10 Hottest Restaurants in San Francisco

San Francisco is a haven for foodies. So many amazing restaurants within a few miles of each other #blessed. All these places are seriously amazing for one reason or another, but the one thing they do have in common is difficulty in getting a reservation. So read up, go online, and make your coveted reservations for 30 days out on a Tuesday at 9 pm….good food is worth it right?? But seriously if anyone can get a reservation to State Bird, I’m a great addition to the dinner table and my calendar is open.

Header Photo: Flour + Water. Photo Credit: Asta Karalis

Liholiho Yacht Club – Lower Nob Hill

  • Trendy Hawaiian/Chinese/Indian  – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Duck Liver Toast
    • BAKED HAWAII
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Trendy, Special Occasion
  • So this spot has been the talk of the town recently. Liholiho and State Bird probably tie for the toughest reservations to get in San Francisco. I haven’t made it here yet, so if anyone is able to snag a reservation for a decent time let me know, I am always a great addition to the dinner table. Anyways back to the food – although I haven’t tried it first hand, from what I have read the dishes live up to the hype. The cuisine is Hawaiian/Asian, but with an eclectic twist – think spam fried rice, beef tongue bun, and grilled short rib with bone marrow. The atmosphere is chic/modern.
  • Tips: To get a reservation, you have to be online at exactly midnight 30 days before you want to go. They have a bar area that is first come, first serve. If you go without a reservation you will probably wait hour to hour and a half.
  • You can reserve the “Ohana Table” for a group of 8-12 people. It’s $55/person and they bring you 10-12 family dishes. Cool idea for birthday (but you can’t have any picky eaters).
  • Website

State Bird Provisions – Western Addition

  • Eclectic, Dim Sum Style American – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • State Bird with Provisions
    • Burrata
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Parent Dinner, Trendy…just anytime you can get a table
  • Like I mentioned above – really hard to get a reservation – reservations open up 60 days in advance, exactly at midnight. If you can’t snag a res-  they save about half the tables for walk ins; they open at 5:30 so you should be there at 4:30 to wait in line to get a reservation, then you can go get a drink or go home and return at the time of your reservation. The food is dim Sum style meaning they come around pushing carts with all these different small dishes, would suggest going in a group of 3-4 so you can get multiple dishes to all share.
  • Website

Coqueta – Embarcadero

  • Trendy Spanish Tapas – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Meat/Cheese Plates
    • Chorizo Skewers
    • Croquetas de Pollo
    • Meatballs
    • Paella
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Parent Dinner, Drinks, On the Water, Trendy
  • Coqueta has an amazing location right on the water, there is a bar area to the left that is an awesome spot to grab a fun drink and some appetizers if you don’t have a reservation. Okay I love this place – the experience of dining here is just so much fun. It is small plate/tapas style so come with a few people and get multiple dishes to share! All the food is seriously amazing, you have to get the Croquetas, plz. You definitely will need a reservation! Book well in advance.
  • Website

Kokkari – Embarcadero

  • Upscale Greek Mediterranean – $$$
  • Best Dishes:
    • Prawns with Garlic Butter
    • Lamb Chops
    • Baklava
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Special Occasion, Parent Dinner, Nice Date
  • LOVE Kokkari. So I love Mediterranean food. Most of the time I will just go to a casual spot and pay $20 for some dank falafel and pita wrap and leave completely happy, but this was before I tried Kokkari. The dishes here surpasses (by far) any Mediterranean meal I have ever had. First off the food is delicious, secondly the upscale ambiance and service both compliment each other to give you a fine dining experience. The atmosphere is elegant with large leather chairs, dim lighting, and ornate furnishings.
  • You should book a reservation in advance. Come here for your birthday dinner, or a special occasion, or just because…whatever the reason is, just make sure you come eat here.
  • Website

Flour + Water – Mission

  • Nice, Trendy Italian – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Balsamic pasta
    • Pesto pasta
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Parent Dinner, Special Occasion, Trendy, any reason whatsoever
  • This is probably my favorite restaurant in San Francisco. It is SO good. Every single pasta I have ever had there has been absolutely amazing. Don’t be alarmed when you look at the menu and don’t understand anything,  every time I order I have 0 clue what my pasta will come out looking like, e.g. a pasta on the menu –  “gargati with smoked hen, braised karinata kale, walla walla onion & preserved blood lime” ….hm. Their pizza is good, but you can get good pizza elsewhere, come here for the pasta. The dishes are pretty small, so I always like to order a few for the table to share. It is really hard to get a reservation you have to book a few weeks in advance.
  • They have a pasta tasting menu I have been dying to do, I am sure it’s amazing.
  • Tip: If you go when they open there is a communal table and bar area for first come first served.
  • Website

