clock menu more-arrow no yes

San Francisco's 15 Hardest-to-Get Tables

View as Map

It's that special time of year when parking is ample, commutes are breezy, and long waits are no more. Yes, it's Burning Man week, and with half the city gone, plus the other half heading out for Labor Day weekend, San Francisco is practically a ghost town (well, except for the tourists). But don't mope if you're staying home: with everyone gone, now's your chance to try and score a table at some of the hardest-to-get-into spots in town, whether they're new (and thus popular) or classics (and thus popular). Check our list of the 15 spots you might finally be able to visit this week.


What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

· All Eater Maps [~ ESF ~]

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Rich Table

Copy Link
199 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 355-9085
Visit Website

Husband-and-wife team Sarah and Evan Rich have a hit with their Hayes Valley restaurant, and getting a seat at Rich Table to try the legendary wild fennel levain, farm-fresh pastas and pork belly panzanella can be a challenge, so now's your chance to snag a table.

2. Flour + Water

Copy Link
2401 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 826-7000
Visit Website

With only 49 seats, flour + water is a squeeze, and more so since this spot had one of the most-hyped openings in recent memory. But getting a bite of chef Thomas McNaughton's housemade pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas just might be a cinch this week.

3. Mission Beach Cafe

Copy Link
198 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-0198
Visit Website

This spot is the epitome of the 2-hour brunch wait, but we're guessing this week will see a distinct ebb in traffic for MBC's lavender infused french toast, short ribs with butternut hash and popular burger. We've never not seen crowds outside, but we're crossing our fingers.

4. Brenda's French Soul Food

Copy Link
652 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 345-8100
Visit Website

Brenda's shrimp and grits is the stuff hangover dreams are made of, and this bastion of brunch sees long waits and lines even on weekdays. Now's the time to out your name down.

5. Cotogna

Copy Link
490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8508
Visit Website

Quince's casual outpost Cotogna has never let up speed since glowing reviews put it on the map, and chef Michael Tusk's rustic take on Italian cuisine keeps 'em coming. There's never been a better time to try for a table at this darling of the SF food scene.

6. Frances

Copy Link
3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-3870
Visit Website

Reliably once of the hardest places in the city to get a reservation, Frances has the casual friendliness of a neighborhood spot combined with an upscale ethos that keeps everyone happy. Melissa Perello's modern California fare doesn't hurt either, so this might be the time to finally try for that reservation.

7. Coqueta

Copy Link
Pier 5 - The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA
(415) 704-8866
Visit Website

Michael Chiarello's waterfront restaurant serves up Spanish tapas and paella, and having a celebrity chef at the helm doesn't help when it comes to trying to score a table. But although Coqueta may be a flirt, now might be the moment to get some private time with this handsome spot.

8. Nopa

Copy Link
560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 864-8643
Visit Website

This Divisadero spot may be an elder statesman of local, sustainable California cuisine, but it continues to turn out some of the city's best, and diners know it. Tired of trying to squeeze in at the bar? Try for a table at Nopa now.

9. Outerlands

Copy Link
4001 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 661-6140
Visit Website

This far-flung spot has a surfer-chic feel and phenomenal food to make the trip worthwhile. Now might the perfect time to sample Outerlands chef Brett Cooper's menu, minus the crowds.

10. Delfina

Copy Link
3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 552-4055
Visit Website

Delfina has been serving upscale Italian since most Mission Italian-inspired spots were just twinkles in their proprietors' eyes. Their pizzeria next door doesn't diminish from the restaurant's draw, so get a spot while you can at this ever-popular spot.

11. SPQR

Copy Link
1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-7779
Visit Website

Chef Matthew Accarrino's leadership earned SPQR its first Michelin star this year, and the intimate Italian-inspired restaurant continues to draw crowds for its ambiance, wine list and creative menu offerings.

12. Foreign Cinema

Copy Link
2534 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-7600
Visit Website

With the charm of a European movie night and a California/Mediterranean-inspired menu that also happens to boast some of the best fried chicken in town, Foreign Cinema has been going strong for over a decade. Plan an impromptu date night this week for maximum romance.

13. Incanto

Copy Link
1550 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 641-4500
Visit Website

It's all about meat at Chris Cosentino's Incanto, and now's the time to pull up a chair at this warm outpost in sleepy Noe Valley for the signature Sardinian cured tuna heart spaghettini.

