Situated in the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf and helmed by acclaimed American chef Gary Danko, this place has become somewhat of a San Francisco institution. Famed for the chef’s impeccable take on classic cuisine, this one-Michelin-star fine dining establishment offers timeless dishes, like herb-crusted loin of lamb, roast Maine lobster (below) and roasted stuffed quail.
There are 3-, 4- and 5-course menu options available, starting from US$87 (S$122). For a more exclusive and intimate dining experience, there’s even a private dining room that can accommodate up to 10 guests.
800 North Point St
Perfectly fusing rustic Mediterranean charm with an undeniably elegant atmosphere, this longtime San Fran favourite, awarded a Bib Gourmand, offers diners classic Greek dishes, like avgolemono, souvlaki and moussaka.
Adding to Kokkari’s enduring appeal are the large and inviting fireplace, remarkable handmade pottery and the always fresh flower displays.
200 Jackson St
There’s no way you’ll leave this unique dining experience unsatisfied. Departing from the conventional restaurant experience, diners enjoy delicious, fresh seafood prepared by a former fishmonger turned chef in an exclusive location.
This communal dining experience has in fact received the highest rating on TripAdvisor, beating more than 4,000 other restaurants in the city. Clearly, they’re doing something right!
Make sure to reserve your spot at least 48 hours in advance.
188 King St, Unit PH7
4. China Live
In the bustling heart of San Fran’s famous Chinatown, you’ll find a vast restaurant and retail space that offers guests a wide array of Chinese feasting options.
The Market Restaurant showcases a seasonal menu of Chinese classics, often with a slight Western twist. An exciting and impressive feature of the restaurant is the traditional Chinese earthen oven that really adds an authentic feel to the China Live dining experience.
We also love the extensive selection of teas in the counter-service Oolong Cafe that have been specially imported from the China.
Serving excellent Mexican-inspired fare, the one-Michelin-starred Californios is an award-winning eatery that opens for dinner only and prides itself on presenting fresh and flavoursome food using only the best ingredients.
The ever-changing 12- to 16-course menu delights diners Tuesdays through Saturdays and starts at US$157 per person. Drink-pairing options are also available and highly recommended.
3115 22nd St
6. La Taqueria
The Mission District is well known for the many taco-serving eateries that call this neighbourhood home. And when it comes to traditional Mexican staples like burritos and tacos, there’s simply no competing with 24th Street’s famous and wildly popular La Taqueria.
Having opened its doors almost 3 decades ago, this no-frills Mexican diner is another San Fran institution that should definitely be added to the itinerary of any Mexican-cuisine-loving traveller.
2889 Mission St
Led by a husband and wife duo, one-Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions provides patrons with a true Californian dining experience like no other.
Born out of the owners’ passion for serving quail, the restaurant dishes up some really exciting dining options, including smoked trout-avocado ‘chip & dip’, guinea hen dumpling with an aromatic broth and a wide range of toasts and pancakes with a variety of delectable toppings. For a substantial main meal, the CA state bird with provisions is the signature dish and a must-try item from the well-put-together menu.
Though securing a reservation at this beloved San Fran spot may require a little effort, it’ll be worth it and you won’t leave this place disappointed.
1529 Fillmore St
Brave the long queues at this renowned trattoria that serves up an unrivalled selection of pizzas (including traditional Naples-style, Classic American and even gluten free) as well as a host of other Italian classics, like lasagna and calzone.
Founded by award-winning world pizza champion, Tony Gemignani – in 2016, he won the Pizza In Pala division at the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy – Tony’s Pizza Napoletana attracts hordes of pizza-lovers and serves up arguably the best pizza outside of its Neapolitan birthplace.
1570 Stockton St
If Benu’s phenomenal 3-Michelin-star rating isn’t enough to persuade you to book a table at this extraordinary East-meets-West fine dining establishment, a quick perusal of the menu should do the trick.
Internationally lauded chef Corey Lee has masterfully blended his Korean heritage with his French training to create a truly singular menu and dining experience. Items like the barbecued quail and sea of okhotsk sea cucumber with lobster and fermented pepper (below) are signature dishes that your taste buds will not soon forget.
22 Hawthorne St
10. Seven Hills
Another Italian foodie favourite that has received rave reviews – and an impressive 4th place TripAdvisor rating – Seven Hills is a down-to-earth restaurant that focuses on serving genuine Italian fare using only the freshest ingredients, locally sourced and organic where possible.
From exquisite antipasti to the homemade pasta and fresh market fish, eating at Seven Hills will feel like you’re enjoying a heavenly meal handmade in an authentic Italian kitchen by grandma herself.
1550 Hyde St
If freshly baked goods and typical cafe victuals are what you’re looking for in order to fuel your San Fran adventures, then a visit to this highly favoured spot is in order.
Serving crowd-pleasing pastries, cakes, tarts and sandwiches, Tartine Bakery & Cafe is another one of those San Francisco staples that draw seemingly endless lines of eager and hungry patrons. Don’t let the long lines deter you, however, the wait will definitely be worthwhile.
600 Guerrero St
For a somewhat more unconventional gustatory adventure, the Bib Gourmand-rated 1601 Bar & Kitchen dishing up contemporary Sri Lankan cuisine should certainly be added to your culinary tour through the City by the Bay.
Though Sri Lankan food may not be as familiar as other international cuisines, any meal enjoyed off 1601 Bar & Kitchen’s vibrant and flavourful menu will no doubt go down as one of your best San Fran foodie exploits.
Order the US$99 per person Chef’s Tasting Menu to sample some of the wonderfully unexpected items to come out of chef Brian Fernando’s kitchen, with the traditional egg hopper, Jidori egg and sambols (above) being firm favourites.
1601 Howard St
13. Rich Table
Boasting an innovative and always gratifying menu, Bib Gourmand-rated Rich Table has taken New American cuisine to the next level. The dried porcini donuts, sardine chips served with horseradish creme fraiche and dry-aged ribeye with Eastern Carolina BBQ condiments will definitely hit the spot; though, truth be told, anything off the celebrated menu will do the same. This is another restaurant that requires booking in advance so plan accordingly next time you’re San Francisco bound.
199 Gough St at Oak
– TEXT BY SAUL LIPCHIK
PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM, CHINA LIVE FACEBOOK, THE BIMINI TWIST FACEBOOK, STATE BIRD PROVISIONS FACEBOOK, TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA FACEBOOK, 1601 BAR AND KITCHEN FACEBOOK, RICH TABLE SAN FRANCISCO FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.