Welcome to our guide to the best restaurants in San Francisco, California! San Francisco is no stranger to some of the best cuisines in the world and is home to some of the country’s best restaurants.
Those looking for a city with many dining options, waterside dining, handcrafted cocktails, stunning Ocean Beach views, and fresh seafood have certainly come to the right place!
We’ll share our top picks for the best restaurants in San Francisco, complete with information on the atmosphere, menu, and views. Whether you’re a local looking for a new spot to try or a visitor seeking the ultimate culinary experience, this guide fully covers you.
Show Table of Contents
- TL;DR: Top Picks by Category
- Best Restaurants in San Francisco, California
- 1. Gary Danko
- 2. Benu
- 3. Atelier Crenn
- 4. State Bird Provisions
- 5. Angler
- 6. Boudin Bakery & Cafe
- 7. Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill
- 8. Boulevard
- 9. Zuni Cafe
- 10. Mourad
- 11. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
- 12. STK Steakhouse
- 13. Sotto Mare
- 14. Brenda’s French Soul Food
- 15. Liholiho Yacht Club
- What famous food is San Francisco known for?
- How many Michelin-star restaurants are in San Francisco?
- Where do famous people eat in San Francisco?
TL;DR: Top Picks by Category
|Best Overall||Atelier Crenn|
|Best in Downtown||Benu|
|Best Fine Dining||Gary Danko|
|Best Casual Dining||Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.|
Best Restaurants in San Francisco, California
1. Gary Danko
Address: 800 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Known for: Fine dining, sustainable seafood with amazing views
Located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, Gary Danko is a fine-dining restaurant that serves dishes ranging from seafood to steaks to vegetarian options. It is known for its impeccable service and has received numerous accolades, including three Michelin stars. This elegant restaurant is run by renowned chef Gary Danko, who specializes in a blend of American and Mediterranean cuisines.
Like any fine restaurant, the menu here changes seasonally, though some constants are available year-round. You’ll find delicacies like Roast Maine Lobster with Potato Purée, Tofu “Scallops” with Soy Ginger Glaze, Herb Crusted Lamb Loin, and so much more. Start your meal with one of their outstanding appetizers like the Seared Ahi Tuna with Avocado or the Beef Tartare.
And, of course, their drink menu is just as tempting! Gary Danko is known for its extensive list of red and white wines, sparkling wines, and champagnes from around the world, and there’s a selection of wines by the glass along with an extensive bottle list.
For dessert, guests can choose from many options, including Warm Louisiana Butter Cake with Roasted Peaches, Cheesecake with Roasted Pineapple, a trio of Crème Brûlée, Apple Strudel, and more. The Baked Chocolate Souflée is a favorite among diners here, but you can’t go wrong with these sweet treats!
For foodies in the city looking for the best restaurants in San Francisco for an elegant night out, a visit to Gary Danko is a must. This world-class restaurant and the fantastic view from its dining room will definitely not disappoint!
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Address: 22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Known for: Upscale restaurant with an innovative menu
In the SoMa neighborhood, Benu is a modernist fine dining restaurant serving a tasting menu featuring a mix of traditional and innovative dishes. The restaurant has received three Michelin stars and has been praised for its creativity and attention to detail.
Benu has been named in many publications, including 10 Restaurants Worth A Plane Ride in the New York Times, given five stars in Forbes Travel Guide, and was named in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2021. This innovative minimalist restaurant features modern American cuisine and an extensive tasting menu.
Benu offers a fixed menu of vegetables, seafood, multiple meat courses, and dessert. Their wine list also features an extensive collection of over 300 selections from France, California, Austria, and Germany. Wines are offered both by the glass and bottle, as well as a selection of sake and beers.
Dinner here will cost a pretty penny (the menu is $375 per person), but if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience while in San Francisco, it’s definitely worth checking this place out. Plan to spend about 3 hours here enjoying your meal and everything Benu has to offer!
Note: Benu offers a fixed menu, so if you have any dietary restrictions, it’s best to call in advance when you make your reservation so that the staff can accommodate your meal according to your needs.
