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The Tailor-Made Guide to Our Favourite Restaurants in San Francisco


**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**

Author: Barry Pickard

San Francisco has a world-renowned restaurant scene, so we were looking forward to experiencing some great meals, and we were not left disappointed. The city has a number of fine dining options as well as hundreds of excellent casual dining restaurants throughout.

San Francisco does have a reputation for being expensive, and we did find this to be the case. However, we usually found that the quality of the meals more or less justified the price. The exchange rate from pound sterling to dollar was probably not in our favour either, but we’d have to say that compared to other US cities, the food was comparatively more costly.

Bar Crudo, San Francisco
Bar Crudo

We would not consider ourselves at Tailor-Made Itineraries to be expert food reviewers, however, we hope to give you an idea of our favourite places to dine at when you visit this amazing city, and perhaps provide some inspiration for you.


Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting any of these restaurants appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the delicious food of San Francisco.



Lokma


So good we went back twice! This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in the Richmond District served up simply the best Wild Alaskan Halibut (served with pearl couscous salad & mashed potatoes). Lokma's Manti (Turkish dumplings) and Lamb Loin Chops (with a pomegranate glaze on an aubergine puree) were amazing too, with the Baklava being a perfect way to round the meal off.


The restaurant is small, but outside seating has been added. Still, it is strongly recommended that you make a reservation. The restaurant doesn’t have its own parking, and street parking can be quite difficult, so make sure to get their early to find a space.




Palette


Palette has a "Cal Coastal" cuisine philosophy focusing on the best fish and local vegetables. The service is also immaculate, and we were made to feel like VIP guests (many thanks go to Avery, who made sure our culinary experience was the best).



For our main course, we had Seared Bay Halibut (with butter bean puree, fennel, cured black olive and smoked fish nage) and Miso Glazed Black Cod (with kombu ‘papillote’, sake beurre blanc, scallion and sushi rice). Wow! All complimented by wonderful cocktails.




Bar Crudo


Bar Crudo is a hip, casual seafood restaurant known for its raw-bar menu, chowder & long beer list. Handily located near Alamo Square and the Painted Ladies, Bar Crudo’s seafood did not disappoint. The restaurant has a great selection of oysters, and we chose to go with the local Marin Miyagi Oysters, which were excellent. Main course was Halibut (with pineapple vanilla vinaigrette, charred pineapple, freshno chilis and chive – great flavours, but best chosen for a light meal) and Crispy Cod Tacos (with avocado, achiote and soft-shelled crab).



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Boudin Bakery & Café


Internationally famous for its sourdough bread, the Boudin Bakery has been a mainstay in San Francisco since 1849. In fact, it is recognized as the city’s "oldest continually operating business". The bakery on Jefferson Street has a large café, and its signature dish is its clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl. Both the soup and the bread were delicious and a must-have when visiting Fisherman’s Wharf.




Yummy Yummy


Don’t be put off by this restaurant’s name - Yummy Yummy is a serious, but no-frills Vietnamese eatery, and very popular with the locals. Located on Irving Street, it is just a ten-minute walk from the California Academy of Sciences and many of the other attractions in Golden Gate Park. Portion sizes are very generous.



R&G Lounge


So, when you visit Chinatown, you obviously need to try one of the restaurants in this famous neighbourhood. After reading various reviews of Chinatown’s restaurants, R&G Lounge was consistently held in high regard, and it turned out that the praise of this Cantonese joint was well founded. We tried their speciality – the Chicken Breast Fillet, deep fried, with lemon sauce – and it was superb. We also found that meal was relatively inexpensive, making it possibly the best value meal we had all trip.



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Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant


Just a couple of minutes' walk from the iconic Dutch Windmill, The Beach Chalet has been a popular restaurant for many years. The upstairs lounge with amazing views over Ocean Beach books out quickly (so make sure you reserve a table), but the restaurant has also extended out the back of the building and we found it much easier to get a table in this beautiful conservatory.


For my starter, I chose the Oyster Po’boy Slider. This was very tasty, although I quickly realised that I could have probably had this for my main course, as it was very filling. As it was, we also had the Fish Tacos and the Battered Fish & Chips.



