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Where to Eat and Drink in Bernal Heights

A vetted guide to dining and drinking in the neighborhood

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Bernal Heights is sometimes described as an urban village rather than a neighborhood, which is to say it’s very family friendly, but kids or not, it’s a great place to explore, eat, and drink. There are two main retail corridors, one on Cortland Avenue and the other on Mission Street. That latter strip is contested territory — some will argue it’s just the Mission — but for the purposes of this guide, Bernal begins south of Chavez. On the one side, there’s good beer, pizza, and dive bars, with two notable breweries pouring strong IPA. And on the other, a few restaurant gems, with some Michelin-pedigreed chefs moving into the neighborhood, as well as comforting guisados and oversized soup dumplings.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated, outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities, but the level of risk involved with outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. El Rio

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3158 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 282-3325
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Known far and wide for day parties on its back patio and cheap Tecate at its cash bar, El Rio never fails to dazzle out of towners and please regulars. It leans queer, but, per the slogan, it’s “Your Dive.” All are welcome, including several longhair cats who usually make themselves comfortable on the patio during the daytime. For takeout, they’re partnering with Frisco Pink, so fans can pair a margarita with a tamale to go.

2. Marlena Restaurant

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300 Precita Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 400-5997
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The rare new restaurant that dared to open during the pandemic, Marlena is a neighborhood gem from a Michelin-starred power couple. They snapped up that sweet corner spot across from Precita Park, on the sunny and quiet North Slope. It’s an exciting date night option, with an affordable prix fixe, and a real dessert menu from a serious pastry chef, which is a rare treat these days. Plus, picnic baskets stuffed with cheese and charcuterie, ready to roll to the park.

Fish at Marlena Marlena

3. Cellarmaker House of Pizza

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3193 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 296-6351
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Top San Francisco brewery Cellarmaker made its mark on Bernal with its second casual brewpub — and first pizza operation. Juicy IPAs, barrel-aged dark beers, and refreshing sour beers are all here. And while square, Detroit-inspired pizza is the big draw, a great mix of sides and small plates built around seasonal produce rounds out the menu.

4. The Royal Cuckoo

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3202 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 550-8607
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The Royal Cuckoo is an unphotographably dark bar boasting a list of great, original cocktails and inviting drinkers with its sultry, bohemian vibe. The bar’s full name, the Royal Cuckoo Organ Lounge, does its musical leanings a bit more justice: It usually hosts intimate jazz sets on the organ behind the bar or, at the very least, classic jazz albums playing on vinyl. During the pandemic, they’ve been partnering with Blue Plate for food and drinks on the cozy backyard patio.

5. Outer Orbit

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3215 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 574-6166
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Pinball wizards of all ages go wild for Outer Orbit, which usually combines Hawaiian food (spam musubi, loco moco, shaved ice), nine pinball machines, and tropical-leaning beers (adults only). The vibe is casual and lighthearted, with the after-school family crowd giving way to a more mature mix of patrons in the evening.

6. Knockout

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3223 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 550-6994
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Punk is alive and well and getting plastered at the Knockout. The bar’s associated with nearby punk record store and label Thrillhouse Records, hence its leanings. The venue is usually a big scene with beer and music and dancing, but the pandemic has chilled out the show and moved it outside. They’ve got disco and funk listening parties in the parklet, and are featuring food from Outer Orbit.

7. Blue Plate

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3218 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 282-6777
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Blue Plate has become a neighborhood mainstay thanks to comfort food from chef Sean Thomas, whose deviled eggs, meatloaf, fried chicken, and mac and cheese will never leave the menu. Plus, the backyard wine garden was always the best seat in the house.

8. Emmy's Spaghetti Shack

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3230 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 206-2086
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Emmy’s knows its audience — families and Bernal locals — and plays to the crowd. Its adorably hand-drawn menu includes specials and popular zucchini noodles — or “zoodles” — but don’t skip the signature spaghetti with massive meatballs. And drinks are affordable, from the house wine to tall boys of beer.

Emmys Spaghetti Shack Dan B./Yelp

9. Mitchell's Ice Cream

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688 San Jose Avenue
San Francisco, CA
(415) 648-2300
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Opened in 1953, Mitchell’s is a pillar of the local ice cream scene. Family run and family oriented, it’s a gathering place as well as an ice cream parlor. Take a number deli style and be prepared to wait for Americana classics like rocky road and Oreo and the wildly popular and bright purple ube.

