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Lo And Behold: The Ultimate San Francisco Foodie List
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Lo And Behold: The Ultimate San Francisco Foodie List

S.F. is a place where you can eat burritos at the Mission District, pop by a Michelin-starred eatery, and indulge in Moroccan fine dining.

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5 min read

November 20, 2021

The elegant red lines of the Golden Gate Bridge have long served to welcome wanderers and adventurers to San Francisco, where myriad cultures fuse and coexist in this metropolis. The result you may ask? A culinary utopia crammed impressively into the small space—a place where you can eat rice-free burritos near the Mission District, pop by a Michelin-starred eatery, and indulge in Moroccan fine dining all within walking distance from each other. 

If you’re time-starved and want to know which places to prioritize, we’ve outlined the usual thought (and stomach) process of the San Francisco foodie. Bon appetit!

You don’t want to miss these spots on your first trip to S.F.; they're worth venturing out to try even if you’ve lived here for decades.

S.F. Foodies, This is Where You Need to Go

From Mission-style burritos and soup dumplings to sourdough bread bowls the size of a kiddie pool, there’s no shortage of archetypal dining experience in the City by the Bay. For the discerning foodies who are dying to know where the locals really eat, our guide unearths a few of the city’s true treasures:

Must-Try San Francisco Restaurants 

Spruce 

If you’re ever in the mood to get dressed up and celebrate— even if it’s just because you’re an S.F. foodieSpruce is the way to go. Its miles-deep menu spans a variety of cuisines with an emphasis on local and organic fare; you’ll fall in love with their Sunday brunch (we recommend getting the beignets), or the foodie S.F. burger any night of the week. But another element to this ambrosial experience has to do with Spruce’s slick interior; it’s a master-class in elegant decor with tasteful floral touches.

San Francisco, with its long, storied food culture and equally colorful, indulgent history has no shortage of Michelin-starred eateries.

Saison

This Michelin-starred spot knows how to stand out—it offers no set menu. Instead, the team comes up with a multicourse meal nightly, depending on the day’s fresh catch and produce bounty. It’s important to note that Saison has famously erratic hours, but those who have been lucky enough to go swear that it’s the best thing they’ve ever tasted. As one of the best places to eat in San Francisco, Saison offers a one-of-a-kind experience you must experience at least once.

Mister Jiu’s 

Searching for world-class Chinese food in the heart of San Francisco? Mister Jiu will put an end to your quest. Chef Brandon Jew uses contemporary methods to traditional meals by adding his own twist on classic dishes such as pork buns and black sesame cake—the place earned a Michelin star in its first year of operation. The wood-paneled floors give the space an old-worldly kind of charm, but the views of the Financial District don’t let you forget that you’re in the center of a thriving metropolis.

Some have been around for decades, while others are new, fresh, and just as inextricable from S.F.'s flavor DNA.

Cafes and Coffee 

Tosca Cafe 

Tosca Cafe has been around for over a century, churning out the kind of no-frills, endlessly satisfying Italian food we all love and serving it with style. Settle into their comfy parklet for a morning cappuccino or commit to the full price-fixe menu of Italian classics—you’re going to love it either way.

Four Barrel Coffee 

Foodies love Four Barrel Coffee not just for excellent espressos, almond milk lattes, and Americanos, but also for their genuine love and commitment to their community. Putting their massive warehouse to good use, this spot hosts regular workshops and makes it a point to only source beans from small family farmers all over the world. Plus, in a pretty brilliant move, the cafe does not have any WiFi, making for a space where real-life connections happen over a delicious cup of Joe.

San Francisco is a culinary mecca on par with some of the greatest cities in the world, so do wear stretchy pants on your trip.

Cowgirl Creamery

The brainchild of Sue Conley and Peggy Smith—ex-hippies with a passion for good food—Cowgirl Creamery is a major S.F. foodie hotspot. They stock the best selection of local and international cheeses alongside their own varieties; try the triple cream Mt. Tam and you’ll start brie-lieving in magic once your San Francisco food tour is done.

Walking Food Tours in San Francisco

For a city that’s only seven miles by seven miles, S.F. has so many amazing neighborhoods, each with a slightly different food scene. But here are a few particularly tempting walking food tours in San Francisco to start with; make sure to wear your comfortable shoes.

From OG sourdough to the original Mission burrito, the City by the Bay offers a bevy of famous eats that you can't experience anywhere else.

Taste the Mission Walking Tour of San Francisco

The Mission District in San Francisco is an eclectic mix of ethnic cuisines and rich cultural diversity, and you’ll be walking through it all with Taste the Mission Walking Tour. Sample dishes that hail from Italy, Vietnam, and Germany while learning about the seemingly endless hidden gems of this eclectic neighborhood. Try as many things as you can along the way like fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies, artisanal delights, and Mission-style burritos.

Chinatown and North Beach Night Walking Tour 

The oldest and largest in the country, S.F. Chinatown attracts thousands of tourists and is a true foodie destination. Get the chance to taste authentic Italian and Chinese treats during this ambrosial on-foot experience. Starting in S.F’s Chinatown, the walking tour takes you through the neighborhood’s oldest bakeries and spots where you can try and learn about traditional Chinese teas—you can actually witness fortune cookies being made.

Did you know that we can make chocolates disappear in an instant? How about you, what’s your secret talent?

San Francisco Ultra Chocolate Tour

If the idea of sampling chocolate while wandering down the gorgeous streets of San Francisco sounds like a good date idea, then this tour is for you. This is one of the best and sweetest walking tours you’ll find in the Bay Area—the three-hour experience whisks you to the best chocolate boutiques in town.

San Francisco Foodie Shops 

Oaktown Spice Shop

Soon upon realizing that San Francisco was in dire need of a go-to spice shop, John Beaver and Erica Perez got to work. They scouted spaces and planned for months on end, and the result was Oaktown Spice Shop—a treasure trove of all the cupboard basics and every obscure extract you could possibly think of. If you’re looking for the best food-related gifts in San Francisco, the Masterchef in your life will appreciate anything you get from this spice shop

Home chefs and cooking enthusiasts know two things to be true: 1. Homemade is always best, and 2. there’s always room for more kitchen gadgets.

MARCH

MARCH may just be the best kitchen and tabletop store in the entire country. And you might be thinking “I can buy a Kitchenaid or Silpat anywhere,” but MARCH offers much more than that. This is the place to discover beautiful, hand-made mortar and pestle, gorgeous Michael Verheyden candlesticks, and elegant Billy Cotton glass and dinnerware—an S.F. foodie needs at least one of these items in their lives. 

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