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  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Bakery Tartine Best $4 Toast The Mill Best Breakfast Pork Store Cafe Best Brunch Zazie Best Burger Super Duper Burger Best Burrito El Farolito Best Cheap Eats Yamo Best Coffee Philz Coffee Best Date Restaurant Nopa Best Delivery Service GrubHub Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant Zazie Best Food Truck Señor Sisig Best Late Night Bite Sauce Best New Restaurant (tie) 1760, Izakaya Kou Best Pizza Little Star Pizza Best Pop-Up Restaurant Hella Vegan Eats Best Sandwich Ike's Place Best Seafood... More >>

  • Best Use of Sourdough

    Arizmendi Bakery

    There isn't a foodstuff more synonymous with San Francisco than sourdough, and yet there aren't so many places using the naturally fermented dough for anything beyond the round loaves that make up the city's bread bowls. Now Arizmendi Bakery — already an only-in-S.F. phenomenon thanks to its horizontal, worker-owned management — has started baking buttery, flaky croissants using the city's signature dough. Its tangy flavor is most apparent in the plain sourdough croissants, though it also adds complexity to its... More >>

  • Best Use of an Old Space

    Southern Pacific Brewing

    A tree grows in the middle of this Mission machine shop-turned-brewery, but it's not because the place is in ruins. The bar and brewpub, named for the railroad line that once terminated nearby, is the beneficiary of a gorgeous 2012 remodel that includes live saplings growing out of the floor. Proprietor Chris Lawrence turned to architecture firm Boor Bridges — also responsible for Four Barrel and Sightglass — to give the space a modern makeover while still maintaining its warehouse... More >>

  • Best Turnaround From Near-Disaster

    The Tamale Lady

    It was a hell of a year for Virginia Ramos, aka the Tamale Lady, aka San Francisco's Patron Saint of Hangover Prevention. First, the grandmotherly peddler of warm meat and cheese encased in masa was banned from the popular bar Zeitgeist by the S.F. Department of Public Health, for her not-quite-above-board practices in making the tamales that she moves around town in her plastic bag-insulated coolers. A few months later, she teamed up with rideshare service Uber to distribute tamales... More >>

  • Best New Burger

    Wes Burger

    Burger slanger Wes Rowe was a photojournalist and author of a burger blog, but thankfully for the meat-loving citizens of San Francisco, he decided to get on the other side of the counter. His Wednesday night pop-up at Mojo on Divisadero is perpetually packed, and once you eat his food it's easy to see why. Rowe understands what a burger should be: deeply meaty, oozing with cheese and sauce, with toppings that enhance the flavor but don't take away from... More >>

  • Best Classic Burger

    Original Joe's

    You've gotta love a place that still calls its burger a "hamburger sandwich." But the appeal of the hamburger at Original Joe's doesn't stop at the old-fashioned vernacular. In an era of fully loaded burgers, this is a simple creation: A thick, juicy patty is sandwiched between two halves of buttered, toasted Italian sourdough bread, along with some grilled onions and cheese, if you so choose. The fact that the burger has been made the same way since the restaurant... More >>

  • Best New Taste of the Old World

    20th Century Cafe

    It's easy to love the Russian honey cake, a dozen wafer-thin layers of spiced cake and honeyed sweet cream frosting that's as addictive as it is delicious. But to our surprise, it was the knishes that kept calling us back to Michelle Polzine's light-filled, copper-accented cafe in Hayes Valley. Knishes aren't the sexiest foods in the world, commonly associated with countries whose national cuisines are decidedly not celebrated, and the versions we've had in the past have lived up to... More >>

  • Best New-School Chinese Food

    Xi An Gourmet

    A centuries-old cuisine is anything but "new," but until recently there's been a dearth of kitchens in San Francisco highlighting the Chinese region of Xi'an, with spicy, strident flavors that lean towards noodles over rice. Xi An Gourmet in the Inner Richmond is a no-frills affair (the "menu" consists of neon papers taped to the wall, each with the name of a dish on it) but the silky mapo tofu with fish and the exquisite handmade noodles alone should put... More >>

