Best Lunch in San Francisco

Best Lunch in San Francisco

Picture of Clean Plate Club

Clean Plate Club

The job of delivering the best possible content for our restaurant recommendations can not be left to one person. Click here to meet the team behind the Clean Plate Club.

San Francisco, the only city and county within the state of California, packs close to 900,000 people within 49 square miles. This roughly seven-by-seven mile area is filled with hundreds of world-class destinations — SFMOMA, the de Young Museum, countless cultural and shopping districts — with equally amazing restaurants in between them to refuel at as you take in the sights.

Whether youre seeking a quick on-the-go bite or an opulent, white tablecloth affair, there is something here for every taste and budget.  These are our San Francisco Best Lunch winners for 2022, selected by our editors – look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

Feature Photo: Souvla

In and Around Downtown:

Embarcadero, FiDi, Union Square, Chinatown

Photo Courtesy of One Market

One Market Restaurant

1 Market St., Financial District

With soaring windows showcase vibrant views of San Francisco’s treasured Ferry Building, Embarcadero, and Bay Bridge, and an open exhibition kitchen offering “Chef’s Table” guests a front-row seat dining experience, One Market Restaurant has set the standard for sophisticated dining in San Francisco since 1993. A wood-fired grill, multiple private dining rooms, outdoor patio, and vibrant bar further enhance the ambiance. Check out their specialties here. Lunch hours are Tuesday through Friday 11:30am to 2pm. Dinner hours are Tuesday through Saturday 5pm to 9pm.

In or Around Fisherman’s Wharf:

Ghirardelli Square, Russian Hill, North Beach

Photo: Courtesy of Pier Market

Pier Market

39 Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf

(415) 915-5600

Pier Market is a tried-and-true dining establishment on Pier 39 — it was founded by the family that started the pier itself — and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Customers flock to this seafood restaurant to experience its signature mesquite-grilled seafood, and award-winning New England clam chowder. Pier Market

Photo Courtesy of Cafe Zoetrope

Café Zoetrope​

A European-style cafe in the heart of North Beach offering authentic Italian cuisine and a wide selection of Italian and California wines. Try their classic Luigino pizza, a margarita pie, or their pizza Sofia, with arugula, prosciutto and shaved parmesan. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 12pm to 6pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm to 8pm.

Photo: Courtesy Molinari Deli

Molinari Delicatessen

While the food scene in the City can be very fickle, Molinari Delicatessen is proof that real quality outlasts hype. The deli, which serves up classic Italian sandwiches with ingredients like sweet coppa, prosciutto di Parma and Sicilian style sausage, was established in 1896, making it one of the oldest delis in the United States. If youre a fan of meatball sandwiches, theirs is a bucket list item. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Closed Sunday.

In and Around Downtown:

Embarcadero, FiDi, Union Square, Chinatown

Photo Courtesy of Eringgg

Bodega SF

138 Mason St, Union Square


Although the original Bodega Bistro closed in 2017, owner Matthew Ho has evolved his family restaurant into the Bodega SF that we have today, serving up traditional North Vietnamese cuisine in the Tenderloin. Stop by for happy hour to get a bowl of vegan pho with your One Night In Saigon, an innovative mix of Hennesy and Vietnamese coffee. Or stop by for lunch or dinner to get a lemongrass pork chop with nuoc mam, and bun cha with pork belly and meatballs.

Photo Courtesy of Hog Island Oyster Co

Hog Island Oyster Co

Located in the historic San Francisco Ferry Building, In the heart of the historical Ferry Building Marketplace, Hog Island Oyster serves up fresh shellfish in front of gorgeous views of the bay. Get a mix of West and East Coast oysters to taste the differences, and follow it up with their clam chowder or delectable ceviche, paired with one of their craft cocktails. The line might be long, but it moves fast, and no matter what time you sit down, you’re going to get seafood that’s fresh off the boat.

Photo Waterbar Facebook


This gorgeous red brick building sits right on the waterfront, offering breathtaking views of the Bay Bridge. As the name promises, they have a top-notch raw bar, with oysters from all over the world, fresh dungeness crab, and tiger prawn cocktails. Make sure to check their daily featured oyster for the chef’s recommended offering. For lunch, try their steamed black mussels with risotto or go for dinner to sample their wood oven roasted petrale sole with pancetta and fennel marmalade. This is the perfect place for a birthday dinner, fancy date night, or to wine and dine work colleagues.

On or Around Fillmore St.:

Fillmore, Japantown, Pacific Heights

Photo Courtesy of On the Bridge

On the Bridge

This Japanese restaurant may seem unassuming with its smaller space, but once you walk in, you’ll find yourself in a cozy restaurant that feels just like home. Their curry rice really taps into that hearty and comfortable ambiance, with various options from tender beef, fresh scallops, or juicy chicken – you can also choose your preferred level of spice to satisfy both those who aren’t big on heat and those who want to burn their mouth off. You can also get all manner of noodles, from calamari and kimchi udon to napolitan spaghetti.

