Looking for lunch in San Francisco? Here are the top spots for a midday meal, from long and leisurely to quick and tasty.
Delfina crafts pizzas with the freshest ingredients, baked to crackling thin-crust perfection, and accompanied by wonderful wines and side dishes. Made-to-order Neapolitan-style pizzas come with traditional toppings like salsiccia, broccoli raab, 4 formaggi, and cherrystone clams. Round out the pie with a seasonal salad or side, and cap it off with a delicious homemade ricotta cannoli. Full review.
2. Slow Club
In business for nearly 18 years, the Slow Club remains one of San Francisco's favorite neighborhood restaurants. The industrial chic decor features concrete floors, black walls, and a backlit bar. The atmosphere is dark and moody but welcoming. It is hard to resist the expertly prepared burger, which comes with skinny fries or mixed greens. Housemade pastas are hearty and inventive; the pan-roasted chicken is always full of juicy flavor. The super-fresh Caesar salad is also memorable. Full review.
3. Chez Maman
Something between a bistro and diner, the tiny Chez Maman turns out hearty fare like steak frites, grilled paninis, generous burgers, and sweet and savory crepes. On a cold damp day, there is nothing more satisfying than grabbing a seat at the counter and watching your lunch grill on the stove; the warmth and smells from the tiny open kitchen will chase any chill away. Full review.
4. Zuni Cafe
Zuni Cafe may be San Francisco’s most iconic restaurant. Opened in 1979, this classic eatery has garnered an international reputation for its simply prepared, ingredient-driven Mediterranean cooking. With picture windows looking onto Market Street, Zuni’s long copper topped bar draws celebrities, out-of-towners and everything in between. The Caesar salad, classic burger, shoestring fries, and roast chicken for two are celebrated preparations, as is the extensive selection of fresh oysters, which changes daily. Full review.
If you’ve ever heard the term ladies who lunch and wondered who they are and where they go, book a table midday here. The setting alone is worth a visit: Perched on the fourth floor of the department store, the dining room sits under a magnificent stained-glass dome. Picture windows look out onto the bustle of Union Square. White table linens, plush banquettes, and fresh flowers on every table lend an air of elegance. Full review.
6. La Taqueria
This friendly restaurant has an almost cult-like following. Tacos and burritos are made to order with the freshest ingredients; meats are marinated and grilled to perfection. Try the delicious carnitas (stewed pork) tacos. Don't be dismayed by the long lines; they move fast. Address and Phone: 2889 Mission St (at 25th Street); (415) 285-7117.
7. Warming Hut Cafe
The Warming Hut’s location in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Field ensures a captive audience. But the coffee, snacks and sandwiches are so well made here it’s hard to decide which the bigger draw is: the view or the food. When the fog rolls in, this is just the place to warm up with a cappuccino, hot chocolate or hot mulled cider. The fact that the café doubles as a gift/book shop and makes memorable grilled sandwiches doesn’t hurt, either. Address & Phone: 603 Mason St.; 415-561-3040.
8. Firewood Cafe
A great kids’ menu, fast service, and affordable prices make this a perfect place to catch a bite after shopping or a movie. Parents will appreciate the wines by the glass; kids watch their pizzas sizzle in open kitchen. Delicious, thin crust wood-fired pizzas are the top choice here; rotisserie chicken, and jumbo salads and pastas are also good options at this highly dependable restaurant in the Metreon Center. Address and Phone: 101 4th Street, ground floor (in the Metreon Center); 415-369-6199.