San Francisco is a culinary mecca. We'd visit this foggy city for the restaurants alone, though the breathtaking views, rich cultural history, and charming neighborhoods are a nice touch, too. And I may be biased since I grew up there, but I don't think I'm the only one who dreams about dining at all the incredible restaurants in San Francisco. With so many incredible options popping up on every corner, the hardest part about eating out is deciding which spot to try first. They're not just the talk of the town, but the whole food-obsessed world.
So in an effort to help everyone who lives in this Bay Area city—or traveler who plans on visiting it soon—we came up with a hit list comprised of old haunts as well as some buzzy newcomers. From Instagram ready design to James Beard Award–worthy eats, these eight San Francisco restaurants are hard to beat. Scroll through to see which ones you want to eat at, and then drop everything you're doing to make it OpenTable-official.
The Hip Date Spot:
Located in Downtown SF and decked out in tropical print and rattan, Leo's Oyster Bar will make you feel like you're on a beach vacation without having to leave the city.
568 Sacramento Street
The Foodie Find:
The food at Nopalito is so good you probably won't be able to wait long enough for an Instagram picture before digging in. With vibrant, fresh, and flavorful ingredients, this organic and sustainable kitchen serves up some of the best Mexican food in town.
3 locations throughout San Francisco
A Local Gem:
You absolutely have to order the tea leaf salad with a side of coconut rice at Burma Superstar. There are a few Burma sister restaurants throughout the city, each one with a different vibe. The original is on Clement street and it boasts a super-casual atmosphere. Be prepared to wait, and dress for the elements. In other words: Bring a parka, especially in chilly July.
3 locations throughout San Francisco
The Gastronomic Adventure:
This not-so-secret foodie find is so incredible that you'll find a mile-long line of people waiting for a table hours before it even opens. That's slightly dramatic, but not totally crazy, so book a reservation in advance just to be safe. The food is served on a bar cart, dim sum style, at State Bird Provisions, where the vibe is casual. But there's a twist: Instead of grabbing dumplings off the traveling trolley, you'll get to taste American-fusion treats. Get experimental with yeasted poppyseed beef tongue, or indulge in crowd-pleasers like fried garlic bread with burrata.
1529 Fillmore Street
The Brunch of Dreams:
The original Tartine Bakery is located a block away from Dolores Park, so we suggest picking up some food to enjoy in the greenery with a view. Get a morning bun, or go for lunch and order one of their world-famous sandwiches (we're partial to pecorino and almond grilled cheese). Pro tip: Come hungry or go dutch on the sando because they are massive. If you love the bakery, you should definitely check out the new Tartine Manufactury, which boasts pretty, minimal interiors and a large breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.
595 Alabama St
For the Stylish Bites:
Right when you walk inside Liholiho Yacht Club, you'll be greeted by light wood paneling and pretty blue tiles with "Ahola" scrawled on the floor. If this fresh, island-like atmosphere doesn't whisk you away to vacation mode, the Hawaiian-centric drinks and eats certainly will.
871 Sutter Street
A Whimsical Charmer:
With a distinctly retro flair, pretty pastel hues, and velvety fabric aplenty, 20th Century Cafe will transport you to yesteryear. At the very least, it'll bring you one step closer to living out your dream of stepping inside a Wes Anderson film. Aside from the aesthetic, the menu boasts yummy treats from Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.
198 Gough Street
The Colorful Newcomer:
Babu Ji is a delicious, laid-back, and modern Indian restaurant with gorgeous spreads and plating to match. The vibe is lively and upbeat, so come here with good company and you are sure to have a great dining experience. Oh, and we should also mention that those gorgeous emerald green tiles are photogenic and Instagram-friendly.
280 Valencia Street
Our list of the best restaurants in San Francisco could go on forever, but we'll let you take it from here. Share your go-to spots in the comment section below!