I’m in the lucky position of being a semi regular visitor to San Francisco thanks to work trips and so given this was my fourth trip to the city I focused on checking out what was new since my last visit two years ago. As one of the best eating cities in the world (and I don’t give that title lightly) San Francisco has a pretty dynamic food scene with new places opening and old places closing all the time. Obviously I couldn’t cover them all in a trip of less than a week. But after a lot of research and some recommendations these are the places I chose to spend my precious eating time:
In Situ has just opened in San Francisco’s refurbished Museum of Modern Art and it’s the newest restaurant from superstar chef Corey Lee. The New York Times has already dubbed it “America’s most original new restaurant“. I’ve never managed to make it to Lee’s flagship restaurant Benu as you have to book well in advance and my trips to San Francisco are always last minute so a large part of In Situ’s appeal was being able to just walk in for a table. The other drawcard was the opportunity to eat my way around some of the best restaurants in the world as the concept behind In Situ is that Lee cooks signature dishes from restaurants like Mugaritz and Pollen Street Social.
What a ride it was! It was thrilling to design my own completely disjointed menu starting with a foamy appetiser of ‘cuttlefish cappuccino’ ($18) from Massimiliano Alajmo of Le Calande in Italy. There were plump lamb dumplings or “manti” served with smoked yoghurt and spicy sumac by Mehmet Gurs of Mikla in Turkey and finishing up with the amazing Jasper Hill Farm Cheesecake by Albert Adria of Tickets in Spain. This dessert totally looks like a wheel of cheese but cut into it and it oozes white chocolate with sweet biscuits to dip in. Definitely a must order the cheesecake was lots of fun to eat plus utterly delicious and memorable. In Situ really lives up tot he amazing art and creativity on display in the floors above at SFMOMA.
Details: In Situ, 151 Third Street, San Francisco, USA (Ph 415-941-6050)
Damage: Budget breaking. Note there is a 20% compulsory tip (called a “surcharge” here) which I liked as it relieved the tipping stress but American friends tell me is very cheeky.
Kids: Welcome. In Situ even has a special kids dish adapted from a famous restaurant.
I’m a huge fan of Dominique Crenn after her visit to Australia for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. She’s one of the world’s leading female chefs and has opened a new causal restaurant/brunch spot called Petit Crenn near her acclaimed restaurant Atelier Crenn. I headed here as soon as I landed in San Francisco and a glass of sparkling rose and a salad of grilled peaches and fresh mozzarella was the perfect post plane flight pick me up. I should also mention the pastries here are to die for. Loved the Bostock topped with homemade blueberry jam and flaked almonds.
Details: Petit Crenn, 609 Hayes St, San Francisco, USA
Kids: It’s pretty small here. Could be tricky.
One of San Francisco’s best food trucks, Del Popolo has now branched out into a bricks and mortar restaurant. The focus here is on the wood fired pizza oven which dominates the restaurant covered in gleaming ocean green tiles. It’s a great place for solo diners (like me) to sit at the counter around the pizza oven and dig into the excellent margherita with Del Popolo’s take on a ranch salad on the side.
Details: Del Popolo, 855 Bush St, San Francisco, USA
Plus, not brand new, but also good…
One of the first food blogs I ever read was called Chez Pim and was written by Pim Techamuanvivit. Pim opened her own Thai restaurant Khin Khao in 2014 and it still gets rated as one of San Francisco’s best Thai restaurants. It’s in a bit of a strange location tucked away down a corridor out of the lobby of the Hilton Hotel but this is certainly not hotel food. The Plah Pla Meuk features fresh bouncy squid and some fiery chillis. It’s a casual place but has a nice buzzy feel to it with plenty of customers prepared to queue up for what’s known as one of San Fran’s best Thai restaurants.
Details: Khin Khao, Parc 55 Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, USA.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- I flew to San Francisco with Qantas via Sydney. Tickets are about $1,600 return.
- I stayed at the Westin St Francis on this trip. From $250 a night.
- Must dos include travelling on the cable cars, riding a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and heading to Alcatraz. I’ve also done a hiking yoga tour and Avital food walking tours which were both great and gone on a day trip wine tasting in the Napa Valley and Sonoma regions.
More Gourmet Chick San Francisco tips and reviews