On the Road: Stars' Favorite San Francisco Restaurants

Fresh, regional cuisine and on-the-go food trucks abound in and around the Golden Gate.

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 gushed 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.

4505 Burgers & BBQ

The crowds flock here for the humanely raised meats smoked over a wood-fired pit. Order the Presidential Plate for a mind-blowing BBQ experience: It comes with every meat, every side and every fixin’ here, but if you only have room for a few, get beef brisket and Frankaroni (mac and cheese meets a hot dog). 

Michael Mina

Giada De Laurentiis 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. In this interpretation, Lahlou piles braised chicken and an earthy blend of Moroccan spices and nuts inside a crunchy package of phyllo dough. It should be noted that the fillings often vary. 

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 Fieri says the corned beef "just melts in your mouth" and the roast beef is "better than prime rib."

Brenda's French Soul Food

Brenda's French Soul Food may be in San Francisco, but her cuisine takes a cue from her hometown, New Orleans. Diners love the eggs Benedict with fried chicken and Creole hollandaise. Another must-try is the Bananas Foster French Toast, a custard-soaked brioche drenched in a sweet butter-rum sauce.

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.

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.

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. Locally based Straus Organic Dairy provides the freshest milk not just for Bi-Rite's famous sundaes but for their decadent ice cream cakes, too.

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. Tamalpais.


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.


Photo by Alanna Hale  


This spot gets seriously creative with its pizza pies. One features mozzarella and pecorino, shaved red onions and stinging nettles (spiky-leafed herbs that are cooked into a tangle of flavorful greens). Another pie is dressed up with a delicious combo of pancetta, potatoes, fontina and rosemary.

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.

Yank Sing

A tasty mix of traditional and contemporary dim sum abounds at Yank Sing. Chef Chris Cosentino is a fan of the Baked BBQ Pork Buns, describing them as "sticky, golden brown, just enough bun, lots of yum." Also try the Shanghai Dumpling filled with minced Kurobuta pork, scallions, ginger and broth.

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 that it led Bobby Flay to challenge them to a throwdown.

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.

Tee Off Bar & Grill

Guy calls Tee Off Bar & Grill a "5-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.

Roam Artisan Burgers

Build a tasty burger at Roam with turkey, beef or a vegetarian patty. Ask for French and Fries and you’ll get a patty topped with gooey Gruyère cheese, creamy avocado, peppery watercress and Parmesan fries. Or follow Rahm Fama’s lead and try the Tejano, a bison burger smothered with pepper Jack cheese.

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