Photo Courtesy of Marufuku


Walking through Japan Center, you’re going to be tempted by more ramen shops than you can count, but Marufuku is easily one of the best. Some might be turned off by chain restaurants, but with Marufuku, take a chance – you won’t regret it. For a true comfort dish, get their classic tonkotsu ramen with rich pork broth, or if you’re not a meat-eater, get their vegetable ramen with spinach noodles. You can also order extra broth and noodles on the side if you understandably just can’t get enough.

In or Around the Mission:

Mission District, Noe Valley

Photo Courtesy of Burma Love Facebook

Burma Love

211 Valencia St, Mission District


With your first bite of their warm Burmese samosas, you’ll find yourself transported to the streets of Myanmar. Their coconut chicken noodle soup is a new twist on an American classic, with chicken legs slow-cooked in coconut milk, seasoned with turmeric and garlic, and garnished with cilantro and chili. For something more traditionally Burmese, go for their Mohinga, a catfish chowder soup that’s beloved in Southern Burma, with its catfish, fish sauce, and lemongrass broth, topped with eggs and crunchy fried split peas.

Photo Courtesy of Farmhouse Thai Facebook

Farmhouse Thai

710 Florida St, Mission District


Within the bright, colorful walls of Farmhouse Thai, you’ll be greeted with all manner of Thai dishes, some familiar and some new twists on old favorites. For something familiar, get their spicy Pad Kee Mow with crunchy bamboo shoots and bell pepper. If you’re in the mood for something that just screams Thai street food, go for their Basil Bomb, an explosion of calamari, prawns, scallops, crispy pork belly, and minced pork, all served up with fried egg. If you’re not too stuffed on pork and seafood, get their Rukna dessert platter to try their ultimate sweet selection.

Photo Courtesy of Judy Slater

Mission Chinese

Sit beneath the ornate paper dragon that snakes across the ceiling as you sample some of the best of the Chinese-American food scene in San Francisco. If you’re looking for a basic plate of orange chicken, you’re not going to find that here, but what you will find are creative dishes like thrice-cooked bacon and rice cakes, sichuan carbonara, and kung pao pastrami. For the adventurous, try the cabbage with pistachio milk – it might sound like an odd combination, but it’s a favorite for a reason.

Photo Courtesy of Prubechu


Chef Shawn Naputi and business partner Shawn Camacho opened up Prubechu with the goal of sharing a taste of their childhood in Guam, bringing Chamorro food culture to San Francisco. Try dishes that you might not have heard of before, like their popular Appan Mendioka (braised cassava in coconut milk) or hearty Tinaktak (handmade egg noodles with beef). For dessert, they offer a twist on the familiar with their roasted banana donuts served with whipped cream or caramelized coconut candy ice cream cones.

Photo Courtesy of Reem's

Reem's — Temporarily Closed

This brightly-colored Arabic bakery is offering up a taste of the Arab world that’ll leave you feeling warm and happy. From their Batata Harra with hand-cut kennebec garlic fries to their Pali Cali flatbread with sumac-braised chicken, each dish offers up heart and comfort. Don’t miss out on ordering an assortment of a dozen desserts, including their knafeh, baklawa, and their popular halawa chocolate chip cookies which are crispy and nutty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. .

Near Golden Gate Park:

Cole Valley, Haight, Richmond, Sunset

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Way

Palm City

4055 Irving St, Outer Sunset

While Palm City might be most well known for its wines, their hoagies are simply to die for. From their chewy and crispy bread to their fresh toppings, you can’t go wrong with any sandwich on their menu. A favorite amongst regulars is the Italian American, with peppery arugula, salty parm, and fresh, lemony dressing. Or go for the Au Poivre, with generous slices of roasted beef, peppercorn aioli, and thinly sliced apple. They might be a bit on the pricey side, but each sandwich is easily big enough for two and the quality is undeniable.

In or Near Civic Center:

Hayes Valley, Castro

Photo Courtesy of Dumpling Home Facebook

Dumpling Home

298 Gough St, Civic Center


If you have a craving for some Xiao Long Bao, you can’t go wrong with Dumpling Home. Go with some friends or family and order all the dumplings that catch your eye to ensure you can have a little taste of everything. Their chicken bao with a crispy exterior and juicy interior is simply to die for, and you can’t miss out on their spicy pork bao buns with dough so soft and pillowy that you could take a nap on it. While there is often a long wait, once you sit down the service is fast and attentive.

