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Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

13 Fresh Salads in San Francisco

The leafiest, crispiest, most satisfying bowls of greens around

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Salads are arguably the most maligned of dishes, a droopily reluctant side for people with qualms about ordering fries. In San Francisco, where bountiful produce is just minutes away, salads are often the star of the meal, a glorious and satisfying main course that needs no accompaniment.

While many restaurants in the city have a great meal-sized salad on the menu, this list of 13 salads across San Francisco highlights some of the freshest. From meaty chop salads to grain-laden bowls of greens, there’s a salad here for every appetite.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Original Joe's

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601 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-4877
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It might seem unusual to go to a steakhouse for a salad, but then again, this Italian-American institution in North Beach makes a mean Caesar and wedge. The Dungeness crab Louie is a beaut, piled with sweet crab meat and arrayed with thinly sliced avocado and egg. And there’s a solid chopped salad with salami, provolone, and pepperoncini in the mix.

Salad from Original Joe’s Original Joe’s

2. Wildseed

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2000 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 872-7350
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Everything at Wildseed, the Cow Hollow spot from prolific SF hospitality group Back of the House, is plant based, and its salad roster is impressive, with at least four available at any time. Of greatest note is its ensalada Andalusia, a concoction of lettuce, chicories, vegan black ash cheese, and disturbingly accurate crumbles of coconut bacon.

3. Blue Barn

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2237 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 655-9438
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Blue Barn’s got two locations in SF, at 2237 Polk Street, and another on 3344 Steiner Street. (They have spots in Corte Madera and Novato, as well). All specialize in salads, with at least 10 on the menu at its shops, from a quinoa-laden Waldorf to a spicy tuna with ahi tartare and crispy soba.

4. Nourish Cafe

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1030 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 580-7463
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Both locations of Nourish Cafe (1030 Hyde Street or 189 6th Avenue) do a bustling business in vegan takeout, with salads so substantial they’re listed on their menus as “bowls.” Hyde Street, it should be noted, has the biggest salad roster, with options like its Warrior Bowl (an ample spinach salad with a vegan burger patty on top) and Mission Bowl, a chimichurri-laden mix of romaine, yams, avocados, and brown rice.

5. Sweetgreen

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171 2nd St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 855-7653
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Sweetgreen is a chain, but a wildly popular one, that landed in SoMa in 2016 and immediately drew long lines. The favorite salads and grain bowls rotate seasonally, from sweet peaches and burrata in summer to warm kale and sweet potatoes in fall.

Salads at Sweetgreen Sweetgreen

6. Mandalay Restaurant

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4348 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-3896
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When Mandalay opened in 1984, it was the first Burmese place in San Francisco. 36 years later, there are slews more, but Mandalay remains a destination for its tea leaf salad, which has been lauded as the one most like what one’s Burmese grandma might make. It’s mostly dried nuts, beans, and seeds (peanuts, pulses, and sesame) with tomatoes and jalapenos. That austerity is what lets the fermented tea leaves star in all their bitter, fishy glory.

This one’s our classic Burmese Tea Leaf salad — Call ahead for carryout: (415) 386-3896 4348 California St., San Francisco Delivery: Caviar

Posted by Mandalay Burmese Restaurant on Friday, April 10, 2020

7. Little Gem on Grove

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400 Grove St C1
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 914-0501
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Little Gem is a fast-casual favorite in Hayes Valley, offering quick and healthy options from the counter, walking back to an industrial-chic space with tall windows. The salads star good arugula and yes, little gems, and are color popping with watermelon radishes and pink beets.

8. Souvla

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517 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 400-5458
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SF eaters can’t get enough of Souvla, which reopened after four long salad-deprived months. The popular Greek spots keep the menu simple, so diners pick a protein, opt for a salad for a wrap, and then drop the healthy pretenses and pile on Greek fries with harissa yogurt and Greek frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles.

9. RT Rotisserie

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302 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94117

Rich Table star restaurant got in the salad game when it spun out with RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual concept. They serve juicy rotisserie chickens, but also break it down into excellent salads, lush with greens, herbs, pickled onions, and more.

Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

10. Pluto's

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627 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 753-8867
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The once-mighty Pluto’s chain is down to one location these days, its spot in the Inner Sunset. The build-your-own options are incredibly customizable, with more than 50 options for toss-ins.

11. PARKER Potrero

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1399 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 829-3796
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Parker specializes in healthy-enough comforts from its cozy home in Potrero. The house salad packs in kale, beet, apple, avocado, chickpeas, chicken, turkey bacon, pickled onions, seeds, and a creamy dressing.

12. Palm City

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4055 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

Palm City, the recently opened Outer Sunset sandwich and wine shop, always has at least two salads on the menu. Its chopped is an eternal favorite, a hearty mix of lettuce, egg, marinated chickpeas, and avocado — served dressed (that’s right, no need to deal with a capsizing container of goopy dressing) with a bright herbed yogurt sauce.

