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10 San Francisco Restaurants to Visit Before You Die

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Which San Francisco restaurant is your diehard favorite?

Say you have one day left to live (or worse, you have to move back to Missouri). Which San Francisco restaurant would you visit on your way out?

I fished recommendations from multiple Reddit threads and Twitter arguments so you didn’t have to. Feelings about these eateries may shift faster than the sand on the Great Highway, but the hits are hard to contest. Presented in no particular order, they cover a fair amount of square mileage. Do you see your favorite San Francisco restaurant here? Should it be?

Pakwan
Cuisine: Indian, Pakistani
Location(s): Ingleside (1031 Ocean Ave), Mission District (3180 16th Street), Tenderloin (501 O’Farrell).
Hours: 11am–11pm every day; 10:30am–10pm for Ocean Ave.

San Tung
Cuisine: Chinese (Northern style)
Location: Inner Sunset, 1031 Irving
Hours: 11am–3pm; 4:30–8:30pm, Wednesday through Monday. Closed Tuesdays.

Señor Sisig
Cuisine: Filipino fusion, the best California burritos in the city.
Location(s): Mission District (990 Valencia), mobile food trucks. Find them today!
Hours: 11am–9pm every day

Brenda’s French Soul Food
Cuisine: New Orleans-style French delights
Location: Polk/Civic Center, 625 Polk St.
Hours: 8am–8pm, Wednesday through Monday. Closed Tuesdays.

Ryoko’s
Cuisine: Japanese, sushi
Location: Nob Hill, 619 Taylor
Hours: 6pm–11:30pm Monday through Saturday; 6pm–1o:30pm Sundays

Mandalay
Cuisine: Burmese
Location: Inner Richmond, 4348 California
Hours: 4pm–8:3opm Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 11:30am–9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. 11:3oam–8pm Sundays.

Tommy’s Joynt, which is neither closed nor closing!
Cuisine: American
Location: Polk/Van Ness
Hours: 12pm–7pm Sunday through Wednesday, 12pm–midnight Thursday and Friday; 1pm–midnight on Saturdays.

Kaiju Eats
Cuisine: Japanese
Location: Laurel Heights, 3409 Geary Boulevard
Hours: 11am–2:30pm; 4:30pm–9:30pm Monday through Friday, and 12pm–3pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Palermo Delicatessen (aka Molinari’s backdoor for locals).
Cuisine: Italian sandwiches
Location: North Beach, 658 Vallejo
Hours: 10am–5pm Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays.


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Jake Warren

Jake Warren

A Potawatomi nonfiction writer and Tenderloin resident possessing an Indigenous perspective on sexuality and a fascination with etymological nuance. Queer decolonial leftist, cannabis industry affiliate, seasoned raver, and unofficial earthquake authority.

4 Comments

  1. Rena
    November 10, 2022 at 12:45 pm — Reply

    Did I miss something? What happened to #10?

  2. Stephanie
    November 10, 2022 at 1:38 pm — Reply

    Señor Sisig now also has a stall in the Ferry Building, where Brown Sugar Kitchen was.

  3. Christopher Sharpe
    November 12, 2022 at 1:00 pm — Reply

    Is this a list of your favorite places or a consensus?
    I’ve been in SF since 1995
    I agree with some of your picks but there are neighborhood staples that you did not mention that have been around for a long time and are delicious eateries that deserve to be mentioned
    The Sausage Factory in the Castro
    Original Joe’s in North Beach
    The Old Clam House in Produce Market originally Bayview/Hunter’s Point
    Orphan Andy’s in the Castro
    Pete’s Bar-B-Q in the Mission
    Bullshead Restaurant in West Portal
    To mention a few of the Greats of SF
    I know this isn’t a restaurant but for dessert here’s a oldie but a goodie
    Bob’s Donut and Pastry Shop in Polk Gulch
    Open 24/7
    Great place to go after a night out
    Maybe you haven’t given these places a try
    I highly recommend that you do!

  4. November 15, 2022 at 11:14 pm — Reply

    You missed La Taqueria. Definitely La Taqueria. I had dreams about it when I lived in the Canadian wilderness. During which time my parents used to torture me, sending me photos of their tacos when they would go. 😭😂

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