San Francisco Favorites Recipe

People ask me where I like to eat in San Francisco quite a lot, so I thought I'd start compiling a list of some of my everyday favorites. I've organized them roughly by neighborhood, and hope that some of you can add to my list with some San Francisco favorites of your own.

San Francisco Favorites

Update: 4/2/12 I'm consolidating my San Francisco information onto a more regularly-updated page. It includes a map, a long list of places I enjoy in San Francisco, and links to other San Francisco references. Here's the link: San Francisco: Places I love.

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Heidi I am on vacation in San Francisco for the first time and ate at the restaurant “Cafe Gratitude”. It is vegan and raw, and I loved it! Have you ever eaten there?


I officially now miss SF. 🙂


Hi Heidi:
Great site! What about Millennium? My husband and I travel each year from LA just to eat there on my birthday. One of the best restaurants, veg or not veg, in the country I think.

Mazi Lombard

I love some acme sourdough mt tam cheese and some yummy chris cosintino salami
all can be found at the ferry building or all over the city yum yum yum
jessica musante

jessica musante

Thanks for sharing comments re SF-I moved to NYC 3 years ago-still miss SF & Cal.
Good photo of Sutro Tower & a good one of you, too.

Chris Copeland

what a
beautiful place…
i hope i can go there sometimes….
and eat some food there…


I still need to visit san fran!!


How very timely. 🙂


i love san francisco. i wish to visit it one day thank you for every thing ,and i wish to eat your lovely food.


I have to second Cook’s Boulevard! Great local cookware store!!!


Aaaaaargh! I *just* got back from SF. Didn’t have much internet access while I was there, so I didn’t see this post until I got back, but it would have been a great list to have while I was there. Oh well, next time :-/


This post has me dying to visit SF. Thank you for such a comprehensive list!


I’m so glad you put this list up, I go down to SF often to see my little brother in Martinez and he recently introduced me to Rainbow market.
I have been a dedicated reader for over 3 years and you inspired me to start writing down my own Gluten-Free creations. You were one of the first sites I found when I found out I had to cut out dairy AND wheat from my diet. I constantly am taking your recipes and impressing house guests. The latest favorite was the yogurt tarts (it even worked with gluten-free flours).
Keep up the amazing work, and if you ever feel like checking out another site for local NW recipes, feel free:
I hope you don’t mind the personal plug, but it’s fun to connect with other bloggers, especially with you, one of the best!
Steph (PDX)


Please do a Marin one! Thats my go to place in SF area! Oh, and Sausalito too! haha more things on to do list!


Marina District
I just happened to arrive here in SF last night for the American Craft Council Craft Show this coming weekend @ Fort Mason. It happens every year at this time. You can see and purchase work by the top small studio artists in the country. More info:
I’ve been coming for every year since 1989, so I really know the neighborhood!
Some restaurants in the area (MARINA) that I recommend:
Three Seasons – 3317 Steiner St
(I especially love the Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with ginger, lily buds, mushrooms, altho I worry about whether it’s still on the endangered list, also the Spicy Greenbeans with shitakes and caramel sauce… lots of great apps, etc)
Bistro Aix 3340 Steiner – unfortunately it’s closed for rennovations until January! (according to tablehopper)
Isa 3324 Steiner – great fusion inspired small plates restaurant – the chef got 2 James Beard nominations for “Rising Star Chef of the Year” (under 30, in 2002 & 2003).
The Plant Cafe Organic – 3352 Steiner
has more of a cafeteria/takeout feel but the food is delicious. Very fresh. Good Salmon, love the avocado grapefruit salad (I now make it myself at home!), noodle dishes, some asian inspired, smoothies, great vegetarian options.
A16 2355 Chestnut St – James Beard Rising Star Chef 2007 – Campania-inspired Italian food. Was flipping through their cookbook briefly last night, yum!
Ristorante Parma- 3314 Steiner good classic Italian food.
Homeplate – 2274 Lombard Street Really great breakfast place! Omelets, hash, potato carrot pancakes, homemade scones, etc. Lots of choices all yummy.
The Grove – 2250 Chestnut Street
like a coffee house with food. Good for breakfast, snacks, lunch, light dinner, etc.
DOWNTOWN (near Ferry Building etc):
For an elegant, expensive meal, I go to One Market – 1 Market Street
A friend is an culinary director/partner there so I’m a little spoiled, but the food is always excellent. (1993 James Beard Best Chef Award, etc)
Yank Sing- 101 Spear St./ Rincon Ctr excellent dim sum. (they have another location but I haven’t been to it)
All of these places have websites with menus up. All reasonably priced. I’m sure I’m forgetting some other good places, will post again when I think of them!
This post and comments could not have come at a better time! Thanks!


