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San Francisco's 20 Most Underrated Restaurants, Mapped

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Hype and buzz rule much of San Francisco's food scene, but for every overrated restaurant with lines out the door, there's an overlooked eatery quietly turning out top-quality food. What makes a place "underrated"? It's the spot that most people don't think of when recommending a restaurant, the place that's been around a long time, or maybe the eatery that most transplants or visitors wouldn't recognize. These spots rarely get a mention or are closely-kept local's secrets. Without further ado, here are our picks for the top 20 most underrated restaurants in the city.


What's on your list for most underrated spot in town? Let us know in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Contigo

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1320 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 285-0250
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This stylish tapas restaurant is a Noe Valley favorite, but outside of the 'hood, it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Expect a great wine list, lively atmosphere and extensive Spanish menu serving up hits like albondigas, jamon Iberico and sardines on toast.

2. Radius

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1123 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 525-3676
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Radius' rule of sourcing all food from within a 100 mile radius might seem gimmicky if the food and execution weren't so good, and this Folsom St. standby doesn't get the buzz of other, comparable restaurants.

3. Poquito

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2368 Third St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 643-3900
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An out-of-the-way location makes Poquito an oft-forgotten option, but this spot's creative Latin American tapas with an Ecuadorian flair, friendly service and plenty of sangria set it apart from the rest.

4. Darwin Cafe

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212 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 800-8668
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This spot has a cult following for lunch, but if you don't know, now you know: their seasonally focused salads and small plates spill over into dinner service, too.

5. Loló

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3234 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 643-5656
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Loló's non-traditional Mexican food, eclectic Mexicana atmosphere and extensive mezcal selection make it the perfect sit-down option for those on the hunt for more than a takeout burrito.

6. Eiji

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317 Sanchez St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 558-8149
This tiny Japanese outpost has good sushi, but the real draw is their Oboro Tofu, housemade silky tofu served with a selection of traditional condiments. And don't forget to order the mochi strawberry for dessert.

7. Local's Corner

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2500 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 800-7945
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Most the the attention goes to this spot's weekend brunch, but Local's Corner offers up fresh seafood with a friendly, neighborhood vibe. Go for the oysters and stay for the sustainably-sourced fish and mellow vibe.

8. Fiore Caffè

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3599 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 642-4822
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Don't let the name fool you: this isn't just a spot for coffee and pastries. Fiore Caffe also offers up European-style bistro fare and full Italian dinner menu with options like linguine alla scoglio and panko breaded pork loin.

9. Mandalay

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4348 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-3895
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A hop and a skip away from the famously packed Burma Superstar is Mandalay, another Burmese restaurant that offers similar dishes like rainbow salad with a fraction of the hype.

10. Nojo

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231 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 896-4587
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Nojo's minimalist izakaya menu and authentic yakitori make it a solid option for fresh Japanese fare, but this spot is often overlooked.

11. The Blue Plate

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3218 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-6777
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This cozy neighborhood spot is famed for its meatloaf, but the comfort food menu is full of surprises. Expect a warm and distinctly neighborly vibe at this local standby, which often gets passed over for its out-of-the-way location.

12. Mission Beach Cafe

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198 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-0198
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Yes, we've all seen the brunch wait, but MBC also offers a stellar dinner that just doesn't get the same notoriety. Skip the lines and go for dinner, when this spot serves up creative farmers' market-driven fare.

13. Zazie

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941 Cole St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 564-5332
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Zazie is another spot that draws crazy brunch crowds, but they too offer a forgotten dinner that serves up french bistro fare like mussels Marinieres and Poisson en Papillote.

14. La Ciccia

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291 30th St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 550-8114
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If you're in the know, you're aware that La Ciccia serves up some of the finest Italian fare in the city, but it somehow doesn't get the buzz it deserves. Get to La Ciccia early and often, just like the locals do.

15. L'Ardoise

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151 Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 437-2600
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This french bistro is one of the most romantic little spots in town. Located on one of Noe's leafiest blocks, L'Ardoise feels right out of a Parisian film set, and the food matches the attitude.

16. Sons & Daughters

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708 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 391-8311
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This elegant but underrated spot offers a changing set menu sourced from nearby farms and complete with optional wine pairings, so leave your a la carte ordering habits at the door and settle in for the ride.

17. Izakaya Yuzuki

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598 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 556-9898
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Another izakaya that's not gotten the attention it deserves, Yuzuki offers up yakitori in a modern setting, complete with a sake sommelier and all the uni you can eat.

18. Old Mandarin Islamic

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3132 Vicente St
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 564-3481
A popular hangout for locals, Old Mandarin Islamic is the a spot to get hotpot and lamb dishes, but don't come here if you're not feeling slightly adventurous.

19. Acquerello

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1722 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 567-5432
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Acquerello sometimes gets dwarfed by trendier spots, but it's the spot to go for an old-school fine dining experience complete with elegant dining room and luxurious Italian fare.

