Eat and drink like a local in the gourmet ‘slow food’ city of San Francisco, but be warned, these dishes are all addictive.
With year round fresh produce from the fertile Central Valley, San Francisco’s devotion to all things edible continues to bring new delights to the city’s menus. An array of serious multicultural cuisines, top notch chefs and ‘slow food’ pioneers have the food scene thriving more than ever. The suggestions below are just a tiny sample, yet each one would be a tragedy to miss.
Roast Chicken for Two at Zuni Cafe
Zuni Cafe, 1658 Market St (between Franklin & Gough) Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Monday.
Chef-owner Judy Rodgers’ commitment to the principals of slow food shine in this lovingly prepared, crispy skinned chicken for two. Served with a warm bread salad, the dish takes approximately an hour to prepare, so get in early and order ahead.
Related post: Find the food storage system for your home food dehydrator.
Vanilla Soufflé at Canteen
Canteen, 817 Sutter St (between Jones St & Leavenworth St). Closed Mondays.
Despite an ever changing menu, highly acclaimed chef Dennis Leary has been serving this signature soufflé without fail since 2004. Seating is limited at the counter and diner style booths so reservations are a must.
Sandwiches at The Sentinel
The Sentinel, 37 New Montgomery St, Mon-Fri 7.30-10.30am & 11.30am – 2.30pm.
Want more Dennis Leary? Drop in for some lunch from his take away sandwich shop in the Financial District. Behind a tiny counter in this former cigar shop, Leary can often be seen working on his seasonal sandwiches such as ‘Pork Loin with Figs, Frisee and Havarti’. Take your sandwich for a stroll around the corner to the Yerba Buena Gardens, and enjoy.
Artisan Chocolates at Christopher Elbow
Christopher Elbow 401 Hayes St (between Gough St & Octavia St). Tue-Sat 12pm-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm.
Sample the jewel-like chocolates at this Hayes Valley shop and cafe. Try the shimmering emerald green rosemary caramels. Divine.
Caffe Latte at Cafe Corbas
Cafe Corbas, 364 Hayes St.(between Franklin St & Gough St).
Take a seat at the counter of this little coffee shop in Hayes Valley and order a latte from the delightful owner. Yummy sandwiches and bagels are also on offer, but the coffee here is the real star.
Shanghai Dumplings at Yank Sing
Yank Sing, 101 Spear St(between Howard St & Mission St) Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, Sat/Sun 10am-4pm.
Dim Sum is a San Francisco institution, and the soup filled Shanghai dumpling at Yank Sing are amongst the best in the city. Go gently with your chopsticks and pop them in your mouth whole to allow the salty soup to burst out of the delicate wrappers.
Burritos at Taqueria Vallarta.
Taqueria Vallarta, 3033 24th Street (between Balmy St & Treat Ave). Open lunch & dinner to till late.
While it’s hard to go wrong looking for good Mexican food in the Mission, the queues at Taqueria Vallarta never lie. The beautiful murals of Balmy Alley are just around the corner if you feel like an after-burrito stroll.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery
Bi-Rite Creamery, 3692 18th St (between Dolores St & Oakwood St).
Incredible salted caramel ice cream is served here in paper cups with welcoming smiles. Try it with creamy honey lavendar or the deliciously plain creme fraiche.
Brioche Bread Pudding from Tartine Bakery
Tartine Barkery, 600 Guerrero St (between 18th & 19th St)
Crowds line up in the Mission for this rich and creamy bowl of heaven. You’ll know you are closeby when you smell the buttery sweetness in the air.
Tamales from PrimaVera at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
PrimaVera, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. 8am-2pm Saturdays.
Brave the queues of local foodies on a Saturday morning at this iconic stall. Served by owners with a passion for ‘slow food’ and local produce, the Mexican dishes are fresh, light, and delicious. Eaten on a bench overlooking the water, it’s Saturday breakfast perfection.
Tonkatsu (Japanese Crumbed Pork) at Delica rf1
1 Ferry Building, Shop 45.
Drop into the Ferry Building for some of these crispy melt-in-your-mouth pork nuggets. They come accompanied by a sweet and spicy plum sauce and are fantastic with the Wasabi Garlic Potato Salad, also available from this Japanese deli.
Magnolia Pub & Brewery
1398 Haight St (between Central Ave & Masonic Ave)
Thursdays are Fried Chicken Night at this Haight-Asbury gastropub. The crispy, buttery chicken pieces, are perfect alongside a cool Blue Bell Bitter. Duck wings and cheese grits are also popular items on the southern inspired menu.
Looking for more ideas? Joe DiMaggio is famously quoted as saying San Francisco is the friendliest city in the world. San Franciscans know their food and are more than happy to brag about their fantastic eateries. Ask a local and you can bet you won’t be disappointed.