When you live in a city with so much scenery, eating inside can feel a bit stifling. Here are five beautiful restaurant patios in San Francisco that allow you to order in the great outdoors. Mission Rock Resort (817 Terry Francois Blvd.) The restaurant group that owns South Park staples MoMo’s, Pedro’s Cantina, and Pete’s Tavern overhauled Mission Rock Resort in late 2012. Now, it’s a bayside escape with plenty of deck seating, calming ocean views, and easy parking. Try bites from the raw bar or fried seafood for lunch, brunch, or happy hour. Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.) The most popular tables at this Mission stalwart are in the romantic covered patio. In the evening, artsy or retro flicks are projected on the patio wall while sound can be played through drive-in–style speakers at each table. The movies, however, are a secondary draw compared to the Californian-Mediterranean food. Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero S) Waterbar is a perennial Top 100 restaurant, so you can bet on some memorable seafood with views of the bay, the Bay Bridge, and the Bay Lights—not to mention $1.25 oysters every day before 5:30 pm. Bar Agricole (355 11th St.) Opened by a collective of the city’s best bartenders and sommeliers, Bar Agricole is led by master drink maker Thad Vogler. Unsurprisingly, its cocktails are just as good as its seasonal food. The space’s award-winning design features plenty of redwood, concrete, and glass, plus a spacious patio that’s covered and heated during the winter months. Biergarten (424 Octavia St.) Biergarten takes its name literally—its only seating is outdoors, where all of its Bavarian-style street food is served from shipping containers converted into a kitchen and bar. Brews can be ordered by the half- or full-liter, but considering the long lines, it’s best to get the larger of the two before you squeeze into one of the communal picnic tables. Photos courtesy of Mission Rock Resort, Foreign Cinema, Waterbar, and Bar Agricole; Biergarten photo courtesy of BarFlySF.Read More
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Sushi is not hard to come by in San Francisco, but so much variety means that finding the perfect sushi spot can be a challenge. Here are our picks for the five freshest, most innovative sushi restaurants in the Bay Area. 1. Cha-Ya (762 Valencia St.) Vegetarian sushi anyone? While that may sound like an oxymoron, Cha-Ya is redefining what sushi means, veggie- and vegan-style. It’s cash-only here, and the wait can be long, but the food is inventive and the service is great. Even meat eaters should enjoy the Cha-Ya Roll: tempura-battered asparagus, avocado, yam, and carrot with Cha-Ya’s special sauce. 2. Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant (2154 Mission St.) Never tried fried “veggie eel” before? This place has you covered, and it accommodates most dietary restrictions. There’s a vegan menu, a gluten-free menu, animal-product-free tempura, and sushi made with brown rice. 3. Roka Akor (801 Montgomery St.) The presentation at Roka Akor is out of this world: sushi served on a landscape of salt rocks, ice, bamboo boxes, and light (that’s right, your sushi plate will glow). The tasting menu is a must-try and incorporates a wide range of different fish. 4. Tsunami Sushi Panhandle (1306 Fulton St.) Tusnami’s classic california rolls are half off during happy hour, but the restaurant is most famous for its combination rolls. Try the Mama San with tempura shrimp and spicy tuna or the Magic Mushroom roll with salmon, snow crab, and enoki mushrooms. Also, consider adding some zing to your meal with sake or wine. 5. Akiko’s Restaurant (431 Bush St.) Located in Union Square, Akiko’s serves up superfresh sushi—the menu changes daily based on the availability of ingredients. The kitchen focuses on serving sustainable, organic, seasonal, and local fish at high-end prices. The omakase menu will run up to $100 per person, but for sushi die-hards, it’s worth it. If you’re not feeling fish, there are non-sushi items on the menu, too, including teriyaki meats and udon soups.Read More
North Beach, also known as San Francisco’s Little Italy, has managed to walk the fine line between a hot touristy spot and an area beloved by native San Franciscans. And with it’s high density of authentic ristorantes, cafes, and Old World delicatessens, it’s a prime foodie spot as well! Here are 5 must-eat restaurants in the heart of North Beach: #1: Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Hands down, one of the best pizza places in all of North Beach, maybe even in all of San Francisco. And it’s all thanks to owner Tony Gemignani, an award winning pizza maker. Tony’s specializes in Napoli pizza and their ingredients are actually imported from Napoli! All of their pizza and pasta dough is made in house, and they even have whole wheat and gluten free versions for the more health-conscious. Just a heads up though: since everything is made fresh in-house daily, sometimes they run out of certain menu items. Be prepared for a long wait as well, this restaurant is amazingly popular and doesn’t take reservations. Leave your phone number at the host stand and then head to a nearby bar for a drink while you wait! #2: Mama’s on Washington Square. Mama’s is another San Francisco institution that doesn’t take reservations and also requires you to stand in line until they are ready to cook your order, but the long weekend waits are worth the brunch that awaits you. Menu items to try include the Monte Cristo, Eggs Benedict, and their 10 types of French toasts (you can choose from sourdough baguettes, banana bread or wheat bread). The homemade jam on each table is also to die for. #3: Cafe Jacqueline. This unique restaurant serves only souffles as a main course, with a choice of non-souffle soups and salads to start. Dinner souffles serve two: choose from asparagus, spinach or lobster - each with a cheese base. Dessert is, of course, a souffle - which must be ordered at the same time as dinner and is not to be missed! The ambiance is super romantic, small, and candlelit, so it’s perfect for a date night or a special night out. #4: Victoria Pastry Co. This bakery is one of the city’s oldest -- in business since 1914. It’s best known for its cakes, and specializes in wedding cakes. They even have bite-sized cake creations for a single-serving taste of heaven. Their specialty is their mini tiramisu - served ready to go in it’s own takeout cup. #5: L’Osteria del Forno. This tiny restaurant is famous for its fresh-baked focaccia (sandwiches and pizzas), and is one of the top authentic Italian restaurants in SF. For meat lovers, hope that the milk braised pork is the special roast of the day - it is divine. Their menu also features a variety of pizzas, salads, soups and fresh made pastas. Small baskets of warm focaccia arrive at your table until your entrees are served. For as tiny a restaurant as this is, they still have a full bar with a wonderful selection of wines and grappas. You can also get their pizza by the slice for folks on the go. Not in the mood for anything here? Explore all our San Francisco restaurant deals.Read More