Kitchen at A16, San Francisco, California

A16

This adorable pizza joint focuses on cuisine from the Italian region of Campania. The burrata and bucatini is ever-popular, but visitors return for the chewy, slightly burnt pizza crust. If the Chestnut Street location is too packed, A16 also has outposts in the Ferry Building and just across the Bay Bridge in Oakland.

Editors' Picks
sleek wooden bar with round stools

ABV

Named to the World’s 50 Best list in 2022, ABV is an upscale neighborhood spot with tasty drinks and a small food menu served until midnight.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

Editors' Picks
open kitchen with dried flowers hanging from the ceiling

Angler

Angler is a seafood-focused restaurant in the Embarcadero with an emphasis on wood-fired fish dishes that vary depending on the daily catch. The grilled scallop is a particular highlight. Diners can opt for the tasting menu or dine à la carte at both lunch and dinner. For dessert, Angler’s signature is a soft-serve ice cream sundae, served with a decadent butterscotch caramel sauce poured tableside.

Unsurprisingly for the location, prices are on the high side, and portions tend to run on the small side, but the the dishes are high quality. The dining room is done in warm tones and woods, with glossy ceramic fish on the brick walls and a burning hearth. Window tables offer partial views of the bay. There is outdoor dining blocked off on the sidewalk.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

Editors' Picks
Bar at Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, California

Atelier Crenn

Dominique Crenn is the first woman in the U.S. to earn two Michelin stars. Dining at Atelier Crenn, a serenely simple dining room accessed through a discreet door on an otherwise busy stretch of Fillmore Street, you can see why. The menu arrives as a poem that takes you through a season, through the woods (perhaps with the earthy taste of mushrooms) and to the ocean with expertly prepared dishes reflecting the scents of the sea. Each line of poetry reflects the next dish, but offers no specifics, heightening the anticipation. Because the dining room is so unfussy, because Crenn herself may come out to greet diners looking effortlessly chic in Converse tennis shoes, because the excellent food is inventive without being pretentious, the poetry works. By the time dessert arrived during a recent meal, I felt as if I had taken an incredible journey through nature. The dessert, a luscious, deep crimson sorbet looking exactly like a real beet, complete with a chocolate root, on a bed of granola, was unusual, unexpected and lusciously unforgettable.

Bar at Bar Agricole, San Francisco, California

Bar Agricole

Bar Agricole impresses from the moment you pass through the sidewalk entrance, leaving the gritty SoMa neighborhood to encounter a front patio full of chic diners. When you reach the front door you’ll spot the bar filled with hipsters and techies sipping creative cocktails and ordering from the restaurant’s lengthy wine list.

Behind the bar lies the rest of the dining room, which fills a sublime space that has earned Bar Agricole architectural kudos. One wall and half the ceiling of this converted warehouse are covered in slats of rich whiskey barrel oak. Ethereal glass sculptures descend from skylights above. A second dining room takes you down a few steps into a room of exposed concrete and wood, with high windows that spy into the main room. The vibe and décor is just right, but still, you come for the food. Dishes like sea urchin deviled eggs or black cod with English peas and smoked tea broth are a marvel.

Bar Crenn

Located next door to Atelier Crenn in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood, Bar Crenn is a perfect spot for drinks either before or after dinner.

Food at Bar Crudo, San Francisco, California

Bar Crudo

Located in the hipster NoPa neighborhood, Bar Crudo is a great spot for pescatarians and fish lovers. It’s the raw seafood dishes—from oysters on the half-shell to inventive sushi like arctic char with horseradish crème fresh and wasabi tobiko—that are the real draw here, and that keep the crowds coming.

Benu

This was San Francisco's first restaurant to earn three Michelin stars (in 2012), and chef Corey Lee can still be relied upon to push the boundaries of cuisine in a city teeming with innovative restaurants. Lee’s creativity can be sampled in the 18-course tasting menu (a classic is monkfish liver, sour cherries, pistachios and cauliflower on a cherry blossom brioche). The restaurant space designed by award-winner Richard Bloch is inspiring, as is the customized Korean porcelain by artist KwangJuYo.

