Next to New York City and Chicago, San Francisco is one of the best American food cities. In fact, it boasts the highest concentration of three Michelin starred restaurants in the country.
Being coastal, I figured that San Francisco would be a top spot for seafood, so I sought to eat as much sushi as possible during my week in the city. Task achieved! Here’s a list of every place I ate in San Francisco — mostly sushi but a few other things, too.
📍704 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (and other locations)
The first stop on my sushi tour of San Francisco was the low key Sanraku at the Sutter Street location near Union Square, down the block from my hotel. This small chain is a popular spot for Japanese staples. I ordered the Sushi Tasting which included the chef’s choice selection of nigiri, with a side of miso soup and salad. This wasn’t out of the world but was satisfactory as my first solo meal in San Francisco.
📍619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102
My second solo sushi dinner was enjoyed at Ryoko’s in Union Square. This small Japanese bar and restaurant is located in a basement and features a lengthy menu of various signature sushi rolls. I went with a nigiri dinner platter again, which was pretty standard fare but good value.
Good Mong Kok Bakery
📍1039 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Mr. Chuckles joined me for the last couple days of the trip; we started our tour of San Francisco together in Chinatown, where we checked out Good Mong Kok Bakery. This place receives rave reviews and there is often a line up outside the compact eatery serving fresh dim sum and baked goods, but we arrived early and beat the crowds. We picked up a selection of dumplings and sesame balls served to us in a plastic bag, which we ate outside on the sidewalk. It’s cash only and the service here is brusque, but made up for by being the best dim sum we’ve ever had.
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
📍56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94108
We continued our tour of Chinatown at Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, a family owned business that has been around since 1962. They specialize in handmade and customizable fortune cookies baked fresh on a copper slow-release heat rotating griddle wheel, and apparently produce up to 10,000 fortune cookies per day. We purchased a box of “pre-twisted” (i.e.fortune-less) cookies that were delicious; I regret not returning to get some more to bring home.
Taqueria El Farolito
📍2779 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (and other locations)
We visited the Mission District in search of the top quality Mexican food that the area is known for. We found some at Taqueria El Farolito on Mission Street, where I had the carnitas and carne asada tacos. This place was also apparently very popular, with a long line snaking outside. There’s much debate about the best taqueria in San Francisco, but El Farolito is surely in the top 10!
📍609 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102 — temporarily (?) closed
Chef Dominique Crenn heads the famous Michelin starred Atelier Crenn in San Francisco as well as its casual sister restaurant in the Hayes Valley neighbourhood, Petit Crenn. We were unable to secure reservations for Atelier Crenn so opted for the tasting menu at Petit Crenn. This 8-course French tasting menu is focused on seafood and vegetables; my favourite dish was the acorn squash custard topped with uni and caviar. Chef’s kiss! Unfortunately, Petit Crenn has been closed since 2020 with no reopening date yet announced, although Atelier Crenn resumed service in early 2021.
📍333 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
In-N-Out has yet to expand outside the west coast, so we always seek out this burger chain when we are in the area. San Francisco’s sole location is at Fisherman’s Wharf, where we had the classic “animal-style” cheeseburger and fries.
📍665 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Omakase was our Michelin starred meal of the trip and my favourite out of all the places I ate in San Francisco. This sleek sushi restaurant in the SoMa district has been awarded one Michelin star, and specializes in Edomae sushi with hand-picked fish flown in from Tokyo’s markets. The highlight of the menu for me was the A5 wagyu beef nigiri topped with gold flecks and MSG powder. This is the best sushi I’ve had outside of Japan.
📍431 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Our final sushi meal was lunch at Akiko’s in Union Square. This stylish Japanese bistro also offers an omakase tasting menu, with fresh nigiri selections. We tried the uni ice cream for dessert which was interesting and really good! The perfect way to cap off our time in San Francisco.
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