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  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Restaurant Nopa Best New Restaurant Flour + Water Best Chef Gary Danko Best Seafood Waterbar Best Burrito Papalote Best Late-Night Sparky's 24-Hour Diner Best Romantic Restaurant Millennium Best Italian Restaurant Delfina Best Greasy Spoon The Pork Store Best Bakery Tartine Best Sandwiches Ike's Place Best Burger Burgermeister Best Cheesesteak Jake's Steaks Best Desserts Tartine Best Mediterranean Restaurant La Mediterranée Best Dim Sum Yank Sing Best Sushi Sushi Bistro Best Japanese Restaurant Chaya Brasserie Best Thai Restaurant Osha Best Chinese Restaurant R&G Lounge Best Prix-Fixe Chapeau! Best Pizza Little Star Best Ice Cream Mitchell's Best Frozen Yogurt yoCup Best Cupcakes Kara's Cupcakes Best Indian Restaurant Naan 'n' Curry Best… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Flour + Water

    Other new restaurants might have risen higher, but none captured San Francisco's aspirations better than Flour + Water. Owners David White and David Steele found expandable talent in chef Thomas McNaughton, whose confidence seemed to swell as Flour + Water's reputation went New York Times. Even cannier than enlisting McNaughton, White and Steele understood that this is a city that… More >>
  • Best High-End Steal

    The Lounge at Coi Restaurant

    Sainted chefs like Daniel Patterson of Coi love putting customers through the paces of a four-hour meal with senses-challenging courses stretching into the double digits. Some occasions call for such an intense, wallet-busting gastronomic showdown; other occasions, like preconcert dinners and happy hour, necessitate a speedier, less expensive experience. Hence the appeal of the restaurant bar. Coi's lounge is relatively… More >>
  • Best California Cuisine

    Nopa

    A few years back, SF Weekly named Nopa "best new neighborhood restaurant." But Nopa has become much broader than a microlocal hangout — we think it's the quintessential San Francisco restaurant of its decade. With its open, urbane feel; Neyah White's amazing cocktails; and Laurence Jossel's food, it captures the easy elegance and smoother edges of post-dot-com San Francisco. Jossel… More >>
  • Best-Looking Pasta Dish

    The timballo di maccheroni at Quince

    Michael Tusk makes pasta with the same skill and focus as a 16th-century Venetian weaver or an Ottoman calligrapher. The man seems to spin his gossamer sheets and shapes out of a floury mist instead of kneading and rolling them. The skins of his agnolotti and fagotelli are almost translucent, his tagliolini drape and fold like silk. And while pasta often… More >>
  • Best Meat Salad

    Marrow bones and herb salad at Bar Tartine

    In this signature preparation from chef Chris Kronner, three steaming bone segments, which look like grisly yogurt cups, come with a toasted slice of Tartine bread and a verdant pile of lightly dressed herbs. You scoop out the shuddering, translucent contents of each cylinder with a tiny spoon your grandma might have used to shake sugar into her chamomile tea,… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    The Plant Cafe Organic

    Considering how many of us now eschew meat all or part of the time, it astonishes us that vegetarian restaurants are still ghettoized in many omnivores' minds as purveyors of dank-tasting sprouts, pulpits for tempeh zealots, or gathering places for shaggy kombucha evangelists. That's why the Plant Cafe feels like such a watershed, especially its handsome, high-roofed Embarcadero location, one… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Escape

    Saison

    As soon as you step away from the Sturm und Drang of Folsom Street into Saison's sapling-lined walkway, you enter a different world — a different era, even. The setting is Mayor James D. Phelan's 19th-century carriage house, which has been beautifully restored. After you enjoy a glass of champagne on the tree-shaded flagstone patio, the maitre d' leads you… More >>
  • Best Rooftop Patio

    Passion Cafe - CLOSED

    It ain't easy to get a building permit for a restaurant rooftop patio in San Francisco, but as an integral part of a SOMA redevelopment effort, Passion Cafe has worked a minor land-use miracle. A French cafe-bistro with Old World style — think dark wood paneling, marble counters, and a wall-length cabinet of backlit booze bottles — Passion Cafe features… More >>
  • Best Upscale Pizza