Heidi, I miss your twice weekly recipe posts!
HS: No worries Haley, I’m posting a new recipe tonight. And re: frequency, I’ve been trying to space things out just a tad – there’s a reason for it (I promise), and hopefully you’ll agree that the trade-off is worth it. -h


i only visited SF once a few years ago.
since my hotel was in Chinatown, i ate most of my meals at Lucky Creation, 854 Washington St. they have yummy vegetarian food, including fake meats. there is both eat in and take out.
they only accept cash, if i remember correctly.


in the before time- 15 yrs. ago when I thought I would give San Fran a try- I stayed at a youth hostel called The Green Tortoise. On the edge of Chinatown, beneath Nob Hill and Coit’s tower. I was SO poor!
We had a kitchen and I would bring back veggies from the Castro’s Hispanic markets or from the Chinese veg vendors and make meals supplimented by 75cent large rices from a nearby Chinese takeout. I’d get 5 mangoes for a buck and slice them into cereal bought by the pound at a Haight natural foods market. I got addicted to dried fruits there! Also remember eating at a Krishna vegan buffet….but not where.


David’s kitchen is now closed. That was a great place to eat.


First, let me say that I am SO glad you put Aziza on your list; it’s one of my favorite spots, as is NOPA and Ti Couz. And Burma Superstar and Dosa. You have a lot of good picks!
Here are two more:
Assab, a little tucked-away place on Geary a couple of blocks west of Masonic, is DELICIOUS Ethiopian cuisine, and it’s incredibly affordable. It’s easy to get to, but, although it’s tucked away, it’s tiny and fills up quickly (people like me keep talking about it, so that’s what happens), so reservations are a must.
Sushi Bistro in the Inner Richmond (Balboa and 6th) is another must-try. The Y.T. Jalepeno (yellowtail sashimi with lemon, jalepeno and hawaiian sea salt) is divine, as is the Grilled Yellowtail Collar. And then, of course, you can traipse over to Green Apple Books after dinner.


I would also recommend Radio Africa & Kitchen. It’s a super cool restaurant that use fresh organic ingredients and creates delicious food with a pan-african twist. Adding to the fun is the fact that the restaurant is nomadic-meaning that they set up shop within cafes and use their facilities for a few months and then move on to another place. DEFINITELY a San Francisco treat.


I lived in SF for 4 years and the only place I miss, now that I live in NY is El Farlito on Mission and 24th Street. Amazing, giant inexpensive burritos. (They use an entire avacado in the burrito – not sliced, just pulled out with a spoon & put in the burrito!)
If you’ve never been there – GO. It’s a hole in the wall, but all the best places always are.
It’s the only place on my MUST visit list when I go back.


That little stretch from Tartine through Delfina and on into the Bi-Rite empire has got to be one of the great dining blocks in America.

Michael Natkin

Hot dang, I just clicked on the Mission Beach Cafe link and am all but prepared to book a flight on their menu alone…..truffle fries with parmesan! Drool…


Other Inner Sunset recommendations:
Dragonfly: delicious Vietnamese, good for groups
Cha-Ya: a new branch of the vegan sushi restaurant just opened @ Judah & 9th!
Pomelo: unique menu, tiny tiny, but you can watch them cook your feast!
Hollow: ritual coffee + beautiful trinkets
Underdog: fantastic veggie sausages
Cheese shop on 12th–great for GGP picnics
Lime Tree: Cheap BYOB
Sunday Farmers’ Market: fifth crow farms & city bees, need I say more?


I suggest David’s Kitchen in the avenues. Check his hours first. He offers delicious & unusual combinations that are beautifully presented.


I adore your opening photo. It’s gorgeous.
I certainly plan on going to San Francisco one day. It looks like such a special place.


