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7 restaurants in San Francisco

San Francisco is famed for its food. This is an edible exploration of one of the world’s most food-savvy cities.

by Kimberley Lovato
restaurant kitchen

Kimberley Lovato is the author of Unique Eats & Eateries of San Francisco, a tasty guide seasoned with all you need for an unforgettable edible exploration of one of the world’s most food-savvy cities.

True Laurel

The award-winning team behind the ticketed dinner-party restaurant known as Lazy Bear are branching out with this cocktail bar and restaurant. No reservations or advanced purchase required, which can be tough in the 36-chair space. Helmed by Lazy Bear’s David Barzelay and Bar Director Nicolas Torres, True Laurel focuses on innovative sharable dishes that pair well with the creative and creatively-named cocktails. The must-grab seat will be the cocktail tasting bar (reservation needed), slated to open early 2018, where guests will enjoy a menu of five cocktails with food pairings to match.  Being a barfly at True Laurel has its perks!

Brown Sugar Kitchen

Bravo Media’s Top Chef and cookbook author Tanya Holland is bringing a taste of her new-style soul food to San Francisco’s Ferry Building. It’ll be a counter-version of her flagship restaurant of the same name in Oakland, and will take over the spot previously occupied by Il Cane Rosso. Fingers crossed her buttermilk-fried chicken and cornmeal waffles, chicken and shrimp gumbo, oyster po-boys, and cast iron skillet cornbread make the trek across the bay with her. 

Manufactory Food Hall

The International Terminal at SFO offers foodies a big inducement to check in early this summer when four beloved local chefs—Pim Techamuanvivit of Kin Khao, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine, and Gabriela Cámara of Cala—join forces to open the 3,000-square-foot Manufactory Food Hall in Boarding Area A. The fast-casual collaboration will feature grab-and-go bites such Tartine’s fresh sandwiches and salads, and their morning buns and seasonal tarts. Camara will bring a taste of her native Mexico City via breakfast tortas and her famous street Tacos Cala, while Techamuanvivit delivers tasty Thai specialties such as rice bowls and noodles to travelers. Bon voyage, indeed!

Eight Tables by George Chen

Perched like an Empress of Heavenly Food above China Live, the Eately-style marketplace that opened in Chinatown in 2017, George Chen’s serene and elegant new dining oasis has laid out a gold-threaded welcome mat, from the back alley private entrance to the elevator that opens on an elegant and intimate room reminiscent of a private club. The highbrow experience is based on si fang cai, or private chateau cuisine of the Chinese elite. For diners, that translates to an expensive but outstanding 10-course tasting menu, a stunning work of art that dazzles deep pocket visitors and locals alike.

sandwiches that are simpler and less gargantuan (and therefore less pricey) versions of Mesnick’s signature sandos.

International Smoke

Golden State Warrior Steph Curry isn’t the only all-star in the family. His wife, Food Network celebrity Ayesha Curry, teamed up with Chef Michael Mina to open International Smoke, a barbecue concept launched in November 2017. From American St. Louis-style ribs and braised beef short ribs to further afield specialties such as a Vietnamese pork chop, Thai shrimp chili, and Tokyo-style chicken karaage, the dishes are a passport to some of the word’s best interpretations of barbecue.

Dumpling Time

An instant hit when it opened, in no small part because of the xiao long bao (soup dumplings), Dumpling Time specializes in the pleated pillows popular with locals. Watch cooks hand make a variety of dumplings, including the Instagram-ready King-Dum, a grapefruit-sized soup dumpling served with a straw. The thin-skinned (in a good way) gyoza are delicious, too. Choose from a variety of fillings, from traditional pork and scallions to a surprising char-siu roasted pork belly with a touch of peanut butter found in the bao (steamed buns). A couple of noodle dishes round out the simple but satisfying menu.


One dining rite of passage in San Francisco is a meal at the three-Michelin-star Saison (if your pocketbook can take the heat). However, with a new year comes a new restaurant, and an opportunity to taste the magic of Chef Joshua Skenes and his team.  With a fantastic view of the Bay Bridge on the Embarcadero, Angler is scheduled to open in summer 2018 in the former Chaya Brasserie space and will lean on local seafood, with a raw bar and a grill. Guests can order a la carte as opposed to Saison’s more formal multi-course tasting menu.


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