Where to Eat in the Castro and Noe Valley
Not only is the Castro the most colorful neighborhood in San Francisco, but this 'hood--full of boutique shops, bars and sing-a-longs--is also full of delicious options. The same can be said about its neighbor, Noe Valley, which is over the hill and Mission-adjacent (but sleepier). We searched far and wide through these two neighborhoods so that the next time you visit you know where to find all the good stuff. Bon appetit!
Anchor Oyster Bar (579 Castro St.)
We'll let you in on a little secret: Anchor Oyster Bar is the local's seafood spot when they don't want to wait in line at Swan Oyster Depot. This classic San Francisco seafood experience has it all. The people-watching from the front windows is exceptional, the seafood is fresh and the service friendly. What more could you ask for? Dishes to get: a dozen oysters and the cioppino.
Caskhouse (3853 24th St.)
This is the perfect Noe Valley hangout to saddle up at the bar and drink your favorite craft beer. They offer a rotating selection of handpicked American craft beers and unique, fun wines to complement house-inspired bites and sandwich creations. Dishes to get: Warm Soft Pretzels and the Porchetta Sandwich pair perfectly with that beer in your hand.
Clay Oven Indian (1689 Church St.)
Clay Oven Indian employs traditional cooking methods, including the use of a clay oven (tandoori) fired up to 1,000 degrees, to make their food daily. The buffet is the perfect place for an Indian food novice. Dishes to get: Everything at the lunch buffet. www.indiaclayoven.com
Frances (3870 17th St.)
Frances is a pricey option, full of hard-to-get tables. It's so worth it, though. With its focus on ingredients from local markets and farms, you can count on it being fresh with an ever-changing menu. Dishes to get: Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets, Five Dot Ranch Bavette Steak.
Finn Town (2251 Market St.)
Finn Town is the ideal destination for those seeking an "only in San Francisco" experience at dinner, late night and weekend brunch. Located 15 minutes from downtown in the historic Castro district, celebrity chef Ryan Scott offers up contemporary tavern fare "with a twist" and a vibrant dual bar scene with cocktails named for San Francisco icons. Dishes to get: Finn Town Burger, Duck Confit Pot Pie and the Deviled Eggs. www.finntownsf.com
Griddle Fresh (4007 24th St.)
Griddle Fresh is where Noe Valley residents go to brunch. Some might call it the most underrated brunch spot in San Francisco. Locals would like to keep it that way only so they don't have to wait so long to get in! Dishes to get: Lemon Ricotta Souffle Pancakes, the BLT Benedict and the Six-Hour Corned Beef Hash
Hi-Tops (2244 Market St.)
Bringing together the best of two worlds--a gay bar and a sports bar--Hi-Tops delivers top-shelf fast food and drinks, plus TVs tuned to sports in a setting with gym decor. So grab a pitcher, join a trivia team and nosh on some wings already. Dish to get: Fried Chicken Sandwich.
Regent Thai (1700 Church St.)
This low-key Thai restaurant offers colorful curries, rice dishes, satays and noodles. Proclaimed the "Best Thai Restaurant in Noe Valley," Regent Thai is a true locals joint. Dishes to get: Golden Bags and the Green Chicken Curry
Saru Sushi (3856 24th St.)
This Michelin Guide-recommended sushi bar in Noe Valley has a handful of seats along the L-shaped counter. The carefully sourced and presented fish is outstanding. Dishes to get: Any of the tasting spoons, Spicy Cracker and the Omakase.
Starbelly (3583 16th St.)
Starbelly is a casual and friendly neighborhood restaurant serving up Californian comfort food. If you have a big group and are looking for a patio to accommodate, Starbelly is the place for you. Dish to get: Doc's Way Burger, an off-the-menu secret. Order it and you'll feel like you've been dining there for years.
Pro-tip: Walk up and down the hills between the Castro and Noe Valley to maximize the number of meals you eat. That's how the locals do it.