There is no shortage of places to dine out in San Francisco, really — the most recent tally puts the number of restaurants in the city at 4,415. This figure has definitely dropped since the pandemic, but regardless, the amount of options are crippling.
Our methodology was to find a sweet spot, places that could do it all. Somewhere with superb food, first off, but also restaurants that could work for friend outings, dates, work meals, and more. That said, here are our picks for the best dinner restaurants in San Francisco.
Whoever came up with the sign that says, “No great story ever started with someone eating a salad,” definitely hasn’t had the baby lettuces from AL’s Place. One of the most popular items on the menu, the greens hail from Blue Dane Garden, an organically run operation located in Grass Valley that grows produce exclusively for the restaurant. Beyond lettuce, the rotating menu features uncommon combinations of the Bay Area’s seasonal bounty including chanterelles and sunchokes. The cocktail list is equally unique. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30pm to 10pm. alsplacesf.com
After a three-year closure, Chef Mourad Lahlou reopened Aziza at the end of 2019 to the delight of foodies everywhere. With a stunning new look and refreshed menu that paid homage to what made the Michelin-star restaurant a stand out, the culinary team concocted a fresh take on Morroccan spices and flavors. Not to be missed: the kefta meatballs with grape, cucumber, za’atar and black sesame, and the braised lamb shank with farro verde, grilled green onion, prunes and herb salad. Dinner hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 5pm to 10pm. azizasf.com
A hit that hasn’t waned since it opened in the neighborhood in 2010, crowds flock to Delarosa — there’s always at least a 20-minute wait — for the Roman-style pizza, easily shareable small plates like the burrata bruschetta and consistently great wines. It’s proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge makes it a popular spot with tourists, but you’re bound to see plenty of locals and their designer pups at the tables outside. Hours are 12pm to 10pm, Monday through Thursday, 12pm to 11pm on Friday, 11am to 11pm on Saturday, and 11am to 10pm Sunday. delarosasf.com
Liholiho Yacht Club
Hawaiian-born Ravi Kapur named the restaurant Liholiho Yacht Club to honor his uncle’s beach pop-up on Maui that had great local food, music, and fun with “Ohana” — which means “family in Hawaiian. Here you’ll find one-of-a-kind dishes like fat rice noodles with bacon, cabbage, fermented black bean sauce, and the delectables coconut turmeric fried chicken with fermented cabbage salt. The drinks are all winners, but our money is on the Okinawan Sour. Hours are 4pm to 8pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday through Tuesday. lycsf.com
Now that you can walk into Mister Jiu’s — indoor resumed when the entire staff was vaccinated — do it, because it is an electrifying experience. Tucked away in a Chinatown alley, the restaurant has the vibe of a posh club with traditional Chinese flair, i.e. modern lazy-Susans. But about the food. Light and teeming with flavor, opt for the chilled beef tendon with Stemple Creek Beef Chow Fun garlic chives, scallions, bean sprouts and horseradish. If the hour-long prep time isn’t a turn off, the Liberty Farm roast duck will (lovingly) haunt you in your dreams. Hours are 5pm to 8:30pm Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. misterjius.com