    Orson - CLOSED

    Handicapping the city's ever-expanding makers of Neapolitan thin-crust has become a local sport. Meanwhile, at Orson, Elizabeth Falkner's kitchen is quietly serving up the tastiest, most technically polished expressions of Cal-cuisine pizza in San Francisco. Sous-chef Josh Capone — one of the city's truly gifted breadmakers — mixes up daily batches of a dough Falkner developed. It yields pies of… More >>
  • Best Pizza by the Slice

    Golden Boy Pizza

    What with all San Francisco's certified Neapolitan pizzas, its deep-dish organic pizzas, and the Brooklyn thin-crusts that East Coasters trumpet so huffily, no one shows love to the Sicilian slice anymore. It's the khaki pants of the pizza world, shunted off to the side of the display case, never argued over on Chowhound or Yelp. But the 32-year-old Golden Boy… More >>
  • Best Italian Cuisine

    La Ciccia

    Italian influences have become so much a part of California cuisine that it's almost impossible for a San Franciscan to distinguish the two. Is Incanto's nettle risotto "Italian"? How about Acquerello's stuffed guinea hen? Delfina's wild fennel sausage with lentils? No diss on these great restaurants, but La Ciccia stands out for the love its Sardinian chef showers on the… More >>
  • Best Barcelona Experience

    Contigo Kitchen + Cava

    One of the highlights of a trip to Barcelona is searching its bars, cafes, and restaurants for the best small plates in the city. Contigo, a Catalonian-style wine bar and restaurant in Noe Valley, streamlines the whole process. Traditional tapas like olives, anchovies, cured ham, and bacalao (salt cod) complement chef Brett Emerson's frequently changing selection of jazzier California-style creations:… More >>
  • Best Pork Sandwiches

    The sandwich has become San Francisco's favorite culinary medium, inspiring pedigreed chefs to glorify subs, banh mi, and grilled cheese sandos (not to mention burgers). We at SF Weekly contend that pork, in its many incarnations, brings the sandwich to a transcendent state. Pan con chicharrón from El Perol 2590 Mission (at 22nd St.), 550-8582 Re-creating a Lima specialty, the Peruvian stand in… More >>
  • Best Reinvention

    Chilango

    Almost every restaurant that makes it past its five-year anniversary has to reinvent itself, even if that just means replacing the tables and repainting the walls. However, very few restaurants survive a radical transformation — which is what makes Azteca Taqueria's metamorphosis into Chilango both startling and welcome. Tapping into the zeitgeist, Victor Hugo Juarez took his lackluster 20-year-old taqueria,… More >>
  • Best Old-School Mexican Restaurant

    El Toreador

    Why do we adore El Toreador, the raucous, family-friendly Mexican joint half a block from the West Portal Muni station? Is it the bright palette of reds, greens, and yellows that smacks you upside the head as soon as you walk in the door? The birdcages, parrots, airplanes, chile peppers, dolls, serapes, and bulls' heads that drip from the ceiling… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Burrito

    Plantain and black bean burrito, the Little Chihuahua

    Most of the Mission's veggie burritos fail because they make a direct substitution of tofu for meat. Tofu will never be meat, no matter how long you simmer it in ranchera sauce. Papalote and El Balazo's grilled vegetable burritos approach satisfying, but the Little Chihuahua's plantain and black bean burrito beats them all because it starts from a different point… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Restaurant

    Three Papayas

    There's something poetic about recovering from overindulgence in the same place you succumbed the night before. One of the Mission's favorite bars, Doc's Clock, happens to host a fine restorative feed in Three Papayas' Sunday afternoon "cultural liberation brunch." Former Yamo chef Ta-Wei Lin's menu is brief and ever-changing, with inspired riffs on authentic pan-Asian fare: seafood gumbo with coconut-lemon… More >>
  • Best Izakaya