10. PizzaHacker

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3299 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 874-5585
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Casual atmosphere and excellent pizza are the hallmarks of PizzaHacker, which started as a pop-up passion project. Fans used to be able to snag a seat at the beer hall tables in this former bank space with a soaring ceiling and order off the chalkboard menu, but now the pies are available for takeout and delivery. Recommended: The spicy and sweet “Yo Vinny!” and the solid “kale Caesar!” salad.

11. The Front Porch

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65A 29th St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 695-7800
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This soul food restaurant inhabits a cute, garage-level space on 29th Street just off Mission. There’s a little bit of a physical front porch, but the name speaks more to the restaurant’s lounging atmosphere. Fried chicken, which can be ordered by the bucket, is some of the best around.

12. El Buen Comer

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3435 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 817-1542
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A success story out of local cooking incubator La Cucina, chef Isabel Caudillo brought slow-simmered stews and hand-shaped tortillas to her permanent restaurant home. Specialties at El Buen Comer include rich guisados, as well as sopes and tostadas, not to mention brunch chilaquiles.

13. Cafe St. Jorge

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3438 Mission St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 814-2028
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Cafe St. Jorge is a local favorite for toast, coffee, and specialty Portuguese pastry like pastel de nata, a sweet egg custard tart. It’s usually a favorite WiFi and laptop work spot, but these days the coffee is still strong to go.

14. Old Devil Moon

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3472 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

Opened by a group of certified cicerone beer experts, Old Devil Moon is a sizable neighborhood bar with a voodoo-ish theme. As you might guess, the owners have pulled together a top-of-the-line beer selection, now available to go. Cocktails are also excellent, and New Orleans-inspired food is served.

15. Barebottle Brewing Company

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1525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

Barebottle’s fresh beer and large but welcoming warehouse space are a huge draw, especially on weekend, and kids and dogs are allowed. Barebottle is a ways down Cortland toward Bayshore Avenue if you’re coming from the west, but home-brew inspired beer like Galaxy Dust and Muir Woods IPA are more than worth the trek.

16. Pinhole Coffee

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231 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

Pinhole is a brightly lit, serene coffee shop. In a former butcher shop and grocery store from the 1880s, the cafe is a neighborhood favorite where baristas know their customers’ names. Most important, Pinhole’s drinks are great. The cafe uses Verve Coffee for espresso drinks, Linea for drip coffee, and no coffee at all in their child-friendly “kiduccino” — just steamed milk with honey.

17. Avedano's Holly Park Market

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235 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA
(415) 285-6328
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Avedano’s may look like an old-school butcher shop thanks to its historic space, but it’s got a new-school, humanely raised meat ethos. Their panino sandwiches are an excellent introduction to the establishment, and they’ve also served up some hot items during the pandemic, with shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie to fight cooking fatigue.

18. United Dumplings

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525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 658-7363
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This new dim sum restaurant filled a dumpling-shaped void, satisfying juicy XLB cravings on Cortland. It’s from the same owners as Beijing Restaurant in Excelsior, the Northern Chinese standby that specializes in wheat noodles and dumplings. United Dumplings is less traditional, and they’re having fun with taco-inspired potstickers, bulgogi beef dumplings, and a jumbo soup dumpling that comes with a straw for puncturing and slurping.

A jumbo-size soup dumpling, served with a straw United Dumplings

19. 3rd Cousin

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919 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA
(415) 814-3709
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The highest-end offering on Cortland — see the oft-Instagrammed uni crème brûlée — 3rd cousin is still fine dining with a more casual Bernal vibe. Chef Greg Lutes has mostly matched his lofty ambitions to the neighborhood, and his restaurant is worth a date night trip.

20. Wild Side West

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424 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA
(415) 647-3099
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A Bernal bar holding it down for the area’s historically lesbian population, Wild Side West was founded by a lesbian couple in Oakland in 1962 and moved to its current location in 1976. The owners have since passed away, but the Wild Side still leans queer. It’s best known for a giant backyard garden with drinking nooks and bizarre sculptures.

