Where to Have Lunch in San Francisco
With a culture of locally-sourced ingredients and international influences, San Francisco is a definite hotspot for foodies. But if it’s your first and only chance to have lunch here, how do you choose from over 3,500 restaurants? Here are some San Francisco restaurants that are guaranteed to serve you a great lunch.
Don’t miss chowing down on a Mission Burrito in the Mission District. There are hundreds of taquerias, but the well-seasoned burritos at James Beard Award-winner La Taqueria (2889 Mission St.) will give you a true San Francisco experience.
Want to experience California's oldest restaurant? Then head to Tadich Grill (240 California St.), established in 1849. You'll get freshly caught seafood the way it's been cooked and served for more than 160 years. Try the Seafood Sampler so you get a little of everything on one plate. This place is a true American original.
The Trusted Joints
If you’re on the hunt for both quantity and quality, try Locanda Osteria & Bar (557 Valencia St.). Bonus: on weekends, there’s an ample brunch to satisfy all your Italian pasta cravings.
Hungry for steak? Your best bet is House of Prime Rib (1906 Van Ness Ave.). Among cozy, English settings, you’ll experience the finest meat carved at your table. It's perfection in every bite!
Best Specialty Restaurants
Authentic Israeli food may be hard to find, but at Oren's Hummus (71 Third St.), they’ve no shame in the label “World’s Best Hummus.” Hummus bowls, pita sandwiches, and grilled specialties are all authentic tastes of Tel Aviv. There are even gluten-free options. Local tip: come on Wednesdays, when wines are half-price!
Vegans out for lunch will love Ananda Fuara (1298 Market St.), with its tofu pea curries and African peanut soup. Their philosophy blends great food with the perfect atmosphere of tranquility. You can also order gluten-free chocolate peanut butter crinkles and chocolate cake.
Craving Japanese? Sushi Ran (107 Caledonia St.) features ingredients sourced straight from Japan's famous Tsukiji Market. Have the singular experience of its six-seat sushi bar, but be warned: it's a popular place. Come early to get a spot.
Best Budget Lunches
Where can you find a great lunch without breaking your budget? If you love Chinese, head to Chinatown for the best dim sum at Good Mong Kok Bakery (1039 Stockton St.). Lunch for two will cost less than a museum ticket or taxi fare.
Yummy-Yummy (1015 Irving St.) serves a huge, steaming bowl of pho or six crunchy shrimp rolls for less than 10 bucks. Scrumptious Thai dishes can be ordered for the same price at Zen Yai (771 Ellis St.). Boat noodles and green papaya salad are a popular choice with regulars.
Best Places for Groups
Traveling with friends, family, or colleagues? When you have a hungry crowd, visit ALX Gastropub (680 Folsom St.). Their food and ambiance is worth a longer stay, but they offer grab-and-go selections if you're in a rush.
ThirstyBear Brewing Company (661 Howard St.) is a fun place to take a crowd. Everyone can dig into traditional Spanish tapas while enjoying the festive vibe.
Mister Jiu’s (28 Waverly Pl.) is good for a hungry group that loves Chinese-American classics. The varied plates of roast duck and dumplings are exceptional, and the cool ambiance is also a draw. You can pair your favorite wines or cocktails with the dishes prepared by Chef Brandon Jew.
Special and Romantic Spots
Having lunch with a special someone? These refined, romantic spots in San Francisco offer a perfect setting for midday romance.
Petit Crenn (609 Hayes St.) is a French creation of celebrated Chef Dominique Crenn. It has a warm and intimate feel, and the menu is in a class by itself. Reserve early for a table, or sit at the white marble bar to take in a view of the kitchen.
For upscale dining with your date, head to Waterbar (399 Embarcadero). Its incredible bay views and fresh seafood will leave you longing for just one more day (or night!) on the town. Floor-to-ceiling aquariums and a heated patio complete the romance factor. The oyster bar is just a bonus!
Nearby, at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana on Pier 1 1/2, dine on ceviche, designer cocktails, and South American cuisine by celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, who earned his superstar status in San Francisco. Main course include shellfish, calamari, and grilled salmon. There are many more choices and a variety of prices to suit your moods.