  • Best New Temple to Meat

    4505 Meats Butcher Shop

    Ryan and Cesalee Farr's Mission shop offers meats sourced from local ranches and farms (duck, beef, pork, and chicken), prepared foods (smoked meats, sausages, and sides), and ethereal savory-and-sweet pork rind chicharrones. Farr says he's not trying to create anything new, and favors "supporting ancient techniques" at the shop. That includes butchering whole animals, proving that even new-school temples can work old-school touches. And he'll continue to work his meat-cutting magic at 4505's new barbecue joint at Divisadero and Grove.... More >>

  • Best Old-School Chinese Food

    Henry's Hunan Restaurant

    Once upon a time, before the recent rise of Xi'an cuisine, before Mission Chinese, before fiery Szechuan food trickled out of the nation's Chinatowns, there was Hunan food, and Henry's Hunan to serve it to the gourmands of San Francisco. The New Yorker called the original Chinatown location "the best Chinese restaurant in the world" in a 1976 Talk of the Town with only a slight whiff of hyperbole. Gourmet gave it a fawning write-up in 1977; Craig Claiborne called... More >>

  • Best Person to Pack Your Lunch

    Marla Bakery

    It's been years since Mom has packed us lunch, but now we've found a surrogate in Amy Brown, proprietress of Marla Bakery. The former Nopa pastry chef is currently working on her Balboa Street brick-and-mortar space, but thankfully we're able to enjoy the breads, Marla buns, and tarts of her labor in the meantime at her small pop-up window in the Mission. During the week, she offers a $15 boxed lunch, complete with a savory entrée (think flatbread with caramelized... More >>

  • Best Neighborhood Division Captured in Coffee Shops

    Sugarlump Coffee Lounge

    A random afternoon at L's Caffe: The sounds of Spanish chatter and small children float around the room. The bilingual newspaper El Tecolote is scattered among the tables, and a sign on the front window declares that the Mission District's culture is "not for sale." Now walk directly across 24th Street to Sugarlump. The windows are clear of signs. The reading material here is The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or the San Francisco Chronicle. Of seven customers... More >>

  • Best Classic Temple to Meat

    House of Prime Rib

    Start with a strong house martini. Next, watch medium-rare prime rib (perfection) get carved tableside. Your biggest decision at House of Prime Rib is which of the four cuts of meat you feel like tackling: The smallest is the City Cut, at 8 to 10 ounces; the 11- to 13-ounce House of Prime Rib Cut and English cuts vary only in the way they're sliced; and "king-size appetites" can go for the massive 14- to 16-ounce King Henry VIII cut.... More >>

  • Best New Pizza


    Ignore the name, which sounds like a pizzaiolo striving to make it with the tech crowd; it refers to proprietor Jeff Krupman's roots making pizza on a converted Weber grill. He's since graduated to a real oven and restaurant in La Lengua, turning out some of the city's best pies with seasonal toppings and local ingredients. The secret to this pizza is the crust, which is based on the naturally leavened Tartine country bread method, and is puffy and thin... More >>

  • Best New Specialty Market

    Local Mission Market

    If you're the type who likes to spend an exorbitant amount of time in the grocery store, browsing every shelf and trying to talk yourself out of (or into) purchasing fancy condiments and expensive cheese, then Local Mission Market is the place for you. Here, a team of chefs working in an open kitchen beside the shop make just about everything, from stock and sausage to pasta and baguettes, and what they can't make is locally sourced. The 2,700-square-foot store... More >>

  • Best Classic Specialty Market

    Lucca Ravioli Company

    Some things are never meant to change, like the ravioli at Lucca in the Mission. Soft, pillowy pockets of pasta stuffed with creamy ricotta cheese are ready to go home with you and bathe in a rich tomato sauce. You'll find all of the above and more at Lucca Ravioli Company, a S.F. staple since 1925, back when the Mission was an Italian and Irish nabe. The family-owned market seems to have hardly changed in the intervening century. Bread, cheese,... More >>

