With so much choice when it comes to dining options in San Francisco it’s a difficult job to know where to start. With a mixture of research and wandering into places we liked the look of, we managed to have some great meals.
- John’s Grill
Situated on Ellis Street right in the heart of Union Square – this steakhouse is where we ate on our first night in San Francisco. Be warned – don’t go to John’s Grill if you want a quiet, romantic date night or a night of intimate conversation.
It is a busy, very noisy bustling place but that’s all part of its charm. The steak is phenomenal and we all agreed it was up there with one of the best steaks we’ve ever had. There seemed to be a real mix of tourists and locals which is always a good sign.
We shared a bottle of Californian white wine and followed with the Filet Mignon with a side of peppercorn sauce. The steaks were cooked to perfection and served with seasonal vegetables and baked Idaho potato.
Make sure you make a reservation as this place was super busy on a weeknight.
63 Ellis Street
2. Mr Holmes Bakehouse
Mr Holmes’s Bakehouse came highly recommended for its pastries, donuts and cruffins. The cruffins don’t come out until 9am so make sure you time your visit properly if you want to try this muffin/croissant hybrid.
If walking there from Union Square just be careful that Google Maps doesn’t take you through the Tenderloin area of the city – this is an area to be avoided at all times. We were fine in the end but it was a very uncomfortable walk with plenty of things shouted at us on the way from the large homeless population who inhabit the area.
I had the donut with a raspberry centre and it was seriously good.
Mr Holmes Bakehouse
1042 Larkin Street
3. Boudin Bakery
The home of San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread, Boudin Bakery is the home of the famous clam chowder in a bread bowl. From the front window you can watch the bakers at work and there are two areas in which to eat including a more casual cafeteria type restaurant on the ground floor. With much more space and great views we decided to sit upstairs in the bistro section.
Fisherman’s Wharf has fantastic views and a plethora of great restaurants.
Not a huge fan of clams I went for the Baked Artisan Goat Cheese with pesto, garlic roasted tomatoes and that famous toasted sourdough bread.
We also got the Mussels Marniere with garlic, white wine and sourdough and the Classic Chicken Club with grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, basil mayonnaise and french fries. It was all seriously good.
4. Z & Y Restaurant
As one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns outside of China, we had to sample some of San Francisco’s excellent Chinese food.
A well known Chinese restaurant in the area, Z & Y is a Michelin 2018 Bib Gourmand Restaurant and was featured in the Top 100 Restaurants list.
We feasted on Egg Rolls, Steamed Pork Dumplings and the Tea Smoked Duck. Be prepared to put your name down on a list at the door and wait but it is a quick turnaround time. You also have the option of sharing a table with others if you want a more social occasion.
Z & Y Restaurant
655 Jackson Street
5. Lori’s Diner
When in America, we wanted to experience a quintessential American diner. I had seen great reviews online for Lori’s which was really close to our hotel in Union Square. Styled like a traditional 1950s diner, we were led to a red leather booth and perused the menu while we looked around at all the kitsch decor such as the jukebox and the Chevy Bel Air.
We had the blueberry pancakes, the strawberry short stack pancakes and eggs with bacon, hash browns and toast.
500 Sutter Street
6. Wines of California Wine Bar
After having a big diner breakfast and a full morning exploring Alcatraz, we wandered over to Fisherman’s Wharf and stumbled upon this cute little winebar with outdoor seating.
Featuring wines from all over California it seemed the perfect place for a glass of wine and a light bite.
We ordered two of the Edna Valley Rose and a glass of sparkling wine. Sitting in the sun sipping our wine was idyllic and we looked forward to the Delicatessen Plate arriving which included prosciutto, local salami, three cheeses, olives and sea salted mixed nuts. We also ordered the prosciutto and brie sandwich which came on a fresh, crusty baguette.
Wines of California Wine Bar
7. North Beach Restaurant
North Beach is the place to go for Italian food in San Francisco. One of the most well established and oldest restaurants there is North Beach Restaurant. Open since 1970 waiters are dressed in black suits and the decoration of the restaurant is Tuscan in style.
I couldn’t go past the lasagne and it was executed to perfection swimming in a rich bechamel and tomato sauce.
North Beach Restaurant
1512 Stockton Street
8. Mo’z Cafe
For our final breakfast in San Francisco before picking up our rental car and heading to Monterey we wanted a quick, casual breakfast.
There are two Mo’z locations and we went to the one on 5th Street. The final of the world cup was showing while we were there and they had a screen set up which made for a really fun atmosphere while we were having breakfast.
I had a bagel with cream cheese and it was exactly what I wanted.
36 5th Street
So those are my recommendations for eating out in San Francisco. Feel free to leave any recommendations in the comments as I’d love to try them on my next visit.