Photo Courtesy of Fable


This open-air patio restaurant lets you enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Castro while dining on seasonal Californian cuisine. Their classic sandwiches are never a bad idea, whether that’s their vegetarian-friendly smoked eggplant with almond mozzarella or their cubano with chipotle aioli and kennebec chips. It’s an excellent place to go with a group of friends to share a pitcher of sangria, a plate of homemade focaccia bread with herb dipping oil, and the latest gossip.

Photo Courtesy of Nopalito


Chef Gonzalo Guzman opened Nopalito in February 2009 with the best of two worlds at the heart of it — Guzmans traditional, from-scratch Mexican cooking and the Bay Areas fresh, local ingredients. Snack on the signature spicy garbanzo beans and dont skimp on the cocktails — the tequila and mezcal drinks are out of this world. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday 11:30am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am to 9pm, and Sunday 11:30am to 8pm.

Photo Courtesy of Alanna Hale


Souvla,” which means skewer” in Greek, is a small San Francisco-based chain of fast-casual restaurants offering a menu of pita wraps, salads, simple sides and a local favorite, their Greek frozen yogurts topped with everything from olive oil and sea salt flakes to baklava crumbles and honey syrup. Affordable and portable, the former First Lady — no, not that one — had Souvla on her flight from San Francisco back to D.C and wrote the staff a kind note. Hours are 11am to 9pm daily.

Photo Courtesy of RT Rotisserie

RT Rotisserie

101 Oak Street, Hayes Valley

302 Broderick Street, Western Addition


After stints at some of the most renowned restaurants in San Francisco, including Coi, Quince and Michael Mina, Evan Rich and his wife Sarah opened Rich Table in 2012. With signature items like porcini doughnuts and sardine chips, Rich Table became an immediate hit. In 2017 the duo ventured into counter service and opened the first RT Rotisserie. Its pretty simple here — as the name implies, the menu features rotisserie chicken, and elevated-yet-approachable sides like whole-roasted cauliflower and umami fries. The value for the quality here is unbeatable.

Photo Courtesy of Zuni Cafe

Zuni Cafe

First opened in 1979, Zuni has gone on to win various awards and the hearts of the bustling Market Street. Their menu changes frequently, but it’s always filled with seasonal produce and sustainably farmed meat and fish. Try their chicken for two roasted in a wood-fired oven, with scallions, dried currants, and skin so crispy it’ll sound like creme brulee when you tap it. You might also get to sample their morel mushrooms served on mashed fava bean crostone or a plate of pan-seared ling cod cheeks with shishito peppers.

Near AT&T Park and Chase Center:

Dogpatch, SoMa

Photo Courtesy of Mission Rock Resort

Mission Rock Resort

This two-story waterfront destination in Mission Bay boasts bay views from every seat, both indoors and outside on its spacious decks. Seafood specialties include raw bar offerings; salads including an ahi tuna bowl; sandwiches like a Dungeness crab and bay shrimp roll; and local petrale sole served with mashed potatoes, vegetables and a lemon-caper beurre blanc. Draft beer, wine and a list full of tropical cocktail concoctions round out the beverage selection. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 11am to 8:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 8:30pm.

Photo Courtesy of The Ramp

The Ramp

This classic American restaurant was originally a public boat ramp and bait shop back in the 50s, and has now become a favorite destination for good food and live music. A famous weekend brunch spot (from 10am to 3pm) serves up mouthwatering eggs benedict and bloody mary’s. You can also choose to come for a weeknight lunch or dinner to get the San Francisco classic of clam chowder in a bread bowl or tacos al pastor with tomatillo salsa. They’ve got draft beers and craft cocktails alongside Arnold Palmers for those that prefer something non-alcoholic.

In or Near Presidio:

Cow Hollow, Marina, Presidio Heights

Photo Courtesy of Greens Facebook


As the name might imply, Greens is a vegetarian mainstay of San Francisco. On a cold and foggy day, opt for their fresh pappardelle pasta with zucchini sauce and green olive tapenade. When the sun is shining, get their caprese sandwich with nutty basil pesto on ciabatta bread. They also offer warm cornbread and housemade whole grain seed rolls to slather with cultured butter or honey butter. For those that love Mexican food but are tired of shredded meat tacos, try Greens’ summer squash quesadilla with avocado-tomatillo salsa and oaxaca cheese.

Photo Courtesy of Spruce


A Michelin star restaurant in a quiet corner of the city near the Presidio, Spruce has been an insider favorite since its opening in 2007. The restaurant boasts numerous awards for its wine selection and food offerings, but the burger is perhaps the most lauded of all. Served on an English muffin bun, the patty is a blend of short rib, sirloin and brisket. The $22 price tag seems intimidating, but is well-warranted. Weekday lunch hours are from 11:30am to 2:30pm, weekend brunch runs from 11am to 2:30pm.

More Local Favorites in San Francisco

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top