My faves
  1. Lazy Bear
    You maybe worried that Lazy Bear is way overhyped. It'll just disappoint. You'd be wrong. The meticulously orchestrated production of a meal from the cocktail upstairs to the dazzling dishes at the group tables will blow you back in your seat. Egg yolk slowly poached for hours with an otherworldly consistency and flavor packed. You'll turn each dish in your mind over and over. An all star special occasion meal. 3416 19th St.
  2. Coqueta
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    A quintessential SF experience. Don't skip the cocktails. Gin & Tonic is unlike you've ever had and Championship Policy is A+ bourbon drink. Order the paella right up front as the prep time is long. Chef Chiarello's menu is chock full of signature dishes like sea urchin sandwich, wood grilled octopus, duck & pork meatballs, and get extra bread for every last drop of the sauce on the Gambas Negras.
  3. Boulevard
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    Mozzarella Di Bufala & Heirloom Tomatoes is the gold standard. Chef Nancy Oakes has the most delicate touch. It's my go to business lunch destination. Ask for a table on the back deck with a view of the Bay Bridge. 1 Mission St
  4. Cotogna
    Wood fired sophistication. But don't forget the pasta. It'll be some of the most balanced and flavorful that you've had. And if carrots are on the menu, grab it before it goes. They are insane. And the cannoli is only the best you can find anywhere bar none.
  5. Tosca Cafe
    You'd swear this place has been in seedy North Beach forever and it must be Jack Kerouac hunched over the bar but Tosca appeared before us only in 2014. It feels totally old school but one bite of the tangy and airy marsala sauce on the roast chicken (for 2 and takes an 1hr), tells you something is different. The lumaconi prosciutto cream or meatballs has that April Bloomfield I've tasted this before but no I haven't magic. Don't forget to start with the 'house cappuccino' and soak up the vibe.
  6. SPQR
    Book a chef's counter table and the unusual pasta tasting menu for a unique experience. You maybe thinking I can't do a whole meal of just pastas but it is nothing short of satisfying. The corn raviolini is sweetness, crunch, al dente heaven. Watch the chef's at their craft and try not to wolf down every tasty dish. 1911 Fillmore St.
  7. Ferry Building
    Foodie heaven, especially on weekends when the farmer's market pulls in as well. A poached egg at Boulette's Larder, or ahi sandwich at Gott's Roadside, or a bit of cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, and top it off with some BlueBottle Coffee.
  8. Piccino
    Will charm the pants off of you. Hidden gem in the up and coming Dogpatch area of SF. It's out a ways on the edge of SF but worth the trip for their fresh take on California style pizzas. Get an egg on top. The artwork and the staff get extra gold stars.
  9. Sam's Grill
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    An old school SF tradition that goes back to 1867. Simple and fresh is the name of the game here. If sand dabs are on the menu, don't hesitate. The special seafood salad is an everytimer for me too.
  10. Tartine Bakery
    There's the best on the planet country bread that's worth every minute of waiting in line for. Crunchy crust with chewy dense dough. And what about those pastries... the Banana Cream Tart with dark choco, caramel, and the lightest of pastry cream is best in the known universe.
  11. Tawla
    Mediterranean and Middle Eastern is all the rage these days but that leads to a lot of mediocrity. Tawla manages to make each dish fresh like it's the first time for these flavors and spices. Can we talk the Muhammara bread? Like no flatbread you've had. Double up and get extra. The white sea bass swimming in exotic mallow leaves and coriander. All are a fresh breeze to satisfy your curious palate.
  12. Blue Bottle Coffee Mint Plaza
    We all know the coffee doesn't get any better but the food is its equal in the locations that serve it up. The hot dog at the Mint Plaza location is an homage to the 'kissaten' culture in Japan were hotdogs are typically on the breakfast menu. This is a Prather Ranch dog with caramelized onion sweetness on an Acme roll. Did I mention fried with lard?
  13. Swan Oyster Depot
    I know, I know, the line is a torment. Who wants to wait for 2hrs? But, this is a knock it out of the park unadorned seafood tradition. The un-creamy clam chowder has the tang of the ocean. The 'crab fat', I thought you could only get in Japan. Slop it up with sourdough for a SF twist. The smoked salmon is a how-do-they-do-this experience. Yeah but the line... ok, insider tip. They do take out, even the chowder. Go up the front of the line, order, and eat on the street.
  14. Yank Sing
    Still the one to beat for dim sum. Through the years and decades, it's remained standing. A consistent, chaotic, cacophony of tasty tidbits that keep rolling by in steaming fresh and endless variety. Keep a sharp eyes peeled for the classics like baked bbq pork buns, xiao long bao, and radish cakes. A quintessential SF experience.
  15. HRD Coffee Shop
    Only in SF, a dive 'coffee shop' serving up kimchee fried rice burritos and bulgogi rice bowls. It's beloved by the techies so beware the lines. Try to hit it at an off hour.