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Cobb salad The Grove

14 Ultra 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 14 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.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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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 several 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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Of all the overpriced salad chains in all the land, Sweetgreen is 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. The Grove - Yerba Buena

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690 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 655-9194
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The Grove’s mini chain of comfy, living room–style restaurants puts out good soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as oversized chocolate chip cookies. Nearly half a dozen salads arrive in sizable wooden bowls, and fan favorites include the Berkeley Bowl loaded with chickpeas, avocado, and green goddess dressing; as well as a meaty cobb with brined chicken, applewood bacon, and blue cheese vinaigrette.

Cobb salad The Grove

7. 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. Several decades 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

8. Darwin Cafe

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212 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 800-8668
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Down a back alley in SoMa snakes a notoriously long line leading to one of the great kale salad tastemakers of the past decade. Darwin Cafe is a weekday lunch spot only, and if the artichoke melt does not capture your Californian heart, the trio of salads surely will. They rotate with the seasons, but the kale with crispy prosciutto, tendrils of parmesan, and sweet balsamic is a regular for a reason.

Kale salad at Darwin Darwin Cafe

9. 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 to applause after a long pandemic pause, and has even inspired marriage proposals. 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.

10. 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

11. Fiorella Sunset

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1240 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 404-6997
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Good pizza calls for good salad, and Fiorella not only tosses pillowy Neapolitan-style pies, it pairs them with fresh greens, from crowd-pleasing little gems with a watery crunch of fennel and radishes to pleasantly bitter chicories with a fabulously fishy tonnato vinaigrette, as well as seasonal contenders that name-drop favorite produce from local farms.  

12. 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.

13. Palm City

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4055 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

Palm City, the Outer Sunset wine shop slash hoagie destination, always has at least two salads on the menu. Its chop 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.

14. Tacolicious

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741 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 649-6077
Visit Website

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 several 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

Of all the overpriced salad chains in all the land, Sweetgreen is 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. The Grove - Yerba Buena

690 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Cobb salad The Grove

The Grove’s mini chain of comfy, living room–style restaurants puts out good soups, salads, and sandwiches, as well as oversized chocolate chip cookies. Nearly half a dozen salads arrive in sizable wooden bowls, and fan favorites include the Berkeley Bowl loaded with chickpeas, avocado, and green goddess dressing; as well as a meaty cobb with brined chicken, applewood bacon, and blue cheese vinaigrette.

690 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94105

7. Mandalay Restaurant

4348 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

When Mandalay opened in 1984, it was the first Burmese place in San Francisco. Several decades 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

8. Darwin Cafe

212 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Kale salad at Darwin Darwin Cafe

Down a back alley in SoMa snakes a notoriously long line leading to one of the great kale salad tastemakers of the past decade. Darwin Cafe is a weekday lunch spot only, and if the artichoke melt does not capture your Californian heart, the trio of salads surely will. They rotate with the seasons, but the kale with crispy prosciutto, tendrils of parmesan, and sweet balsamic is a regular for a reason.

212 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107

9. Souvla

517 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

SF eaters can’t get enough of Souvla, which reopened to applause after a long pandemic pause, and has even inspired marriage proposals. 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

10. 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

11. Fiorella Sunset

1240 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

Good pizza calls for good salad, and Fiorella not only tosses pillowy Neapolitan-style pies, it pairs them with fresh greens, from crowd-pleasing little gems with a watery crunch of fennel and radishes to pleasantly bitter chicories with a fabulously fishy tonnato vinaigrette, as well as seasonal contenders that name-drop favorite produce from local farms.  

1240 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122

12. 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

13. Palm City

4055 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Palm City, the Outer Sunset wine shop slash hoagie destination, always has at least two salads on the menu. Its chop 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

14. 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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