clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

15 Actually Secret Menu Items in San Francisco

No, really, you haven't heard about these

View as Map

With the proliferation of food blogs, publications, and social media, nothing in the restaurant world is secret anymore — in fact, unearthing them is Eater's entire mission. So it's always a delight to stumble upon a secret menu item that hasn't yet been reported to death, and amazingly, there are still a few of those left in San Francisco.

Until now, anyway. This mouthwatering map has the latest and greatest off-menu dishes at the hottest restaurants around town. They're often limited in quantity, of course, and some require advance notice, but now you know where to look. From several takes on burgers to stuffed fried chicken, they're all dishes with a sense of whimsy and decadence, as though the chefs behind them allowed themselves to really relax and have a little fun with their food.

No matter what they are, though, these 15 items are all dishes you need to know about. Sorry, SF — secret's out.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

AL's Place

Copy Link

Only available to one or two tables per night, the "Fish Catamaran" (so-called because owner Aaron London thinks it looks like a large ship) is a salmon head and collar cooked over the binchotan grill with kimchi sweet & sour sauce and a miso-garlic sauce. Picing varies from $20 to 25, depending on the size of the fish.

Barzotto

Copy Link

The Italian ramen at pasta bar Barzotto is a California-Italian style with roasted chicken, mizuna greens, lime basil, Aleppo, grilled lemon, 63 degree Fahrenheit egg, and housemade ramen noodles. It's only available Sundays and Mondays from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for $12.

Bellota

Copy Link

New Spanish superstar Bellota has playful animal-style patatas bravas available nightly, with chipotle bravas salsa, chorizo alioli, and crispy kennebec potatoes all topped with slices of Jamon Iberico de Bellota for $35.

Ryan McIlwraith

Beretta

Copy Link

You have to know to ask the bartenders for Beretta's $19 "bartenders pizza," which has burrata, sausage, spicy marinara, olives, and pepperoncini.

Beretta

Huxley Restaurant

Copy Link

Huxley has a hot new take on its popular burger: "The Hot Mes," a Wesburger-inspired burger that subs pickled jalapeños in place of the regular pickles and liberally adds housemade hot sauce to the MSG aioli that lathers both the top and bottom buns, all for $17.

ICHI Sushi + NI Bar

Copy Link

Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar has not one, but two off-menu specials. First up is the tako salad ($12), made with house sous vide octopus, pickled fennel, and sweet onions. Plus, at the sushi bar and for omakase only, chef/owner Tim Archuleta pickles that tako salad and finishes it off with some sesame seeds — but you'll only get it if you ask.

Maybeck's

Copy Link

Starting Wednesday, October 5, Maybeck's in the Marina will launch "Wellington Wednesday," when a whole beef tenderloin wellington will be sliced for only those who ask for the off-menu special. It's $24, and comes with creamed spinach and black truffle jus.

Orbit Room

Copy Link

On weekend mornings (specifically tailored to those with a hangover), Orbit Room offers a weekly-changing hash brown-crust quiche. There's usually a vegetarian option, like mushroom, leeks, and jack cheese, as well as a meaty version with something like sausage, pepperoni, and cheddar and jack cheeses. Five dollars gets you a hefty slice.

Orbit Room

Pacific Catch

Copy Link

Pacific Catch has tons of fresh fish on the menu, but its $23 poke chirashi (which means "scattered" in Japanse) is not one of them. It's sometimes listed as a chalkboard special, but even if it's not, it can always be made by request. The chirashi has salmon avocado and spicy serrano poke, ahi tuna, wakame salad, Hijiki salad, cucumber, and daikon sprout salad on warm seasoned short-grain rice.

Pacific Catch

Popsons

Copy Link

Originally created for KMEL DJ Big Von, Popsons' off-menu “Big Von” Burger ($9.45) is a Popsons signature double cheeseburger topped with seasoned fries.

Popsons

R&G Lounge

Copy Link

You have to order this one in advance, but if you do, Chinatown staple R&G Lounge will prepare you lo mei gai, or a deboned chicken stuffed with Chinese sausage, vegetables, glutinous rice, and chicken meat, that's then fried whole. The price tag is $55.

Rich Table

Copy Link

Bar flies at Rich Table now have a brand-new option: the $21 Rich table burger, available only at the bar upon request and changing seasonally. Right now, it's a double-patty, dry-aged beef burger with Tomme d'Auvergne cheese and Early Girl tomato tartar sauce on a housemade roll. It also comes with housemade potato chips dusted in umami powder.

Rich Table

Sessions at the Presidio

Copy Link

Available daily, the "monster burger" is eight ounces of certified Angus beef topped with house-smoked pastrami, a fried egg, Holey Cow cheese, and housemade bread and butter pickles on a housemade Dutch crunch bun. It's also served with hop-salt fries with an aioli dipping sauce, all for $23.

