San Francisco is one of the American cities that comes closest to European standards, both for its structure and for what concerns the kitchen local and typical dishes. Here too there is an important center dominated by skylines and large buildings, but the city also retains characteristic neighborhoods with lower buildings, while on the gastronomic side San Francisco has been strongly and positively influenced by the location on the sea, which allows for good fishing.
Among other things, the port in the historic district Fisherman's Wharf (as well as the famous Pier 39) still carries on its fishing business, with many waterfront restaurants and dishes prepared based on fresh ingredients.
However, the influences of Mediterranean cuisine are not lacking, especially from Italy and France, or Chinese, due to the presence in the city of the oldest Chinatown American. Finally, in full American culture, here you will find an excellent assortment of cuts of steak and beef.
The districts of San Francisco are all of great beauty and particularity, here is a short selection of the best places to enjoy some specialties: some tips on where to eat in San Francisco.
- Financial District and Embarcadero
- North Beach, San Francisco's Little Italy
- The Castro, gay-friendly neighborhood
- Golden Gate Park, the green area of the city
- Nob Hill, a sophisticated neighborhood
- Tips for a good breakfast ...
- To conclude… some other useful resources
Financial District and Embarcadero
The most central streets of San Francisco offer the most disparate possibilities of choice here are some examples:
- Hog Island Oyster Co. (inside the Ferry Building): ideal for those who want to savor quality seafood, especially oysters, while enjoying a great view of the Bay Bridge. In addition, according to many, here you can eat one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the city.
- Schroeder’s (240 Front St): in this case it is a German restaurant, or Bavarian to be precise, where you can try a great variety of German sausages, served with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, as well as the inevitable German draft beers.
- Gott's Roadside (inside the Ferry Building): for those who want to taste a typical American hamburger this is one of the places to visit. The pride of this restaurant is that it uses locally sourced raw materials also for the wine and beer list.
If you are a cheesecake fanatic you could really get excited by the impressive assortment of Cheesecake Factory of Union Square.
North Beach, San Francisco's Little Italy
North Beach, which contrary to what the name would suggest does not have a beach, is the district of the Italian community, therefore good restaurants and pizzerias cannot be missing, but also places for fun evenings, from musical events dedicated to the beat generation, to jazz and blues, or to adult nightclubs.
- Liguria Bakery (1700 Stockton St) prides itself on offering one of the best Genoese focaccias.
- North Beach Restaurant (1512 Stockton St) here you can choose from a large selection of wines and impeccable Italian cuisine.
- Vesuvio Cafe (255 Columbus Avenue) historic bar designed by the architect Italo Zanolini and home, together with the nearby City Lights Library, of the beatnik movement.
- Sam's (618 Broadway): one of the most popular burgers even by locals since this place has been open since 1966, and a double bacon cheeseburger is definitely worth trying at this small and quaint place.
Read more about recommended restaurants and cafes in North Beach.
The Castro, gay-friendly neighborhood
The Castro neighborhood is known for being the main gay area in San Francisco, a libertine area full of colors and murals.
- Harvey’s (500 Castro Street): You can have a drink or eat a traditional American dish in this place named in memory of Harvey Milk, a famous assassinated American politician who fought for gay rights.
- Duboce Park Cafe (2 Sanchez St): finding a place with outdoor seating in the city near a nice park is not a simple thing, unless you come here. If the weather assists you, sitting in the outdoor spaces for a breakfast or lunch will certainly be a good experience.
- the little castle (136 Church St.): if you feel like indulging in a Mexican lunch, here you can eat what many say are the best burritos in all of San Francisco.
Golden Gate Park, the green area of the city
This is a beautiful city park bordering the picturesque Haight Ashbury district; takes its name from the Golden Gate Bridge, but is not found in its surroundings). It is so large that it is even larger than New York's Central Park. To find out all that this park offers you can read our article entirely dedicated to Golden Gate Park.
- Aziz (5800 Geary Blvd): it is located in an area north of the park and you will find tasty Mediterranean dishes based on fish and poultry meat from sustainable farms.
- Underdog (1634 Irving St): it is instead located south of the park and you can enjoy vegetable and organic alternatives, as well as salads with the most original condiments, from pomegranate to ginger.
Nob Hill, a sophisticated neighborhood
To enjoy a good fish dish, as well as the Fisherman's Wharf area, you can opt for that of Nob Hill, known for being a chic and sophisticated neighborhood.
Allo Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St), it is possible to taste the delicacies of the Californian sea at a reasonable price including shrimp, oysters, crabs, swordfish, but above all the specialty of the city's seafood cuisine: the clam chowder in sourdough bread, or a rich fish soup served in a type of hollowed-out bread that serves as a bowl.
For those with nostalgia for the flavors of home, you can visit the Nob Hill Café (1152 Taylor St) a small and welcoming place specializing in Italian cuisine with reasonable prices.
Tips for a good breakfast ...
In the city you can find numerous bars and cafes where you can eat and taste fresh and quality products, however the breakfast experience that we feel we can recommend is at the Ferry Building Marketplace, where you can taste exquisite dishes sitting at the tables on the pier, facing the quiet poetics of the bay, the ideal place for an unforgettable breakfast in San Francisco.
To conclude… some other useful resources
If you are planning a visit to the city, an article on what to see in San Francisco might be convenient for you, if instead you are looking for a hotel do not miss our advice on neighborhoods where to sleep in San Francisco. Below is a map to turn these tips into a real culinary itinerary. Until next time!