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Your guide to San Francisco / 15 must eat places in San Francisco

15 must eat places in San Francisco

Foodies will be in heaven while visiting San Francisco. One reason for the fab food? Farm-to-table is a way of life here. From bagels to Vietnamese stir–fries, you'll find that fresh locally sourced ingredients are a way of life in San Francisco. And not only are the restaurants amazing, but you can head to one of the area farmers' markets just about every day of the week, year-round.

It's no wonder that so many travel from around the country to eat at the restaurants here. The food may be spendy, but you truly get what you pay for here. If you're looking for the top restaurants you should eat at while staying in San Francisco, here they are broken down by meal.

Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Breakfast

Breakfast Hot Spots

Plow


Plow
Image via Flickr by City Foodsters

Neighborhood: Mission Bay, 1299 18th St

Details: The Plow fills up fast for breakfast and brunch, especially on the weekends, so get there early. The Plow doesn't take reservations, so you won't be able to reserve a table till you're here. If you choose to sit outside, which may reduce your wait time, the host will provide warm blankets in cold weather to make it more pleasant.

What to eat: The specialty here is the plow, which includes two lemon ricotta pancakes, potatoes, two eggs and house-made pork sausage. In short, it's amazing!

Eight AM

Neighborhood: Russian Hill, 1323 Columbus Ave

Details: Eight AM is known for having great servers who treat every customer with respect. There are only 15 tables, so it can fill up fast. If you want to get a table, consider heading over when it opens at 7 a.m.

What to eat: The orange juice is fresh squeezed and delicious, and you'll love the chia pudding with berries. The best main dishes include bagel two ways, avocado toast three ways and the banana waffle.

Dottie's True Blue Cafe

Neighborhood: South of Market, 28 6th St

Details: Despite its location, Dottie's is often packed. But, the food is wonderful and the price is a steal.

What to eat: Here you'll get big portions of great food. You should try the smoked whiskey-fennel sausage with mushroom and spinach scramble and chili-cheddar cornbread. Make sure to put chipotle jelly on the cornbread for a little kick.

Bandit

Neighborhood: Tenderloin, 683 Geary St

Details: Know ahead of time that Bandit is very small, and most people order their food to go.

What to eat: If you're looking for breakfast sandwiches, this is the place. Everything is made fresh to order. Try out the bandit or the fancy along with lavender lemonade.

Stacks

Neighborhood: Hayes Valley, 501 Hayes St

Details: This popular breakfast place serves typical American breakfast items like pancakes, French toast, eggs, and waffles.

What to eat: Since it's called Stacks, it's not surprising their pancakes are the star, especially the banana macadamia nut and coconut pancakes.

Lunch

Places to Lunch

The Lunchpad


Neighborhood: Hayes Valley, 581 Hayes St

Details: If you're looking for a traditional lunch of sandwiches, you'll want to head here. Just note, The Lunchpad is a little hard to find because it's located inside the Noir Lounge bar. Once you find it, though, you'll be tempted to return.

What to eat: Many recommend getting something with the candied habanero bacon, such as the turkey drizzle or the three little pigs. There's a daily special as well that has choices otherwise not on the menu. Check them out ahead of time, so you can plan your visit.

Marlowe

Marlowe
Image via Flickr by Yuichi Sakuraba

Neighborhood: South Park, 500 Brannan St

Details: Marlowe is a neighborhood bistro locally owned that features American Favorites by Chef Jennifer Puccio. This meat-centric bistro has flavorful twists on traditional dishes that you won't soon forget.

What to eat: Choose one of their burgers or the chicken sandwich along with fries. Other specials that you'll be tempted by include the smoky baked cauliflower and Angus rib eye salad. This is definitely not a great location for vegetarians.

To make a reservation at Marlowe and earn up to 500 IHG Rewards Club points, Click Here

City Counter

Neighborhood: Financial District, 115 Sansome St

Details: This fast-casual restaurant focuses on sandwiches with quality, fresh ingredients. The vibe inside is old-school diner meshed with a clean, contemporary design.

What to eat: Try the deviled egg sandwich, which is super tasty and has a crunch from crushed salt and vinegar chips included inside. Other favorites include the tuna salad and chicken salad sandwiches.

