Where I tell my friends to eat when they visit San Francisco

There’s a lot of great spots but these are the ones that I think are most memorable to someone visiting and/or unique SF-only food experiences!

updated May 2023

Birria tacos from Tacos El Patron

Everyday Spots:

  • El Farolito: When I lived in New York, the first place I’d go from the airport was for a burrito in the Mission (I also had my friend drive me straight to El Farolito after I got back from my backpacking trip lol). There’s a very serious debate on El Farolito vs. La Taqueria for burritos but I like mine with rice so El Farolito wins. I’d go to La Taqueria for the tacos. My go-to order is their shrimp + carne asada burrito.
  • Tacos El Patron: Birria tacos!! These beef tacos are served along with a stew that the tacos are dunked into. Splurge and get yourself a quesobirria for some cheese to really round it out.
  • Turtle Tower: Other than burritos, this was the second spot I’d hit up on visits back home! Good pho is hard to come by and Hanoi-style pho is even harder to find. Turtle Tower is *the* spot for Hanoi style pho with fresh, wide rice noodles. I always get the pho ga (chicken pho).
  • Saigon Sandwich: This little hole-in-the-wall has the best banh mis sadly taking this off as it’s not what it used to be
  • Arsicault Bakery: truly the best croissants!!
  • Tartine Bakery: the croissants here are also very good and the breads are stellar. I’ve definitely brought their country loaf back in my suitcase to NY before.
  • PPQ: SF Vietnamese-style garlic noodles are SO good and PPQ is one of the OGs. They’re also well-known for their crabs which you can have cooked in a variety of different styles.
  • Del Popolo: One of my favorite pizza spots! Their wood-fired sourdough crust is just *chefs kiss*
Part of course 1 of the tasting menu at Ernest


  • Rich Table: One of my favorite treat-myself spots in SF! The menu rotates seasonally but I usually get all the snacks (sardine chips, porcini doughnuts, and dumplings are musts) along with the uni cacio e pepe.
  • Ernest: This new-ish spot is from chef-owner Brandon Rice, who was the head chef at Rich Table when they wont their Michelin star. For smaller parties, I would definitely recommend the $95 tasting menu which usually includes 4 courses. Similar to Rich Table, their menu also rotates on a weekly basis with some staples.
  • Liholiho Yacht Club: I’m so happy they’re back open for dining! LYC is a heritage-driven restaurant that draws influence from the chef’s Hawaiian and Asian heritage. They’re well-known for their ‘secret menu’ housemade spam and rice as well as the baked Hawaiian for dessert.
  • Mister Jiu’s: I love the way that Mister Jiu’s draws from Chinese flavors and cooking techniques and combines it with seasonal produce and quality ingredients. It’s hard not to get everything on the menu! The squid ink wontons are always a must-get along with at least one of their rotating meats + seafood.