Al’s Place – Mission

  • Trendy American – $$$
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Special Occasion, Trendy…whenever you can get a reservation
  • Al’s Place has 1 Michelin star and was named best new restaurant by Bon Apetit, so it must be amazing. The menu is non traditional – the main courses are creatively prepared vegetables and the meat/fish is considered the side dish. All the plates are meticulously prepared, presentation is a 10.
  • They save 30% of bar/tables for walk ins buttt the wait will be crazy if you go at a popular time. Would suggest making a reservation and book it wellll in advance (like 60 days out).
  • Website

Foreign Cinema – Mission

  • Intimate, Trendy Mediterranean/American – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • Toast Trio
    • Pezzi Pasta
    • Sesame Fried Chicken
  • Best For: Romantic Dinner, Date, Trendy, Nice Brunch/Dinner, Special Occasion, Groups, Patio
  • Foreign Cinema has an amazing atmosphere; a romantic setting out on the patio with lights strung across, and they project an old foreign movie on the back wall of the courtyard. The food and drinks are equally as enjoyable. The fried chicken is the dish they are most popular for and it’s worth the hype. I would suggest getting a few plates to share. They also have brunch here on the weekends, which is amazing! You will need a reservation to get a table here, and you should book it a little bit in advance.
  • Website

Del Popolo – Nob Hill

  • Cozy, Trendy Pizza Spot- $$
  • Must Order: get a pizza!!!
    • Sausage Pizza
    • Buffalo Margarita Pizza + add Prosciutto
    • Charred Brussels Sprout Appetizer
    • Sweet Potato with Poached Egg Appetizer
    • Fried Green Tomato Appetizer
  • Best For: Dinner, Trendy, Date, Pizza, No Reservations – (Communal Table)
  • So this is a really cool new spot! Del Popolo used to be a food truck that became popular for their dank pizzas, and this is their first brick-and-mortar location. The ambiance here is NYC meets rustic modern – high ceilings, metal fixtures, and a huge wood fired pizza oven in the back. They have a small wrap around bar in front of the oven where you can sit and watch the chefs work their magic. Not only do they have good pizza and a trendy atmosphere, the service is also really welcoming. I have been twice and each time the staff has been incredibly friendly, which always makes the experience that much better. Their menu changes frequently, but no matter what (pizza) you order, you will be happy.
  • Tip: Surprisingly it is not difficult to get a reservation here!! If you can’t get one they do have a few large communal tables saved for walk ins (usually 30-45 minute wait for prime-time).
  • Website

Rich Table – Hayes Valley

  • Trendy American – $$$
  • Best Dishes:
    • Brussels Sprout Bites
    • Porcini Donuts
    • Burrata Appetizer
    • Tajarin Lobster Pasta
  • Best For: Nice Dinner, Date, Trendy
  • Rich Table has a nice cozy ambiance, and the food is really good. The menu is a little different – don’t bring any picky eaters here (or Liholiho). Come here if you are looking for a trendy dining experience – they have a tasting menu that is awesome. This place, like every place on this list, is also hard to get a reservation at.
  • Website

Zuni Cafe – Hayes Valley

  • Upscale American – $$$
  • Must Order:
    • CHICKEN FOR 2
    • Polenta Dish
  • Best For: Nice Lunch/Dinner, Date, Parent Meal, Hot Spot, Business Meal
  • Zuni Cafe is always rated one of the top restaurants in San Francisco on so many food lists! The ambiance is really nice – there are these huge glass windows that give it a really open fresh feel. Top notch service and experience. Really high quality food, with dishes on the menu you can actually understand haha. Great spot to enjoy a nice, upscale meal without it being overly trendy – comparable to Nopa or Park Tavern. Difficult-ish to get a reservation, but they also take walk ins. If you come here you MUST get the chicken, seriously.
  • Website

 

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