You hit on so many goods ones! My all-time fav is Nopa! Never. A. Bad. Experience. Ever. (And I live 3 blocks away, so have been too many times to count on both hands and feet!)
Here are a few more notables –
Also in the NOPA/Avenues area:
Fly Bar (great art, sake bombs – yum, salads – off the hook!)
Solstice (1/2-priced bottles of wine Mon., great small bites)
Marina (a neighborhood I usually avoid given the people + lack of parking):
Bin 38 (wine bar w/ exquisite interior, great service, music, etc.)
Bistro Aix (closed for remodel until Feb. ’10, but super friendly, knowledgable staff & delicious menu)

Autumn Skye

So many lovely places in SF, and your list reminds me how lucky we are to live here!
Two of my favorites lately are Philz Coffee in the Mission, try their iced coffee – delish; and Kitchenette SF in Dogpatch, you have to get their early but they are the best for a tasty seasonal lunch.


It’s not healthy but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Golden Gate Bakery! The dumplings filled with bean paste are my favorite!


I don’t know if these have been mentioned yet or not:
Cafe Gratitude (not sure where in SF, but I’ve been to the one in Berkeley): Raw vegan
The Millenium: my ALL TIME FAVORITE place to eat, hands down! Wish I could eat there every day!
Greens: over looks the GG bridge and has good vegetarian food
Golden Era: vegetarian chinese food (they use lots of faux meat)
Maggie Mud: for awesome ice cream – dairy, soy or coconut based

Jennifer Plantenberg

Such a timely post for me! I am headed from Georgia to San Francisco on Aug 30 and will be staying a week–more than enough time to try some of your suggestions. Can’t wait!


Mmmm Burma Superstar, one of my favorites and only a few blocks away! Try the Platha the next time you are there. Blue Bottle Coffee also has amazing lattes, the espresso is so smooth and has a light hint of chocolate, it’s the best! I also recomment the Hazelnut Chocolate Croissant at La Boulange de Hayes. Nothing perks up a morning like one of those with a Blue Bottle Latte.
Also some of my personal favorites:
Nick’s Crispy Tacos- Fish Tacos, Nick’s way. Polk St, Russian Hill
Blue Danube Cafe- Mexican Hot Chocolate, Clement St, Inner RIchmond. Perfect for sitting down with a book you just bought at Green Apple down the street.
Arguello Super Market- The World Famous Turkey Sandwich on Dutch Crunch, Arguello Blvd, Inner Richmond. Freshly roasted and carved right there in the market. Take one, some snacks, and a bottle of wine up to the park and you have a perfect picnic.
Suppenkuche- Porkchops, Laguna and Hayes, Hayes Valley. Great beer too!
Ali Baba’s Cafe- Falafel Wrap, Fillmore and Haight, Upper Haight. Nothing caps off a few beers at Toronado like one of these monster wraps. Get one, save half for dinner or split it!
Maharani Restaurant- Pretty much anything, great vegetarian dishes and awesome Mango Lhasa. Post St, Tenderloin/Polk Gulch.
The Plough and Stars- Irish Coffee, it’s really Irish! (See: strong enough to knock you on your butt). Goes well on those windy and foggy SF nights. Clement St, Inner Richmond.


This will be great fodder for next year’s trip! Thanks for putting this together!

Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

Seconding Shangri-La in the Sunset (aka Aveneues). Their dry tofu is delicious.
Also in the Sunset (with other locations downtown and in Berkeley) – Sunrise Deli. Some of the BEST FALAFEL I HAVE EVER EATEN. It’s at 21st & Irving. Eat your fill here then wander down to Wondeful Foods & Dessert Co. for some yummy bubble tea, or Sheng Kee Bakery for some moon cakes and other Chinese treats.
Finally – this is more for locals (or those of you travelers with access to stoves) – the Asian American Food Company on 21st and Noriega sells delicious vegetarian dumplings and pot stickers that they make on site and then freeze – but you can also request that some be made up fresh (just be careful carrying them home!)