  • Best Improbably Delicious Dessert

    King Kobbler

    At first he seems like just another local eccentric wandering Divisadero and the Lower Haight clad in a suit, royal purple velvet cape, and costume-shop crown like the King of Cartoons from Pee-Wee's Playhouse. But as you get closer, you realize that the man is selling something sweet out of his faded yellow, three-wheeled Cushman. King Kobbler, otherwise known as local blues musician Big Bones, says he started making cobbler years ago when he moved out of his grandmother's house... More >>

  • Best "New" Beverage

    San Francisco Mead

    Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages on earth, and it's a minor miracle that it took until now for honey wine to make a comeback. There are a few new manufacturers in town, but our favorite comes from the San Francisco Mead Company, run by husband-and-wife team Sarah Jones and Oron Benary. They use honey from the Mendocino forest to make their surprisingly dry wine, with hints of caramel, vanilla, oak from aging barrels, and a deep woodsy... More >>

  • Best Line Innovation

    Pizzeria Delfina

    The pizza is always great at Pizzeria Delfina. The restaurant's Neapolitan-style margherita pie is one of the best in the city; its wood-fired crust is as light as it is chewy; its side dishes highlight the best of the season in simple, satisfying ways. None of this is a secret, which is why there is almost always a wait at the restaurant's Mission location at 18th and Guerrero. But there's hope for people craving a thin-crust pie and a side... More >>

  • Best Restaurant Empire


    In 2006, in an unpopulated area on a largely avoided street, three talented people opened a restaurant. Eight years later, that restaurant has cemented itself as a fixture of the neighborhood, a gathering place for those seeking extraordinary, locally conscious food, expertly crafted cocktails, and carefully selected bottles of wine. Those three people are Jeff Hanak and Allyson and Laurence Jossel, and that restaurant is Nopa. Since its doors first swung open, the bustling Divisadero institution has never slowed, and... More >>

  • Best Dish With a Backstory

    Amawele's South African Kitchen

    At Amawele's South African Kitchen in the Rincon One Center, the menu comes straight from the streets of Durban, a city with a volatile history and food shaped by waves of immigration. Legend has it that Bunny Chow — curried chicken and potatoes poured into the hollowed out end of a white bread loaf — came about by necessity during apartheid, when shop owners needed an easy way to sneak takeaway food out back windows to feed excluded people. Hollowing... More >>

  • Best Trustafarian Breakfast

    Great Heart Foods

    Green Heart Foods is a kind of rare dream spot for busy but health-conscious folks, yogis with money, thriving freelancers with time for self-care, and really anyone looking to spend $9 on a smoothie with vitamineral greens and raw cacao. To be fair, it's a damn good smoothie, and the rest of the food is terrific. Best for breakfast, though, is the Superhero Bowl: a slick and chewy mix of chia seeds, fresh coconut milk, maple syrup, and goji berries.... More >>

  • Best Classic Pizza

    Marcello's Pizza

    While we have little patience for New Yorkers' pizza snobbery, it's true that S.F. pizza sometimes goes astray from the ideal. Marcello's, in the Castro, has a lot going for it: big slices, a great crust, odd toppings like muffaletta or linguiça, beer and wine, and cute eye candy. It's open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday (and 1 a.m. the rest of the week), and does enough business that it's still churning out pies when you stumble out... More >>

  • Best New Taco Truck


    Yes, the bright red cart that Aaron Bullington and Isla Ruffo operate as the Burr-Eatery serves burritos, but don't expect a super-sized gut bomb the size of your arm. Instead, the truck specializes in something more like folded tacos than Mission burritos. Traditional in the northern Mexico state of Sonora, where cattle and flour tortillas rule, the smaller size lacks the excess of salsas, guacamole, and sour cream, which means the focus is on the quality of the fillings. Everything... More >>

