Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
"Definitely get the carnitas burrito."—Michael Bauer, executive food and wine editor, San Francisco Chronicle. Frequent contender for city's best Mexican food; located in Mission District; counter service, communal-style tables, and mural-covered walls. 2889 Mission St.; tel. +1 415 285 7117.
"Udon, ramen, and soba made fresh daily; great on a cold San Francisco night."—Marcia Gagliardi, food writer and columnist, Tablehopper.com. Noodles, sashimi, tempura, and rice dishes; fast service in small noodle house; inside mall in Japantown. 1581 Webster St., No. 105; tel. +1 415 346 5083.
Brick Restaurant and Bar
"You may just want to go there for dessert: white balsamic tapioca pudding with strawberries and cinnamon toast."—Jane Goldman, editor-in-chief, CHOW.com. Exposed brick walls, open kitchen, and contemporary American cuisine; hip spot in gritty Tenderloin District. 1085 Sutter St.; tel. +1 415 441 4232. www.brickrestaurant.com
"Everything from Thai chicken salad to spaghetti and meatballs."—Michael Bauer. Locals' favorite in the Castro District; friendly servers dish up comfort food in casual atmosphere; long wooden counter, bistro tables, and back patio seating; second restaurant location in Sunset District. 215 Church St.; tel. +1 415 552 2469.
Presidio Social Club
"American fare in very stylish surroundings; great five-dollar margaritas."—Michael Bauer. Housed in former army barracks in the Presidio; classy 1940s feel with slow ceiling fans and marble bar; popular with families and couples from nearby neighborhoods. 563 Ruger St.; tel. +1 415 885 1888. www.presidiosocialclub.com
Swan Oyster Depot
"A long counter, rickety stools, wonderful oysters."—Jan Newberry, food and wine editor, San Francisco magazine. Hole-in-the-wall seafood and oyster bar in Nob Hill; locals line up at door for San Francisco's famous Dungeness crab when in season; closes at 5:30 p.m. 1517 Polk St.; tel. +1 415 673 1101.
"The best dim sum in the city; a great place for lunch."—Michael Bauer. Richmond District Chinese restaurant; large round tables and comfy booths in bright, spacious dining room; tasty shrimp dumplings, barbecue pork buns, and pot stickers; packed on weekends. 5821 Geary Blvd.; tel. +1 415 387 8273. www.tonkiang.net
"A great place for all ages and all styles. The food is pristine California."—Michael Bauer. Films screened nightly in giant covered outdoor courtyard; emphasis on seasonal cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients; located in the Mission District. 2534 Mission St.; tel. +1 415 648 7600. www.foreigncinema.com
"Their octopus and lamb are both mind-blowing."—Marcia Gagliardi. Upscale Greek food with focus on seafood and lamb; toasty ambience created by creamy walls, solid oak tables, and wood-burning fireplace with rotisserie; in Jackson Square. 200 Jackson St.; tel. +1 415 981 0983. www.kokkari.com
"The Berkshire pork shoulder braised in milk is luxurious, rich, satisfying; their homemade pasta is wonderful, possibly the best in the city."—Jane Goldman. Northern Italian dining in the Financial District; brick walls, tall ceilings, and polished marble floors; extensive Italian wine list. 230 California St.; tel. +1 415 955 0663. www.perbaccosf.com
The Slanted Door
Modern Vietnamese cuisine made with local, organic ingredients; black leather couches, pale cypress tables, and a stacked glass wall revealing stunning bay views; located inside Ferry Building along the Embarcadero. 1 Ferry Building; tel. +1 415 861 8032. www.slanteddoor.com
"Embodies the city and the culture like nothing else does; one of the best oyster selections and the best Caesar salad in the city."—Jan Newberry. Award-winning Hayes Valley restaurant; stylish, cosmopolitan atmosphere; brick oven, copper-topped bar, and two-story windows; bustling with foodies of all stripes. 1658 Market St.; tel. +1 415 552 2522. www.zunicafe.com
French-influenced regional fare; belle epoque interior featuring hand-blown glass sconces, intricate ironwork, and mosaic floor; bay views from some tables; in historic Audiffred Building along the Embarcadero. One Mission St.; tel. +1 415 543 6084. www.boulevardrestaurant.com
The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton
French cuisine infused with Japanese flavors; formal setting with crystal glasses, cushy chairs, and fine service; waiters wheel carts of cheese and champagne to entice well-heeled clientele; fixed-price menus; located in Nob Hill. 600 Stockton St.; tel. +1 415 296 7465. www.ritzcarltondiningroom.com
"An Armani-like environment."—Michael Bauer. Contemporary California dishes prepared with French flair; subtle lighting, golden wood-paneled walls, and sleekly suited waiters; three-to five-course fixed-price menu; located in Fisherman's Wharf. 800 North Point St.; tel. +1 415 749 2060. www.garydanko.com
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