The 10 Essential Restaurants in San Francisco

The 10 Essential Restaurants in San Francisco

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Eater 38 Eater 38 is our attempt to address any query that starts with “Can you suggest an eatery?” It’s a curated list that covers the whole city, covering a variety of different cuisines, neighborhoods, as well as prices. The list describes the history of San Francisco through food, providing a comprehensive account of the restaurants, dumpling shops and tasting menus which make the city an extremely intriguing restaurants in America. These are the places that you should not miss during your first visit to San Francisco’s Bay Area, and the ones you should revisit even if you’ve lived in the area for a long time.

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Scoma’s Restaurant

It’s a fact there’s a possibility that Fisherman’s Wharf of today may not live up to the romantic memories of times past. But the food is consistently pleasant at Scoma’s. It’s a 60 years old restaurant that sits on the docks that runs along the Bay. The menu is designed to satisfy your seafood-loving cravings, including oysters and Dungeness crab cocktails, Cioppino, clam chowder and more however the menu’s extensive selections also include a fiery chicken sandwich as well as pasta that comes with red sauce. As much as it is the cuisine, setting is what draws you in when you dine outdoors listening to the sounds of crashing waves as background, or inside the wooden dining area, which is adorned with plenty of sports equipment from the local area.


The chef Francis Ang’s Abaca serves modern Filipino food to a bright space located on the ground floor of the Fisherman’s Wharf hotel. The lush restaurant is further enlivened by the yellow sunflower banquettes and woven baskets of the Southeast Asian archipelago. The menu for dinner gives traditional dishes with a contemporary California modernization Think pancit of seafood garnished by smoked Bay scallops and longganisa pork sausage that is skewered on a thin stick, and served with egg yolks and cane vinegar to dip. Brunch on weekends is a pleasure, where you get to be awed by the pastry talents from both Ang as well as James Beard-nominated pastry chef, Vince Bugtong with dishes such as the chewy mochi waffle from Pandan and the savory Ensaymada French toast.

Restaurant Nisei

Californianios alum David Yoshimura channels his Japanese-American heritage to Nisei which is his Michelin-starred first restaurant in which Japanese soul food gets exquisite dining treatment. The dining area is a serene space, with a white bar and black walls adorned with bright local art. The kitchen is where Yoshimura as well as his staff place fresh oysters in the foamy layer of English peas, wasabi, and cover the sweet Brentwood corn, blueberries fermented and soft uni in sheets of shining nori. The final course of the menu could include a selection of tsukemono placed alongside a small cup of miso soup made from bone broth along with duck fat rice and tender lamb racks.

Hog Island Oyster Co

There’s plenty of delicious food options in this town by the bay and it’s a tradition to sip delicious bivalves steamed in brine at Hog Island. Hog Island outpost located inside the historical Ferry Building. Be prepared as lines can last up to an hour at peak times, however should you show up earlier (the opening time is 11 a.m. every day) you’ll be treated to a selection of oysters that are fresh served with ice following being collected from the waters that run all over along the West Coast. Add crispy local anchovies fried, exquisite crudo, or a delicious grilled cheese sandwich that is composed of three kinds of cheese that has been melted. Alongside a bottle of bubbly with you and a view of the bridge from outside the restaurant, this is a meal that you will remember, no matter if you’re a local or visiting for the weekend.

City View Restaurant

This year City View, one of the most popular spots in the city where you can enjoy dim sum was relocated to a new location located at 33 Walter U. Lum Place in Chinatown located within the shadow of Portsmouth Square. It’s a sophisticated and dark area with comfortable booths as well as the dramatic lighting above each table. There aren’t carts however, the food is still delicious with bouncy shrimp, pork-stuffed shumai. They are incredibly thin and crispy pancakes made of scallion, as well as fluffy buns filled with egg yolk custard salted. The service is fast and friendly which makes this a great choice for a quick sit-down dinner.

Mister Jiu’s

It was a huge moment to San Francisco when James Beard Award-winning chef Brandon Jew took over the historical Four Seas banquet hall space and opened a new Chinese-American restaurant located in the heart of Chinatown. The dining room is an oasis of green and white in the area, despite an overhaul in the spring. Jew also launched the new prix-fixe menu that allows you to include banquet-style dishes such as San Francisco’s finest roast duck that is served alongside peanut butter hoisin as well as cocktails, beer and even cider.

House of Prime Rib

The 1970-old Nob Hill classic takes you back to the days where plating with tweezers not a common practice. The title says it all: House of Prime Rib offers one thing and only one thing and that is to roast prime rib extremely well. The only options to choose from are temperature of the meat and cut thickness as well as mashed or loaded potatoes, and martinis or Manhattan. Every plate includes salad (prepared on the table) and creamed spinach Yorkshire pudding, potatoes. And of course, a massive piece of meat cut out of one meat carts.


After an extensive revamp by star designer Ken Fulk the classic San Francisco restaurant bounced back from the apocalypse more spectacular than ever. Relax in a comfortable seat in a peacock-blue booth beneath the warm glow of romantic spot lighting, and let the friendly staff guide you through a three-course prix fixe menu created by the chef and proprietor Nancy Oakes and chef Dana Younkin. The menu changes frequently, but stay to the California tradition of local and seasonal and local, but you cannot be disappointed with eating the Berkshire pork chop. It is served on a bone, and cooked in a live flame to create a perfect obsidian char.

Friends Only

In the present, it’s somewhat more straightforward to find a spot at this extremely exclusive (read only 10 seats) Omakase counter, but generally it is best to book ahead. The time spent getting to the door will be rewarded with a night of deliciously delectable tiny plates, sushi and a casual and lively setting. The dining experience at the Michelin Guide-recommended Friends Only feels almost as if you’re at a intimate dinner party – If your dinner host served chawanmushi with black truffle topping and the rainbow of uni served on only one piece of Nigiri. The price is an astronomical $300, not including drinks and gratuities, however Ray Lee’s second Restaurant Akikos is an affordable choice with prices starting at just $150 for lunch and $250 for dinner.

Sons & Daughters

The new Nordic is a refreshing experience and fresh at Sons & Daughters, the restaurant with a fine-dining reputation that’s been doing the thing close to Union Square for more than 10 years now. However, there’s a brand new executive chef at the helm, Harrison Cheney, and He’s mixing the acidic and fermented tastes he learned about when working at the Michelin-starred Gastrologik in Stockholm and the fresh, seasonal produce of Northern California. The result is a personal tasting menu that’s elegant as well as awe-inspiring and cozy.


Octavia is back, which is a sign that Melissa Perello and executive chef Nico Pena have returned to deliver perfect seasonal menus featuring fresh pasta as well as some of the city’s most memorable desserts. There are a few familiar themes that are incorporated into the menu, including dishes like fresh mozzarella paired with Jimmy Nardellos as well as Brentwood corn lasagna topped with sweet corn and a bright chile that highlight the diversity of the bounty that Northern California has to offer. Of course, the windows of the space are as vivacious and classy as ever, highlighted by the structural arrangements of the cult florist Petaler.

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