San Francisco is a city full of amazing food. There's so many different establishments to choose from and a diverse variety of cuisines to sink your teeth into. With so many cool districts and neighborhoods to explore, it can be difficult narrowing down how you want to spend your days.
But, no matter where you turn, you're guaranteed to find something worth your time.
Here are my picks for some of the top restaurants in San Francisco for anyone who is visiting for a weekend or a native who is looking for something new to try!
1. Breakfast at Surisan - 505 Beach St.
Surisan, located in the Fisherman's Wharf district is a hip restaurant, offering up a dichotomous menu of both American and Korean comfort foods. Led in the kitchen by Executive Chef Nick Yoon, Surisan is a perfect choice for brunch or dinner. The brunch menu has two sections - split between American and Korean cuisines.
Surisan's Strawberry Matcha LattePaige Ryan
From the American side, you can choose from egg scrambles with plentiful ingredients, benedicts, pancakes, burgers, French toast, or salad. On the Korean side of the menu, you can choose from soups and stews, kimchi fried rice, dolsot, bap, or bulgogi.
Either way you go, you are in for a delicious brunch that beats mimosas from any joint.
KFC - Korean Fried Chicken appetizerPaige Ryan
We opted for the Korean Fried Chicken appetizer ($7), Carnivore egg scramble ($19), and boosted jook ($16). The KFC was almost a meal in itself. This is a great appetizer for the whole table to share, or for you and one other person if you plan to eat only small plates or sides.
The chicken was super juicy and crispy, and they offer a variety of different sauces for you to choose from.
The boosted jook is a delightful breakfast and my personal choice for best of the table! This hearty rice porridge is loaded up with vegetables, bacon, and a rich chili oil. It's a filling way to start your day and is a very unique dish that perfectly describes Surisan.
Boosted JookPaige Ryan
2. Lunch at In-N-Out - 333 Jefferson St.
If you're not from the West Coast and haven't had In-N-Out yet, it's time to try it! In-N-Out is not a far walk from Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, or Ghirardelli Square where you can spend your afternoon.
3. Dinner at Hoshinoya - 1740 Buchanan St
In the heart of Japantown is Hoshinoya, an unassuming little venue. But the line for a table tells you how good it really is. They have many fabulous menu items such as katsu curry, kara age, bento, pad thai, and ramen.
Vegetarian ramen Paige Ryan
Here, we went for the ramen since we were eating outside and it was definitely sweater weather. We also ordered several drinks including house hot sake, green tea, and a malt beverage called J-Pop. J-Pop was really tasty — it's a white peach-flavored drink.
I had the vegetarian ramen ($14) and the broth was really good. The noodles were springy and wheat-y.
The Kikurage mushrooms were the best part because they were both crunchy and full of flavors. We also ordered the tonkotsu ramen ($16) and the bowl was completely empty by the time we were done.
Tonkotsu ramenPaige Ryan
If you know, you knowPaige Ryan
4. Breakfast at Zazie - 941 Cole St.
With its French-inspired menu, Zazie is basically the quintessential brunch spot (although their dinners are great too). This is one restaurant where you don't have to tip, all their menu prices include a living wage, revenue share, paid family leave, fully funded health & dental insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k) with employer match for all of their employees.
They offer a wide variety of soups, salads, pancakes, eggs benedict, and scrambles to appeal to any palette.
We had the Le Mer eggs benedict ($30), chicken apple sausage, and the lemon ricotta miracle pancakes with Meyer lemon curd & raspberry sauce ($19).
The pancakes were so light and fluffy.
Almost as extensive as their brunch menu is their mimosa menu — you can even build your own! What more could you ask for from a weekend brunch?
5. Lunch at Hinodeya - 1737 Buchanan St. / 680 Clay St.
In a tonkotsu-heavy city, Hinodeya is the rare ramen shop that specializes in lighter, clearer broths, including one of the better bowls of vegan ramen in town.
The dashi-based house ramen is a testament to the subtle pleasures of ocean-based umami. While Hinodeya offers small plates, ramen is the star of the show here.
Matcha beerPaige Ryan
We got the summer special: an Asahi beer with a bomb of matcha. It was surprisingly refreshing and tasty. We also ordered the house ramen ($14) and the creamy ramen with extra noodles ($15).
One of the vegetarian options at this shop, the creamy ramen comes with spinach noodles and its broth is made with shiitake mushroom, soy milk, and sesame.
Topped with the restaurant's signature crispy garlic seasoning, the flavor was beyond delicious; I'm still dreaming about that creamy ramen.
Creamy ramen from HinodeyaPaige Ryan
6. Afternoon tea at the Japanese Tea Garden - 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
The Japanese Tea Garden is on the list of top tourist attractions in San Francisco and it is a really lovely botanical garden in the Golden Gate Park.
After exploring the garden, check out the tea shop and select from their tasty treats.
We had matcha cheesecake, mango jelly, and matcha.
Matcha from the Japanese Tea GardenPaige Ryan
7. Dinner at El Techo - 2516 Mission St.
A rooftop restaurant with a stunning panoramic view of San Francisco and the Mission District, El Techo, usually has a waitlist and it's not hard to see why. Come and share some small plates, tacos, and drinks with your friends or significant other.
We ordered the margarita del techo (a mezcal margarita) and the piña colada.
Piña colada Paige Ryan
To munch on, we ordered several small plates. We started off with the chips & salsa ($5) of course which was a delicious snack while we mulled over the rest of the menu. We then ordered the "mango" ($8) which is really a bowl of spicy jicama, mango, and orange, elotes ($9), a taco ($5), and the quesadilla de hongos ($12).
The quesadilla de hongos was seriously the best item we ate here and I would come back specifically for it.
A spinach tortilla enveloping a cheesy mound of caramelized onions and mushrooms with a side of salsa verde - you have to experience it to believe it.
While there are certainly many delicious options in San Francisco and the surrounding areas, these are my picks for the best we tried so far.
I sincerely hope you enjoy these places and I personally can't wait to be back to come back to these places... and to try new ones!