3. Atelier Crenn
Address: 3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123
Known for: French inspired fine-dining
Located in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, Atelier Crenn is a fine dining restaurant that serves a tasting menu featuring French-inspired dishes with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant has received three Michelin stars and has been praised for its artistic presentation and unique flavors.
Atelier Crenn was opened in 2011 by renowned chef Dominique Crenn. Driven by her passion for cuisine and French heritage, Crenn opened the restaurant as an ode to express her appreciation for her home cuisine. Since then, Crenn has received the World’s 50 Best Icon Award and became the first female chef in the U.S. to receive three Michelin stars.
The tasting menu at Atelier Crenn includes an extensive 14-course pescatarian menu in the elegantly decorated Atelier Crenn dining room. The Atelier also offers a seasonal rotating menu.
Reservations here must be made well in advance, and there is often a waitlist, but if you can snag a spot here, you won’t be disappointed!
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4. State Bird Provisions
Address: 1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115
Known for: California-inspired Spanish cuisine, small plates, rapidly rotating menus
Located in the Fillmore District, State Bird Provisions is a creative and innovative restaurant that serves small plates of California-inspired cuisine. It is known for its unique service style, in which dishes are served dim sum style on carts and trays brought to tables.
On the menu at State Bird Provisions, you’ll find unique dishes like fried Brussels sprouts, steamed egg tofu, hog island sweetwater oysters, and pork belly salad. They also offer a collection of breakfast dishes, like avocado-whipped ricotta toast, whole grain-Fiscalini cheddar pancakes, and smoked ham toast.
State Bird Provisions is known for its tasty desserts like lemon cake, shiso rice pudding, and even an egg nog “ice cream sandwich.” Wash your meal down with a delicious drink from their extensive drink menu. Anything from cider, draft beers, tea, sodas, and wines can be found here. The wait staff at State Bird Provisions can help you to choose the perfect drink to pair with your meal if you ask!
A meal at State Bird Provisions is the best choice for those looking for the best restaurants in San Francisco with a unique and creative menu. Be warned; no two meals may be the same, as the menu sees frequent updates!
Address: 132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
Known for: Waterside dining, delicious fresh seafood
If you’re in the mood for some delicious fresh seafood, check out Angler in San Francisco! This beautiful restaurant is known for its fresh and flavorful dishes inspired by the sea. It’s located in the Embarcadero district on San Francisco’s waterfront. Its spectacular food menu and amazing views make this family-owned seafood restaurant one of the best places to eat in SF.
One of the standout items on the lunch menu is the hot-fried Halibut sandwich. It’s filled with succulent halibut meat and served on a buttery, toasty bun. It’s the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy, and you’ll be returning for more.
Another must-try dish is the grilled hand-dived scallop. These babies are packed with chunks of sweet, succulent scallop meat and perfectly grilled. They’re served with tangy tartar sauce that takes them over the top.
The oysters on the half-shell are a great choice. These beauties are shucked to order and served with your favorite sauces and accompaniments, raw or cooked.
And let’s not forget about the drinks! Angler has a great selection of wines to pair with your meal. Their extensive wine collection features selections from California, Europe, and more. Enjoy a glass with your dish, or choose a bottle to share – either way, you can’t go wrong with some white wine and seafood.
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6. Boudin Bakery & Cafe
Address: 4 Embarcadero Center, Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94111 (There are many throughout SF, but this is my fave!)
Known for: Hearty clam chowder in a classic San Francisco sourdough bread bowl
If you’re in the mood for some delicious, hearty comfort food, check out a Boudin Bakery in San Francisco! This iconic chain is known for its delicious sourdough bread and hearty dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. It’s been an SF staple for generations (since 1849, to be exact) and is the perfect place to pop in for a hearty meal in a cozy atmosphere.
This casual food establishment is anything but casual! One of the standout items on the menu is the classic sourdough bread bowl. Choose your soup, stew, or chowder that is perfect for dipping your bread.
