The Required: San Francisco

The Required: San Francisco

A definitive guide to San Francisco's tried and trues, as chosen by over 4000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

December 27, 2018
The Required: San Francisco

The Required: San Francisco

A definitive guide to San Francisco's tried and trues, as chosen by over 4000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, & other food and beverage pros.

December 27, 2018
By Roxanne Webber | Art by Cassandra Landry

There are a lot of "musts" in this world. 

And yes, we'll admit it, this list is absolutely littered with them, but we can promise you this: they weren't appointed by a lone critic, or by write-in votes from well-meaning foodies. Instead, The Required is comprised of the stand-out restaurants that have garnered the all-time most recommendations from chefs, bartenders, sommeliers, and the like. There's no black box of arbitrary editorial committees or user surveys with obtuse criteria fueling this list: just plain, crave-able truth.

Read on to plan your next trip—or just be sure you've checked all the best boxes on your home turf. 

State Bird Provisions

The CA State Bird with Provisions. The garlic bread. The duck liver mousse. The sourdough Pecorino pancakes. "Anything on the menu." There is one restaurant in San Francisco that leads the pack among the chef community for total recommended dishes, and State Bird Provisions is it. While perpetually toted as impossible to get a reservation (it is indeed a feat), the restaurant holds a set number of tables for walk-ins, and if you hit it very early or very late and say, aren't trying to roll in at 7 pm on a Saturday (you know better), it is indeed possible to get a table.

Enjoy the rolling dim-sum style service, check off a few made-to-order items, and don't miss Nicole Krasinski's ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Bonus tip: its sister restaurant The Progress is next door, offers a full bar, and is a great spot to grab a drink and a pre-game snack if you're waiting.

Nopa

If there's one restaurant where you're most likely to spot a local chef on their night off, it's Nopa—one of the city's few establishments serving full-service sit-down meals and fancy cocktails after 11 pm. The burger is ever-present on tables, along with the pork chop, and it's always always busy, in that cool cosmopolitan late-night dining in the big city way.

Nopa
Hot Spot
$$$, Reservations, Full Bar, Wine Bar, Happy Hour, Modern, New American, Western Addition
38 Recommendations

Tartine Bakery

Some might say it started the new wave of great US bread. Some might say the line around the block is really long for a croissant. Either way, Tartine remains one of the most influential bakeries in San Francisco, and it's not a stretch to say, globally. The bread is legendary, but the food and beverage community also has a notable soft spot for its cream pies—banana and coconut—and all forms of its croissant game, be it plain, frangipane, jambon, or double pain au chocolat. Dine in, or trot your spoils up to Dolores Park to eat outside. 

Displaying items 1 - 3 of 20 total