The Culinary Academy restaurant Careme 350 (350 Rhode Island) is fun for lunch and gives the students practice – priced right for the experience.
Halu between Clement and Geary on 8th Avenue has great Japanese food – family owned and operated. The sign on the door reads, “No sushi today. No sushi tomorrow.”
Slanted Door food can be found at the Academy of Sciences at reduced prices…
Italian – North Beach – for you pork lovers – order the milk braised pork roast at L’Osteria del forno
Breakfast is awesome at Brenda’s French Soul Food near the Civic Center.
Farmer Brown has the best fried okra you’ll ever eat – off Market at the corner of Turk and Mason.
Go to the Scharffenberger factory in East Bay some rainy afternoon and have a hot chocolate at their cafe.
Boulette’s Larder has the best passion fruit meringue you’ll ever experience!
I loved the bento box lunch at Delica rf-1 in the Ferry Building. The spinach with sesame seeds was so delicious, as were my other two choices.
Insider’s tip: if you can’t afford to dine at Farallon, go there before 7 p.m. for their bar menu – six items for six dollars before seven p.m. – six food and six drinks to choose from. Then ask if you can walk around and enjoy the underwater decor in the main dining room – beautiful! This is also a good place to get an Emily Luchetti inspired dessert.

Susan S.

I love SF and can’t wait to try out some of these the next time I go! It’s so true that there are just so many great eats there, but this will definitely help me scope out some new and interesting places I haven’t been to yet. And I like how you recommended some non-food places as well. Have you thought about setting up a poll for your readers? I find them useful and it’s always fun to vote!

Meghan Porter

Saturday, August 29th is my birthday. We’re planning on going to the Kink Tut exhibit and maybe a Bay cruise. I want to cap it off with a nice, fancy-ish dinner so will be checking out this list in more detail. Jardiniere would be a top choice for me but we won’t really be dressed for it. Any direct suggestions most welcome.


Nanking in Chinatown is amazing!!!


Wow !!! Great Info ! Love Wayne photo Just Beautiful ! Can’t wait to visit 🙂
Thanks for the info !
Have a Wonderful Day ~~~


I second SuZ’s post about La Trappe in North Beach — HUGE selection of Belgian beers plus a terrific dinner menu including moules frites and a rabbit stew I can never refuse.


Visited San Fran for the first time this year – wish I had this list then! 🙂
My absolute favorite restaurant was Saha, an Arabic fusion place in the bottom of our hotel (Hotel Carlton on Sutter St. is a great place to stay). I usually have an aversion to eating in hotel restaurants, but after smelling the food every time we went down the elevator, we had to try it. It was amazing. They’ve got tons of veg/vegan options too. The fouel was to die for…
Here’s a link to the place:


Aaah…But where is the best place to stay????
Not too expensive . Hotel B&B or Cottage (apartment) ? Any recommendations.


Nothing fancy here just to say thank you for this wonderful offering listing the treats and wonderments available in San Francisco. Although I live across the Bay now I started out in San Francisco when I came in with so many others in 1967 and San Francisco is still so wonderful.
I look forward to your every email and often cook what you tell us about either that night or the next day.

Singing Sparrow

Thanks so much for the guide to San Francisco eating. I hope I can get back there soon and enjoy some of these foods.
My favorite memory of San Francisco is waking up at Fisherman’s Wharf and having clam chowder in a bread bowl for breakfast. The crisp cool air against my face contrasted wonderfully with the hot and delicious chowder!


Heidi – thank you for this post, can’t wait to go back to SF (and meet you there)! Love the shot by Wayne, it’s stunningly beautiful. xx
HS: Can’t wait for you to visit Keiko! Or maybe we will make it out your way before then.


Hi Heidi, excellent timing for these adresses ! I will be visiting your city at the end of August – so I am very happy with all these places to try !
Thanks for the great blog and fab pics –
Bonjour from Paris!

Fanny from Paris - France

Clementine on Clement Street. Richmond.
Our friend from France heard we were in San Fran for a weekend and he made reservations for us (from France mind you) at this amazing place. The chef knew we were both vegetarian and he even came out to consult with us on a few dishes. (Our friend’s art is on the walls there – really beautiful work too.)
Delicious meal. Absolutely divine. The asparagus soup was to die for. We took dessert to go b/c we had to catch our flight out, so we had the most fabulous treats once we finally sat down on the plane!!


