What to Eat on San Francisco's Polk St.
Ready to explore San Francisco's most eclectic and diverse street for dining out? Then head over to Polk St.
Polk intersects with a handful of different neighborhoods, making it a full spectrum experience of what the city has to offer. Hosting some of San Francisco's top fine dining joints in Russian Hill and Nob Hill areas, as well as some excellent authentic Asian restaurants, Polk is a cosmopolitan diner's delight any night of the week.
Here are some of our recommendations for stand out eats on Polk St.
Aux Delices (2327 Polk St.)
Translated as “At the Delights”, this French-Vietnamese restaurant has been a star of the Russian Hill dining scene since opening its doors back in 1987. Chef-owner Tina Nguyen offers up a menu that spans Vietnam from north to south and includes the flavors of France that were integrated into the country's culinary style. With white table-clothes, private booths and extensive wine, beer and sake lists, Aux Delices should be on the must-try list for anyone who loves Southeast Asian cuisine done with attention to detail.
Crustacean (1475 Polk St.)
Freshly caught crab, prawns and other local seafood are the focus of the menu at Crustacean, an upscale Indo-Chinese eatery lovingly watched over by chef-owner Helene “Mama” An. Crustacean is not only one of the top bets in the city for Dungeness crab done right, but also offers an extensive wine list perfectly chosen to match its flavorful offerings.
Fiorella Polk (2238 Polk St.)
Hand-made pastas, wood fired-thin crust Neapolitan style pizzas and hearty traditional Italian mains made the original Richmond District Fiorella so popular that the Polk St. location was opened just to bring the goodness closer to the city center. Located in Russian Hill, Fiorella Polk sponsors art programs in local schools and even serves pizzas topped with ingredients grown in San Francisco elementary school gardens.
La Folie (2316 Polk St.)
Opened in 1988 by husband and wife team Roland and Jamie Passot, La Folie is a landmark Polk St. dining institution that is one of the highest Zagat rated French restaurants in the country. Also sporting a lounge next door, La Folie does sophisticated classic fare based on fresh offerings from local Northern California producers. Given four stars by the San Francisco Chronicle, La Folie combines culinary mastery with top notch service for a dining experience that will remembered for years.
Leopold's Gasthaus (2400 Polk St.)
It's Oktoberfest all year long at Leopold's, an authentic Austrian style gastro-pub where beer comes in a two-liter boot and servers are decked out in traditional dirndls. The Zagat and Michelin Guide-recommended cuisine here includes hearty sausage and schnitzel plates served with a wide variety of classic sides like spatzle, potato pancakes and sauerkraut.
Lord Stanley (2065 Polk St.)
Expect meticulously prepared old world style plates matched with wines from a list that focuses on organic and bio-dynamically grown vintages from around the globe. Lord Stanley serves an a la carte and tasting menu daily, as well as their popular Sunday Supper, a four course meal that comes with or without wine pairings.
Mezcalito (2323 Polk St.)
A hip craft cocktail bar that focuses on Mezcal-based creations, Mezcalito is also a popular place to grab a shareable plate of regional Mexican cuisine. A warm wood-paneled interior decked out with Huichol artwork and Mayan sculptures provides a comfortable space for socializing. Lunch and dinner are served daily; on weekends, both a bottomless brunch and a late night dining menu are available.
The New Spot on Polk (2401 Polk St.)
Breakfast all day and sidewalk seating that makes for great people-watching are two of the top reasons why The New Spot on Polk draws locals in droves. This modern take on the classic American diner makes it hard to choose between old school giant milkshakes and a half dozen or so freshly squeezed juice options. The New Spot on Polk also serves full lunch and dinner menus and offers short but well selected beer and wine lists.
San Francisco Brewing Company (3150 Polk St.)
Grab a Polk Street Pale Ale or one of a dozen or so other house handcrafted artisan beers at this spacious restaurant and brewery located at Ghiradelli Square. A wide variety of pub-style fare—everything from pork tacos and pizza to braised short ribs—is served both inside and at the outside beer garden. Family owned, the San Francisco Brewing Company was started in 2012 as a small local brewery with scooter-delivered kegs and is now a city hot-spot.
Shalimar (1409 Polk St.)
The original Shalimar in the Tenderloin is something of a San Francisco culinary landmark, a hole-in-the-wall that serves Indian and Pakistani style curries so packed with flavor and spice that you can smell it for blocks away. The Polk St. location offers the same home-cooked offerings in a slightly more organized dining area with a small front patio looking over the street.
Street Restaurant and Bar (2141 Polk St.)
Opened in 2000, Street Restaurant and Bar taps into the rich diversity of Northern California's small farms to create an innovative menu that spans the globe in terms of influences. An open kitchen plan means that diners can watch chef-owners John Lamkin and Lynn Ramsey hard at work on whatever seasonally changing specials are offered.
Swan's Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St.)
Open since 1903, Swan's Oyster Depot is a Polk St. institution that still draws lines down the block most weekends. Not only has the seafood eatery won the James Beard Award for Best Restaurant in America, it was actually one of the favorite hang-outs of James Beard himself. From oysters on the half shell to cracked Dungeness crab, Swan's Oyster Depot is quite possibly the top place in the city to experience San Francisco's fresh seafood in a no frills setting.
Thai Spice (1730 Polk St.)
A standard go-to for spice fiends and foodies since 1989, Thai Spice does traditional Southeast Asian curries, noodle dishes and salads, plus creative specialties like the Papaya Pad Thai. Friendly, festive and moderately priced, this is a great place to find out first hand why San Francisco is considered one of the Asian food capitals of the world.
1760 (1760 Polk St.)
Modern American cuisine crafted from ingredients that are locally and sustainably sourced is what's on the table at 1760, a stylish eatery located in Nob Hill. With no distinctions between appetizers and mains, menu items here are meant to be shared and are created to pair perfectly with the craft cocktails and extensive wine list.