.

Dim sum from Yank Sing Yank Sing

b. patisserie

This Lower Pacific Heights institution is loved for its black sesame kouign amann, available for two weeks every Lunar New Year. The masterminds behind the sweet operation, Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, both won Outstanding Baker James Beard Awards in 2018. 

Kouign amann at B. Patisserie B. Patisserie

Benu

Much has been written about Corey Lee’s tutelage under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry and his subsequent rise to fame with his SoMa restaurant Benu. Nevertheless, Benu remains one of the only restaurants to tout all three Michelin stars in San Francisco. And in 2017 Lee won the Best Chef: West award, followed by a 2019 Outstanding Wine Program win for the restaurant.

Benu's courtyard.
Benu’s courtyard.
Photo: Eater SF Flickr Pool/phomchick

State Bird Provisions

In 2015, this Fillmore District restaurant was given a thumbs up by the James Beard Awards for both of its chefs, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski. Each received a Best Chef: West award, only two years after State Bird won the coveted James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. Diners delight in Brioza and Krasinski’s low-lit dim sum-style service.

Ice cream sandwich from State Bird Provisions State Bird Provisions

Zuni Café

If you’ve yet to try this Market Street icon, or sink your teeth into its roast chicken, take this as your sign to do so. In 2018 James Beard recognized the restaurant with its Outstanding Service award, and in 2022 it won a Media Award from the organization for its book The Zuni Café Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco’s Beloved Restaurant, which entered the group’s Cookbook Hall of Fame.

Roast chicken at Zuni Cafe Zuni Cafe

Delfina

Reopening in October 2022 after a 2020 pandemic-induced closure, this 18th Street Italian restaurant is a love letter to seasonal produce, housemade focaccia, cacio e pepe potato chips, and more. Co-owners Annie and Craig Stoll first opened Delifina in 1998, and Craig won a Best Chef award in 2008.

Inside of a restaurant. Albert Law

Tartine Bakery

Then husband-and-wife titans Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt took the world by storm in 2008 with sourdough country loaves at their Mission District bakery Tartine. Such was the power of their baking prowess that they each won a James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. Still, it’s worth noting the bakery has ongoing union trifles.

Tartine’s original Mission District bakery Tartine Bakery

La Taqueria

Over the years, the minds behind the James Beard Awards have learned to recognize community destinations as well as fine dining outposts. Enter La Taqueria, which has won plenty of acclaim for its burritos — and is possibly the best in the nation. In 2017, the restaurant was recognized with an America’s Classic James Beard Award.

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