Thanks for this great blog, Heidi. And addl comments from other avid eaters. For many many years I’ve been lucky enough to get to SF in Dec when my husb attends a mtg. One place we usually eat at is Antica Tratoria at 2400
Polk St. It is moderately priced and very good Italian cucina. We always make a reservation as we are in town when all the Christmas parties are going on.
We also love Zuni, Range and the Acme Bread Co at the Ferry Bldg (since this blog isn’t covering Berkeley)
on my SF list I have a place called Le Sanctuaire recommended by The Splendid Table’s Lynn Rosetto Casper (who recomended your blog, Heidi). I’ve never been to Le Sanctuaire. Can anyone tell me about it?


Thanks for a great resource about San Francisco!


Wow….I know there is soooo much more than food in San Fran but…I am thinking it would takes weeks just to do that list! Yummers! Sounds too good.


What are the odds? I am in San Francisco this weekend, and just hopped online to search for somewhere to eat dinner tonight. THANKS!


And Swan Oyster Depot!


um… Hennessey + Ingalls is a LA shop. Perhaps you were thinking of William Stout, which is in the financial district.
HS: You’re completely right. I always mix their names up for some reason. I love visiting H+I when I’m in LA. Thanks for the heads-up – I’ll update the link.

m. kingsley

I am also obsessed with Rainbow Grocery! A total paradise, and it makes eating organic affordable. Love, love, love.
Have to add on Cooks’ Boulevard on Castro just off 24th in Noe for the ultimate cookshop. Selection and price is unbeatable, and they are some of the nicest people in town!

Shauna from Piece of Cake

Thanks so much for this list – I’m coming to San Francisco in September so this is really timely!
By the way, really have loved reading your blog over the years! Your pictures and recipes are inspiring.


This is incredible! I am going on my very first trip to San Francisco in one week and I have been going crazy trying to decide where to eat since I only have 3 days to experience all this city has to offer!
If I could have chosen one person in the world to ask for a “best of” list, Heidi–it would be you! I nearly fainted in shock when I saw that is exactly what you just posted! Thank you!!!!
HS: Thanks Mallory, have a great trip!


First of all, you are adorable.
Secondly, I thank you for this list– my husband and I are moving to the city on TUESDAY after having loved it for looong time, and I look forward to visiting all of these places! I’m sure I will run into you at the farmer’s market, rainbow or bi-rite… and, based on the pic you posted, we may be neighbors! We got an adorable little place in Potrero, which looks like your pic.
K, here’s to good food in the city, and a love for all things fresh! 😉
HS: Welcome to San Francisco Ashley, Potrero Hill is a great neighborhood! Please say hello if you see me out and about.


What timing! My friend is going to SF in a couple of weeks, so I immediately just forwarded this to him. So many of these places sound delicious — jealous!


For sushi visit Shimo’s on Central Richmond!

Sherry H.

La Trappe on the corner of Greenwich and Columbus. GREAT selection of Belgian beer – head downstairs and you’ll think you’re in Europe.


I’m glad so many people are pointing out Papalote — truly the best mole I’ve ever had! (And their salsa is to die for).


Ah, the City by the Bay. You’ve given me more places to be in SF than I had before. Hope to run into you!


My Niece just move from DC to SF and is just beginning her exploration of the San Francisco area—her Auntie Susan is always on the look out for interesting and informative sites on the web to send her way. She will love this, and probably visit every recommendation at some time! Thank you and keep them coming! I have nieces and nephews all over the place, got any advice for Vancouver? Austin? Dallas?


I had the best breakfast last week at Universal Cafe in the Potrero Hill area. The creamiest and yummiest scrambled organic eggs plus yellow tiny tomatoes, salad greens, perfect avocado, and a big slab of incredible rustic toast. Plus a delectable raspberry-chocolate-chunk scone served with the most delicious raspberry jam.
HS: Thanks for the reminder. I haven’t been to Universal Cafe in quite a while, but have had quite a few really good meals there. Definitely need to get back there soon.


Millenium on Geary in downtown is great! Its a fancier/pricier vegan restaurant, and its all fresh and organic. The best meal I’ve ever had came from there! You need to eat there if you haven’t yet!


Swan Oyster Depot- yum!


How about Mama’s, for breakfast, in North Beach and Indian Clay Oven in the Clement district? Two of my most memorable eating experiences when I visit my daughter each year.