Also of note, is the Beach Chalet’s beer – it has an excellent brewery on site, as well as the historic murals that adorn the reception area.




Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar, Fairmont San Francisco


After a visit to Grace Cathedral and the neighbouring Huntington Park, we were a little at a loss as to where to go for lunch. Options seemed to be limited in this part of Nob Hill, but we checked out the luxurious Fairmont San Francisco, which was opposite the cathedral, and were delighted to discover the Laurel Court Restaurant just off the reception. It was a great find and not as expensive as you would think. The lunch menu was no frills, but if their Cheeseburger and Salmon Club are anything to go by, they have taken these basic dishes and really raised the bar on them.



Perilla


Perilla is another excellent Vietnamese restaurant on Irving Street, just off of Golden Gate Park.



The Grubstake Diner


San Francisco isn’t known for its afterhours establishments, whether they be bars, clubs or restaurants, but The Grubstake Diner is a great exception to this rule. Open till either 3 or 4 in the morning, this well-established diner serves up the perfect balance to a night on the town! As an added bonus, part of the diner is an old train car, and you can sit in this while having your meal!




Roma Antica


After a busy day of exploring the Presidio, a meal at the nearby Roma Antica is very welcome. As the name suggests, this is a modern Italian eatery, and we really enjoyed their Lasagna and Saltimbocca alla Romana. Their bread was also to die for! They don't accept reservations and it is relatively small, so get there early!



Hook Fish Co.


Coming from the UK, we are tasting experts of ‘fish & chip’ shops, but to say that Hook Fish Co. is on another level entirely, is no exaggeration. Within a five-minute walk of our accommodation in Outer Sunset, the queues for this popular fast-food joint are testament to its quality seafood.



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Gott’s Roadside


Another exemplary fast-food joint is Gott’s Roadside. The branch we visited was situated within the bustling SF Ferry Building. Their burgers were gourmet and could have graced any restaurant. Gott’s also sell alcohol, which was a novelty for us visiting a fast-food restaurant!




Celia’s by the Beach


Another Outer Sunset spot that we frequented was the excellent Mexican restaurant of Celia’s by the Beach. Prepare to walk away with a very full belly after enjoying their ample plates of comfort food.



Magnolia Brewing, Haight


Located in the center of the Haight-Ashbury area, Magnolia is not only a brewery, but serves an excellent range of pub food, which ideally complements their tasty beers.


The building itself has an interesting history, starting off as a pharmacy, before turning into the Drugstore Café in 1964, becoming one of the original hippie hangouts in Haight Ashbury. A few years later it became the famous Magnolia Thunderpussy’s, named after its proprietor, a larger-than-life legend still talked about today.



Where to Stay in San Francisco


As befits a world-famous destination, San Francisco has a wide range of hotels to cater for all tastes and needs. Travellers should note, however, that hotels here tend to be more expensive than other US cities. There are some budget hotels in the Tenderloin area, but I would advise against staying there.


Luxury Icons: For travellers seeking opulence, there are plenty of grand establishments that blend historic charm with modern amenities. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to stay the night, I enjoyed a lovely lunch Fairmont San Francisco and a drink in their iconic Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar.



Other excellent hotel options would be Hotel Adagio, Autograph Collection and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA.


Boutique Gems: San Francisco boasts a variety of boutique hotels, such as the historic Victorian charm of Queen Anne, or the modern quirkiness of the Staypineapple.


Family Fun: As for families, they are also well catered for, especially around Fisherman’s Wharf, with the likes of the Hotel Zephyr and the Argonaut.


Conclusion


San Francisco may be well known by travellers for sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, but the city’s restaurants are definitely an attraction in themselves. After a little research picking the appropriate restaurant, anyone’s San Franciscan itinerary can be elevated to the status of a legendary trip.



Related Blog Posts

If you are interested in finding out more about San Francisco, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:


Comment below and let us know what was your favourite restaurant in San Francisco.


Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting any of these restaurants appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the delicious food of San Francisco.


Join me next time when I report on my top 21 instagram-worthy locations in San Francisco to visit. Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.

Barry

Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travellers.

These self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.