20. Poc-Chuc

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2886 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 558-1583
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Don't be fooled bu the unassuming exterior: authentic flavors are the name of the game at Poc-Chuc, which specializes in Yucatecan dishes like their to-die-for cochinita pibil.

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1. Contigo

1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This stylish tapas restaurant is a Noe Valley favorite, but outside of the 'hood, it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Expect a great wine list, lively atmosphere and extensive Spanish menu serving up hits like albondigas, jamon Iberico and sardines on toast.
1320 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

2. Radius

1123 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Radius' rule of sourcing all food from within a 100 mile radius might seem gimmicky if the food and execution weren't so good, and this Folsom St. standby doesn't get the buzz of other, comparable restaurants.
1123 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103

3. Poquito

2368 Third St, San Francisco, CA 94107
An out-of-the-way location makes Poquito an oft-forgotten option, but this spot's creative Latin American tapas with an Ecuadorian flair, friendly service and plenty of sangria set it apart from the rest.
2368 Third St
San Francisco, CA 94107

4. Darwin Cafe

212 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107
This spot has a cult following for lunch, but if you don't know, now you know: their seasonally focused salads and small plates spill over into dinner service, too.
212 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107

5. Loló

3234 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Loló's non-traditional Mexican food, eclectic Mexicana atmosphere and extensive mezcal selection make it the perfect sit-down option for those on the hunt for more than a takeout burrito.
3234 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110

6. Eiji

317 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This tiny Japanese outpost has good sushi, but the real draw is their Oboro Tofu, housemade silky tofu served with a selection of traditional condiments. And don't forget to order the mochi strawberry for dessert.
317 Sanchez St
San Francisco, CA 94114

7. Local's Corner

2500 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Most the the attention goes to this spot's weekend brunch, but Local's Corner offers up fresh seafood with a friendly, neighborhood vibe. Go for the oysters and stay for the sustainably-sourced fish and mellow vibe.
2500 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94110

8. Fiore Caffè

3599 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Don't let the name fool you: this isn't just a spot for coffee and pastries. Fiore Caffe also offers up European-style bistro fare and full Italian dinner menu with options like linguine alla scoglio and panko breaded pork loin.
3599 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

9. Mandalay

4348 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118
A hop and a skip away from the famously packed Burma Superstar is Mandalay, another Burmese restaurant that offers similar dishes like rainbow salad with a fraction of the hype.
4348 California St
San Francisco, CA 94118

10. Nojo

231 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Nojo's minimalist izakaya menu and authentic yakitori make it a solid option for fresh Japanese fare, but this spot is often overlooked.
231 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102

11. The Blue Plate

3218 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
This cozy neighborhood spot is famed for its meatloaf, but the comfort food menu is full of surprises. Expect a warm and distinctly neighborly vibe at this local standby, which often gets passed over for its out-of-the-way location.
3218 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

12. Mission Beach Cafe

198 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Yes, we've all seen the brunch wait, but MBC also offers a stellar dinner that just doesn't get the same notoriety. Skip the lines and go for dinner, when this spot serves up creative farmers' market-driven fare.
198 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94103

13. Zazie

941 Cole St., San Francisco, CA 94117
Zazie is another spot that draws crazy brunch crowds, but they too offer a forgotten dinner that serves up french bistro fare like mussels Marinieres and Poisson en Papillote.
941 Cole St.
San Francisco, CA 94117

14. La Ciccia

291 30th St, San Francisco, CA 94131
If you're in the know, you're aware that La Ciccia serves up some of the finest Italian fare in the city, but it somehow doesn't get the buzz it deserves. Get to La Ciccia early and often, just like the locals do.
291 30th St
San Francisco, CA 94131

15. L'Ardoise

151 Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This french bistro is one of the most romantic little spots in town. Located on one of Noe's leafiest blocks, L'Ardoise feels right out of a Parisian film set, and the food matches the attitude.
151 Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114

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16. Sons & Daughters

708 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
This elegant but underrated spot offers a changing set menu sourced from nearby farms and complete with optional wine pairings, so leave your a la carte ordering habits at the door and settle in for the ride.
708 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94108

17. Izakaya Yuzuki

598 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Another izakaya that's not gotten the attention it deserves, Yuzuki offers up yakitori in a modern setting, complete with a sake sommelier and all the uni you can eat.
598 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110

18. Old Mandarin Islamic

3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116
A popular hangout for locals, Old Mandarin Islamic is the a spot to get hotpot and lamb dishes, but don't come here if you're not feeling slightly adventurous.
3132 Vicente St
San Francisco, CA 94116

19. Acquerello

1722 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Acquerello sometimes gets dwarfed by trendier spots, but it's the spot to go for an old-school fine dining experience complete with elegant dining room and luxurious Italian fare.
1722 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94109

20. Poc-Chuc

2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Don't be fooled bu the unassuming exterior: authentic flavors are the name of the game at Poc-Chuc, which specializes in Yucatecan dishes like their to-die-for cochinita pibil.
2886 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Related Maps