  • Best Classic Taco Truck

    El Gallo Giro Taco Truck

    Taco trucks like El Gallo Giro are the originals of the food truck scene. Sometimes, distracted by the audacity of the graphics and menu at the newest truck, we forget about the simple (and filling) delight that comes from a classic $1.50 carnitas taco. There's nothing fancy at this truck, just the egalitarian pleasure of chunks of pork seared on the grill long enough to get the edges crisp, but not so long that they dry out. A quick splash... More >>

  • Best Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog

    Leo's Hot Dogs

    They're known elsewhere as Tijuana Bacon Dogs — and if the word "Tijuana" doesn't sufficiently connote danger, they're also called Danger Dogs — but in San Francisco, we just call 'em what they are: bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Also, "delicious." There are growing numbers of vendors in the Mission, but aficionados of frankfurters swaddled in salted pork belly swear by Leo's Hot Dogs, a shiny metal trailer found at the southwest corner of 19th and Mission on weekend nights. Be sure... More >>

  • Best Twist on Juicing

    Gaucho Mark's

    Founded by Mark Argent, a self-described "tech-worker vegan turned conscientious-heritage carnivore," Gaucho Mark's is a Brazilian steakhouse and juicery offering San Francisco's first-ever beef juice cleanse. The meat is prepared churrascaria style, a South American style rotisserie barbecue process wherein the juice is extracted from the meat as it cooks. Located at the intersection of Divisadero at Bush in Lower Pacific Heights, the juicery was born when Argent, an ardent gym buff, couldn't find a juice cleanse satisfying enough. So... More >>

  • Best Traditional Juicing Spot

    Sidewalk Juice

    We're all for supporting healthy living and local business. Sidewalk Juice, open since 2006, is the ideal marriage of the two. This site provides plenty of options for those who love to get their healthy daily servings of fruits and veggies, but is also accommodating to those who want something sweeter than plain kale juice. Try the Green Energy Juice, full of spinach, parsley, kale, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon, and a hint of ginger. For "cheat days," the kale colada... More >>

  • Best Tortillas

    La Palma Mexicatessen

    The bustling "Mexi-catessan" has been serving up handmade tortillas since 1953, and now supplies them wholesale to a few dozen restaurants and shops — including about 8 million a year to popular chain Tacolicious. Even the machine-rolled tortillas La Palma now sells have a lightness that most tortillas only dream of achieving, but the handmade ones, available in taco form for 60 cents more ($2.59/$3.19), are a revelation, with a griddled, buttery, crispy exterior and almost-custardy interior. The corn taste... More >>

  • Best New Sushi


    With his diminutive Mission District restaurant set in the former Bar Bambino space, chef-owner Masaki Sasaki is introducing a special style of sushi-making to a neighborhood fraught with fried roll abominations. Sasaki shows off a rare practice originated in Tokyo called edomae. On the surface, it looks like what we think of as nigiri, in which fish is presented simply over rice, but the edomae fish selections are often marinated or even cured before serving. The results melt in your... More >>

  • Best Place for Pop-Ups

    Naked Kitchen

    Pop-up restaurants have become increasingly more pervasive in San Francisco, where the cost and legalities involved in starting a brick-and-mortar restaurant are both prohibitive and frustrating. When the burden of astronomical overhead is not in the picture, chefs are freer to experiment with their art, allowing the diner more opportunities to see a culinarian's true creativity. Naked Kitchen has established itself as an elegant permanent home for a variety of pop-ups, including elaborate tasting menus from Mullen and Smith and... More >>

  • Best Haight Street Reinvention

    Second Act Marketplace & Events

    After a 31-year run of their independent Red Vic Movie House on Haight Street, owners Jack and Betsy Rix have transformed the site into a combination of an artisan food court and community event center. It took nearly two years of construction to make the change, and the final result shows a thoughtful reinterpretation of the space. Current tenants include the fresh-pressed juicery RAW, a bakery cooperative called Community Craft, the Russian Anda Piroshki, coffee and Southern food from High... More >>