Barb Ripple

Wow! This is awesome, and what great timing for me. I’m visiting San Francisco this weekend and was just doing some research this morning on Vegetarian/ Vegan/ Health food in San Francisco. You’ve made my day. Thanks, so much! I keep finding reasons to come back to your site and I absolutely love it!


Thanks for the list! Love it. I was wondering if you’ve checking out the new B-Star on Clement. It’s the new place from the owners of Burma Superstar, and I like it much better because it has a quieter ambiance and far less of a line. It’s got their most popular items from Superstar on the menu, but it’s more of a fusion place. And the mango mojotos are to die for.

Daneen Akers

mission/ ferry building:
wow, heidi. maybe someday i’ll run into you. it seems we frequent the same eateries, coffeehouses, etc. 🙂

amanda bradley

Oh Heidi! You read my mind!
I’ll be on my first San Fran adventure in about 10 days, this is such a huge help!

emilie davis



Thank you so much for this, Heidi! I’m visiting San Fran for the first time on Labor Day weekend, and this post offers some great tips!


Since I live on the East Coast I only get to SF about 1x/year. The last time I was there I had the opportunity to go to Millenium (580 Geary St.) and LOVED it and recommend it to everyone I know that is going.
I also loved above mentioned Gratitude Cafe.
One of my culinary instructors used to work at Zuni’s (1658 Market St) and highly recommends it (she did mention the Roasted Chicken Diner)..

Heather Esposito

WOW! Monumental task, Heidi -great job – what a fantastic resource – LOVE IT – thanks!

Tracey Ryder

For the only really interesting food at Fisherman’s Wharf go to the Franciscan. Fantastic food and views! We love the pricey dim sum and Yank Sing too.

Diana Wentworth

Thanks for this list! I’ve lived in the area for a year now and I’m still very overwhelmed by finding things to do in the city. I’m bookmarking this!


At Cha Ya (which was mentioned above) be SURE to try the avocado tempura roll!
I mocked the idea of warm avocado in a roll, but it’s divine. That’s all I want to order there. 🙂
I also really like Millennium, though it’s a bit pricey.
I also love Rainbow Grocery Co-op, one of the best co-ops in the country in my opinion.


BethAnne…. I love Zuni ! Oh my, do I ever miss the chicken under the brick with warm bread salad. sigh. Oh, I must get back to the Bay Area… this is breaking my heart.

The Gardener's Eden

What about Zuni Cafe? The best burger AND Roasted Chicken dinner!


What a great list. Brings back memories of my 27th birthday that I celebrated with my mom in San Francisco. Could have used this list then. Guess I have to go back.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

What a great list. Brings back memories of my 27th birthday that I celebrated with my mom in San Francisco. Could have used this list then. Guess I have to go back.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

Thank you so much for this! My sister is studying at Stanford so I’m heading out to meet her in San Fran later this year- I think I will print this out and use it as my guidebook and direct her as to where we will go! I love your recipes so I definitely trust your foodie recommendations! I cannot wait to get there now…

Anna Helm

Having lived in your hood for 11 years, I definitely support the various Mission/Castro selections, with a couple additions:
* The fresh tofu at Eiji is a piece of heaven
* Almond-crusted trout at L’Ardoise is very nice
* Range and Beretta both rank high for us
* Papalote is our go-to taqueria, and their salsa is the best bar none
Yay Contigo! We also frequent Incanto; we sit at the wine bar and eat more casually. Good stuff.
HS: Hey Sean, you are SO right about the fresh tofu at Eiji. I keep walking past Beretta and it is always packed – really want to eat there at some point soon.


Oh I miss San Francisco so much I could just cry. I hope to be back out later this year… thank you so much for the fantastic list.

The Gardener's Eden

I somehow forgot about Cha-Ya, and Aziza….adding to list.
These suggestions are great! They are going to inspire me to get out and try some new spots!


Great idea, Heidi 🙂
I recommend going to Canteen for brunch in Nob Hill. It’s a lovely little spot with fabulous blueberry french toast, good coffee, and lots more.


GG Park/Avenues: Shangri-La vegetarian Chinese restaurant! My family’s favorite place in the city. 22nd and Irving. I left San Francisco for NYC 10 years ago this month, and Shangri-La is still the first place I go to after getting off the plane when I’m home to visit.


