There are least 3,000 restaurants in San Francisco. Due to the mix and influences of a multitude of cultural heritage, the San Fransisco food scene is as wide ranging as they come.
From the exquisite to the exotic and sensual, the vast array of restaurants in the city offer visitors with splendid choices. The prices ranges as well, from really cheap meals to very expensive cuisines.
Let’s start with somewhere you and I know, the San Francisco’s Chinatown. The city’s Chinatown is known as the largest Chinese community on the West Coast. When it comes to the whole U.S., it falls second to the Chinatown in New York.
When you go there, it is best to go during mid-day where almost all the shops are open. The area will be buzzing with noises and will be flooded by colors. And as all Chinatown, the one in San Francisco has lots of unique restaurants that serve dim sum and other Chinese delicacies. However, the best Chinese cuisine is not found in Chinatown.
When you want exceptional Chinese meal, it is best that you to go Ton Kiang which is between 22nd and 23rd Aves, Richmond/Sunset District or to Yank Sing on 49 Stevenson Street. Still, there are several good restaurants in Chinatown that tourists can appreciate. They have the Empress of China, Gold Mountain, Hang Ah Tea Room, Jai Yun, and Utopia Cafe to name a few.
The city does not fall short of wonderful authentic Italian restaurants either. The Palio d’Asti on 640 Sacramento Street overs hearty, earthy cuisines whose origins can be traced to Tuscany and the Italian Northwest regions of Liguria and Piedmont.
Among their chef’s best dishes include mezzelune alla monferrina, house-made almond and fontina filled half moon ravioli with spinach and white truffle oil. If you want to experience both authentic and the more festive Italian experience popular with tourists, then Rose Pistola in North Beach is the place for you.
The restaurant seems to bridge the gap between what is authentic and the "Italian" cooking tourists crave for. Other notable restaurants that serve great Italian food include The Last Supper Club in the Mission District, Buca Giovanni in North Beach, Pasta Pomodoro in the Marina District, Caffee Macaroni also in North Beach, Venticello Restaurant, and Lupa Trattoria in Noe Valley.
If you’re passing by the Ferry Building, which is near the intersection of Market Street and the Embarcadero, be sure to check the ground floor of the place. The ground floor has been renovated and now showcases various restaurants, produce stands, and food stalls that sell and serve produce like local wines, olive oils, breads, cheeses, chocolates, oysters and mushrooms.
Also, Clement Street which you can get to from Arguello Boulevard to 26th Avenue, is San Francisco’s center of Asian restaurants. You’ll get to see Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisines serve here.
For the vegetarians, don’t despair. San Fransisco is not lacking in vegetarian and vegan places to eat. It is in fact one of the most vegetarian/vegan friendly cities in the country. For one, Café Gratitude in 2400 Harrison St. serves dishes that are entirely vegan. It offers patrons original recipes rich in flavor, texture and spices. Their enchiladas are made with soft veggie tortilla with nuts, avocado topped with a spicy salsa verde and served with a side of Mexican slaw.
Another great restaurant is Greens, which is well known not only because of its vegetarian menu but also because of its the magnificent view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate bridge at sun set. You can also to to Lucky Creation Vegetarian Vegetarian in Chinatown, Ananda Fuara in 298 Market St., Buddhist vegan restaurant Medicine, a New Shojin Eatstationery Vegan in 161 Sutter at Kearney, in the Crocker Galleria, Donna’s Tamales in Ferry Building, Enjoy Vegetarian Vegan and Daily Health, both in the Inner Sunset District.
Aside from vegetarian food, Italian and Chinese cuisines, sushi appears to be a local obsession as well. A testament to its popularity are the number of sushi bars in the city. You can always find a sushi bar close to you.
However, for the more distinguished sushi dining experience, the district of Richmond, I think is the best place to experience sushi made by excellent sushi chefs. Seafood is also a delicacy. The Fisherman’s Wharf serves fresh seafood cooked to order.
For drinks, the city is well known for its Irish pubs. There seems to be one Irish pub in every street corner. But among the favorites and said to be the best are The Irish Bank in Central to Union Square, O’Reilly’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at North Beach, The Plough and the Stars in Richmond, Durty Nelly’s, Phoenix Irish Bar & Gathering House, and Little Shamrock.
Meanwhile, if you’re thirsting for coffee, you can grab a cup at Graffeo in the neighborhood of North Beach and Telegraph Hill for its locally roasted coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee in 315 Linden St. for locally micro roasted with espresso drinks, and Cafe Greco which has imported Illy espresso drinks located at 423 Columbus Ave.