  • Best New Bakery

    B. Patisserie

    This collaboration between former Gary Danko and Manresa pastry chef Belinda Leong and San Francisco Baking Institute and Thorough Bread and Pastry founder Michel Suas was an instant hit when it opened in Pacific Heights in 2013, and now the space feels like it's been part of the fabric of the neighborhood for much longer. It's a quaint little slice of Paris in the area, desserts gleaming like jewels in the case. Leong quickly attracted attention for her variations on... More >>

  • Best Classic Bakery

    Tartine Bakery

    Though it's been open since 2002, there is still a daily line at 4:30 p.m. as bread comes out of the oven. Chocolate-chip cookies still have to be rationed out to customers since the demand is so consistently high. Owners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson have done much more for the community than carb-loading over the years, though. They spun off the bakery's success into the nearby Bar Tartine restaurant, and Prueitt has founded a nonprofit, the Conductive Education Center... More >>

  • Best Surprise Restaurant Comeback

    Guddu de Karahi

    When Lahore Karahi abruptly closed in 2012, it left a searing hole in the Tenderloin. As quickly as the Pakistani and Indian mainstay left, it came right back: this time in the Sunset, as Guddu de Karahi. Chef Guddu Haider's exceptional precision shines forth in dishes like the tandoori fish, which is one of the most complex, flavorful entrees anywhere, and in the delectable karahi chicken: hunks of white meat in a rich, oily sauce with tomatoes, spears of ginger,... More >>

  • Best Restaurant We Want to Stay Open Forever

    Zuni Cafe

    On Dec. 3, 2013, the food world woke up to sad news: Zuni Cafe owner and influential chef Judy Rodgers had died of cancer at age 57. The outpouring of memories as chefs, writers, and those who loved to eat mourned the chef's death was testament to the 27-year-old restaurant's permanent spot in the San Francisco Dining Hall of Fame. Zuni has many splendid dishes: the burger on a rosemary focaccia bun, the impeccable selection of oysters, the perfect Caesar... More >>

  • Best Overall Restaurant Comeback

    Tu Lan

    For a while there, Tú Lan was reduced to being the butt of a tired joke. Julia Child loved it — but so did the vermin, and after four temporary closures for health code violations, Tú Lan shuttered seemingly for good in July 2012. Somehow, Sixth Street's anchor tenant regrouped, and the results are as startling as they are comforting: The imperial rolls remain peerless, and the service is still brusque, but Tú Lan 2.0 got clean and stayed clean.... More >>

  • Best New Seafood Dish


    Acquerello's little brother 1760 might be considered Nob Hill, but it faces Polk Street head-on, making it one of the spiffiest things to happen to Polk this year. Found two-thirds of the way through a minimalist menu that runs from lightest to heaviest, the crispy octopus (with roasted peanuts, avocado, and fingerling potatoes) is simply spectacular, a beautifully presented tentacle with a perfect char. Remember that "psychic octopus" that was supposedly picking the World Cup winners a few years ago?... More >>

  • Best Classic Seafood Dish

    The Old Clam House

    It's not the easiest thing to eat without making a mess, but the cioppino at the Old Clam House is basically a hot, spicy maelstrom of crustaceans and crusty bread. (A $34.95 tureen for two is truly an experience. That mound of leftover shells is a testament to satiated gluttony). And non-seafood eaters, if dragged along, should consider the cioppino sauce over pasta with chicken. Neither Bernal nor Bayview, the renovated Old Clam House's location is slightly bizarre, having once... More >>