I recommend their famous clam chowder, as eating it out of a sourdough bread bowl from Boudin is kind of a San Francisco rite of passage. But whether you go for the famous clam chowder or a unique option like the wild mushroom soup, you won’t be disappointed.
Another must-try is the chicken breast melt. It’s packed with all-natural chicken breast, provolone cheese, and caramelized onions smothered in a rich sriracha sauce on a toasted sourdough baguette. It’s the perfect combination of savory and indulgent, and you’ll be returning for more.
Looking for something lighter? The salad bowls are a great choice. They’re filled with fresh greens, veggies, and toppings and served with a side of delicious sourdough croutons. The chicken Caesar salad and spring salad are my two favorite salad choices here.
And let’s not forget about the desserts! Boudin has a great selection of pastries and sweet treats perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. The white chocolate macadamia cookies are especially popular, and they’re so good that you’ll be tempted to eat more than one!
The hearty dishes and fresh, locally-sourced ingredients will satisfy your appetite. And the broad windows showcase the San Francisco Bay views that are stunning. Plus, you can get Boudin Bakery delivered from their multiple locations!
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7. Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill
Address: 318 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Known for: Fresh seafood offerings with such a magnificent view of the San Francisco Bay
If you’re looking for seriously delicious seafood, check out Betty Lou’s Seafood Grill in San Francisco. This hidden gem is known for its fresh, flavorful dishes that will have you return for more. This full-service restaurant in North Beach is one of the best seafood restaurants in the city, with some of the freshest sustainable seafood you can find in San Francisco.
One of the standout items on the menu is the cioppino. It’s a hearty seafood stew made with fresh fish, shellfish, and vegetables, and all simmered in a delicious tomato broth.
It’s the perfect comfort food for a cold day and warms you up from the inside out. Plus, you can feel good about eating it because it’s practically a seafood buffet in a bowl! Oysters shucked to order are also a crowd favorite, and you can get them served up just the way you choose.
Another must-try dish is the seafood linguine. It’s filled with clams, mussels, prawns, sea scallops, shrimp, and calamari tossed in a creamy sauce and poured over linguine pasta. It’s the ultimate indulgence, and it’ll have you feeling like you’re eating at a fancy seafood shack on the coast.
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Address: 1 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Known for: Locally inspired small plates in a well-preserved historic building
Located on the Embarcadero waterfront, Boulevard is a classic San Francisco restaurant that serves American dishes with a focus on seafood. It is known for its beautiful setting, with views of the Bay Bridge, and has received numerous accolades, including a Michelin star. This unique restaurant is inside the historic Audiffred building and provides North American fare by chef Nancy Oakes.
A walk through this restaurant is like a walk back in time with its 1920s-style feel, mosaic floors, and Belle Époque decor. The menu is designed to cater to every type of foodie, with a selection of meats, seafood, veggie dishes, and more. Start your meal with the Ahi tuna carpaccio or Spanish octopus before moving on to a main course.
Boulevard offers dishes like Northern Halibut with roasted lemon potato puree, Berkshire Pork Chops with yam fritters, and walnut relish. Meat eaters will love the rack of lamb or the Angus beef filet. You can’t go wrong with any of the delicious dishes they offer!
When it comes to dessert, this place knows what they’re doing. Try the Negroni fruit cup for a fruity sweet treat with a unique twist. It’s a blood orange sorbet with coconut yogurt, winter citrus, and caramel.
The sticky toffee pudding and mountain rose apple cheesecake are winners as well. Man, I’m drooling just thinking about it!
9. Zuni Cafe
Address: 1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Known for: Michelin-starred dishes at affordable prices, frequently updated menus
Zuni Cafe is known for its bustling atmosphere in the Civic Center neighborhood. It’s been around since 1979 and has received numerous accolades, including a Michelin star. This bi-level bistro offers hearty dishes in a cozy yet chic atmosphere.
This popular San Francisco restaurant is known for wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and meats. The dinner menu at Zuni highlights dishes like grilled Mahi Mahi, simmered Rockfish and Manila clams, braised pork, and more.
