For a city that is only 47 square miles, it packs a big punch when it comes to eats. Bring your appetite and your stretchy pants because there is a lot to try. I still have a pretty lengthy foodie bucket list but here are a few of my favorites from my latest trip to the City by the Bay. I would love to hear what your favorite SF eats are so drop me a comment so I can add them to my list.
Brenda’s French Soul Food
Brenda’s serves up some of the best shrimp & grits and beignets I have had outside of New Orleans. Make sure you also ask for a Creole Bloody Mary. The wait can get a bit long so show up early or make a reservation. They are currently accepting dinner reservations Wednesday through Saturday and every morning via Resy.
652 Polk St., San Francisco, frenchsoulfood.com
Cotogna is a casual Italian spot that serves house-made pasta, fresh veggies, and wood-fired pizza with a Northern Italian influence. The menu changes daily based on what’s available locally but you can never go wrong with a plate of pasta or pizza. Dinner can get a bit busy especially their Sunday Supper so I recommend making reservations either on their website or via OpenTable.
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, cotognasf.com
With its carnival themed decor, it’s an experience for all your senses. I recommend the Donut Breakfast Sandwich, Fried Chicken & Waffle Monte Cristo, and a Cotton Candy Cocktail. I have never had to wait very long but if you don’t want to chance it you can make a reservation on their site.
203 Octavia Blvd, San Francisco, www.strawsf.com
Serving up farm to table comfort food this place is for true lovers of breakfast. My recommendation is an order of the lemon ricotta pancakes or their custard french toast. They don’t take reservations and are known for a long wait so get their early.
1299 18th St, San Francisco, www.eatatplow.com
Hog Island Oyster Co
Skip the seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf and take the light rail a mile and a half to the Ferry Building for a meal at Hog Island. The menu, of course, includes oysters (raw, grilled, or on a sando) but also clams, mussels, and even baby back ribs for the non-seafood foodies. With floor to ceiling windows, I think every seat has a view of San Francisco Bay. Unfortunately, their San Francisco location doesn’t take reservations but they are pretty efficient at seating so you probably won’t wait long.
Ferry Building, One, #11, San Francisco, hogislandoysters.com
This place has been open since 1999 and is still going strong. And yes, as the name suggests you will get dinner and a movie (during dinner service). They do take reservations via Open Table but if you want a dinner reservation on Saturday I suggest planning ahead as they are usually booked a month out.
2534 Mission St, San Francisco, foreigncinema.com
A multi-faceted space that not only has a restaurant but also a coffee shop, bar, bakery, and ice cream shop. There honestly is no wrong order whether it is a grab and go pastry for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, or dinner and drinks. Breakfast and lunch are served on a walk-in basis but you can make reservations for dinner via OpenTable.
595 Alabama St, San Francisco, tartinebakery.com
Surisan breakfast/brunch menu is a collection of Asian inspired American comfort food. For dinner expect more elevated traditional Korean dishes. Located in Fisherman’s Wharf you can get all the sites and sounds while enjoying locally sourced, high-quality dishes not aimed at just tourists but also locals. Reservations are available on either OpenTable or Yelp.
505 Beach St, San Francisco, surisansf.com
Fisherman’s Wharf is historic and also extremely touristy. But while you are in the area I do recommend a visit to both Boudin Sourdough and Ghiradelli Square at least once.
Boudin and Ghiradelli Square
The smell of Boudin’s sourdough at their flagship store in the Wharf will be overwhelming. Watch their bakers busy at work through their 30-foot observation window, take a walk through their store, or grab a bread bowl filled with their clam chowder.
Ghirardelli Square is a chocolate lovers dream. Step into the original Ghirardelli ice cream and chocolate shop to learn about the chocolate-making process, splurge on a create your own ice cream experience or stock up on all your favorite Ghirardelli chocolates.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
A quick search on Google or your favorite social media on what to eat in San Francisco and I guarantee Mr. Holmes Bakehouse will come up. Expect to wait unless you go in January when everyone is still pretending to be on a diet. Be sure to order a cruffin, matcha croissant, churro croissant, or all three because you did wait in line forever.
1042 Larkin St, San Francisco, mrholmesbakehouse.com
I missed out on Garden Creamery’s chimney cone (they only have them available on certain days) but still got my hands on a couple of scoops of two of their unique flavors. Who wouldn’t want to try black sesame or Thai tea ice cream? All of their ingredients are locally sourced and each batch of ice cream is hand-crafted. Not down with dairy? Their menu also includes vegan sorbet made with coconut milk and agave nectar.
3566 20th St, San Francisco, gardencreamery.com