San Francisco is known as one of the top hubs of urban activity in the United States and boasts more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country. This should tell you something about the restaurant culture in the city. As a prominent seaport, San Fran is known for its seafood, and as the city harbors a sizable Asian community, authentic Asian fare abounds. San Francisco is also home to a large vegan/vegetarian community, as you would expect considering that it is one of the most counterculture cities in the country, and there are many options for the animal-friendly (at least when it comes to not eating them) among us.
Any city with a district called Fisherman’s Wharf is bound to have some excellent seafood restaurants, and San Francisco is certainly no exception. If looking to enjoy some of the freshest seafood the West Coast has to offer, you might pay a visit to Catch on Market Street, featuring a welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel right at home and food that will make your taste buds feel just as comfortable. For more of an upscale, fine dining seafood outing, consider Aqua, but be sure to make a reservation as tables are tight at this talk-of-the-town San Fran establishment. For excellent chowder and oysters, check out the Swan Oyster Depot, a San Francisco stalwart open since 1912.
There is likely no better place in the United States to enjoy authentic Asian cuisine than San Francisco, so if the flavors of the Far East suit your fancy, you will be quite pleased with the culinary dimension of your San Francisco getaway. For Indian fare, your best bet might be Dosa, specializing in South Indian cuisine, or if Vietnamese is on the menu, check out the Slanted Door (headed up by chef Charles Phan, the man behind a few of the top Northern California Asian food establishments). For real-deal Thai Food, hit up Lers Ros, featuring two locations, one in the Tenderloin District, and one in the vicinity of the City Hall Civic Center. Lers Ros is known for not pandering to the domesticated American palate, instead offering up authentically spiced Thai food for those who know what that should taste like, and for the adventurous among us who want to become familiar.
Dining out can be a challenge for those of us who follow vegetarian and vegan diets. Oftentimes the lackluster “veggie burger” is the only option on the menu, and you don’t exactly want to eat the boring food you would prepare at home when too lazy to prepare a real meal (or when that is all that’s left in the refrigerator) when supposedly out and about and indulging in culinary pleasures. Fortunately, due to the progressive culture in Northern California, there are many excellent restaurants catering specifically to those of us who don’t engage in the “pleasures of the flesh,” so to speak. Souley Vegan is one of the more unique cruelty-free restaurants in the city, serving up (believe it or not) vegan soul food, which could almost be considered an oxymoron considering the prominence of animal ingredients in traditional soul food. If you want a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options from many different corners of the globe, try Source on Division St., pretty much a one-stop-shop were you should find something on the menu no matter what flavors you are craving. Cha-Ya is a uniquely all-vegan sushi restaurant, while Shangri-La Vegan Restaurant is an excellent macrobiotic veggie choice, if you are up for the commute to neighboring Oakland.
As one of the wealthiest cities in the country, San Francisco caters to those with a taste for the finer things in life. This means that if you are looking for a world-class fine dining experience, you have come to the right place when visiting San Francisco. You may want to check out Florio on Fillmore Street, featuring a gourmet mixture of French, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisines, or Ame, located in the prestigious St. Regis hotel. Delfina in the Mission District is the place to be if you’re looking for gourmet Italian cuisine, while Fleur De Lys in Union Square/Nob Hill is sure to satisfy your French gourmet hankering.
Everybody knows that San Francisco is one of the top destinations in the US for just about everything, and food is no exception. Any city with the kind of diversity and culture that San Francisco has to offer is bound to be booming with quality culinary options, and San Francisco does not disappoint. You could pretty much make a vacation alone out of exploring San Fran’s culinary landscape, so be sure to make the best out of your San Francisco stay when it comes time to wine and dine.