The city has the luxury of being close to local, farm fresh ingredients and world class talent in chefs. Paired with renowned California cheeses and wine, San Francisco is becoming a food capitol. Neighborhoods like the Mission District and Noe Valley have long been known for their excellent cuisine, but just about every corner of the city has something special.
Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St; (415)673-1101: This seafood counter has been in business since 1912 and owned by the Sancimino family since 1946. There is often a line, but it moves fast and the food is worth it. Choose from seafood salads and cocktails, lobster, Dungeness crab, or Swan's signature mollusk. You can also pick up some fresh fish to cook at home.
Alamo Square Seafood Grill: Specializing in fresh seafood with generous portions, this restaurant also has a "Create your own meal" with a mix-and-match menu of fresh seafood (select a fish, a cooking method and a sauce).
Slider's Diner (1204 Sutter St (Polk); (415) 885-3288): Juicy 8-ounce grilled-to-order burgers and other diner classics like grilled ham, cheese sandwiches, chili, and thick-cut fries are classic American fare and are done just right here.
Polk Street Station Diner (1356 Polk St; (415) 776-8899): This is a hybrid of an old-style diner and a contemporary restaurant. Burgers and breakfast reign with new items like fresh fish dishes and fried quail adding something different. Historic photos clutter the walls and a model train runs along the ceiling.
Grubstake: This tiny restaurant is a bit of bay area history! Part of the restaurant is housed in a rail car that is a remnant of the Key Line. The menu throws some Portuguese dishes in along with burgers, milkshakes and breakfast.
Morty's Delicatessen: Offers good deli fare of soups, salads, and "nice" or "hot stuff" sandwiches.
Miller's East Coast West Delicatessen: For those missing the New York/Jewish deli, Miller's is the answer. Mile-high pastrami sandwiches, huge matzo balls, and superb bagels are served with a classic Nova lox platter.
Zao Noodle Bar: Colorful restaurant and food with signature vegetable and black bean tofu stir fried with noodles. Dishes drawn from Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisine.
House of Nanking (919 Kearny St; (415) 421-1429): This small, no-frills Chinese restaurant has a loyal following as well as a reputation with tourists. Traditional dishes served quickly for a great price.
Namu: Japanese and Korean dishes are beautifully assembled in the open kitchen behind rustic wooden counter-tops in this tiny restaurant. Imported Japanese sumi charcoal is used for grilling and Jasmine pearl tea in a metal teapot finishes a meal
The Cliff House takes advantage of its water views and has recently been named the "Best Restaurant with a View". The food is as good as the view with the freshest of seafood.
Fleur de Lys's chef Hubert Keller cooks food close to his Alsatian roots. A magical tent roof creates an exotic air for the fixed-price four-star meals ($65 for three courses, $72 for four and $80 for five).
Azie is an Asian fusion restaurant with family style service which encourages experimentation. The restaurant is in a revamped warehouse, made intimate with bold colors and dark wood. An expansive exhibition kitchen adds flair to any evening.
Top of the Mark is the perfect spot for a special event. Its panoramic views of the city and fun drinks (i.e. Golden Gate or the Alcatraz) and the mahogany dancefloor can transform the ordinary into a truly special night.
Bix is a supper club that styles itself as a "civilized speakeasy". Doug Biederbeck is an established restaurantuer whose goal is for this restaurant to maintain its classic 40's look well into the future.
Le Colonial offers relaxed, plantation-style surroundings, exotic drinks, and innovative food. Evoking French colonial Vietnam, the setting is romantic and the food is divine.
Roots sits inside the Garden Hotel and both are known for the earth-friendly philosophy. The food is American with a Mediterranean flair, picked out seasonally, locally grown, with naturally raised meats and sustainable seafood.
For many more listings and reviews, consult: http://www.sanfrancisco.com/restaurants/