14. Padrecito

Copy Link
901 Cole St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 742-5505
Visit Website

Padrecito seats 75, but buzz over its upscale Mexican fare and agave-based cocktail list has kept tables full. We're predicting that this week spells a lull for the Cole Valley spot, so go for the margaritas and stay for the duck carnitas.

15. Wayfare Tavern

Copy Link
558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 772-9060
Visit Website

With new executive chef Joey Elenterio onboard, Wayfare Tavern is about to get a major boost, but the main concept won't change much from the refined American fare that keeps 'em coming back for more, so get it while the getting's good.

Loading comments...

1. Rich Table

199 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Husband-and-wife team Sarah and Evan Rich have a hit with their Hayes Valley restaurant, and getting a seat at Rich Table to try the legendary wild fennel levain, farm-fresh pastas and pork belly panzanella can be a challenge, so now's your chance to snag a table.

199 Gough St
San Francisco, CA 94102

2. Flour + Water

2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

With only 49 seats, flour + water is a squeeze, and more so since this spot had one of the most-hyped openings in recent memory. But getting a bite of chef Thomas McNaughton's housemade pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas just might be a cinch this week.

2401 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110

3. Mission Beach Cafe

198 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94103

This spot is the epitome of the 2-hour brunch wait, but we're guessing this week will see a distinct ebb in traffic for MBC's lavender infused french toast, short ribs with butternut hash and popular burger. We've never not seen crowds outside, but we're crossing our fingers.

198 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94103

4. Brenda's French Soul Food

652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Brenda's shrimp and grits is the stuff hangover dreams are made of, and this bastion of brunch sees long waits and lines even on weekdays. Now's the time to out your name down.

652 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Cotogna

490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Quince's casual outpost Cotogna has never let up speed since glowing reviews put it on the map, and chef Michael Tusk's rustic take on Italian cuisine keeps 'em coming. There's never been a better time to try for a table at this darling of the SF food scene.

490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

6. Frances

3870 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Reliably once of the hardest places in the city to get a reservation, Frances has the casual friendliness of a neighborhood spot combined with an upscale ethos that keeps everyone happy. Melissa Perello's modern California fare doesn't hurt either, so this might be the time to finally try for that reservation.

3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

7. Coqueta

Pier 5 - The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

Michael Chiarello's waterfront restaurant serves up Spanish tapas and paella, and having a celebrity chef at the helm doesn't help when it comes to trying to score a table. But although Coqueta may be a flirt, now might be the moment to get some private time with this handsome spot.

Pier 5 - The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

8. Nopa

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

This Divisadero spot may be an elder statesman of local, sustainable California cuisine, but it continues to turn out some of the city's best, and diners know it. Tired of trying to squeeze in at the bar? Try for a table at Nopa now.

560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

9. Outerlands

4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

This far-flung spot has a surfer-chic feel and phenomenal food to make the trip worthwhile. Now might the perfect time to sample Outerlands chef Brett Cooper's menu, minus the crowds.

4001 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122

10. Delfina

3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Delfina has been serving upscale Italian since most Mission Italian-inspired spots were just twinkles in their proprietors' eyes. Their pizzeria next door doesn't diminish from the restaurant's draw, so get a spot while you can at this ever-popular spot.

3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

11. SPQR

1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

Chef Matthew Accarrino's leadership earned SPQR its first Michelin star this year, and the intimate Italian-inspired restaurant continues to draw crowds for its ambiance, wine list and creative menu offerings.

1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

12. Foreign Cinema

2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

With the charm of a European movie night and a California/Mediterranean-inspired menu that also happens to boast some of the best fried chicken in town, Foreign Cinema has been going strong for over a decade. Plan an impromptu date night this week for maximum romance.

2534 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

13. Incanto

1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

It's all about meat at Chris Cosentino's Incanto, and now's the time to pull up a chair at this warm outpost in sleepy Noe Valley for the signature Sardinian cured tuna heart spaghettini.

1550 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131

14. Padrecito

901 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Padrecito seats 75, but buzz over its upscale Mexican fare and agave-based cocktail list has kept tables full. We're predicting that this week spells a lull for the Cole Valley spot, so go for the margaritas and stay for the duck carnitas.

901 Cole St
San Francisco, CA 94117

15. Wayfare Tavern

558 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111

With new executive chef Joey Elenterio onboard, Wayfare Tavern is about to get a major boost, but the main concept won't change much from the refined American fare that keeps 'em coming back for more, so get it while the getting's good.

558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111

Related Maps