On the Road Eats: San Francisco City Guide
1. Blue Bottle Coffee Company
Coffee lovers agree: Blue Bottle Coffee Company serves a serious cup of Joe. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Chris Cosentino gushes over the Kyoto Iced Coffee made with an intricate siphon method. Twelve hours later, it's pure coffee heaven. Order some Belgian waffles and you have breakfast bliss.
2. Michael Mina
Giada calls Michael Mina "the perfect spot for a Friday-night feast." While their menu is known for trios (a single dish prepared three different ways), Giada's allegiance lies with the decadent Lobster Pot Pie, made with fresh vegetables, double-poached lobster and brandy-white truffle cream sauce.
Chef Mourad Lahlou humbly displays his Moroccan roots in creating one of Chris Cosentino's favorite wrapped dishes, Basteeya. Lahlou piles braised chicken and an earthy blend of Moroccan spices and nuts inside a crunchy package of phyllo dough. It's just one layer to this exquisite restaurant.
4. Yank Sing
A tasty mix of traditional and contemporary dim sum abounds at Yank Sing, where waiters man small carts filled with the delicious Chinese dumplings. Chef Chris Cosentino is a particular fan of the Baked BBQ Pork Buns, describing them as "sticky, golden brown, just enough bun, lots of yum."
5. Tommy's Joynt
A neighborhood favorite for more than 60 years, Tommy's Joynt is a German hofbrau serving fresh-carved hot meat sandwiches packed full of turkey, pastrami, brisket, ham and more. Need a recommendation? Guy says the corned beef "just melts in your mouth" and the roast beef is "better than prime rib."
6. Hog Island Oyster Co.
What could be more romantic than a plate full of succulent oysters and a bottle of champagne? How about eating outside, right on the water with a perfect view of the Bay Bridge? Hog Island's oysters are as fresh as they come, and Tyler Florence can't get enough of them.
7. Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop
On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Aida Mollenkamp swoons over Bi-Rite's Sam's Sundae made with German cocoa, Bergamot olive oil and Maldon sea salt. Local dairy Straus Organic Dairy provides the freshest milk not just for Bi-Rite's famous sundaes but for their decadent ice cream cakes, too.
8. Cowgirl Creamery at Ferry Plaza
Located in San Francisco's Ferry Plaza, Cowgirl Creamery is an artisan shop whose flavor-packed cheeses are sold at select markets nationwide. Stop by the flagship and try a sample of their most popular cheese, Mt. Tam, named for a Northern California landmark: the majestic Mt. Tamalpa.
9. Incanto Restaurant & Bar
When Aaron Sanchez is feeling carnivorous, he heads to Incanto for the "Leg of Beast" large format meal, featuring a braised beef shank, antipasto, sides and dessert. Expect top-notch Italian on the regular menu, including fresh pasta and sustainably grown and harvested produce, meats and seafood.
10. Mission Minis
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Mission Minis, a small shop baking gourmet mini cupcakes in tasty flavors like Ruby Red Velvet and Cinnamon Horchata fresh daily in San Francisco's Mission District. Not feeling cupcakes? The bakery also offers dipped pretzel rods, whoopie pies, cookies and cake pops.
11. Nom Nom Truck
Nom Nom, The Great Food Truck Race Season 1 runner up, brings fusion and traditional Vietnamese sandwiches and tacos to hungry Californians using fun recipes and fresh ingredients. For a tasty meal on the go, try the Banh Mi, a crispy baguette layered with saucy meat, fresh cilantro and cucumbers.
Located north of the panhandle, as the name implies, Nopa is known for urban rustic food and organic wood-fired cuisine. As in many Bay-area spots, seasonal ingredients reign supreme here. Chef Aida Mollenkamp is a fan of the House Smoked Bacon Flatbread, topped with onions, garlic confit and cream.
13. Papalote Mexican Grill
At Papalote Mexican Grill, brothers Victor and Miguel Escobedo are known for the best burritos around. In fact, their Triple Threat Burrito, with achiote marinated chicken, prawns, tangy carne asada, guacamole and signature salsa, is so good, it led Bobby Flay to challenge them to a throw down.
14. Q Restaurant
A neighborhood diner in the Richmond district of San Francisco, Q Restaurant specializes in "funky, American comfort." Try the Pulled Pork or Funky American-Style Duck Confit, made over 16 days, finished in the deep fryer and served with polenta and asparagus. Guy's take: "So worth it!"
15. Tartine Bakery & Cafe
While many argue that every item on the menu at Tartine Bakery is a must-try treat, it's the Double Pain Au Chocolat that chef David Myers calls simply "amazing." The patisserie makes 300 to 400 of the popular pastry per day, and they're usually sold out by noon, so come early to secure your sweet.
16. Tee Off Bar & Grill
Guy calls Tee Off Bar & Grill a "five-star dive bar." The husband-and-wife-owned spot is known for high-end, homemade dishes like Double Pork Chops With Apricot Relish and Deep-Fried Sweet Corn, but it's their signature dish, Mac & Cheese With Pancetta, that has Guy promising to come back for more.
17. Wayfare Tavern
Comfort food, locally-sourced wines and classic cocktails reign supreme at Wayfare Tavern, Tyler Florence's signature restaurant in San Francisco's Financial District. Perfect for power-lunching and romantic dinners alike, the tavern's menu changes often to reflect seasonal and local availability.