San Francisco is a city that is a strong contender to NYC when it comes to awesome food. The variety is there, the spaces are creative, and the eats are top-notch.
There’s also a super fresh, what feels like a very seasonal theme gently running through everything which gives a feeling that the people really love and somehow deeply care about what sort of goods they’re putting in your precious mouths and bodies.
Whether or not this is an emotional side of things is entirely true or not I’m not sure, but it often makes things taste even better than they already are.
When I was last there, I hit this city hard and I hit it aggressively. What I came out on the other side with was a tight roster of some pretty excellent spots, that I’d love to dine at again and again. If you soon find yourself in SF, you should, too.
Here were a few of my favorites places for food in San Francisco!
Craftsman and Wolves
Craftsman and Wolves is a Mission-based coffee shop first and foremost, but this morning breakfast treat is the highlight.
Mind-numbingly good, warm soft-boiled egg that somehow makes its way into a warm, crunchy, delicious scallion, bacon muffin.
I was completely blown away by this creation and wish I could eat it on the daily.
Unsure whether to go here or to April Bloom’s Tosca Cafe for a Saturday night dinner session, after much debate Mourad was the choice. The second restaurant from Mourad Lahlou in San Francisco well exceeded expectations and endlessly impressed.
From the first bite, a caviar brioche, to the last, a lemon and huckleberry dessert that was among the best I’ve ever eaten, my experience here was exceptional.
I would definitely add this to the roster for one of the nicer skewing nights out.
Taqueria Cancun and Pancho Villa Taqueria
The Mission district of SF is home of dozens of down and dirty Mexican joints, among them Cancun Taqueria and Pancho Villa Taqueria.
At Cancun, I had a late-night burrito, at Pancho Villa I ate a second lunch in the form of tacos. Both were very simple and very good.
This might be one of my favorite restaurants so far of 2015, in any city. While I had initially wanted to cross sister restaurant State Bird Provisions off of my list, this was also a place I wanted to hit and I jumped at the 5:45pm opening on OpenTable.
The Progress pulled me in the moment I walked in. The impressive and articulately designed space has a breathlessness and a buzz about it, and a menu to match.
Every person we came across on the well but casually and somewhat nautically dressed staff was exceedingly passionate and friendly, each dish we tried seemed somehow better than the last, and the presentation of the plates was as notable as the taste.
Standouts included the pecorino roti with black truffle buttermilk, the maitake, tofu, and bok choy ‘stir fry’ and the snapper, turnip, and crème fraiche.
I would go back again in a heartbeat, and be extremely excited to do so.
Swan Oyster Depot
Family-owned and operated Swan Oyster has been pumping out seafood for over 100 years, and it doesn’t look like the business is slowing down anytime soon.
It opens at 10:30am and there was a line out the door by 9:30. I was the last one seated of the day’s first batch.
The “restaurant” is comprised only of one long counter, several friendly, happy-looking men running the operation, and a ton of fresh fish everywhere you look. Menus are on the wall and the options include just a few things, crudo, clam chowder, and oysters of course to name a few.
The mixed crudo is what I tried, complete with salmon, scallops, tuna and hamachi, and all topped with diced onions, capers, and olive oil. It was awesome.
Cheese on bread, bread pudding, croque monsieurs, croissants, morning buns, bread baskets.
There’s a theme here, and it’s certainly not one of light food and low carbs. Tartine Bakery is a bit tricky to hit, as the line can often be as legendary as the place is itself, but it’s definitely worth an attempt.
When visiting new cities, getting yourself to a solid brunch spot or two is always a great provider of insight into the local scene. There are several well-known spots for this in SF, one being Plow in the Potrero Hill neighborhood.
It’s a smallish simple cafe-like place, with seats inside, outside, and at the counter, and a wait that starts early and goes long. The infamous ricotta pancakes were delicious, as were both of the egg dishes we stacked onto our little table.
Bi-Rite was so damn good that it was worth including, even though yes, it’s ice cream and not actual food. Get some scoops, and go chill in the famous Mission Dolores Park nearby.
Read more about Kate’s San Francisco adventures on We Travel We Eat!