21. Black Jet Baking Company

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833 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

Black Jet holds down this end of Cortland as a favorite corner bakery. Owner Gillian Shaw is a hardworking baker and former East Coaster, and she’s known for grandma-style cakes, with rustic sides and generous sprinkles, all-butter and extra crumbly pies, and hot takes on childhood treats like Pop-Tarts and Oreos.

A post shared by Gillian Shaw (@blackjetbaker) on

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1. El Rio

3158 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

Known far and wide for day parties on its back patio and cheap Tecate at its cash bar, El Rio never fails to dazzle out of towners and please regulars. It leans queer, but, per the slogan, it’s “Your Dive.” All are welcome, including several longhair cats who usually make themselves comfortable on the patio during the daytime. For takeout, they’re partnering with Frisco Pink, so fans can pair a margarita with a tamale to go.

3158 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

2. Marlena Restaurant

300 Precita Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
Fish at Marlena Marlena

The rare new restaurant that dared to open during the pandemic, Marlena is a neighborhood gem from a Michelin-starred power couple. They snapped up that sweet corner spot across from Precita Park, on the sunny and quiet North Slope. It’s an exciting date night option, with an affordable prix fixe, and a real dessert menu from a serious pastry chef, which is a rare treat these days. Plus, picnic baskets stuffed with cheese and charcuterie, ready to roll to the park.

300 Precita Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

3. Cellarmaker House of Pizza

3193 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Top San Francisco brewery Cellarmaker made its mark on Bernal with its second casual brewpub — and first pizza operation. Juicy IPAs, barrel-aged dark beers, and refreshing sour beers are all here. And while square, Detroit-inspired pizza is the big draw, a great mix of sides and small plates built around seasonal produce rounds out the menu.

3193 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

4. The Royal Cuckoo

3202 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

The Royal Cuckoo is an unphotographably dark bar boasting a list of great, original cocktails and inviting drinkers with its sultry, bohemian vibe. The bar’s full name, the Royal Cuckoo Organ Lounge, does its musical leanings a bit more justice: It usually hosts intimate jazz sets on the organ behind the bar or, at the very least, classic jazz albums playing on vinyl. During the pandemic, they’ve been partnering with Blue Plate for food and drinks on the cozy backyard patio.

3202 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

5. Outer Orbit

3215 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Pinball wizards of all ages go wild for Outer Orbit, which usually combines Hawaiian food (spam musubi, loco moco, shaved ice), nine pinball machines, and tropical-leaning beers (adults only). The vibe is casual and lighthearted, with the after-school family crowd giving way to a more mature mix of patrons in the evening.

3215 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. Knockout

3223 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Punk is alive and well and getting plastered at the Knockout. The bar’s associated with nearby punk record store and label Thrillhouse Records, hence its leanings. The venue is usually a big scene with beer and music and dancing, but the pandemic has chilled out the show and moved it outside. They’ve got disco and funk listening parties in the parklet, and are featuring food from Outer Orbit.

3223 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

7. Blue Plate

3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

Blue Plate has become a neighborhood mainstay thanks to comfort food from chef Sean Thomas, whose deviled eggs, meatloaf, fried chicken, and mac and cheese will never leave the menu. Plus, the backyard wine garden was always the best seat in the house.

3218 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA

8. Emmy's Spaghetti Shack

3230 Mission St, San Francisco, CA
Emmys Spaghetti Shack Dan B./Yelp

Emmy’s knows its audience — families and Bernal locals — and plays to the crowd. Its adorably hand-drawn menu includes specials and popular zucchini noodles — or “zoodles” — but don’t skip the signature spaghetti with massive meatballs. And drinks are affordable, from the house wine to tall boys of beer.

3230 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

9. Mitchell's Ice Cream

688 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco, CA

Opened in 1953, Mitchell’s is a pillar of the local ice cream scene. Family run and family oriented, it’s a gathering place as well as an ice cream parlor. Take a number deli style and be prepared to wait for Americana classics like rocky road and Oreo and the wildly popular and bright purple ube.

688 San Jose Avenue
San Francisco, CA

10. PizzaHacker

3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

Casual atmosphere and excellent pizza are the hallmarks of PizzaHacker, which started as a pop-up passion project. Fans used to be able to snag a seat at the beer hall tables in this former bank space with a soaring ceiling and order off the chalkboard menu, but now the pies are available for takeout and delivery. Recommended: The spicy and sweet “Yo Vinny!” and the solid “kale Caesar!” salad.