13. Tacolicious

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741 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 649-6077
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Tacolicious might have been low-key trolling the yoga-clad crowd when they dubbed the house salad the “Marina girl,” but fans are still ordering the fresh mix of romaine, radishes, and avocado, sprinkled with salty cotija and toasted pepitas, with an option to add on grilled shrimp. 

1. Original Joe's

601 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Salad from Original Joe’s Original Joe’s

It might seem unusual to go to a steakhouse for a salad, but then again, this Italian-American institution in North Beach makes a mean Caesar and wedge. The Dungeness crab Louie is a beaut, piled with sweet crab meat and arrayed with thinly sliced avocado and egg. And there’s a solid chopped salad with salami, provolone, and pepperoncini in the mix.

601 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Wildseed

2000 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Everything at Wildseed, the Cow Hollow spot from prolific SF hospitality group Back of the House, is plant based, and its salad roster is impressive, with at least four available at any time. Of greatest note is its ensalada Andalusia, a concoction of lettuce, chicories, vegan black ash cheese, and disturbingly accurate crumbles of coconut bacon.

2000 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

3. Blue Barn

2237 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Blue Barn’s got two locations in SF, at 2237 Polk Street, and another on 3344 Steiner Street. (They have spots in Corte Madera and Novato, as well). All specialize in salads, with at least 10 on the menu at its shops, from a quinoa-laden Waldorf to a spicy tuna with ahi tartare and crispy soba.

2237 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

4. Nourish Cafe

1030 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Both locations of Nourish Cafe (1030 Hyde Street or 189 6th Avenue) do a bustling business in vegan takeout, with salads so substantial they’re listed on their menus as “bowls.” Hyde Street, it should be noted, has the biggest salad roster, with options like its Warrior Bowl (an ample spinach salad with a vegan burger patty on top) and Mission Bowl, a chimichurri-laden mix of romaine, yams, avocados, and brown rice.

1030 Hyde St
San Francisco, CA 94109

5. Sweetgreen

171 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Salads at Sweetgreen Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen is a chain, but a wildly popular one, that landed in SoMa in 2016 and immediately drew long lines. The favorite salads and grain bowls rotate seasonally, from sweet peaches and burrata in summer to warm kale and sweet potatoes in fall.

171 2nd St
San Francisco, CA 94105

6. Mandalay Restaurant

4348 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

When Mandalay opened in 1984, it was the first Burmese place in San Francisco. 36 years later, there are slews more, but Mandalay remains a destination for its tea leaf salad, which has been lauded as the one most like what one’s Burmese grandma might make. It’s mostly dried nuts, beans, and seeds (peanuts, pulses, and sesame) with tomatoes and jalapenos. That austerity is what lets the fermented tea leaves star in all their bitter, fishy glory.

4348 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118

7. Little Gem on Grove

400 Grove St C1, San Francisco, CA 94102

Little Gem is a fast-casual favorite in Hayes Valley, offering quick and healthy options from the counter, walking back to an industrial-chic space with tall windows. The salads star good arugula and yes, little gems, and are color popping with watermelon radishes and pink beets.

400 Grove St C1
San Francisco, CA 94102

8. Souvla

517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

SF eaters can’t get enough of Souvla, which reopened after four long salad-deprived months. The popular Greek spots keep the menu simple, so diners pick a protein, opt for a salad for a wrap, and then drop the healthy pretenses and pile on Greek fries with harissa yogurt and Greek frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles.

517 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102

9. RT Rotisserie

302 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Chicken salad at RT Rotisserie Patricia Chang

Rich Table star restaurant got in the salad game when it spun out with RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual concept. They serve juicy rotisserie chickens, but also break it down into excellent salads, lush with greens, herbs, pickled onions, and more.

302 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94117

10. Pluto's

627 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

The once-mighty Pluto’s chain is down to one location these days, its spot in the Inner Sunset. The build-your-own options are incredibly customizable, with more than 50 options for toss-ins.

627 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

11. PARKER Potrero

1399 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Parker specializes in healthy-enough comforts from its cozy home in Potrero. The house salad packs in kale, beet, apple, avocado, chickpeas, chicken, turkey bacon, pickled onions, seeds, and a creamy dressing.

1399 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

12. Palm City

4055 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Palm City, the recently opened Outer Sunset sandwich and wine shop, always has at least two salads on the menu. Its chopped is an eternal favorite, a hearty mix of lettuce, egg, marinated chickpeas, and avocado — served dressed (that’s right, no need to deal with a capsizing container of goopy dressing) with a bright herbed yogurt sauce.

4055 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

13. Tacolicious

741 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Tacolicious might have been low-key trolling the yoga-clad crowd when they dubbed the house salad the “Marina girl,” but fans are still ordering the fresh mix of romaine, radishes, and avocado, sprinkled with salty cotija and toasted pepitas, with an option to add on grilled shrimp. 

741 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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