Diner Most-Loved

The 30 Best Restaurants in San Francisco on Caviar

Based on what you order most.

12 min read
2/7/2022
Can Blog - Farmhouse Kitchen

We don’t have to tell you that San Francisco is one of the greatest cities for dining in the world. Chefs have year-round access to fresh local ingredients from land and sea, and they put them to delicious use in their dishes every day. And with its incredibly diverse cooking culture, you can eat your way around the globe from the comfort of your couch. Read on for a look at the most popular restaurants in San Francisco on Caviar.

1. Souvla

Fresh Greek flavors abound at French Laundry alum Charles Bililies’s Souvla. The concept was founded in 2014 and grew to several locations around the Bay Area. There are salads and sandwiches made with carefully sourced ingredients, as well as large-format dishes like roasted chicken. Whatever you order, be sure to tack on the Greek fries and the Greek froyo.

Cav Blog - Souvla

2. Square Pie Guys

At this SOMA spot, Detroit-style square pies will transport you straight to Motor City. There’s a whole roster from which to choose, from the red sauce and fresh mozzarella to the za’atar chicken. Each pie feeds one to two people, so get a few or throw in some sides to round things out. The crispy Brussels sprouts and Szechuan wings are among our favorites.

3. RT Rotisserie

Culinary couple Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table expanded their food footprint with RT Rotisserie, bringing perfectly cooked, juicy chicken to folks on the fly. Each order comes with a choice of two of their inventive side sauces, like chimichurri or chipotle yogurt. Sandwiches, salads, and bowls abound as do vegetable-driven sides, like the roasted cauliflower with red beet tahini.

4. Farmhouse Kitchen

Farmhouse Kitchen’s goal is to make sure people get enough spice. Mission accomplished. Thailand native Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang’s colorful cuisine has a contemporary bent while still honoring tradition. The pad thai is, of course, excellent, but try some of Pop’s picks, like the Basil Bomb, a Thai street-food speciality of seafood with crispy pork belly.

5. 4505 Burgers & BBQ

Change into your comfy pants and stock up on extra napkins because this is satisfying two-hander food with offerings like beef brisket, pulled pork, and smoked pulled chicken by the plate, the pound, or in sandwich form, not to mention grass-fed burgers with all the fixings. Amp up the fun with the Frankaroni: deep-fried mac n’ cheese with a hot dog inside.

6. Little Star Pizza

We love Little Star because we don’t have to choose between thin crust or deep dish. The build-your-own options are great for pickier eaters, but don’t overlook their signature pies, such as the Old School. They are as serious about salads here as they are pizza, with seven variations available, including an unbeatable Greek Goddess with creamy pesto dressing.

7. Burma Love

The younger sister to San Francisco stalwart Burma Superstar, Burma Love retains its sibling’s classics like Burmese curry, garlic noodles, vegetarian samusa soup, and mohinga (catfish chow noodle soup) and adds a handful of newer, more seafood-centric dishes like the show-stopping, deep-fried, whole black snapper and spicy shrimp with Myanmar chutney.

Caviar Blog- Burma

8. Tacko

Tacko serves “slow food, fast.” Despite its name, there are more than excellent tacos here, which you can order a la carte. There is a terrific variety of quesadillas and regional burritos (Mission-style, San Diego, and beyond) to tuck into alongside those tacos.

9. Flour + Water Pizzeria

A decade after opening the acclaimed Flour + Water restaurant, chef-owner Thomas McNaughton added a pizzeria to the family. “Respect the dough” is the mantra here: Each batch matures to perfection over three days. They’ve got both classics and inventive variations, like a Hawaiian that should settle the debate over the controversial toppings (It’s great, really!).

10. Dumpling Time

The full menu here is available all day, which is incredible because, for us, it’s almost always dumpling time. From the team behind two Michelin-starred restaurants, these freshly made dumplings are packed with locally sourced ingredients. They come in many forms, from delicate siu mai to steamed or seared bao to pan-crisped gyoza to soupy, juicy xiao long bao.

11. Kitava

At Kitava, the dishes are delicious by design and healthy by default. The all gluten-free eatery also eschews dairy, peanuts, and soy, making it ideal for anyone with allergies or food sensitivities. But let’s get back to the delicious part. The bountiful bowls are packed with healthful ingredients — but also flavor. The sesame chicken bowl with charred broccoli, ginger, and ponzu sauce is a shining example.

12. The Grove

Husband and wife owner-operators Kenneth and Anna Veyna Zankel serve “thoughtfully crafted comfort food” with fresh, healthy ingredients and a Northern California POV. There are good-for-you options like the avocado and egg toast alongside heartier fare, such as the hot pastrami on rye that would easily be at home in a New York deli.

13. Mama Ji’s

For nearly a decade, Li "Lily" Ji and husband Marv Wolpa have wowed diners and food critics with dim sum and Sichuan selections. Dim sum and noodles have their place on the menu, as do wok-style dishes like kung pao tofu. Our order isn’t complete without one of their Triple “C” dishes: crispy, caramelized tofu, wings, or cauliflower with chile.

14. Tacolicious

Founder Joe Hargrave opened Tacolicious in 2009, but his taco obsession took root years earlier on visits to Baja and Mexico. The tacos here are traditional (fish, housemade chorizo) as well as imaginative (pastrami with cabbage slaw, chicken tinga). The Marina Girl salad, packed with vegetables and finished with jalapeño vinaigrette, balances out your order healthfully.

