The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part Two: Restaurants

Your Guide to San Francisco Restaurants, just in time for your trip to the city for the Super Bowl or vacation.

This is the second part in the Ultimate Guide to San Francisco series. I’m teaming up with my friend Kristine (who has lived here her entire life, so she’s an expert) where she’s telling you where to work up an appetite (spoiler alert: SoulCycle).

It’s no secret I love to eat, consider myself a foodie and love giving restaurant recommendations and/or judging you based on where you eat while you’re in SF. Unless you’re lame and go to like, Rainforest Cafe (I swear there is actually one in the city), it’s hard to have a bad meal in San Francisco.

I could talk about food all day and where to eat in the city but since you’re here for a limited amount of time, I’ll cut to the heavy hitters and can’t miss spots. This list is by no means comprehensive. And if you’ve missed it before, here are the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco and the best coffee shops in San Francisco.

The Marina
My stomping grounds!


Blue Barn Gourmet
Home of the $20 salad (I swear they’re worth it… and only $20 if you get ahi tuna but you need to get the ahi tuna), they have chef-created salads or Make Your Own. They also have soup and sandwiches if you don’t want to eat a bowl of veggies.

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Because man cannot live on salad alone when visiting SF, there’s pizza that involves burrata cheese.

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Rose’s Cafe
This is where you want to brunch in the Marina because breakfast pizza is a thing.

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Stands for North of Panhandle, right by the Full House House.


My favorite restaurant in the city, duh. Go for brunch or dinner but make reservations or eat at the bar. I love eating at the bar though sooooo…

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NOPA’s Mexican little sister, go early if you want in. Last weekend I went with three people at 8:30 and was told they weren’t taking parties bigger than two any longer!
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The Mill
If you haven’t heard, San Francisco invented fancy toast. Pony up the $4 for a delicious piece of Josey Baker Bread with all the spreads. Better yet, take a friend and get all the breads and all the spreads.

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Little Chihuahua
If you don’t want to blow your entire paycheck on a meal, head to Little Chihuahua for a burrito, tacos or some of their crack salsa verde (it’s seriously that good).

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Pacific Heights
Elevation gains, beautiful houses and even better views.

pac heights

The Progress
This place won a James Beard award and I think maybe has a Michelin star. Anyway, make reservations because that’s the only way you’ll get in, unless you date one of their chefs for a hot minute, not that I know about that or anything.

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State Bird Provisions
If you can get in I totally respect you and you win at San Francisco. I still haven’t been but you should go so I can eat vicariously through you.

The best acai in SF – and also on the Big Island in Hawaii at their original location, where I fell in love with them. You’ll wait in line so go for broke and get a large when you finally get to order.

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The Mission and Portero Hill
Everything that’s right about SF as far as food and wrong as in everything else.

mission + portrero

Craftsman and Wolves
Just go get a Rebel Within and call it a day. It’s a soft-boiled egg baked into an asiago and sausage muffin.

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Farmhouse Thai Kitchen
There’s a ton of well-known Thai places (Les Rois, Kin Khao, Hawker Fare) and trust me, I’ve tried most of them, but this place is my jam. They have blue rice!

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Bi-Rite Creamery
The best ice cream in the city, duh.

Because you want to wait in line for brunch for two hours.

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The Tenderloin and Hayes Valley
Also known as the Trendyloin also known as not a place I frequent (well, Hayes Valley is super nice).


How do I not have photos of Souvla on my phone? Legit one of my favorite places in the city. Fast-caual Greek food — order at the counter and choose from veggie, lamb, chicken or pork in a salad or a wrap. Leave room for their frozen Greek yogurt for dessert. They also have a solid and affordable wine list.

If you’re determined to eat avocado toast while you’re here, go to Huxley because theirs has uni on it.

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Chat with me:
Do you want to visit any of these restaurants? Where do you want to eat in SF? What other places here do you love?

9 comments on “The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco Part Two: Restaurants

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Kat Dinges on January 29, 2016 12:30 pm

I’ve never been to CA but I’ve always wanted to go. San Francisco would be one of my top cities to visit! Hopefully I get to go there soon!
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Delia on January 29, 2016 1:59 pm

That pizza with burrata cheese looks absolutely delicious. I have no idea what it tastes, but I love cheese in general so I’m sure it;s super yummy.

I had fun visiting all these San Francisco restaurants, even if virtually. Thanks for the tour, Cassandra.
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Dani @ Dani California Cooks on January 29, 2016 2:35 pm

i’m not sure how you consolidated into a list! I have an on-going google docs that I just keep adding new places onto. Lots of my favorites made your list! I also am a huge fan of Gracias Madre in the Mission and The Jane cafe on Fillmore. And Nate and I love Pacific Catch before grabbing a move in the Marina!
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Kaitlin on January 29, 2016 4:35 pm

I am in love with all of this. I honestly am considering moving back to California and reading your posts makes SF more and more enticing!

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ET on January 29, 2016 5:15 pm


Also Mission Chinese and Cha Cha Cha

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Ganeeban on January 31, 2016 12:07 pm

Damn, I could have used this a few weeks ago ;) Oh Bi-rite, you are my only friend! Love that spot, but smitten was really good too! I’m book marking this for our next day trip, gracias! Xoxo, ganeeban

[…] Day: Went to SoulCycle with Emily (noticing a trend here?), flew back from LA and had Blue Barn for dinner with a side of the new Kanye West album, mainly because I was slightly guilted into […]

[…] recipe was inspired by Souvla, one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Their menu is seriously simple but seriously delicious. You have your choice of lamb, pork, […]

[…] and I have a new tradition thanks to all of my recent traveling called “he picks up salads from Blue Barn for dinner on his way to pick me up from the airport” and lately, chicken has been my go-to […]

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