Great Eats in the City By the Bay

Great Eats in the City By the Bay
The hills of San Francisco.
Great Eats in the City By the Bay
The beautiful sidewalk display at Birite Market.

Some complain about walking the hills in San Francisco, but those hills become your best friend when trying to burn off the thousands of extra calories you’ll consume when visiting one of the best foodie cities in the world. Known for creating the now ubiquitous farm-to-table movement, the Bay area also has the most Chinese restaurants this side of Beijing, it’s the birth place of sourdough bread, and ice cream made with locally sourced milk? Well, it’s just better. Here’s our list of eateries not to miss in the City by the Bay.

State Bird Provisions: If you can’t get a reservation, don’t fear… this nearly-impossible-to-get-into American dim sum revelation takes walk-ins! So what if you have to wait in line starting at 4:30 for dinner? It’s worth it for the deep-fried quail (the California state bird), the savory pancakes, or a shot of “world peace” (peanut muscovado milk served in a shot glass).

Zuni Café: Opened in 1979 and housed in a corner space on Market Street, Zuni continues to be a mainstay. Order the famous wood oven-roasted chicken with currants, pine nuts, and hunks of warm, crusty, bread, a Caesar salad, and a glass of Pinot and… done.

Yank Sing: you can’t visit San Francisco without trying authentic dim sum, and Yank Sing is the best. Don’t be fooled by the food court vibe, this restaurant will leave you dreaming of dumplings, buns, and egg custard tarts long after you’ve left your heart there.

Great Eats in the City By the Bay
Dim sum traffic jam at Yank Sing.

You’re on vacation! Have breakfast for dinner, dessert for lunch – anything goes! First stop, Tartine Bakery for pain au chocolat, croissants, and quiches, then Craftsman and Wolves for The Rebel Within (an egg baked inside a bacon and cheese muffin), and to top it off, get a double scoop of locally made, organic, ice cream at Birite Creamery. Make sure you check out the Birite Market across the street (est. 1940) for the most passionate of food lovers.

Don’t miss the Ferry Building, a food emporium on the water. Go to Cowgirl Creamery for cheeses, Frog’s Hollow Farm for jams, Boccalone Salumeria for the salami lollipops, and Recchiuti Confections for chocolates. While you’re at it, have lunch at The Slanted Door (show up at 11:30am the minute they open for a seat by the bar if you forgot to book a coveted rez). On Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., there’s an outdoor Farmer’s Market, showcasing California’s gorgeous produce.

Great Eats in the City By the Bay
The scene at Hog Island Oyster Co. in Tomales Bay.

If you’re so inclined to venture outside the city, Chez Panisse is a must. Alice Waters’ iconic Berkeley restaurant continues to deliver. And for the truly adventuresome, head up the coast to Tomales Bay for freshly-shucked oysters (you can even shuck them yourself!). Stop at Point Reyes along the way to pick up bread, wine, and cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, then go directly to Hog Island Oyster Co. where you can sit at picnic tables overlooking the bay, indulge in oysters (get the fresh and the BBQ!), listen to music, and re-lax after a hard week of eating.

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