Visiting the Golden City soon? San Francisco, a city famous for its Golden Bridge, is a place many tourists visit. The city influences people through its art, fashion, museums, and great food. San Francisco, also known as “San Fran,” has some of the best food varieties to offer its residents and visitors. While we’re on the topic of food, we have made a list of the best restaurants in San Francisco city for you to explore. Starting from Michelin-starred restaurants to long-time favorites, make sure to try these when you’re in the city.
1- Empress By Boon
Empress By Boon, one of the best restaurants in San Francisco, is a result of Malaysian Chef Ho Chee Boon. The Michelin-starred restaurant opened last year in June 2021, bringing the area up to date while preserving some of the old woodwork. Chef Ho, a Michelin-starred chef, has worked in restaurants all around the world. He offers a prix fixe menu that starts at $78, as well as a distinct small nibbles menu offered in a modern bar section. The menu focuses on modern interpretations of traditional Cantonese gastronomy fare. Most of the ingredients come from the restaurant’s own organic farm in Gilroy, California.
The restaurant has a large wine selection featuring top worldwide winemakers. These complement Chef Ho’s Cantonese food. The list includes a wide range of well-known labels and varietals, making it easy for connoisseurs to choose a wine to love. Chef Ho’s cuisine is complemented by a well-curated beer list, which includes authentic Chinese brews.
2- Liholiho Yacht Club
Liholiho Yacht Club is a cool and casual eatery in a brick-walled area with booths.
The bright yellow open kitchen to the “Aloha” spelt out in blue tile underfoot brings a cheery dose of Hawaii to fog-shrouded San Francisco. You can enjoy this place with your friends and family through their sharing plates.
Small, medium and large plates are available on the menu, all of which are meant to be shared. Make sure to try their famous Tuna poke on nori crackers. Their scallops that come with walnuts, grapes, squash, and fried rice are also worth indulging in. Make sure you save room for their baked Hawaii. A classic baked Alaska with caramelized pineapple ice cream and vanilla chiffon.
3- China Live
Taste Buds craving something Chinese? China Live is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco, awarded as “restaurant of the year.” The place suits your Chinese cravings while also catering to vegan options. George Chen’s China Live is your one-stop shop to try a wide variety of dishes. You can start with soup dumplings and scallion pancakes. For the main course, try their Peking duck with Kumquat glaze pockets in the bbq section and Chinese Broccoli. The restaurant has an open kitchen which allows you to watch every step along the way of your food preparation. Enjoy the chefs wok-frying your rice or wrapping up your dumplings.
4- Taj Campton Place
The city of San Francisco caters to all sorts of food varieties. For those who love their Indian-spicy cuisines, Taj Campton is your go-to place. Chef Srijith Gopinathan has received one Michelin star for his innovative, high-end take on Southern Indian cuisine. He combines some of the best traditional Indian spices with organic ingredients sourced from the farmer’s market.
The Spice Route prix fixe menu is for $167. Some of its mouth-watering dishes include duck breast with rhubarb and basil, Maine lobster in a curry broth, and low-cooked lamb served over basmati rice, cumin-lime yogurt, and snap peas. To get budget-friendly options, keep an eye on their weekend brunch service that offers a luxurious experience but also doesn’t break the bank.
Aziza is a famous restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Mourad Lahlou, who is a Morrocan-born American. The place is the ideal mix of Moroccan flavors with Northern California products. Chef-owner Mourad Lahlou has risen to the top of the city’s elite with a Michelin star and an Iron Chef championship under his belt.
However, the restaurant remains grounded, turning out dishes like mustard greens, branzino with eggplant, short ribs with carrot jam, mustard soubric, and dates that continue to surprise and delight. People also enjoy having lamb on the menu. The restaurant provides top-notch customer service. The bar provides inventive drinks created with hand-muddled herbs, fruits, and vegetables, such as reposado tequila with wild arugula and turmeric root.
6- The House Of Prime Rib
Since the 1940s, this old-school English-style restaurant has been serving outstanding prime rib and martinis to people in the city. House of Prime Rib first opened its doors in 1949, and since then, it remains one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. It has become a San Francisco icon famed for its 21-day-aged prime rib.
This 70-year-old House of Prime Rib offers only one thing: roast prime rib, and it does it really well. Meat temperature, cut thickness, mashed or loaded baked potatoes, and martini or Manhattan are the only options. Each plate includes a salad, creamed spinach, Yorkshire pudding, and potatoes, as well as a massive chunk of meat from the meat carts.
Californios is a restaurant for Mexican lovers. The place is known for its innovative tasting menus and variety of wines ensured in a luxurious yet cozy interior. From the mirrored, unmarked front to the neon art in the lavatory, this Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant is slick but unfussy. The design fits the food. It requires you to splurge on food. The ambience is based on dark walls, dim lighting, and vivid art.
For a view of the open kitchen, sink into the leather banquette or grab a seat at the bar. Expect mouth-watering meals like lobster tacos, and wagyu steak, on Chef Val Cantu’s indulgent 16-course tasting menu, which varies seasonally. Spend a little extra on the beverage pairing, which usually consists of beer, wine, and cider.
Mourad is another Michelin-starred Moroccan restaurant considered one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. The food pays tribute to the past by highlighting the rich and colorful flavors of Morocco and blending them with fresh, local ingredients from Northern California. Located downtown, Mourad is well worth the splurge on food.
Swoon beneath the glistening chandeliers in the elegantly plant-draped dining area. From the warm and polite hosts and service employees to the experienced and enthusiastic wine director Jose Delgado, the service is superb. Start with a bowl of warm, lemon-scented olives from the starter section. For the main courses, get buttery chicken basteeya to large-format la’acha dishes. Finish your meal with the restaurant’s scrumptious desserts.
Nari is a contemporary Thai-Californian restaurant that serves innovative cocktails in a sophisticated setting. Pim Techamuanvivit, the chef/owner, mixes her strong, bright Thai cooking with a decidedly modern Californian perspective. She brings innovation to her menu, such as sliced fresh stone fruit in a Massaman lamb curry. The end result is delectable, tastefully crafted food served in an equally slick environment. Make sure to try their lime-bright mushroom lamb and the earthy Monterey Bay squid mixed with pieces of sticky caramelized pork jowl.
Start with crispy fried veal sweetbreads with tamarind and chilies as a sour and spicy beginning. For the main course, try Monterey Bay squid, and chili-spiced pig jowl with sticky rice served in a banana leaf. Desserts are a must-try. Try the Babin coconut cake, which is covered with long, curled strands of coconut.
10- Del Popolo
Del Popolo has been around in Las Vegas since 2015. It made its way upwards from a mobile pizza kitchen to a permanent pizza purveyor in the city. The restaurant is organized around a kitchen island with green tiles. It has a brick-and-mortar interior in the dining room and a huge wood-fired pizza oven.
Small appetizers such as house-cured king salmon with caper, apple, and horseradish complement current Neapolitan-style pizza staples. The pizza staples, to name a few, are “summer peppers” with cacciovalo and beef salami. The decor, from the black walls to the gallery wall of oil paintings, is also Instagram-worthy.
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