Compell'd

SF must eat for first timers

I’ve spent almost 20 years eating and critiquing the SF food scene, through the ramen, burger, pricey toast, mescal, and seared ahi tuna fads.

Here are the places that have stood the test of time and embody some unique aspects of SF. I recommend trying all of these; think of it like a scavenger hunt.

Author

With Coffee

B. Patisserie

This place singlehandedly brought kouign-amann’s into the national awareness. This bakery serves outstanding pastries and bread, with…

Golden Gate Bakery

$ - Yes the egg tarts here are better than anyone else's. The pastry is perfectly flaky, the custard light yet firm and everything is oh…

Bob's Donuts and Pastries

$ - Classic. Cake. Donuts. Glazed old fashioned. Plain old fashioned. Crumb. Apple fritter. It's open 24 hours and expect to wait in…

Dynamo Donut & Coffee

$ - Save room for these artisinal donuts. They are on the opposite side of the donut spectrum from Bob's, but just as satisfying. Their…

Includes Coffee And More

Plow

Truly a pillar of San Francisco brunch, this place satisfies every single time. Everything on the menu is good and deserves to be ordered.…

Foreign Cinema

Best sophisticated brunch ambiance in SF. There are better alternatives if you seek “bottomless” anything or easy walk-ins. But if you…

Zazie

Zazie embodies the quaint neighborhood brunch spot with outstanding dishes up satisfy every palate. For sure a locals spot.

Lunch

Señor Sisig - Restaurant

$ - my mouth waters just writing about this Filipino-style burrito. Taking a bold step and improving on the Mission burrito, Sisig proves…

Yank Sing (Rincon)

$$ - This is the most authentic Hong Kong dim sum place in the city, not to mention the most well run with attentive service. Prices are…

RT Rotisserie

$ - Have you heard of rotisserie cauliflower before? I hadn't, but now I crave it. RT delivers beautifully roasted chicken, pork, lamb, as…

Deli Board

$ - If you like sandwiches, go here. If you like meat in your sandwiches, run here. If you like pastrami and cheese and peppers and fresh…

Dinner

Californios

$$$$ - This is how you take Mexican to the next level! Californios consistently serves up some of the most inventive cuisine in SF. Snag a…

La Ciccia

$$$ - The best Italian is not in North Beach but in the quiet family neighborhood of Noe Valley. It is Sardinian cuisine so it brings a…

Atelier Crenn

$$$$ - Outstanding fine dining, the tasting menu really stands out. Got their third Michelin star recently so reservations will take a bit…

House of Prime Rib

$$$ - This is *that* place, which exists in every city. Stuck in a time warp, service that is a little campy, but absolutely nails the…

Nopa

$$$ - Whether it’s brunch, lunch, or dinner, Nopa’s got it all. The menu changes regularly, but the burger and the cocktails are alaways…

El Farolito

$ - This is a quintessential SF establishment, in the gritty heart of the Mission. Make sure that you go on an empty stomach and get a…

La Taqueria

$ - One of the 2 pillars of Mission burrito scene, La Taqueria is just plain delicious. The classic is the carnitas burrito, which you…

Mister Jiu's

$$$ - I’ve never recommended a fusion Chinese place until this. Excellent take on a lot of classics, paired with a top notch bar program…

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