San Francisco is home to hundreds if not thousands of amazing restaurants. From Michelin-rated high-end dining to delicious fast-casual options, the city is jam-packed full of wonderful places to eat and drink. That said, not all of San Francisco’s best eateries have huge signs and menus outside to lure you in — some are even hidden inside of other restaurants and destinations or hidden in plain sight. Here are a few under-the-radar restaurants in SF that are worth a taste.Read More
10 Surprising Restaurants and Bars to Try in San Francisco
1. Hara Club
This neighborhood favorite is one of San Francisco’s oldest dive bars. Originally opened in 1947, Ha-Ra Club got its name from its original owners Hank and Ralph, a wrestler and a boxer, respectively. Inside, you can order an Elysian Space Dust IPA or a stiff drink and catch the game on one of the Tenderloin watering hole’s 4K TVs. Don’t miss keepsakes from the original 1940s bar, including a set of boxing gloves and a loaded pistol that was found under the register.
If you’re looking to catch a game in the Haight, Nickies can be a great place to grab a table and some drinks without dropping a ton of cash in the process. The roomy neighborhood bar offers a brunch menu on weekends and standard bar fare during the week with offerings like jalapeño poppers and chicken wings. It also has a decent cocktail and wine list, as well as some beer options like Elysian Brewing Company that are guaranteed to please even the toughest in your group.
3. Mad Dog in the Fog
This pub in the Lower Haight has a solid beer list and pub fare of nachos, quesadillas, and chicken wings. Known for its trivia night, Mad Dog in the Fog is also a popular hangout for catching sporting events like football, the World Cup, and the NBA playoffs.
4. Holy Mountain
Holy Mountain is located in the back (and up the stairs) of Hawker Fare, a Lao Isaan eatery in SF’s Mission. The bar offers a rotating menu of unique and unusual tiki drinks that pair perfectly with the Thai street food — such as papaya salad, homemade panang tofu curry, and tamarind egg drop curry noodles — being sold below.
5. Mission Banh Mi
San Francisco, CA 94110
If you’re looking for banh mi, some of the best in the city can be purchased inside the Duc Loi supermarket on Mission Street. Mission Bahn Mi takes up a small portion of the store’s deli counter and serves 12 different sandwiches as well as other Vietnamese specialties like spring rolls and pickled veggies. Since it’s located in a grocery store, you can also pick up snacks and drinks to round out your meal for a picnic at nearby Dolores Park.
6. Counter Offer
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tucked in the back of Bender’s Bar in the Mission is Counter Offer, a permanent pop-up that serves everything from tater tots to tacos. While it might look like simple bar food given its location, the restaurant’s rotating menu has previously included a foie gras burger, hand-dipped corn dogs, and a pizza burger that uses pepperoni pizza for the bun, all expertly prepared on the grill in front of you. Beyond its weekly Instagram-advertised specials, it also regularly offers a delicious mac-and-cheese bar and the best “tot-chos” in town.
7. Mission Rock Resort
Located right on the water, the views are as much a draw for Mission Rock Resort as the food. Food options include favorites like crab mac and cheese, braised chicken leg, and an out-of-this-world, soft-shell crab BLT. The restaurant’s happy hour features $1 oysters, and its weekend brunch regularly attracts hungry crowds.
8. Gotham Club
San Francisco, CA 94107
Behind the scoreboard at AT&T Park is the Gotham Club, a private bar and restaurant for former and current Giants players and anyone else who wants to pony up for one of the limited memberships. The exclusive space offers diners a members-only entrance to the game, a menu with items like lobster dogs and steaks, and cocktails with cubes of ice that resemble baseballs. The space opens well before each game and stays open afterward where members can have a post-game cocktail or try their luck at the restaurant’s built-in bowling alley.
9. Little Skillet
Some of the best fried chicken in San Francisco can be found inside Victory Hall & Parlor, the home of Little Skillet. An offshoot of the popular restaurant Farmer Brown, customers can get chicken and waffles, Cajun crab cakes, BBQ ribs, and more during lunch and dinner hours. Those who don’t have time to sit down can also order food to-go from the restaurant’s street window.
10. Local Tap
While everyone else is piling into 21st Amendment on game day, Local Tap can be a nice alternative to the crowds. The small bar features an assortment of regional breweries, like Elysian Brewing Company, as well as pub fare like chili cheese fries, fried cheese curds, and bowls of chili. When you’re done with your pre-game, AT&T Park is just a short stroll away.