Cassava

Cassava

Neighborhood: Richmond, 3519 Balboa St

Details: This restaurant is owned by Kris Toliao and Yuka Ioroi. Kris, the chef, has worked with Michelin-starred chefs and created a contemporary American menu that uses fresh ingredients. Yuka is known for being extremely welcoming and friendly to everyone who comes in.

What to eat: The best entrees at Cassava include the pork shoulder sandwich and burrata. The Cornish hen is also a great choice because it's cooked to perfection and comes with lemon verbena cornbread.

Picnic on Third

Neighborhood: South of Market, 493 3rd St

Details: Meals here are served fast-casual style, so while you might see a line going out the door, it goes quickly. Lunch is served daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu at Picnic on Third changes daily, so you'll get to pick from options that use fresh food prepared to perfection by the chef.

What to eat: Though the menu changes often, there's typically protein meals plus two sides. Go for the pork, such as the overnight chile braised pork, or the beef. There's typically a vegetarian option as well.

Dinner

Choices for Dinner

Foreign Cinema


Foreign Cinema

Neighborhood: Mission, 2534 Mission St

Details: Rated as one of the Top 100 Restaurants for 16 consecutive years by the San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Cinema gives you the chance to enjoy dinner and a show. The decor makes you feel like you're in an old-school drive-in. Sit in the outdoor space in the back, and you can watch a movie while you eat with the movie's audio coming through a speaker at your table.

What to eat: The menu does change seasonally, but if you get the chance, try the curry sesame seed fried chicken or the five-spiced duck breast.

Nopa

Neighborhood: North of the Panhandle, 560 Divisadero St

Details: Named after the neighborhood it's located in, Nopa specializes in organic wood-fired cuisine with seasonal ingredients. Because of its popularity, it's best if you make reservations.

What to eat: The overwhelming favorite of diners is the pork chop, which comes with kiwi cilantro salsa, so that's your best bet. You also might want to consider the lamb Sugo or the chicory salad, which features roasted cauliflower and an amazing depth of flavor. Order family style if you want to try more than one dish.

Hakkasan

Hakkasan

Neighborhood: Financial District, 1 Kearny St

Details: This upscale Chinese restaurant features some of the most intriguing flavors. Located on the second floor of the One Kearny building, Hakkasan features two private dining rooms and a V-shaped bronze bar. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday.

What to eat: The sea bass is definitely a standout and is one of the most popular dishes among diners. It's grilled to perfection and served in a clay pot with a broth of cherry tomatoes and celery. Another favorite are the roasted duck pumpkin puffs.

To make a reservation at Hakkasan and earn up to 500 IHG Rewards Club Points, Click Here

Alba Ray's

Neighborhood: Mission District, 2293 Mission St

Details: Alba Ray's brings the heart of New Orleans to California with Southern cooking and decor that makes you feel like you're on Bourbon Street. If you're not sure what to try, get the food family-style, so your whole party can share.

What to eat: You may have a hard time choosing what to eat at Alba Ray's, but here are some favorites. For appetizers, choose crispy boudin balls or grilled rabbit sausage over grits. For the entrees, consider one of the jambalayas, the shrimp and grits or the chicken confit. Whatever you get for dinner, don't leave without trying the beignets with the salted caramel sauce.

To make a reservation at Alba Ray’s and earn up to 500 IHG Rewards Club Points, Click Here

Trestle

Neighborhood: Edge of Chinatown and the Financial District, 531 Jackson St

Details: Trestle is an intimate restaurant that features a three-course prix-fixe menu. The menu changes each day, but the courses are comfort foods that are simply and expertly put together. Make sure to book a reservation since spots fill up days and even weeks ahead of time.

What to eat: The menu changes each day, and you are only given a couple choices for the appetizer, entree and dessert, with the ability to add a pasta for an additional price. Though your choices are limited, whatever options are available that day are sure the be fantastic. Choices that you may include any fish, including salmon, striped bass and corvina, along with risotto, soup and pastas, such as the squid ink pasta risotto, garganelli bolognese and eggplant pappardelle.

When you're in San Francisco, you'll be in heaven when it comes to food. Our best advice? Make restaurant reservations, if possible. If will give you more time to explore San Francisco and its wonderful neighborhoods.

To make a reservation at Trestle and earn up to 500 IHG Rewards Club points, Click Here

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