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

San Francisco

Photo courtesy of @pokeworksco on Instagram

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

San Francisco

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

Head on over to the legendary Castro district and treat yo’self. If you’re unfamiliar with The Castro, it was one of the first decidedly LGBT-friendly neighborhoods in the country. Think rainbow crosswalks, Harvey Milk, Dolores Park, and the famous Castro Theatre sing-a-longs.

A tiny walk-in located right in the heart of it all, you can’t pass up this opportunity to snag some anatomically-correct baked goods. Come for the double-chocolate penis, stay for the out-of-this-world-rich flavors and textures that’ll make you want to settle in for a nap. No puns intended anywhere.

3. B*Bar


San Francisco

Photo courtesy of @bbarsf on Instagram

Now that your wandering sweet tooth’s been satisfied, it’s time to take the 38-Geary bus out to the Richmond district for some bonafide burmese cuisine. This warmly-lit hotspot is the casual sister of Burma Superstar down the street, and in addition to being more affordable here, the food and service are arguably even better.

Dinner dishes range from Basil Chili Tofu to Jook to Salmon Curry Pot Pie, and if you’re not sure what you want the bartender will be ecstatic to assist your culinary selection. Oops, did I mention – Your mouth will start watering even before you can say “party of two?”

4. Dobb’s Ferry Restaurant


San Francisco

Photo courtesy of slyscope.com

If you can’t manage to claim a seat at B*Star or you’re feeling more “Italian” tonight, then Dobb’s is the place for you. Just be sure to ring ahead! This welcoming spot is a favorite of locals who frequent the Opera across the street (and frequently the performers themselves), in addition to attracting visitors of all ages.

Dobb’s offers a variety of brunch, lunch, and dinner options with an attractive menu that changes with the season. As a bonus, any special dietary needs will be more than honored (I’m looking at all you Celiacs who’re [not literally] dying for some pasta al ragu). With servers you’ll want to adopt into your family, don’t be surprised if a manager or even an owner delivers your drinks personally.

5. Dynamo Donut

San Francisco

Photo courtesy of foodspotting.com

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.

6. Eats

San Francisco

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

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

San Francisco

Photo courtesy of hellaveganeats.com

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.