Whether you came to San Francisco specifically for the culinary scene or you are just hungry after a long day of sightseeing, you are in for a treat as long as you know where to go. With restaurants dotting almost every city block, especially in the highly visited areas, I thought you might appreciate a little help - so I broke down my top choices by type.
Here is my always growing list of full restaurant reviews of the city's most famous restaurants. From real the real Italian eats of Original Joe's in North Beach to the tropical spice of the King of Thai, the list is as broad spectrum as possible. When you try any restaurant on the list you can also write your own mini review on the site for the world to see.
As the birthplace of the hippie movement and the nation's alternative lifestyle capital San Francisco is a city where vegetarian eating is the norm for much of the population. What this means for the visitor, even if they are not a vegetarian, is highly innovative vegetarian cuisine and well-established vegetarian restaurants around every corner. Many vegetarian restaurants also base their menus on the harvests of California's many small organic farms, which often grow heirloom and specialty crops rarely seen in other part of the country.
A city surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco counts waterfront dining among its favorite activities for visitors. Great restaurants line the bay near the massive Ferry Building Marketplace, the city's largest farmers market, but there are also a handful of winners down on Fisherman's Wharf. Since many waterfront restaurants specialize in seafood, make sure you try the Dungeness Crab when it is in season.
From Mexican and Italian to Thai and Chinese, San Francisco is a global culinary adventure for those who are willing to dive into its ethnic food scene. Eating at ethnic restaurants not only rearding for the taste buds but it is also one of the best ways to do San Francisco on a budget as many top ethnic eateries are way cheaper then any other option in town, often even outpricing fast food chain restaurants.
San Francisco with children, as the high proportion of single professionals and childless couples can make the dining scene feel particularly anti-family. But San Francisco's trademark open-mindedness also means that most restaurants will accommodate you easily, without hassle, and the ones on this list are even more family oriented: they are expecting you.
From beer battered fish and chips to the heartiest hamburgers in town, Irish Pubs offer up some of the city's highest quality budget eats. San Francisco is home to a deep rooted Irish community, one of the largest on the west coast actually, and the city's many pubs - especially in the Richmond District - often host live Celtic music nightly. Most also have great happy hour food specials.
For light fare and great lunch specials, San Francisco's eclectic cafes offer not only the best deals in town but some of its most creative hand-made plates. From grilled focaccio sandwiches at a traditional Italian cafe to raw nut-burgers at one the bohemian neighborhood gathering joints, cafe dining is often a staple of locals and should be tried by any visitor to the city that wants to immerse themselves in the local scene.