    Sebo

    Now that most of us have heard of izakayas, the Japanese pubs where salarymen and students gather to get red-nosed and snack on little plates, half of San Francisco's run-of-the-mill Japanese restaurants have renamed their hot menus "izakaya fare." We love the izakaya Sundays at Michael Black and Daniel Dunham's restaurant, when the two sushi chefs switch to small plates,… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Cantonese

    S&T Hong Kong Seafood

    S&T Hong Kong Seafood straddles the border between everyday and special occasion. On weekdays, the tables fill with retired couples taking the entire morning to snack on a few plates of silky cheung fan (steamed rice noodles) filled with shrimp; pyramids of Chinese broccoli; and paper-shelled salt and pepper tofu. At Chinese New Year, the banquet room is booked weeks… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Edible Amphibians

    Chinatown Live Animal Markets

    You awaken, blurry-eyed, the remnants of last night's whiskey leaving your pores in a cold sweat. Only one thing will do, and it ain't the Denny's Grand Slam breakfast. What you're really craving for your sour stomach on this Sunday morning is a slimy turtle — slaughtered, deshelled, and hacked into pieces before your eyes. Okay, okay: We admit that… More >>
  • Five Best Food Carts

    Illustration by Fred Noland A sort of harmonic convergence occurred when the rise of Twitter met the tanking economy. The result: Dozens of street food carts run by talented, underemployed chefs began moving their operations from place to place, dodging permit-happy city officials, keeping customers in the loop through Hemingway-esque updates. Here are a few of our favorite carts (with their… More >>
  • Best Hot Pockets

    Not every meal comes on a plate. In fact, not every meal needs to be set down on a table. Here are five of the city’s best handheld, one-dish lunches. Eat them in the park or at your desk: Beef empanada from Chile Lindo 2944 16th St. (at Capp), 621-6108 These warm, trapezoidal turnovers, with their filling of tomato-braised beef sweetened with raisins,… More >>
  • Best One-Dish Feast

    Dolsot bibimbap from Han Il Kwan

    It's almost as miraculous as the New Testament story of the loaves and fishes. Order the stone-bowl bibimbap at this Richmond Korean restaurant — that's one dish, costing less than $15 — and your table will be covered in plates: a crunchy, tangerine-sized mung-bean pancake to begin the meal, followed by nine small plates of pickles and side dishes. Your… More >>
  • Best Burmese

    Yellow Pa Taut - CLOSED

    Located in an alley storefront in the looming shadow of the Hall of Justice, Yellow Pa Taut feeds a loyal customer base of lawyers, cops, and robbers. There are few atmospheric flourishes. Servers only occasionally look up from a flickering computer screen behind the counter, and house music thumps on the robust stereo system. Still, Yellow Pa Taut's tar-black goat… More >>
  • Best Indian Cuisine

    Udupi Palace

    We've spent as much time in the Tandoorloin as anyone in town, and we still love the brawny, raw-boned Punjabi food that places like Shalimar and Lahore Karahi specialize in. But we're just as excited about the upswing in south Indian restaurants like Udupi Palace. The San Francisco branch of a national chain, Udupi Palace is cheaper and gutsier than… More >>
  • Best Naked Taste of San Francisco

    Cracked crab at Swan Oyster Depot

    Tourists sometimes remember what we locals forget: the glory of a boiled, cracked Dungeness crab scarfed down at the scarred and sunken marble counter of the Swan Oyster Depot. Eat it adorned with nothing more than a dish of sticky yellow mayo (you can also just order it for tradition's sake, then leave it untouched) and slices of late-bake sourdough… More >>
  • Best Gumbo

    Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe

    Finding a bowl of honest-to-God gumbo west of Sabine Lake is problematic, to say the least, but Queen's rendition is the real deal. Too many local attempts come off watery or lack the stimulating qualities that make gumbo the emblematic Louisiana dish. But Queen's starts with an especially rich, dark roux; layers the aromatic holy trinity of pepper, onion, and… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Serpentine

