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Discovering San Francisco's Food Scene

By: Hotel Nikko San Francisco / 23 Dec 2021
Discovering San Francisco's Food Scene

San Francisco has a bold culinary spirit that celebrates the city's kaleidoscope of culture. From the authentic noodle houses of Chinatown to the seafood spots on Fisherman's Wharf, the SF dining scene is a blend of foods, flavors, and fresh ideas.

Try a bread bowl of clam chowder or spicy cioppino on Pier 39 with postcard views of San Francisco Bay. Grab a slide of square pizza in Little Italy, or chow down in Japantown. Enjoy tacos in the Mission District, or explore wonderful foodie neighborhoods like Union Square, the Castro and Downtown. If you're visiting San Francisco, come ready to eat. 

Best Pizza in San Francisco

San Francisco has a vibrant Italian community that knows how to make old-school pizza. Head to the North Beach neighborhood to find the best pizza in SF, from thin-crust Neapolitan pies to saucy deep-dish slices. If you're heading into San Francisco, hit up our favorite pizza joints: 

  • Try a Sicilian style clam and garlic slice from Big Boy Pizza (542 Green Street). You can eat a square with a beer right on the street.
  • A North Beach icon, Tommaso's (1042 Kearny Street) is the real deal for San Francisco brick-oven pizza. This historic pizzeria has served thick and doughy pies for more than eight decades. 
  • Stop by Tony's Pizza Napoletana (1570 Stockton St.) in Little Italy and try the famous Margherita or Savory Cali Italia made with ingredients from Napoli.

Best Sushi in San Francisco

Deeply rooted in Japanese culture, San Francisco offers some of the best sushi spots on the West Coast. Inspired by a new generation of chefs and what's fresh off the dock, San Francisco is a powerhouse sushi town, no matter what neighborhood you explore. 

  • Right off Union Square, Restaurant ANZU at the Hotel Nikko (222 Mason St.), serves delicious sushi rolls and sashimi, as well as modern Japanese fare and sake. Try the 72-hour braised beef short ribs.
  • In downtown San Francisco, Akiko's Restaurant (431 Bush Street) is known for their exquisite omakase experience and lovely nigiri. Savor indulgent sushi creations like the Negitoro roll with tuna belly, scallion, pickled daikon, and sesame.
  • Kusakabe (584 Washington St.) offers standout omakase and is the only restaurant in San Francisco serving Kyoto-style sushi. 

Tasting Your Way Through Chinatown

From the moment you walk through the Dragon Gates into San Francisco's Chinatown, the aromas of Chinese spices and roasted duck excite your cravings. Explore the colorful streets and alleys of Chinatown packed with restaurants and noodle houses serving authentic and modern Chinese and Asian cuisines in historic buildings.

  • The oldest restaurant in Chinatown, Sam Wo's (713 Clay St.) is a delicious dining destination serving Cantonese dishes like fish jook and barbecue rice rolls.
  • In the heart of Chinatown, Mister Jiu's (28 Waverly Place), dishes out Chinese American food, cocktails, and beer. Share the roast duck platter with peanut butter hoisin or the squid ink wontons.
  • Chow down on Cantonese barbeque at Hing Lung Company (1261 Stockton St.) and enjoy crackly-skinned roast pig, honey-brushed char sium, and succulent roasted duck.
  • Yuet Lee Seafood Restaurant (1300 Stockton St.) is a decades-old Chinatown staple and the go-to spot for pepper squid and dry-style beef chow fun.

Where to Eat the Best Clam Chowder in SF

San Francisco is famous for its clam chowder, especially in a sourdough bread bowl. For the best clam chowder in SF, head down to the Fisherman's Wharf to Chowders (Pier 39), Scoma's (1965 Al Scoma Way) and Boudin Bakery and Café (160 Jefferson St.). 

In the North beach neighborhood, Gigi's Sotto Mare (552 Green St.) dishes up thick and hearty clam chowder with an Italian accent. On the western edge of the Castro District, Woodhouse Fish Co. (2073 Market St.) serves Hartford style clam chowder, as well as lobster rolls and fried clams.

SF Food Truck Scene

In a city known for its culinary spirit and fresh ideas, San Francisco offers a fun and creative food truck scene. Celebrating the Bay Area's foodie vibe, SF is home to more than 220 food trucks, serving everything from BBQ to tacos to Korean. 

  • For Japanese street food and Asian fusion food truck catering, stop by ANZU to You.
  • Check out SPARK Social SF, a food truck park, and beer and sangria garden, in the heart of San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood. With 150+ unique street food vendors, every day is a surprising dining experience.
  • Roaming around the city, Sam's Chowdermobile serves traditional New England clam chowder, crab cakes, and real-deal Maine lobster rolls.
  • Chow down on old-school Vietnamese at Banh Mi Zon Food Truck, famous for their traditional sandwiches with toasty baguettes stuffed with pork belly, beef bulgogi and chicken teriyaki.

Dining with Views of San Francisco Bay

From the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf, the San Francisco waterfront is dotted with restaurants, bars, and seafood kitchens with postcard views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island. Try the roasted halibut and fresh Pacific coast oysters at Waterbar with stunning views of the Bay Bridge.

For a true San Francisco experience, get a table at these waterfront eateries right on San Francisco Bay. 

  • Franciscan Crab Restaurant – Seafood - Pier 43 1/2, San Francisco
  • Waterbar Restaurant – Seafood, California, Raw Bar - 399 The Embarcadero
  • Hog Island Oyster Co. – Seafood - Ferry Building, One, #11 - Ferry Building
  • Fog Harbor Fish House – Seafood - Pier 39
  • Coqueta - Spanish, Tapas - Pier 5, The Embarcadero 
  • EPIC Steak – Steak - 369 The Embarcadero
  • La Mar Cebicheria Peruana – Peruvian, Seafood - Pier 11/2, The Embarcadero

The Flavors of Japan at Hotel Nikko San Francisco 

Hotel Nikko San Francisco is a luxury boutique hotel with Japanese inspired ambiance, accommodations, and cuisine. Our Union Square hotel is home to Restaurant ANZU, serving modern Japanese food and the freshest sushi and sashimi in the neighborhood. Hotel Nikko is also where you'll find the ANZU to You food truck catering serving tasty Asian-fusion eats.

Hotel Nikko is within walking distance of Chinatown, North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, and SF's diverse culinary experiences. Hotel Nikko features Zen-inspired rooms and suites, a glass-enclosed indoor pool, a fitness center, and a Pet Terrace – an oasis in the San Francisco's Union Square. Start your foodie adventure in San Francisco with our hotel specials as your inspiration.

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