San Francisco is truly a gastronomic heaven. Be it Japanese, Chinese or French patisseries and desserts, they have the best here in San Francisco to satisfy your taste buds. And thanks to the myriad of Asians that flock the land, San Francisco is home to some of the best Asian delights here in the States. It is no wonder why restaurants are one of San Francisco’s main attractions, drawing people not only from the Bay Area, but from all over the world.
Here is a list of restaurants and bakeries that you can visit during your gastronomic adventure in San Francisco.
If you are planning a trip there, also read my post on 5 Things to Do in San Francisco.
Right in the corner of Inner Sunset neighborhood, a traditional Japanese food soars at Izakaya Sozai. There must be something seductive about its big plate-glass windows that almost reach the sidewalk, because seated inside on the wooden banquettes are all engaged diners and waiting outside for a place in the 40-seat dining room are eager eaters. The most exciting dishes on the menu are small plates that are the most traditionally Japanese. On top of that, they also have daily specials that you can read from the blackboards.
1500 Irving St (between 17th Ave and 16th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94122
Tel: (415) 742 5122
Wed to Thu & Sun: 5:30pm – 10pm
Fri to Sat: 5:30pm – 11pm
Sophie’s Crepe is tucked in the corner of the shopping centre in Japantown. It is not hard to find because this place is always crowded with people, especially college students and young adults. They serve French crepe but are done in Japanese style. Their crepe has a really smooth texture and the right amount of sweetness and butter taste. The fillings and toppings are what make the crepe “Japanese” – azuki beans, green tea ice cream, red bean syrup, etc. The crepe is rolled up into a cone (which makes it easy to eat on-the-go) and a generous amount of all-things-sweet is topped on it.
1581 Webster St (between Geary Blvd & Post St)
San Francisco, CA 94 115
Tel: (415) 929 7732
Tue to Thu: Sun 11am – 9pm
Fri to Sat: 12pm-10pm
Simply a chocolate heaven! Ghirardelli is a famous local chocolate brand in San Francisco. Situated right next to the Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square is like a chocolate playground where you can tour their chocolate factory, sample their chocolates, shop for pounds of chocolate bars for your friends back home, and order their special chocolate creations for that sinful indulgence at their café. Life is always great with chocolates.
900 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel: (415) 775 5500
Mon to Thu: 10am – 6pm
Fri to Sat: 10am – 9pm
Sun: 11am – 6pm
The Buena Vista
Located at a historic old building at the end of the Hyde Street cable car line, The Buena Vista is always packed with people who are there for its famous Irish Coffee. This place is oozing with nostalgia and is no wonder that it is a prime spot for both tourists and locals alike. Besides their addictive alcoholic coffee, The Buena Vista serves food like burgers and sandwiches too.
2765 Hyde St (between North Point St & Beach St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel: (415) 474 5044
Mon to Fri: 9am – 2am
Sat & Sun: 8am – 2am
Café Jacqueline is said to be one of the most romantic restaurants in San Francisco. The interior has a simple décor that gives an old-fashioned Parisian feel and I think what makes this place romantic is the quiet ambience in the surrounding North Beach and Telegraph Hill neighborhood.
Café Jacqueline is famous for its soufflé – hearty yet so light, and fluffy yet so filling. Their soufflé is huge (believe me, it’s going to be the biggest soufflé you’ve ever seen) and is good to share among 4 people. And for a little surprise, besides dolce flavors like chocolate, raspberry and Grand Marnier, they also serve savory soufflé like lobster, crab, and asparagus.
1454 Grant Ave (between Green St & Union St)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 981 5565
Wed to Sun: 5.30pm – 11pm
Located at North Beach neighborhood’s Washington Square Park, which is formerly the Bohemian part of the city, Mama’s is famous because it seriously makes the best breakfast in town. Since Mama and Papa Sanchez first opened their doors over 50 years ago, Mama’s has been continuing a tradition in serving fluffy omelettes, homemade jams, thick pancakes, and freshly baked pastries and breads. In short, Mama’s is truly a breakfast legend.
1701 Stockton St (at Filbert St), San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 362 6421
Tue to Sun: 8am – 3pm
Golden Gate Bakery
This Chinatown bakery certainly does not stand out from the surrounding businesses in terms of appearance. With their humble shop front, you wouldn’t expect that they serve amazing cult-like egg tarts. There is always a line outside the shop, but when you make it inside, everyone crowds together towards the counter. You have to edge your way up and place your order. Although they may pass you by in favor of a regular, I encourage you to stand your ground to get these tarts of gold.
1029 Grant Ave (between Jackson St & Pacific Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 781 2627
Mon – Sun 8am – 8pm
Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Café
Boudin bakes the classic sourdough breads and brews the creamy clam chowder. And the perfect way to enjoy these is to have your clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. The slight hint of sourness will blend nicely with the salty and thick sourdough bread. Boudin also sells sourdough breads in cute animal shapes that you can take home and cans of clam chowders that can be good souvenirs from the wharf. You are also able to tour the kitchen or watch the bakers through the glass windows along the street. The shop is sort of magical too as you can see how they move the breads in baskets that are hung and moved along the steel bars.
160 Jefferson St (between Mason St & Taylor St)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (415) 928 1849
Mon – Thu 8am – 9:30pm; Fri – Sat 8am – 10pm
Miette is a modern, cute, sweet, pinkish and delicious pastry shop. Their cakes are impeccable and traditionally American, which are birthday-party perfect. Besides cakes and cookies, Miette also bakes French macarons, with delicate and elegant flavors like rose, chocolate orange and pistachio. Miette is the French word for “crumb” and I guess it aptly describes the scale of their petite pastries displayed in their minimal yet charming decorations.
1 Ferry Building Ste 10, San Francisco, CA 94111
Tel: (415) 837 0300
Mon to Fri 9am – 7pm
Sat: 8am – 7pm
Sun: 10am – 5pm
Hai Ky Mi Gia
This Chinese and Vietnamese eating house at downtown San Francisco cooks noodles that taste a lot like the Bakmie in those shop houses in my hometown, Jakarta. Hai Ky Mi Gia is famous for its braised duck noodle, in which the fall-off-the-bone meat from the duck is so tender and the spices used to braise the duck is just spot on. Besides consistency and authenticity in their food, the portions are good for sharing too with very reasonable prices.
707 Ellis St (between Larkin St & Polk St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel: (415) 771 2577
Daily (except Wed): 8am – 6pm
About the writer
Anlin Melina is a Business Administration and Economics student at the University of California, Berkeley, who likes travelling and writing during her free time. Melina has recently completed writing her first book, titled “Once Upon A Blue Sky”, which is a travel guide book on cities in the United States.