    You can upscale a burger too far. That $120 DB Royale black truffle burger? It's all about the illusion of luxury. Four-week-aged-beef burgers, Kobe burgers, burgers larded with foie gras — meh. Chef Deepak Kaul does the bistro burger just right, with straightforward panache: a fat round of Prather Ranch beef, an Acme roll, a tangle of pink pickled onions, and… More >>
  • Best Burger Dog

    Snack Shack at the Olympic Club's Lakeside Clubhouse

    If you can manage to finagle your way onto the Lake or the Ocean, either of the Olympic Club's exclusive 18-hole golf courses, you must stop at the snack shack at the turn for the one-of-a-kind, practically famous burger dog. It's a well-seasoned hamburger shaped to fit a hot dog bun, itself toasted and lined with melted American cheese. Recommended… More >>
  • Best Improbably Delicious Sausage

    Show Dogs' pickled hot link

    The premise sounds disgusting: The cooks at Show Dogs stick hot links in a chile-laced apple-cider vinegar brine and let 'em float — for two weeks. When you order one, they fish a pink, puffy sausage out of the jar and toss it on the grill. As much as the phrase "pickled meat" might make you think of cueritos (skin)… More >>
  • Best Justification for the Existence of Spam

    Spam musubis from Hawaiian Drive-Inn

    No foodstuff is more antithetical to the modern San Franciscan palate than Spam. Lord knows how many pigs contributed to each cube of pressed, formed meat, nor how many chemicals keep it fresh in the can. But Hawaiians know: Spam tastes good. Hawaiian Drive-Inn is a no-nonsense plate-lunch joint where chicken katsu and beef teriyaki come with two scoops of… More >>
  • Best Roaming Barbecue

    Good Foods Catering's Bay Area Urban BBQ

    Dontaye Ball, owner of Good Foods Catering, has synthesized the culinary lessons he learned from his cooking school training, his work in the kitchens of restaurants like Contigo and Delfina, and most importantly, his mother. The roaming end of his catering company, Bay Area Urban BBQ, brings sweet 'n' spicy smoked meats and various treats to street-food gatherings around the… More >>
  • Best Culinary Neologism

    Gamja fries from Namu's farmers' market stand

    San Francisco's dense cultural mix produces some strange and wonderful foods: garlic-basil naan, Filipino sisig tacos, steamed whole-wheat chicken buns. Hell, the Mission burrito is one of our native culinary mashups. This year, we're most captivated by Dennis Lee's Korean take on chili-cheese fries, which he fully admits is stoner food that plays on the similarities between the Korean word… More >>
  • Best Family-Oriented Farmers' Market

    Stonestown Farmers' Market

    Held in the Macy's parking lot, the Stones-town Sunday Market has quietly become one of the most well-rounded farmers' markets in town. It's certainly the best one to bring the whole family to. Bouncy castles keep the little ones occupied — and away from the impressive array of baked goods glazed in kid-friendly hues. The breakfast and lunch food runs… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Produce Store

    Parkside Farmers' Market

    People come from all over town to stock up on the Parkside's dazzling array of fresh, inexpensive produce. Summer is an especially colorful time to stop by, when peaches, corn, every kind of berry, and rainbow-hued peppers mingle with dandelion greens, Persian cucumbers, and cactus fruit. But there's more to the place than fruits and veggies. The shelves and refrigerator… More >>
  • Best Surf and Turf

    Photograph by Lara Hata Surf and turf's expense-account-shattering allure hinges on a fairly straightforward conceit: Meat is expensive, and so is seafood. Uniting them on one plate is really expensive, and therefore luxurious and appealing. For those unable to shell out for filet mignon and Maine lobster at Harris' Steakhouse, a few San Francisco restaurants traffic in affordable, exciting unions of… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Soundtrack