Exterior View - Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco, California

Bi-Rite Creamery

This ice-cream shop is known to incite nearly fanatical behavior among San Franciscans at the mere mention of its name. Adjascent to Bi-Rite Market, the Creamery uses locally-sourced organic dairy and other environment-friendly ingredients to create their mind-blowingly tasty flavors, such as honey lavender and roasted banana, and concord grape popsicles made from Sonoma-grown grapes. Also, check out Bi-Rite Market itself, with locations next to the Creamery, as well as on Balboa and Divisadero streets. The selection of top quality specialty foods – like imported Stilton or Chai nut butter – astounds.

Biscuit Bender

Visit this artisanal shop for freshly baked homestyle biscuits. A constantly changing menu of both sweet and savory treats keeps things interesting and delicious.

Boulette's Larder

One Indagare member, who lived in San Francisco for years, picks this as the city’s most memorable restaurant, saying, “It’s not new, but it’s so San Francisco. The menus change often, it’s all seasonal and farm-to-table, they make great take-away food, and in the evening, the space can be rented for private parties, which is a very special experience. We once celebrated a friend’s birthday with a private dinner here and it’s a treat.” Besides the restaurant, Boulette's, which is located in the Ferry Building, also has a larder, which is only open on Saturday (if your timing is right, then it's a great place to stock up for a picnic before taking a ferry over to Sausalito).

ornate bar with an intricate gold ceiling, a thick marble countertop and blue stools

Boulevard Restaurant

This Art Nouveau restaurant is done in rich blue tones, floral and nature patterns and gold accents, making it almost as pretty as the presentation of the dishes themselves. Set near the waterfront, Boulevard serves upscale Californian cuisine with the option of enjoying a tasting menu in the dining room or the à la carte menu in the bar, lounge and chef’s counter. The former requires reservations but the latter is available for walk-ins.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

Editors' Picks

Burma Love

San Francisco's Burma Love serves delicious southeast asian cuisine line tealeaf salad, platha bread, coconut rice and pork pumpkin curry.

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Californios

San Francisco's two-Michelin-starred Californios takes Mexican cuisine to a new level entirely with its extensive tasting menu featuring such creations as butter poached lobster in a tiny blue corn tortilla.

Editors' Picks
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Che Fico

San Francisco's much-anticipated Che Fico offers up creative spins on traditional Italian favorites like house-made pastas and pizzas in the Nopa neighborhood. Read Indagare's review.
pizza with the cut up peppers on it

Chez Panisse

Accredited with popularizing California cuisine, this farm-to-table institution in Berkeley is a must for anyone in the area. Co-owned by lauded restaurateur Alice Waters, the charming Arts & Craft building houses the more formal Restaurant downstairs, serving a prix fixe menu, and the bistro-like Café upstairs, a warmer and more casual spot offering an à la carte selection. Offerings at both venues change daily, though the Café always features pizza and a baked goat cheese salad, both of which are legendary.

The restaurant is located a 30-minute drive from downtown San Francisco.

Editors' Picks
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China Live

San Francisco's China Live has a bold assemblage: a tea shop, two bars, a market, a private lounge and two very distinct restaurants. Read more.

Bar at Comstock Saloon, San Francisco, California

Comstock Saloon

Established at the turn of the 20th century in the name of silver mining tycoon Henry Comstock, Comstock Saloon is one of the oldest bars in San Francisco. Despite its old age, the pub remains popular with a young happy hour crowd and foodie locals. Comstock Saloon offers live jazz, a 20-foot mahogany bar and period trappings that transport guests back in time as they feast on beef shank and bone marrow pot pie followed by maple bourbon pudding.

Editors' Picks
Dinning Area at Cotogna, San Francisco, California

Cotogna

Michael Tusk, the James Beard recognized master behind Quince, brings his magic to a more accessible, casual setting. Cotogna is Italian for quince, and Cotogna specializes in rustic Italian fare.  The cozy dining room, with wood beams and low lighting, is the perfect setting for hearty and simple dishes like ricotta ravioli or chicken with green faro and raspberries.

