The Top 5 Most Famous Places to Eat in San Francisco
It’s been just over two years now since I was last in San Francisco, but I still have very fond memories of my visit to the bay-side city. With its iconic bridge, thriving LGBT scene, mild weather, and alternative feel – it reminded me a lot of Sydney, particularly the Australian city’s vibrant inner-west. While my own visit featured more junk food than fine dining (I believe we ate McDonalds, cheap crab at Fisherman’s Wharf, and hot dogs at Pier 39), I’m overdue for a return to the city to sample some of its finer foods.
Here are five of the most famous places to eat in San Francisco. Bon appetit!
1. ICHI Sushi
Sushi is one of Japan’s most beloved cultural exports, but Americans owe the stylish, gourmet sensibilities of stateside sushi to the West Coast. ICHI Sushi on Mission Street is the premiere California-style sushi restaurant in San Francisco. It’s a bit removed from the tourist-heavy stretch of the district, resulting in a more relaxed experience. The menu is creative and uses a lot of local ingredients, and naturally the freshest fish on the market. Also make sure to check out their sake menu for a complete meal.
While Southern California is best known for its authentic Mexican cuisine, places like Nopalito make the case for San Francisco’s south-of-the-border bona fides. This is thanks to great touches like house-made masa and tortillas, adding a fresh and sweet flavor to classic dishes. Nopalito also has some of San Francisco’s most highly regarded carnitas. The house selection of tequila and mezcal is nothing to sniff at either.
This beautiful, renowned, French-inspired eatery is a warm, welcoming restaurant with an extensive menu of smart, delicious treats. Nestled inside a great San Francisco hotel, it sits right on the northeastern edge of the city, overlooking the bay. Try celebrated dishes like crispy pancetta-wrapped quail leg, Pacific seabass with red shrimp, or octopus escabeche. Boulevard is also a decadent getaway for dessert lovers, from the evolved s’more made with bittersweet cocoa nibs and salted caramel marshmallow to the Snow White peaches and brown sugar ginger cake.
Sure, the standard culinary traditions for top-notch eats these days tend to lean Asian fusion, French, or New American, but it’s hard to deny the hearty delights at German restaurant Suppenkuche. Affordable but uniquely delectable, Suppenkuche features classics like potato pancakes, wiener schnitzel, venison, and sauerkraut. It’s also one of the most interesting brunch options in San Francisco, including savory items like the cold cuts plate and farm-style sausage as well as German-style sweets like the Emperor’s pancake with brandied raisins.
5. Beanstalk Cafe
Delicious doesn’t have to mean fancy. The Beanstalk Cafe in Nob Hill is San Francisco’s finest entry in the storied café tradition of the Pacific Northwest. The coffee and espresso are excellent, and the sandwiches are spot-on. Deli favorites like pastrami go hand-in-hand with West Coast fare like the tofu veggie sandwich in homemade spice sauce. Beanstalk Cafe’s marinated cucumbers are a refreshing addition to sandwiches. They also have a unique breakfast option in their egg-filled toast cups. All of the bread is baked fresh and the coffee comes exclusively from Bay Area roasters.
From fresh fish to strong coffee and always with a multicultural flair, San Francisco’s restaurant scene is the envy of Northern California. There are excellent places to eat for every budget, and there’s a lot of creativity in the San Francisco culinary community.
What are your favourite places to dine while in San Francisco?
Title image courtesy of Jeff Gunn.