    Outerlands

    Sure, food is important in selecting where you want to eat, but ambience is up there, too. Outerlands gets high marks on both accounts. The cozy Outer Sunset restaurant puts care into everything it presents — the driftwood counters and walls; the fresh bread, soups, and salads; and the soundtrack drifting out from the speakers. If you're an indie-rock fan… More >>
  • Best Place to Fix Your Bike Over Dinner and a Beer

    Mojo Bicycle Cafe

    It turns out that the revamped stretch of Divisadero is a terrific place to get a flat tire — so long as you're on a bicycle. Mojo Bicycle Cafe is a full-service bike shop that serves coffee, wine, and beer (including $2 pints of microbrews from 5 to 7 p.m.). The menu features gourmet sandwiches (we recommend the Bird, with… More >>
  • Best Local Food Blog

    Beer & Nosh

    For a food blog, getting the balance of text and visuals right is critical. Writers are not necessarily photographers are not necessarily information gatherers. Which is why writers for SF Weekly's food blog, SFoodie, find ourselves linking over and over again to Jesse Friedman's posts on Beer & Nosh. Rather than sticking to tasting notes and brewmaster interview, Friedman honors… More >>
  • Best Italian Breakfast

    Cavalli Bookstore and Cafe

    Contrary to popular belief, Italians need more than espresso and a carton of cigarettes to fuel up for the day. Cavalli, which has been operating in San Francisco for more than a century, serves Roman staples like caprese salad and Italian bacon with scrambled eggs and Danesi Caffe espresso drinks for an early-morning continental kick in the rear. Grab a… More >>
  • Best Hangover Breakfast

    Lime - CLOSED

    Some people party until the break of dawn. Others party at the break of dawn. The people who do both go to Lime. Head there on weekends around 10:30 a.m.; you can join the party or just watch the city's hardiest partiers continue to rage through the windows. Decked in sunglasses and slightly askew versions of last night's attire, most… More >>
  • Best 2 p.m. Breakfast

    Caffe Delucchi

    It matters not when you consume the first meal of the day, or what you call it, as long as said meal reinvigorates, tastes delicious, and potentially involves heaps of alcohol. Realizing this, Delucchi affords late risers the option to feast on succulent pulled pork, polenta topped with melted gorgonzola and poached eggs, and crab benedicts — as late as… More >>
  • Best Simple Breakfast

    Trouble Coffee Company

    Trouble Coffee's "Build Your Own Damn House" is a nuts-and-bolts breakfast: a cup of coffee, a coconut, toast. Why the elaborate name? Printed on the walls are the makings of a manifesto stating, "We are local people with useful skills in tangible situations. Learn to build your own damn house. We will help." Whatever that means, the combo is good.… More >>
  • Best Multitasking Breakfast Bread

    Breakfast in Bread at John Campbell's Bakery

    A hefty hunk of moist goodness, Breakfast in Bread is just what it sounds like. Dense pieces of sausage, eggs, cheese, and slices of black and white puddings (the black is an Irish concoction containing pigs' blood) punctuate a heavy, perfectly baked loaf. Slice off hearty chunks of this meal-in-one, grab a cup of coffee, and you're out the door,… More >>
  • Best Biscuit

    Bruno's

    Katharine Zacher, who runs the kitchen at Bruno's with partner Ryan Ostler, has worked as a pastry chef at Boulevard, Quince, and Slow Club. So you know that when she makes a buttermilk biscuit, it's going to be good enough to shame the Pillsbury Doughboy. Handle the nubbly, oven-gilded lump as though it were a Fabergé egg, because you'll crush… More >>
  • Best Place to Compare Coffee Microroasters

    Bi-Rite Market

    Most of the Bay Area's small-batch, artisan coffee roasters sell their beans out of the back of the shop or at a handful of widely scattered cafes. A coffee geek in training either has to do an awful lot of driving to compare wares — or simply walk to the coffee shelf at Bi-Rite. Sam Mogannam stocks more than half… More >>
  • Best Kombucha