The plates here are creatively crafted for the perfect blend of flavors in each bite. There’s a great amount of variety on the menu while not being too overwhelming with choices simultaneously. Not only that, the menu is frequently updated, so you can enjoy new creations on return visits.
And, of course, there’s also a great selection of drinks here at Zuni Cafe. Their Fever-Tree Ginger Beer is a fan favorite, but they have a selection of beers, juices, sodas, and aperitifs. Zuni Cafe is perfect for those who want to try something new and enjoy Michelin-level dining at relatively affordable prices.
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Address: 140 New Montgomery St #1, San Francisco, CA 94105
Known for: Authentic Moroccan cuisine near Ocean Beach, and awesome seasonal menus
Have you ever had seriously delicious Moroccan food? Check out Mourad in San Francisco. This popular spot is known for its fresh, flavorful dishes inspired by traditional Moroccan cuisine.
One of the standout items I tried on the menu is the lamb tagine. It’s a slow-cooked stew filled with tender lamb, vegetables, and a rich, flavorful broth. It’s the perfect comfort food for a cold day, and it’ll transport you straight to the streets of Morocco with its bold, aromatic flavors. It’s not on the current menu, but the chicken tagine is likely just as sumptuous.
Another must-try is their couscous, which pairs perfectly with various meats and vegetables. It’s the perfect combination of savory and satisfying, and you’ll be returning for more.
For lighter fares, their starter menu offers small plates and dips, like caviar, olives, and tartare. It’s perfect for sharing, and it’ll give you a taste of all the fantastic flavors that Morocco has to offer. Mourad also has a great selection of cocktails, wines, and beers to pair with your meal.
11. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Address: Pier 39 Box M-211, San Francisco, CA 94133
Known for: Family-friendly waterfront restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf
This famous seafood restaurant chain is inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump.” The San Francisco location, which is located in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, is known for its fun and casual atmosphere, as well as its wide variety of seafood dishes, including shrimp, crab, and oysters.
One thing that sets Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. apart from other seafood restaurants is its extensive menu, which features dishes that are inspired by the movie, such as the “Bubba Gump Shrimp Platter” and the “Forrest Gump’s Mama’s Fried Green Tomatoes.”
The restaurant also has a selection of non-seafood dishes, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads, making it a great option for diners who may not be as fond of seafood. This popular restaurant also offers a collection of beers, wines, handcrafted cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks.
The best part about eating at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co? The trivia! You can play trivia with your server throughout your meal and answer questions about the Forest Gump movie. Test your knowledge of this iconic film while enjoying some dishes inspired by the film.
This one is one of my favorites regarding family restaurants in San Francisco. The bustling atmosphere, welcoming wait staff, and heated outdoor patio make it a great place to dine with family or friends. And the nearby fabulous bay views create an excellent atmosphere for a meal!
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12. STK Steakhouse
Address: 1 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Known for: Steak cuts and sustainable seafood in an upscale dining room
STK is a modern steakhouse that is known for its sleek and sophisticated atmosphere, as well as its high-quality steaks and other meat dishes. The San Francisco location, which is located in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, is known for its chic decor and vibrant nightlife scene.
In addition to its steaks, STK is known for its creative cocktails and extensive wine list, making it a great choice for a special occasion or a night out with friends. The restaurant also has non-meat options, including seafood, chicken, and vegetarian dishes, making it a great option for diners with different dietary preferences.
Jumbo crab cakes, tuna tartare, Maine lobster linguine, and Japanese wagyu steaks are some of the many delicious offerings on the menu. I highly recommend the Miso Glazed Sea Bass or the Roasted Lamb Rack for a delectable experience.
Add a side of crispy Brussels sprouts, bacon mac & cheese, or a lobster tail to make it a surf and turf meal! This place is perfect and definitely worth a trip while in the city.
STK Steakhouse is one of the best restaurants for those looking for a chic and upscale dining experience in San Francisco. The dishes are a little pricey, but with their fresh ingredients, attention to detail on every plate, and attentive wait staff, it truly is worth the cost. Alternatively, you can have a slightly less upscale experience, and just the excellent food by ordering STK Steakhouse delivered to your door.