15. Roam Artisan Burgers

The name says it all. Almost. The burgers here are packed with toppings that create truly singular sensations. Dressed with pepper jack, jalapeno relish, avocado, tomato, white corn strips, and herb ranch, the Tejano hits all the right notes. The extensive kids’ menu is a win for parents, and the in-house butcher shop menu includes heritage breed and pasture-raised meats.

16. Delarosa

Delarosa offers Roman-style fare right here in the Bay Area. This is food meant to be leisurely shared, from small bites, pasta, and salads to crispy thin-crust pizzas, all of which pair perfectly with cocktails. The beet salad is a stunner with farro, avocado, and goat cheese. Chase it and other antipasti with pizza. Our pick is the bartender’s special spicy marinara pie.

17. Dragon Well

Since 1998, Dragon Well has been serving cuisine from all regions of China, making it a prime pick for groups. The potstickers, mu shu pancakes, and duck buns are all housemade, which means they’re always in our cart.

18. Mamahuhu

This spot is all about affordable, sustainably sourced Chinese-American food. Local chef Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s and his partners have created a menu of beloved favorites with fresh twists, like the beef with broccoli featuring grass-fed sirloin and dino kale. The sweet and sour chicken is a house specialty, but, really, everything here deserves a spot on the “specials” list.

19. Pacific Catch

Pacific Catch is a pescatarian’s paradise. Founded by bona fide ocean lovers, the fish here is ethically and sustainably sourced, helping to preserve the oceans and the species who inhabit them. This is fish all the ways — bowls, ceviche, poke, grilled, and beyond — with global flavors to keep things interesting.

20. Pizzeria Delfina

From the team at James Beard Award-winning Delfina comes Pizzeria Delfina, which started serving some of the city’s best pizza in 2008. Its pies are Inspired by the pizzas of New York City and Naples and they do more than measure up. They’ve got more than a dozen pies, white and red. The new Diavola with pepperoni, tomato, pepperoncini, spring onion, mozzarella, and chili oil is our current go-to.

21. Belt Rima

Influenced by his Jordanian and Palestinian heritage, chef Samir Mogannam has been serving welcoming Arabic comfort food since 2019. There’s mezze in abundance — pair it with Samir’s hand-kneaded bread, which is like pita to the nth power. If you have room, go for the extraordinary-looking and -tasting Gazan braised lamb shank.

22. Split

Under the direction of acclaimed chef and culinary director Matt Colgan, Split serves casual eats made with quality ingredients and an eye toward sustainability. This is the spot for first-timers who aren’t sure what they want to eat and regulars who know what they crave. Sandwiches, salads, and satisfying sides — like mac ‘n cheese with crispy Brussels sprouts and Srichacha ranch — await.

23. Wise Sons Deli

Whoever said you can’t get a good bagel outside of New York has never been to Wise Sons Deli. Sure, it’s California-inspired Jewish deli food, but it has its roots in tradition — and that includes boiling and baking their bagels. Order a spread that would make any bubbe proud: potato latkes, a bagel with a schmear, and a chopped liver plate. Or just pick a classic sandwich like a turkey club and get to noshing.

24. Papalote Mexican Grill

The Mexican food from brothers Miguel and Victor Escobedo and Victor’s wife Jodi is inspired by days spent with family in Chapultepec, Mexico City. The menu is extensive, with tacos, quesadillas, and more, but you’re going to want to include at least one burrito in your order. After all, they were voted one of the top burritos in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle. The roasted tomato salsa is sublime.

25. Marufuku Ramen

Marufuku is the spot for authentic Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen. Prepared with milky, umami-rich broth made from slow-cooked pork bones, ultra-thin artisanal noodles, and chashu made from specially selected pork, this ramen is food for the soul. Veggie and chicken options are available, as are small bites, including braised pork belly, Japanese fried chicken, and fried shishito.

26. Gioia Pizza

Put down your knife and fork and pick up your pizza like a New Yorker. The nod to NYC aside, everything at the nearly 20-year-old Gioia is organic, local, and homemade. The pepperoni pizza is an authoritative pick, as are the garlic knots, but we’re always tempted by the Julian pie with housemade Calabrese sausage.

27. Brenda’s Meat & Three

You’ll find plenty of Southern comfort at NOLA native Brenda Buenviajé’s place. Set the mood with Low Country gumbo to start. The fried chicken here is the real deal, as are the shrimp and grits. Cream biscuits, collard greens, and coleslaw are all worthy of your attention, and so is the cornmeal-fried shrimp or catfish with remoulade.

28. Oren’s Hummus

Rip. Scoop. Eat. Repeat. Those are your marching orders at Oren’s Hummus, restaurateur Oren Dobronsky’s ode to Tel Aviv. There’s a full menu of Israeli cuisine, but their divine hummus creations are a must here. A vibrant Israeli salad and some grilled skewers or kebabs make the meal complete.

29. Señor Sisig

More than 12 years ago Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo opened this Filipino fusion street-food spot and named it after the popular Filipino pork dish. Burritos, nachos, and tacos add the “fusion” aspect, with plenty of proteins available beyond pork. That said, the Señor Sisig burrito with pork is a revelation.

30. A Mano

As the name suggests, virtually everything at A Mano is made by hand. Opened in 2017, the restaurant has been repeatedly lauded for their handmade pasta to the point of near-obsession, and we get why: Chef Freedom Rains, who hails from Flour + Water, is behind the burner. We’re obsessed with the bucatini all' amatriciana, the fontina arancini, and the Margherita pizza. Care to join us?

Author

Caroline Potter