What do you think of when you hear the words “San Francisco?” Maybe the swaying steel beams of the Bay Bridge come to mind. Perhaps you can almost hear the distant lilt of jazz on Fillmore, or your favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers riff? Maybe you’re fondly recalling a family vacation where you scurried to reach one of its illustrious restored trolley cars on time. Surpassing a million visitors per year, San Francisco boasts one feature which, once experienced, can n’er be forgot: The Food.
The noms. The nibbles. The noshes. As Anthony Bourdain astutely states in his HBO show; If you walk in off the street anywhere in San Francisco, you’re sure to be met with a memorable meal that will still leave your pocketbook intact. But where on Earth to start?
1. The Sushirrito
Plunge into the thick of it all and claim your very own! While these bad boys have been slowly making their way east, they remain a signature Bay Area speciality. The authentic Sushirrito chain (aptly named Sushirrito) now offers five locations, making it an ideal destination on your first afternoon off the plane. But be sure to catch ‘em when they’re on duty: Each branch opens at 11 am on weekdays, sometimes closing a mere 4 hours after first call.
2. Hot Cookie
Okay, so it’s a brand new, sunshiny SF day and you’re getting a bit peckish. Drumroll, please, because it’s time for… Dynamo Donut. They open bright ’n early at 7 am and are apt to run out of their fresh gourmet donuts before lunch hits.
Passion Fruit Milk Chocolate, Lemon Buttermilk, Maple Glazed Bacon Apple, Chocolate with Raspberry Black Pepper Glaze… You can’t make these things up. An informal setting where you can grab a stool at Dynamo’s wood counter and savor each little crumb.
Another hidden gem and local favorite nearby the B*Bar, Eats is guaranteed to satiate your brunchy pangs. (When visiting any new place, it’s probably best to heed the locals.) Boasting a small-town diner vibe and offering both indoor and outdoor seating, you’re likely to spy a waitlist on the chalkboard outside the entrance. But fret not – you’ll be happily seated in a matter of minutes.
Their usual waiter will make you believe in yourself all over again, and even when the plates in front of you are empty you’ll be heatedly discussing another order of waffle bacon.
7. Off the Grid
I know, I know, all of this fantabulous eating can make you feel like you need to join the ranks of the cows and grow a fourth stomach. So, how about a bit of a stroll up to the Presidio? (After checking the schedule, of course.) Yes, the Presidio is a former military base now home to Lucasfilm and the Letterman center, but guess what else is up there. Yessiree, it’s more food.
But this food is coming from food trucks surrounding a mecca of folding tables, making you think you’re at the biggest family reunion you never had. Locals bring their dogs, visitors bring frisbee, and the weirdest combination of street fare has been placed at your feet.
Ladies and gents, please; Chow down.