Why A Sacramento Native Thinks San Francisco’s Food Scene Sucks
Written By: Maisey Dillion
If unaffordable housing and homelessness aren’t enough, you can add wack food to San Francisco’s menu. Once you’ve made it to the most expensive city in America, making just above the poverty limit of 100k a year, you’d think you can finally afford a decent dinner at one of San Francisco’s many eateries. And you can, but is it worth it?
You don’t need to have “good taste” to know when something is terrible.
The short answer is no. The long answer is you’re better off going to Sacramento. If you’re up in arms by this statement, you are the problem and not from here.
I’m not a food connoisseur, so why would my opinion matter? I think it takes a really trash food scene to make a person with mediocre taste feel appallingly underwhelmed. You don’t need to have “good taste” to know when something is terrible.
I moved from Sacramento 6 months ago, which is a decent enough time in the city to mingle with the locals. Unfortunately, by locals, I mean people who have lived here for five years and consider themselves locals. But that’s what San Francisco is, a toddler with a toddler palate. Almost every person I have interacted with, I have asked their opinion on restaurants worth trying. The answers are usually like “uh” with a long pause and a dazed look or “Original Joes.”
So how is Sacramento outperforming San Francisco? It’s simple: there’s nothing better to do in Sacramento than eat, drink, and try to be happy.
So I took to Yelp to try the best restaurants, Ryoko’s for sushi, Uncle Vito’s for Pizza, and Marafuku for ramen. Don’t get me wrong, these places aren’t bad, but if a restaurant has 2.7K likes and 4.5 stars in Sacramento, it will unequivocally be worth the rating. And they should be here too, because these are the top-rated restaurants in their category, in one of the wealthiest cities in America.
So how is Sacramento outperforming San Francisco? It’s simple: there’s nothing better to do in Sacramento than eat, drink, and try to be happy. That’s all Sacramento has going for it. You can’t live in a hot town next to a stinky river where there’s virtually nothing to do and have bad food. We don’t need two Bakersfield.
My family is from the city, my great grandparents owned a bakery in North Beach, and my grandparents grew up in Excelsior. When my parents moved to Sacramento, we would visit every weekend, back when the only restaurants in Sacramento were Paragary’s and The Spaghetti Factory. We would often fish in the bay and have dinner on the docks. Even that was arguably better than most restaurants in Sacramento. However, times have changed.
San Francisco had some of the strictest mandates in the country, forcing all restaurants and bars to close for six months before allowing outside setting only, a significant contributor to many of the city’s hidden gems to close. Over the past two years, the City took a massive hit; 120 restaurants closed permanently in 2021 alone.
San Francisco is supposed to be a world class city. San Francisco’s competition is New York City, London and Paris. So how is it that California’s sweaty capital has a better food scene? Oakland, San Francisco’s decidedly less chic neighbor, also has a much better food scene. I wouldn’t know, but I’ve heard San Jose does too.
Just because a city is rich in natural beauty doesn’t mean that’s an excuse for every other aspect of it to suck. I’m not writing this article to say as a whole Sacramento is better. Sacramento is steaming pile of flat in a fiery pit of boring. San Francisco is supposed to be something special, but it’s filled with food that isn’t and people who only think they are.