A recently discovered new favorite
Cha-Ya (Japanese Vegan)
762 Valencia in the Mission
had the sublime Cha-Ya Delight a seasoned brown rice and gorgeous veggie mix I had both days for lunch on my last trip there.


What a great list! I can’t wait to get back to SF:)

Nutmeg Nanny

I’ve never been to SF but I hope to one day! I should compile a list like this for Boston 🙂

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Great List! Ditto to most, and I can’t wait to hit the spots I’ve yet to try!
I just have a couple more to add:
Tartine – How about the Country Bread fresh out of the oven?! (ps – ask for butter, grab seat or head to the park, and eat it while its hot!)
Burrittos from La Cumbre (veg, pollo verde, or carne asada) – load up at the “salsa bar”
Yoga Tree on Valencia and 24th – For a quintessential SF experience, sweat a little in downward facing dog. Les Leventhal’s classes are AMAZING.
Beretta – the wait is long, but the cocktails are worth it.
Bibliohead Bookstore – amazing used books shop with an incredibly knowledgeable staff (across the street from Blue Bottle)
Arlequin Wine Merchant – grab wine or a good beer (from the cafe next door) and take advantage of their tree-filled courtyard on one of those rare warm SF days
(too bad Rose and Radish is gone 🙁 )
Terrior – Traditional and biodynamic wines, great atmosphere, lovely staff (the 3 owners)
After you’ve loaded up a Primavera, head to Frog Hollow Farm and grab some of their amazing dried peaches and nectarines!
Boulette’s Larder – cannele, cannele, cannele (with a Blue Bottle cap, of course)
Noe Valley Bakery – the only thing I would get here is the Fig Bread. But you must get the fig bread.
A couple doors down from the bakery is a chocolate store selling artisan, small-batch chocolates from the US and abroad. I don’t remember the name, but it’s great. (don’t be put off by its less-than-stellar kitchy window display).
Swallowtail Antiques

Michelle @

We love SF and last time we visited we got too late for Delfina or other [cool} pizza places. We were lost and someone on the street pointed us out to a pizza place two blocks way. That was not true, it was actually half a block way, a shack, and one of the most true to NY pizza in west coast we ever had. lol. We walked over there, however, b4 writing this I checked and they DO have a site (more fancy than the place).
Yeah, not the greatest neighborhood, nor a restaurant yet so close to NY. And it tasted great, for $ (in oppose to $$$).
Pronto pizza.


When in the Dogpatch, you MUST have breakfast, ( or any meal, for that matter). at Arienne Landry’s Just For You Cafe At 22nd and 3rd streets. Unbeatable.


Ahh….I just moved away from my City by the Bay to start grad school. Your post made me pine even more for SF and all the fabulous places to eat, shop, play, and my favorite – people watch. There are so many places you could include in your list, but for those looking for a vegan/vegetarian option, try Cafe Gratitude in the Inner Sunset…though there’s also one in Berkeley. The smoothies are a bit pricey, but sooo delicious. Its worth the splurge. My favorite is “I am luscious.” Please grab a smoothie, then walk a few blocks to Golden Gate Park and enjoy a delightful afternoon in the Sunset for me.


Peasant Pie Shop–Noe Valley
Perfect sweet and savory hand held pies. Cheap, delicious, and something about them always makes me smile.


For Russian Hill: I recently was in SF for the SF Marathon (I live in Sacramento) with my sister and we walked all over… we discovered a really delightful little place called Loving Cup on Polk St (very close to the intersection with Union) – it serves rice pudding and it is so good! I have been trying to look for recipes on line, nothing looks very close so far – I was wondering if you have a good recipe for rice pudding?
Also, there is a new place just opened on Union, called Pacific Puffs, and it only sells cream puffs and they were so good… may be because it was their first day or becasue we were walking for 2 hrs, we inhaled 1.5 puffs each and took a few back to the hotel – they were increadible!!!


What a beautiful photo. I have a good friend moving to SF next week–I’ll forward her this post.

The Leftoverist

I love this post – thank you! I’m going to NY for Labor Day weekend and would love to hear your (and others) favorite spots there!!


so funny, another sociologist here on my first trip to san francisco for a conference. thanks for the recommendations; this is great!


