The City by the Bay is home to some of the best restaurants in the US, if not the world. A cultural melting pot, San Francisco is a city where you can gorge on its famous sourdough one minute, dive face-first into a steaming bowl of cioppino the next, and finish the afternoon with a small mountain of dim sum in Chinatown—and that's just an appetizer for the tourists.
The chefs who elevate the city's food game from merely excellent to destination-worthy know exactly where to go. After all, they spend most of their waking hours making some of the best food in San Francisco, too.
So if you want an insider's guide to the very best of SF, look no further than the Chef's Night Out picks in our brand-new guide, featuring everything from pizza and thrice-cooked bacon to high-end French fare.
Don't forget to check out the complete MUNCHIES Guide to San Francisco for the best places to eat on a budget, grab a coffee, or feel fancy, too.
Pizzeria Delfina: An SF mainstay for Neapolitan-style pizza, Pizzeria Delfina is always super busy, but when the craving strikes for one of their perfect pies, there is no substitute.
Coi: Previously run by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Patterson, this fancy tasting menu spot specializing in seafood is now the playground of Chicago chef Matthew Kirkley. The menu changes nightly and is only served Thursday through Monday. Go with an open mind, an open wallet, and a reservation.
Atelier Crenn: Dominique Crenn is a goddess of French cuisine, and at this tasting menu spot where your menu is written as a fucking poem, you're going to be eating the best of it. San Pellegrino named Crenn the World's Best Female Chef 2016, if you need further convincing.
Mission Chinese Food: Though its hype has gradually been overshadowed by the New York location's larger scale in both menu and venue, the original location of Mission Chinese Food—still tucked into the unassuming exterior of greasy-spoon Chinese restaurant Lung Shan on Mission Street—maintains its friendliness and scrappiness, its twinkling Christmas lights and plastic water cups. Though it's been open for just six years, there's something about Mission Chinese Food that harkens back to a previous version of San Francisco that now seems long ago, when bottled beers were always under $4 and twentysomethings could afford to share the Victorian mansions on Guerrero. Get the classics—like Kung Pao Pastrami and Thrice Cooked Bacon—but give the mapo burritos a shot, too. After all, this is burrito country.
State Bird Provisions: If you've ever wondered why the concept of dim sum hasn't been picked up outside of Chinese cuisine, you need to make a trip here, where servers come around offering extremely interesting small plates that you can order á la carte as they cruise by your table. The best part about SBP is that you get to try so many different flavorful little things; examples include guinea hen dumplings, duck liver mousse with almond biscuits, and halibut spring rolls with charred jalapeño crema. You'll never have the same meal here twice.
For our full list of recommendations of SF's coolest spots, continue reading the MUNCHIES Guide to San Francisco.