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. 

Nopalito

Nopalito, the sister restaurant to wildly popular Nopa, was spun out of family meals so good that the restaurateurs thought the chef deserved his own platform. Well, he got one, and it's dedicated to his exacting Mexican cuisine: Check out the legendary carnitas served in large crispy chunks steaming out of a slip of parchment paper, crispy totopos con chile, and a pozole that could knock out any cold. Visit the original location off Divisadero and Fell or try and snag a spot at the back patio on the 9th Avenue location on a nice day. 

Nopalito
Hot Spot
Panhandle, San Francisco
$$, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Mexican
14 Recommendations

Lers Ros Thai

5Ler Ros Thai, now with outposts in the Mission and Hayes Valley in addition to its original spot on Larkin Street in the Tenderloin, continues to impress the culinary industry in the city with its intensely flavorful dishes, from duck larb dressed in chile-spiked lime dressing to tiny deep-fried pieces of quail or frog covered in garlic. Be sure to scan the House Specials section of the menu, where many of the industry favorites are hanging out.

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