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
Travel Photos From Your Shot
See Captivating Photos of Our Days' End—Submitted by Members of the Your Shot Community
Shop National Geographic
Special Ad Section
Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.