3299 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

11. The Front Porch

65A 29th St, San Francisco, CA

This soul food restaurant inhabits a cute, garage-level space on 29th Street just off Mission. There’s a little bit of a physical front porch, but the name speaks more to the restaurant’s lounging atmosphere. Fried chicken, which can be ordered by the bucket, is some of the best around.

65A 29th St
San Francisco, CA

12. El Buen Comer

3435 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

A success story out of local cooking incubator La Cucina, chef Isabel Caudillo brought slow-simmered stews and hand-shaped tortillas to her permanent restaurant home. Specialties at El Buen Comer include rich guisados, as well as sopes and tostadas, not to mention brunch chilaquiles.

3435 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

13. Cafe St. Jorge

3438 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

Cafe St. Jorge is a local favorite for toast, coffee, and specialty Portuguese pastry like pastel de nata, a sweet egg custard tart. It’s usually a favorite WiFi and laptop work spot, but these days the coffee is still strong to go.

3438 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

14. Old Devil Moon

3472 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

Opened by a group of certified cicerone beer experts, Old Devil Moon is a sizable neighborhood bar with a voodoo-ish theme. As you might guess, the owners have pulled together a top-of-the-line beer selection, now available to go. Cocktails are also excellent, and New Orleans-inspired food is served.

3472 Mission St
San Francisco, CA

15. Barebottle Brewing Company

1525 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA

Barebottle’s fresh beer and large but welcoming warehouse space are a huge draw, especially on weekend, and kids and dogs are allowed. Barebottle is a ways down Cortland toward Bayshore Avenue if you’re coming from the west, but home-brew inspired beer like Galaxy Dust and Muir Woods IPA are more than worth the trek.

1525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

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16. Pinhole Coffee

231 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA

Pinhole is a brightly lit, serene coffee shop. In a former butcher shop and grocery store from the 1880s, the cafe is a neighborhood favorite where baristas know their customers’ names. Most important, Pinhole’s drinks are great. The cafe uses Verve Coffee for espresso drinks, Linea for drip coffee, and no coffee at all in their child-friendly “kiduccino” — just steamed milk with honey.

231 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

17. Avedano's Holly Park Market

235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA

Avedano’s may look like an old-school butcher shop thanks to its historic space, but it’s got a new-school, humanely raised meat ethos. Their panino sandwiches are an excellent introduction to the establishment, and they’ve also served up some hot items during the pandemic, with shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie to fight cooking fatigue.

235 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

18. United Dumplings

525 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
A jumbo-size soup dumpling, served with a straw United Dumplings

This new dim sum restaurant filled a dumpling-shaped void, satisfying juicy XLB cravings on Cortland. It’s from the same owners as Beijing Restaurant in Excelsior, the Northern Chinese standby that specializes in wheat noodles and dumplings. United Dumplings is less traditional, and they’re having fun with taco-inspired potstickers, bulgogi beef dumplings, and a jumbo soup dumpling that comes with a straw for puncturing and slurping.

525 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

19. 3rd Cousin

919 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA

The highest-end offering on Cortland — see the oft-Instagrammed uni crème brûlée — 3rd cousin is still fine dining with a more casual Bernal vibe. Chef Greg Lutes has mostly matched his lofty ambitions to the neighborhood, and his restaurant is worth a date night trip.

919 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

20. Wild Side West

424 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA

A Bernal bar holding it down for the area’s historically lesbian population, Wild Side West was founded by a lesbian couple in Oakland in 1962 and moved to its current location in 1976. The owners have since passed away, but the Wild Side still leans queer. It’s best known for a giant backyard garden with drinking nooks and bizarre sculptures.

424 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

21. Black Jet Baking Company

833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA

Black Jet holds down this end of Cortland as a favorite corner bakery. Owner Gillian Shaw is a hardworking baker and former East Coaster, and she’s known for grandma-style cakes, with rustic sides and generous sprinkles, all-butter and extra crumbly pies, and hot takes on childhood treats like Pop-Tarts and Oreos.

833 Cortland Ave
San Francisco, CA

Related Maps