San Francisco is one of my favorite cities for foodies. It has amazing seafood, California cuisine, Mexican and other diverse options. Below, find some of our favorite restaurants when we’re in the city. For your plans — most require reservations.
Leo’s Oyster Bar in the Financial District is toward the tippy top of my dining list. The decor to Leo’s is truly spectacular. Think palm-tree printed wallpaper with dripping chandeliers and gold touches throughout. It’s guaranteed to produce the most perfect Instagram post because each place you turn is super cute and harkens back to a different decade.
We recently had dinner at Leo’s and the oysters are the shining stars on the menu, but the crab and lobster cake with bacon was one of our favorite items, and the shrimp cocktail and tea leaf salad was awesome, too. For drinks — trying the “lunch” martini with picked vegetables. Reservations are a must.
Flores: This Marina District Mexican restaurant is equal parts buzzy and delicious. It is also a stark reminder that California Mexican food is infinitely better than New York Mexican. We ate guacamole, halibut ceviche, carne aside and carnitas, all family style, while sipping on spicy skinny margaritas. Would totally recommend it to readers, as the food is packed with flavor and they have lot of options that are low-carb, high-protein. The decor is also really fun and we liked the lively vibe.
Foreign Cinema: This hotspot in the Mission is a great place for dinner or brunch. It’s indoor-outdoor and features a giant movie screen that plays old films nightly while you eat. The menu has a great raw bar selection and lot of shareable, as well as local California favorites and touches, so the produce that goes alongside the main entrees are really on point.
State Bird Provisions: I fell in love with the really unique concept of State Bird Provisions. This restaurant has a steady menu of offerings, but a word in advance: only order two items from that menu. The real appeal of State Bird is that servers roll around carts of different dishes that you can choose from to build your meal. While we were there, we picked a ton of items from the carts including: oysters, chips and dip, meatballs, pork belly, burrata and other small dishes. The desserts are killer We got a half piece of the rosemary ice cream sandwich and another half piece of carrot almond cake, that way we were able to try both.
The vibe of the restaurant is cool and has a hint of vintage to it. It’s like a high-end restaurant meets a 50’s cafeteria, but somehow it works.
Locanda: This Mission spot is low-key and unassuming, but the food is anything but. We went here for brunch last Sunday and had a great meal of a breakfast panino, scrambled eggs with the most amazing spicy tomato sauce, hash browns and bacon. We also had pizza bianca with jam. Just typing this is making me want to diet. The Mission area is up and coming, so if you want an excuse to walk around the Mission, Locanda is definitely worthy of that.
Al’s Place: This Mission District restaurant serves out the most delicious food in the most unpretentious of settings. You’ll find no white tablecloths at this Michelin-starred restaurant, but you will find a nightly musical director, really cool decor and the most delectable plates of food.
The vegetables shine at Al’s, which was a turn off for me at first, but it really works. We went as a group of four, so we picked a ton of plates to share so that we could really get a taste. Some of the highlights included: mushroom chawanmushi, brine pickled french fries, squash bouillabaisse, black lime cod with sunchoke curry, duck with peach sauce, etc. All in all, I think we sampled 12 different plates, and each was miraculously better than the one preceding it.
Each dish was so different and packed in a ton of flavor. We had a few fish and meat dishes, but the vegetables really were great enough to comprise of an entire meal on their own. I can confidently say this is my favorite restaurant in San Francisco having finally eaten here.