    Crêpe O Chocolat

    Hungry Union Square shoppers gravitate to this counter for its namesake crepes and beautiful French sandwiches. However, it's also a wonderful spot to try potent, housemade kombucha, a fizzy, fermented tea touted as a health elixir for digestion, healthy skin and hair, liver function, and body alkalinity. Flavors change seasonally, but skew away from the overly sweet flavors typical of… More >>
  • Best Pastry Chef

    Michelle Polzine of Range

    There are two kinds of pastry chefs in this town: the ones who make Meyer lemon ices and rustic fold-over crostati in Cal-Med style, and those who go outside-the-box Baroque with spruce essence and chocolate-dipped pork rinds. Range's pastry chef, Michelle Polzine, walks a steady line between them. On paper, her desserts look as straightforward as any upstairs offerings at… More >>
  • Best Crème Brûlées

    Sweet.

    Rob Waddell, a former recipe developer, brings a technician's diligence to his short line of custards, which he bakes in four-ounce bell jars and sells at local farmers' markets. At a cool room temperature, his vanilla custard has the weight and smoothness of softened butter. Ask him to brûlée any flavor, and it takes him four or five applications of… More >>
  • Best Cupcakes

    Arlequin to Go

    San Francisco's cupcake wars keep escalating, as new shops open with surprising frequency and established boutiques outfit catering trucks to take their dainty delights on the road. Sitting on the sidelines, a Switzerland of cupcakes if you will, is pastry chef–slash–genius Luis Villavelazquez of Absinthe and its sister, Arlequin to Go. Villavelazquez has quietly baked up the most innovative cupcakes… More >>
  • Best Pecan Pie

    Farmerbrown

    Pecan pie may be the most satisfying, deeply pleasurable dessert known to humankind. It's simplicity itself: nothing but pie crust filled with corn syrup, butter, and nutmeats. Too often, though, the crust is dry, the syrup is gummy, and the pecans are chewy, burnt, or practically nonexistent. Farmerbrown, a stylish nouveau soul restaurant in the Tenderloin, crafts a triumphant pecan… More >>
  • Best Cheesecake

    Fish & Farm

    If "cheesecake" conjures up an image of a dense, possibly lethal, ivory-colored brick, you haven't tried Fish & Farm's cheesecake. Housemade ricotta is packed into a mason jar with layers of cranberry jam, parfait style. The light, lemony cheese contrasts delectably with the tart, brisk jam, and a generous topping of butter crumble adds crunch and heft. The jar, a… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Your Grandparents in the Mission

    Mission Pie

    You know what grandparents don't care about? Going to the hottest new restaurant, with the most bleeding-edge crew of mixologists and the loudest electro albums ricocheting from the speakers. (Come to think of it, we don't either.) Which is where Mission Pie comes in: There's no arguing with freshly baked pie. And no one can argue with Mission Pie's friendly… More >>
  • Best Local Truffles

    Neo Cocoa

    Christine Doerr describes her Neo Cocoa truffles as "naked." Unlike the boxed assortments we're used to, Neo Cocoa truffles contain only the creamy chocolate filling (known as ganache) and not the hard outer shell (or couverture). This simplicity of structure results in simple, vividly flavored chocolates in varieties such as warm ginger root, freshly zested lime, mocha cinnamon, and almond… More >>
  • Best Salted Candy

    Sea-Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels from Hooker's

    David "Hooker" Williams' chocolate-covered caramels, the size and shape of two butter pats pressed together, just might be the most searingly adult confections to emerge from San Francisco. A bitter chocolate coating keeps the dense plug of buttery caramel from candy sweetness, while a scattering of coarse flakes of Welsh sea salt — smoked over smoldering oak — moderate the… More >>
  • Profile: Celia Sack, Cookbook Queen

    By Jonathan Kauffman Photograph by Kimberly Sandie Celia Sack, owner of Omnivore Books, San Francisco's culinary bookstore, has spent 36 of her 40 years in the city. There was a four-year hiatus on the East Coast — studying art history at Sarah Lawrence College — but as soon as she graduated, she returned west. She was following a girlfriend, of course. "It… More >>
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