  • Best Unexpectedly Awesome Chicken Wings

    House of Xian Dumpling

    Not to be confused with Xi An Gourmet on Geary in the Richmond, House of Xian Dumpling at the edge of Chinatown is another anonymous-looking restaurant that just so happens to serve hard-to-find food from the remote Xi'an province. And the best thing on that menu is the salt-and-pepper chicken wings, which are cooked perfectly and so heavily seasoned as to banish any hint of subtlety. At only $6.95 an order, you might reconsider the necessity of beer and football.... More >>

  • Best Oyster Bar

    Swan Oyster Depot

    There was never any contest, not really. As much as we love Hog Island's Bay Bridge views, Anchor's garlic bread, and Zuni's rarified atmosphere, Swan Oyster Bar has held the hearts of San Franciscans since before most of its residents' grandparents were born. It's not just the seafood quality, which is impeccable, nor the endearing no-nonsense attitude of the Sancimino family that's been running the place since the '40s, but the idea that hundreds of thousands of humans have slurped... More >>

  • Best Hangtown Fry

    By Anna Roth If you've driven to Tahoe on Highway 50, you've passed through Placerville, a charming, Old West-style town that is the seat of one of California's first culinary inventions. See, the town used to be called Hangtown, after its dubious distinction of being the first spot in Gold Country to hang desperadoes. When it incorporated in 1854,the residents opted for a more genteel moniker, but the dish that bears its original name still remains: the bacon, oyster,... More >>

  • Best Food Truck Gatherings

    By Lou Bustamante With last year's new food truck zoning regulation changes, the food truck landscape in San Francisco has slowly been changing. While the number of trucks on city streets has seen a decline, the number of venues where the you can get a truck meal has increased. Here are our top five places to go and grab a bite. The OG of the food truck rallies, Off the Grid ( at Fort Mason brings together the largest... More >>

  • Best Historic Tour of S.F. Restaurants

    By Anna Roth Not long after moving to the city, I happened upon a copy of A Cook's Tour of San Francisco, a delightful 51-year-old guidebook to S.F. restaurants penned by late local food writer Doris Muscatine. The book shows you around the city's elegant French and Continental dining rooms, meanders through the restaurants of North Beach, Chinatown, and Fisherman's Wharf, and provides a snapshot not only of the San Francisco culinary world in the early '60s, but also... More >>

  • Best Places Near Places with Crazy-Long Waits

    By Pete Kane Only residents of the Soviet Union willingly waited in line for food longer than San Franciscans do. And while we have it a lot easier than, say, desperate comrades hoping the government dairy surrogate didn't run out, it's still utterly ridiculous. But when the restaurants best known for their eternal wait times leave you steaming in a hangry rage, just know that there are alternatives. Mission Chinese Food (2234 Mission, 863-2800, isn't quite the roaring... More >>

  • Best Apps for the Foodie

    By Alyssa Jaffer Foodies are only as good as their tools — a fork and knife, a sharp palate and a hearty appetite. But when "apps" no longer stands for appetizers, a smartphone is a must. Here are five great apps for the foodie that go way beyond Yelp and Instagram. If you're feeling overwhelmed by a complex menu, reconsider your Wikipedia search on ingredients and download Chef's Feed ( instead. Personally endorsed by comedian and actor Aziz Ansari,... More >>

  • Best Doughnuts and Cronuts

    By Pete Kane The cronut/croughnut craze earned its fair share of eyerolls because it was so transparently gimmicky. However, those eyes tended to roll all the way back into people's heads once they actually ate one. And then there's the actual doughnut, a once-humble breakfast item that's been fancified right along with the Third Wave coffee you'd never think of dunking one in. San Francisco has no lack of great options. At first glance, the Pork Belly doughnuts at... More >>

  • Best New Restaurant


    By Anna Roth I laughed out loud when the plate of carrots arrived, thick and meaty slices sprinkled with fresh herbs and scattered on the plate like trees in a forest after a storm. There were little puddles of spring green and day glo-orange goo here and there, and a smear of something toffee-colored. It all just seemed so overwrought for a mere carrot. Then I took a bite, and the world turned over. Verbena is not a perfect restaurant... More >>

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