I agree with so many things you’ve listed! I’ll add just one more… I’ve always been a big fan of the 5th floor of SFMOMA, but now that they’ve added the Rooftop Coffee Bar I’m even happier. Look out at the sculptures in SFMOMA’s Rooftop Garden while enjoying Blue Bottle Coffee and a slice of Wayne Thiebaud inspired cake, a Katharina Fritsch ice cream sandwich, or go really wild and indulge in an affogato with Humphry Slocombe Secret Breakfast ice cream and a double shot of espresso.

denise (chez danisse)

omg i was just there! i wish i had had more time to visit more vegan & vegetarian eateries, but i only had three days. i will definitely use this as a reference for my next trip!


Marina area, across the street from Papyrus stationery store, there’s a little cafe with the best cream cheese stuffed french toast I’ve ever had. Maybe I was just over hungry, but I’ve never had anything so delicious. Chestnut St., as far as I can tell from Papyrus’ website.


Great post!
I always recommend that folks brave the “Little Saigon” area of the Tenderloin and check out the great (and inexpensive) Vietnamese, Thai, and Burmese restaurants. Many vegetarian and vegan dishes at these places too.
And I don’t think one should visit this city and not try a local San Francisco-style taqueria. The Mission neighborhood is full of them, but there are a few well-loved places like El Farolito, La Taqueria, and Papalote. Also in the Mission is Bombay Ice Cream, they make a really great cardamom rose ice cream (more like kulfi really), though it’s not organic like the ice cream at Bi-Rite.


A few that come to mind:
bread and breakfast treats at Arizmendi’s in the Inner Sunset
Mexican lunch at Papalote near USF
Espresso at Caffe Trieste – Market St. location is closest to me.
wine at Que Syrah in West Portal.
lovely neighborhood dinner spot at The Richmond on Balboa.

Mary Kate

This couldnt have more perfect timing. I have decended on San Francisco along with hundreds of other sociologists for our annual conference, and we were just debating where to go for dinner.
Although I admit I am also looking forward to fish tacos at Pacific Catch for lunch one day. Have you tried them? I love the blend of fresh and light. They have single-handedly converted me to a fish taco lover.

Erin @ The Skinny Gourmet

lovelovelove the chilaquiles at the Primavera food stand at the Ferry building farmer’s market! Couldn’t agree with you more.


Ghirardelli sundaes …yum 🙂


Also in The Haight:
– The Alembic bar and gastropub, serving seasonal, local fare (spiced duck hearts, fried green tomatoes, bone marrow with capers and roasted garlic, duck confit with peaches and maitake mushrooms, deep fried ricotta with balsamic sauce – not typical bar food!). Check out one of their many complex cocktails or their extensive beer list.


The Haight:
– Buy the most delicious sausage you will ever eat from Rosamund Sausage Grill. Take it next door into Toronado Bar (the ultimate destination for SF craft beer enthusiasts) and pair it with any of dozens of wonderful beers they will have on tap.


– Taste a rare beer on tap at City Beer (on Folsom St between 7th and 8th) while browsing the expansive worldwide beer bottle selection for sale. Chat with Beth and Craig, the always friendly proprietors.
– For a real boozy, lazy day, walk half a block to Terroir, a lovely wine bar/shop. Sip a glass of exquisite wine while munching on a plate of cheese and charcuterie.


beautiful photo. I love SF

LINA@ my lifeisyummy

so i KNOW that pier 39 is a tourist trap, but the Rodney Lough gallery is worth checking out. he is an awesome landscape photographer who seems to favor tiny apertures and very long exposures. i had never heard of him before but my husband and i wondered into the gallery and really enjoyed looking at his work. plus, it’s a rather large gallery, so even if you’re not on the market for something to hang on your wall, you could still spend a while just exploring.


When I finally visit SF, I will be sure to consult your list for some recommendations! That photo by Wayne is stunning, just stunning.


You’ll have to hit your favorite spots in the east bay sometime too. The Orange caramel bread pudding at Cesar is amazing, and every spring they have deep fried fresh chick peas still in the pod with cumin which make me want to run back to Berkeley daily.


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