Our 8 Spots for the Best Food in San Francisco

San Francisco has some of the best food in the country, a reputation that began during the Gold Rush era when gold prospectors came to the city hungry and looking to strike it rich. The term “feast or famine” typified the mining experience. Good food was to be had but at a price.

Interior shot of the dining room of Californios, one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Tables with white tablecloths line up along a long brown leather booth. The walls are painted black and colorful abstract artwork hangs on the walls.
It’s possible to enjoy delicious food at every price point when in San Francisco. Photo credit: Lou Stejskal

Thankfully, things have changed and anyone looking for the best food in San Francisco doesn’t need a pocket full of gold anymore. There is plenty of fantastic food in San Francisco at different price points, making it possible to enjoy the best food in San Francisco regardless of one’s budget.

Tartine Manufactory

Tartine’s first bakery opened in 2002, and after 20 years, the bakery continues to be the best bakery in San Francisco. It’s likely that there will always be a line wrapped around the original bakery on Guerrero Street for people hoping to score a crackling croissant or morning bun, but those looking for a more expansive dining experience head to the Outer Mission where Tartine Manufactory serves not only morning treats like coffee and pastries, but also lunch and dinner.

Bread is baked here, hence the “manufactory” title, and though there are other very delicious sour batards and country loafs made in San Francisco, Tartine was the first new wave artisan bakery so, in our book, they have the best.

extreme close up of a coffee drink with foamed milk in a clear glass, with a pastry on a white plate in the background
When you start with an excellent coffee and delicious pastry at Tartine Manufactory, don’t be surprised if you come back for lunch and dinner! Photo credit: Yuichi Sakuraba


Modern Italian restaurant Itria is a newbie on the fresh pasta scene, but you wouldn’t know it by the delectable and intricately shaped pasta that comes out of the kitchen. Itria is headed by Daniel Evers who worked at Cotogna and AL’s Place, popular Italian and Northern California regional cuisine spots, respectively.

Hand-made pasta filled with potato puree, roasted eggplant, or roasted sweet corn are just some of the tempting menu items that incorporate the seasons’ bounty and the chef’s skilled pasta-making capabilities.

Close up of a white bowl filled with wide, flat handmade pasta pappardelle with lamb ragu and topped with grated white cheese
Daniel Evers of Cotogna brought his pasta making knowledge from Cotogna to Itria. Photo credit: Joanne Wan

Square Pie Guys

Does San Francisco have a “San Francisco” style of pizza? We’d like to think that whoever is making the most crave-able pizza should wear the crown. In that case, the crown goes to Square Pie Guys, a local chain of Detroit-style pizza that just opened a beautiful dining space in Ghiradelli Square.

And though some might dispute this deep-dish pie as the best pizza in San Francisco, there is no dispute that their version of Detroit-style pizza is the best in San Francisco. The extra crispy crust gets its flavor and crunch from grated cheese that’s added right before pies go in the conveyor belt-type oven, which results in a uniformly baked crispy crust. Bonus points for the several house-made dipping sauces like ranch, green goddess, and salsa crema, and the delicious seasonal salads.

Close up of a rectangluar pizza from Square Pie Buys in San Francisco. The pizza is topped with pepperoni and lots of melted cheese.
Detroit meets San Francisco at Square Pie Guys. Photo credit: Dale Cruse


Chef Heena Patel is one of the few restaurateurs in the country that focuses on regional Gujarati cuisine. She honors her Indian homeland by serving an all-vegan menu at Besharam, using seasonal local California produce. Patel also has fun incorporating western ingredients like blue cheese into a classic garlic naan.

If you like spice, then you’ll love Patel’s version of a kofta smothered in a spicy tomato sauce. The location, nestled within the art gallery space, Minnesota Street Project, means you can enjoy art and artfully prepared food in one stop.


The Michelin Guide thinks that chef Val Cantu’s Californios serves some of the best food in San Francisco (with two Michelin stars). The cuisine is considered modern Mexican with lots of California influences, hence the name.

A tasting menu allows the chef and his team a chance to showcase a fusion of flavors from local vendors and farmers, specifically with items like fish, heirloom corn and beans, and chiles. You might find an enchilada with zucchini, yogurt, and peanut mole or chicharrones with truffle foam on the menu. Each of the dishes on the 16-course tasting menu is artfully plated on commissioned ceramic dishes by local makers. It’s a once-in-a-decade experience you’ll want to repeat yearly (or more!).

Close up of a fine dining course in a small round bowl.
Californios combines Mexican cuisine with California influences for some of the best food in San Francisco. Photo credit: Rahul nair

Bodega SF

The Vietnamese food scene is a vibrant one in San Francisco, and Bodega SF at their Union Square location offer up a centrally located spot to dine on modern and creative Vietnamese dishes.

Matt Ho reimagines his parent’s restaurant in the Tenderloin and brings it back to life with the same standards like goi cuon (shrimp rice paper rolls) and new dishes like whole branzino with cumin and ginger that hail from North Vietnam. Most dishes are served family-style, and the full bar–something that his parents’ place didn’t have–is a fun new addition with drinks that are as creative as the menu.

Anchor Oyster Bar

San Francisco’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean means that San Francisco restaurants always have a reliable source of fresh seafood. The Castro’s Anchor Oyster Bar, a mainstay for those looking for delicious seafood dishes, continues to serve some of the best seafood in San Francisco.

The small and quaint restaurant hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years, a sign that they’re doing something right. That thought process is applied to the cioppino recipe, a secret blend of tomato and spices that always draws a crowd and often sells out before the night’s service ends.

extreme close up of a metal dish with oysters on ice, metal tins of sauce, and cooked shrimp. A glass of red wine is blurred in the foreground.
You can expect to enjoy incredible seafood when in San Francisco. Photo credit: koemu

El Metate

Though people might squabble over the best burrito in San Francisco, no one will squabble with El Metate’s charm and culinary contributions to San Francisco’s Mission District. For 20 years, El Metate has been serving authentic Mexican food in their cheery, bright dining room.

Their burritos are dense with rice and beans and a choice of meat like carne asada and chicken chile Verde. Mole chicken and chipotle shrimp are great alternatives to the standard super burrito and don’t disappoint.