The Required: San Francisco

The Required: San Francisco

A definitive guide to San Francisco's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ 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 5000+ 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. 

Mission Chinese Food

Danny Bowien's original baby Mission Chinese continues to chug along on Mission Street, turning out the bangers the restaurant industry fell in love with in the first place: thrice cooked bacon, kung pao pastrami, General Tso's veal rib...the list goes on. The restaurant also captures an interesting period in San Francisco's dining evolution; the convergence of the rise of social media in restaurant marketing with innovation around pop-ups and utilizing remnant inventory to develop a new restaurant—all very nascent when MCF hatched inside another working Chinese restaurant, Lung Shan.

flour + water

The perennially popular flour + water in the Mission has the unique ability to be both a destination restaurant and neighborhood joint at the same time. Keep it casual and get a pizza from the wood-fired oven, or go full-blown tasting menu and check out the handmade pasta and seasonal Cal-Ital dishes. 

Cotogna

Cotogna, chef Michael Tusk's more rustic counterpoint to his fine-dining stalwart Quince, shines for its pasta and anything cooked on its magical rotisserie and grill. Experts are particularly keen on any of the filled pastas: raviolo, gnocchi, and agnolotti. Reserve ahead, or see if you can grab a seat at the bar if you are feeling lucky.

Cotogna
Hot Spot
Jackson Square, San Francisco
$$$, Italian, Outdoor Seating, Full Bar
15 Recommendations
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