13. Sotto Mare
Address: 552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Known for: Authentic Italian food and fresh seafood offerings in North Beach
Sotto Mare is a family-owned seafood restaurant located in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. It is known for its delicious and fresh seafood offerings, as well as its cozy and casual atmosphere.
One thing that sets Sotto Mare apart from other seafood restaurants is its focus on traditional Italian dishes, such as cioppino (a seafood stew) and calamari fritti (fried squid). The restaurant also has other seafood options, including an oyster bar, clams, and mussels. This place offers some of the freshest sustainable seafood in the city!
Start your meal with a bowl of fresh clam chowder before indulging in a plate of lobster ravioli or sauteed prawns. The seafood risotto or smoked salmon fettuccine are also excellent choices! Sotto Mare is a seafood heaven and the perfect place for those who are fans of fresh seafood and Italian cuisine. This restaurant has no non-seafood options on the menu, so be sure to keep that in mind if you’re not a fan of seafood.
Sotto Mare is a superb option due to its friendly atmosphere, which makes it an excellent spot for a casual dinner with friends or a romantic date. It’s also a good call on a day of self-appreciation – you can get Sotto Mare delivered.
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14. Brenda’s French Soul Food
Address: 652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Known for: New Orleans-style Creole cuisine
Brenda’s French Soul Food is a popular restaurant in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. They serve brunches, lunches, and dinners, and Brenda’s is known for its delicious and hearty Creole-inspired dishes, as well as its lively and casual atmosphere. Step right into the heart of Louisiana in this eclectic New Orleans-style restaurant!
One thing that sets Brenda’s apart from other restaurants is its unique blend of French and Southern cuisines. The menu features creative cuisine, including seafood deviled eggs, gumbo, jambalaya, and fried chicken, as well as classic French dishes like croque monsieur and beignets.
Red beans and rice, shrimp, grits with spicy tomato bacon gravy, and hushpuppies are some of the tasty options on their extensive menu. I appreciated the vegetarian and vegan options, which can be hard to find in a soul food spot.
15. Liholiho Yacht Club
Address: 871 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Known for: Hawaiian-style seafood and small plates
Looking for a unique San Francisco restaurant experience? Have you heard of Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco? This cool and trendy restaurant is located in the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood.
They’re known for their Hawaiian-inspired dishes and their fun and laid-back atmosphere. This casual, brick-walled eatery is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal in the heart of San Francisco.
One thing that sets Liholiho Yacht Club apart from other restaurants is its focus on bold and innovative flavors. Its menu offerings range from poke bowls and spam musubi to swordfish katsu and grass-fed ribeye. They also have a great selection of hand-crafted cocktails and an impressive wine list so that you can enjoy a complete dining experience.
The restaurant itself is fabulous, too. It has a laid-back, beachy vibe with colorful and funky decor. It’s an excellent spot for a casual dinner with friends or a date night. For a funky and unique experience, I recommend checking out Liholiho Yacht Club. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is fun, and it’s a unique dining experience.
What famous food is San Francisco known for?
San Francisco is known for its iconic dish, the sourdough bread. This culinary tradition dates back to the Gold Rush era. Today, bakeries like Boudin Bakery are famous for it. In addition to sourdough, the city is also renowned for its fresh Dungeness crab and clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.
How many Michelin-star restaurants are in San Francisco?
San Francisco boasts a rich dining scene with numerous Michelin-starred establishments. The city has over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants, including several with a prestigious three-star rating, such as Benu and Atelier Crenn. This vibrant culinary scene reflects the city’s diverse cultural influences and commitment to quality.
Where do famous people eat in San Francisco?
Famous people often dine at upscale establishments in San Francisco, such as the aforementioned Michelin-starred restaurants. For example, Gary Danko, renowned for its exceptional service and contemporary cuisine, is a known celebrity hotspot. Likewise, The Slanted Door, offering modern Vietnamese cooking, is popular among well-known faces due to its unique fusion dishes and stunning Bay views.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.