Editors' Picks
Spread with Lamb Shoulder, Kebabs, and Octopus

Dalida

A former US Army post, this light-filled restaurant with woven chairs and green walls is now a popular green space that satisfies cravings for pita, souvlaki and hummus. Dalida’s menu is best enjoyed family style and pulls from the best of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, specifically Istanbul and Greece. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing locally and sustainably, and the wine list comprises a carefully curated selection of bottles from small wineries. Cocktails meanwhile are meant to evoke the flavors of the Mediterranean while adding Dalida’s own spin. We recommend dining on the covered deck when the weather is nice.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

Editors' Picks
Food at Del Popolo, San Francisco, California

Del Popolo

Once a shipping container-turned food truck, this restaurant serves some of the best pizza around. The rustic eatery's menu includes six Neopolitan-style pizzas and seven appetizers, many made in a traditional wood-burning oven.

plate of burrata with toast and greens

Delfina Pizzeria (Pacific Heights)

Annie and Craig Stoll’s pizza-focused outpost is more relaxed than their James Beard-award-winning Delfina, serving up Neopolitan-style pies alongside a rotating menu of antipasti. Additional locations can be found in Burlingame, Mission District and Palo Alto. Delfina Pizzeria is closed for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

Editors' Picks
restaurant bar with a red wood floor and a sleek wooden bar

Delfina Restaurant

A staple in San Francisco, James Beard award-winning Delfina by Annie and Craig Stoll has been serving tasty Italian-Californian fusion cuisine for years, and underwent a renovation in late 2022 to refresh the dining room. The couple also opened Delfina Pizzeria next door, which has several outposts around the city.

Recommended by an Indagare community insider

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Eight Tables by George Chen

San Francisco's Eight Tables by George Chen is a stunning, 8-table restaurant that boasts a dining room that feels like its in an elegant residence. Read more.

dimly lit restaurant with hanging lights and people at the tables

Flour + Water

Flour + Water may have started out by following the trend of high-end pizzerias with communal dining, but the quality of the food and the lines out the door are testament to the fact that this small Mission eatery has gone from trend piece to mainstay. The dining room is divided into a high communal table and separate bar seating up front and an intimate room with rustic wooden tables in the back.

This democratic, communal approach puts everyone in a congenial mood. The crowd when I was here ran the gamut from young hipsters in skinny jeans to more mature gourmets who had clearly not lined up for a meal in a long time (though everyone was a good sport about it). The edited, focused menu is worth the wait. That the food is farm-to-table and often changing is a given in San Francisco, but co-chefs Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow have the creativity to elevate dishes from merely seasonal to truly memorable. My meal included a refreshing spring salad with radish, kohlrabi, shaved fennel and tarragon; a side of sautéed kale with raisins, lemon and ricotta salata, and one of the much-lauded pizzas, a flavorful thin-crust concoction piled with black trumpet mushrooms, green garlic and fior di latte. All was washed down with a crisp Falanghina and topped off with a rich chocolate dessert, served with espresso-caramel cream and sea salt. Chocolate and sea salt? A trend, for sure, but in Flour + Water’s candle-lit dining room, it simply tasted like the perfect conclusion to a flawless meal.

Editors' Picks
Bar at Foreign Cinema, San Francisco, California

Foreign Cinema

When an old movie theater was purchased in 1999 in the then seedy Mission district, this restaurant-cinema hybrid was born. Today, diners are treated to a classic Californian menu that features delicious fried chicken and an impressive oyster selection with foreign movies as entertainment. With a James Beard award nomination, Foreign Cinema offers a truly unique dining experience—and a truly San Franciscan one at that.

Kitchen at Four Barrel Coffee, San Francisco, California

Four Barrel Coffee

For a glimpse into San Francisco’s piping hot café market, this Mission roastery serves excellent hand-dripped coffee using beans sourced directly from small farms across the world. Pastries from a nearby bakery and gourmet donuts are also on the docket. In a somewhat revolutionary move, what you won't find is WiFi, creating a social, laptop-free atmosphere for the hipsters who frequent the joint. We love the community aspect, from the classes and coffee tastings on offer to the local artists featured on the walls. There is a second location at The Mill.

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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