Presidio Trust

Teo's Restaurant and Bar

Copy Link

The newly-opened Teo Restaurant and Bar serves a secret deep-fried goose with taro puree. The goose is marinated (with secret ingredients), deep fried, and served with water chestnut, bean curd skin, and taro puree.

Waterbar

Copy Link

For the last three months, Embarcadero's Waterbar has served off-menu lobster rolls on Fridays at lunch, and they usually sell out in an hour. The $24 roll is made with Maine lobsters with melted butter and salt on a housemade toasted brioche, alongside Old Bay potato chips.

Waterbar

AL's Place

Only available to one or two tables per night, the "Fish Catamaran" (so-called because owner Aaron London thinks it looks like a large ship) is a salmon head and collar cooked over the binchotan grill with kimchi sweet & sour sauce and a miso-garlic sauce. Picing varies from $20 to 25, depending on the size of the fish.

Barzotto

The Italian ramen at pasta bar Barzotto is a California-Italian style with roasted chicken, mizuna greens, lime basil, Aleppo, grilled lemon, 63 degree Fahrenheit egg, and housemade ramen noodles. It's only available Sundays and Mondays from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. for $12.

Bellota

Ryan McIlwraith

New Spanish superstar Bellota has playful animal-style patatas bravas available nightly, with chipotle bravas salsa, chorizo alioli, and crispy kennebec potatoes all topped with slices of Jamon Iberico de Bellota for $35.

Ryan McIlwraith

Beretta

Beretta

You have to know to ask the bartenders for Beretta's $19 "bartenders pizza," which has burrata, sausage, spicy marinara, olives, and pepperoncini.

Beretta

Huxley Restaurant

Huxley has a hot new take on its popular burger: "The Hot Mes," a Wesburger-inspired burger that subs pickled jalapeños in place of the regular pickles and liberally adds housemade hot sauce to the MSG aioli that lathers both the top and bottom buns, all for $17.

ICHI Sushi + NI Bar

Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar has not one, but two off-menu specials. First up is the tako salad ($12), made with house sous vide octopus, pickled fennel, and sweet onions. Plus, at the sushi bar and for omakase only, chef/owner Tim Archuleta pickles that tako salad and finishes it off with some sesame seeds — but you'll only get it if you ask.

Maybeck's

Starting Wednesday, October 5, Maybeck's in the Marina will launch "Wellington Wednesday," when a whole beef tenderloin wellington will be sliced for only those who ask for the off-menu special. It's $24, and comes with creamed spinach and black truffle jus.

Orbit Room

Orbit Room

On weekend mornings (specifically tailored to those with a hangover), Orbit Room offers a weekly-changing hash brown-crust quiche. There's usually a vegetarian option, like mushroom, leeks, and jack cheese, as well as a meaty version with something like sausage, pepperoni, and cheddar and jack cheeses. Five dollars gets you a hefty slice.

Orbit Room

Pacific Catch

Pacific Catch

Pacific Catch has tons of fresh fish on the menu, but its $23 poke chirashi (which means "scattered" in Japanse) is not one of them. It's sometimes listed as a chalkboard special, but even if it's not, it can always be made by request. The chirashi has salmon avocado and spicy serrano poke, ahi tuna, wakame salad, Hijiki salad, cucumber, and daikon sprout salad on warm seasoned short-grain rice.

Pacific Catch

Popsons

Popsons

Originally created for KMEL DJ Big Von, Popsons' off-menu “Big Von” Burger ($9.45) is a Popsons signature double cheeseburger topped with seasoned fries.

Popsons

R&G Lounge

You have to order this one in advance, but if you do, Chinatown staple R&G Lounge will prepare you lo mei gai, or a deboned chicken stuffed with Chinese sausage, vegetables, glutinous rice, and chicken meat, that's then fried whole. The price tag is $55.

Rich Table

Rich Table

Bar flies at Rich Table now have a brand-new option: the $21 Rich table burger, available only at the bar upon request and changing seasonally. Right now, it's a double-patty, dry-aged beef burger with Tomme d'Auvergne cheese and Early Girl tomato tartar sauce on a housemade roll. It also comes with housemade potato chips dusted in umami powder.

Rich Table

Sessions at the Presidio

Presidio Trust

Available daily, the "monster burger" is eight ounces of certified Angus beef topped with house-smoked pastrami, a fried egg, Holey Cow cheese, and housemade bread and butter pickles on a housemade Dutch crunch bun. It's also served with hop-salt fries with an aioli dipping sauce, all for $23.

Presidio Trust

Teo's Restaurant and Bar

The newly-opened Teo Restaurant and Bar serves a secret deep-fried goose with taro puree. The goose is marinated (with secret ingredients), deep fried, and served with water chestnut, bean curd skin, and taro puree.

Waterbar

Waterbar

For the last three months, Embarcadero's Waterbar has served off-menu lobster rolls on Fridays at lunch, and they usually sell out in an hour. The $24 roll is made with Maine lobsters with melted butter and salt on a housemade toasted brioche, alongside Old Bay potato chips.