A Local's Guide to the Best Restaurants and Bars in San Francisco

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The Modern Travel Agency

Fora Travel

    Sushi in San Francisco

    San Francisco allures travelers with its epic landscapes and laid-back vibe — and its food scene is arguably one of the best in the country. 

    We recently tapped our local Fora Advisors in the California metropolis for their top recommendations for the area’s best restaurants and bars.

    Interested in planning a foodie trip to SF? Your Fora Advisor can recommend not only the best restaurants but unlock excellent hotel perks. Connect with one of the advisors featured below to start planning.

    Best restaurants in San Francisco

    Sushi in San Francisco

    First, sushi. Fora Advisor Samantha Glasson recommends Mamanoko, an incredible spot in the heart of the Marina with a great selection of sake to boot, including dessert sushi rolls (that Samantha says be sure to get). 

    For Chinese, Fora Advisor Anson Tan suggests Chinese dim sum at Harborview, while Amna Ismail swears by China Live.

    “It’s a great place to go with a group for yummy Chinese in the city,” Amna said. Try the Duck buns!”

    Meanwhile, Fora Advisor John Blevens recommends trying Nepalese cuisine at Dancing Yak, with elevated traditional dishes like minced lamb kebab as well as vegan interpretations of Nepalese classics.

    “Cool and trendy in the Mission, Dancing Yak is a great way to [experience] the unique flavors of SF,” John shared.

    colorful Greek salad

    International cuisine is a theme in SF. For Mexican food, Fora Advisor Debbie Hayes loves Colibri Mexican Bistro, and Amna Ismail raves about the Greek food (and amazing atmosphere) at Kokkari Estiatorio. Kokkari is also a great place for business lunches and large groups.

    For a fusion moment, Fora Advisor Timadge Berkhadley and Samantha Glasson both recommend the local favorite Roaming Goat, which serves up Armenian, Georgian & Mediterranean wines and bites.

    For California-cool cuisine, Holbrook House offers fresh oysters and caviar, along with comfort food like brisket, burgers and mac n’ cheese. Anson Tan recommends Spruce for fine California dining, with an especially intimate atmosphere. Don’t miss their dessert menu (blood orange creamsicle, chocolate ‘tartalette’...).

    For Italian food, Fora Advisor Beth Sanlorenzo recommends Che Fico.

    “It's a trendy and fun vibe in NoPa, and every bite will be delicious,” she said.

    Beth recommends reservations, as the restaurant gets busy; otherwise, go early for walk-in. You can also put your name in and grab a drink beforehand at the nearby Horsefeather. Here, new American bites complement creative interpretations of classic cocktails (like the “ol’ smokey,” with whiskey, ceylon tea, bergamonte, salted cardamom and angostura).

    Pizza in San Francisco

    Another Italian spot on Beth’s list is A-16, a James Beard-awarded gem on Chestnut Street. 

    “Cutting your own pizza with scissors is a fun touch!” Beth added. 

    Nearby, Samantha Glasson’s Italian pick is Norcina.

    “It’s a charming little spot with a house labrador retriever, Frank, who greets you,” Samantha explains. “And their aperol spritz flight will take your tastebuds through Italy!”

    Lastly, for an express trip to Paris, head to Chouquet's for mussels, frites and rosé.

    “Go on a nice day so you can sit outside and people-watch,” advised Beth Sanlorenzo.

    Best bars in San Francisco

    Old fashioned cocktail being poured

    For a golden hour cocktail, don’t miss Kaiyo Rooftop, which Fora Advisor Samantha Glasson loves for its tropical vibes. Boasting Japanese-Peruvian fusion, it’s one of the city’s best rooftops.

    Samantha also recommends The Buena Vista, which is the birthplace of Irish coffee in America. 

    For a pick-me-up, Amna Ismail says Balboa Cafe serves the best espresso martini in the Bay (they even offer an espresso martini punch card). There’s also an impressive dinner menu, with mouth-watering dishes like buttermilk fried calamari, spicy tuna nachos and Creole grits. 

    Ready to head to San Francisco? Connect with Fora to plan and book your foodie getaway today. 


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