This article will provide you with a list of ideas on how to find a great restaurant in San Francisco. As San Francisco is a mecca for great food and dining, you certainly have a lot of choices, both expensive and inexpensive. Hopefully this list will help you cut to the chase and find exactly what you’re looking for.
1. Our local style magazine, 7×7, has a rather comprehensive listing of high-end San Francisco restaurants. You can find this magazine on any news rack. By the way, if you are responsible for any kind of event planning in San Francisco – be it a corporate dinner or a trade show – subscription to this magazine is an absolute must. Back in my “cubicle days,” when I did event planning, I planned entire events just by using ideas from 7×7.
2. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly eats, I recommend the San Francisco Bay Guardian. The SFBG is constantly on the lookout for great food at bargain prices. (They cover pricier restaurants as well.) The SFBG is free – yay!
3. The Food & Wine section of The San Francisco Chronicle will help you track down that perfect dinner spot. They also carry reviews of popular restaurants.
4. The San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 900 Market Street – this is about a block away from Powell Street — offers a host of pamphlets and materials that cover every aspect of visiting San Francisco, especially restaurants. You will not be getting an impartial view here – the restaurants profiled have paid money to be represented. But at least it will give you an idea of what’s out there.
5. If you’re a tourist in San Francisco and you’re staying at a hotel, ask your concierge to give you some advice on where to eat. They will most likely have a long list for you. Since they’re usually up on all of the new restaurant openings, they will have a lot of ideas on how to find a great restaurant in San Francisco.
6. Another great touristy way to get dining advice – are you going on a shopping trip? Ask the clerk behind the department store counter. He or she will be able to give you a complete rundown on the best places to eat in that neighborhood.
7. Rachael Ray says the best way to find a great restaurant while traveling is to grab local denizens on the street and ask them where to eat. This is an almost fail-safe way to find a great restaurant in San Francisco. We San Franciscans love to eat and cook, and we have very definite opinions about the best places to go.
8. You can always do your own research and hit the sidewalks, peering in windows and reading reviews posted on windows. If you are the adventurous type and there isn’t a lot of money at stake, this might work well for you. After all, there’s nothing more satisfying to us adventurous types as saying, “I found it myself.” San Francisco has many areas that are almost exclusively devoted to particular cuisines. For example, the Inner Richmond boasts an area we like to call “Clement Street” (on Clement Street, of course). This begins at Arguello and Clement and continues westward for about thirty blocks. It is legendary for hosting top-notch Asian restaurants (pretty much all of the regions of Asia are represented). Although just walking into any restaurant on Clement Street will not guarantee you a great dining experience, you can tell just by looking through the windows which ones are the most popular. (The best ones will be packed full with happy diners – how’s that for a start?)
This is the best way to get helpful, unbiased advice on how to find a great restaurant in San Francisco. As I have mentioned many times before, it is hard to find anyone in San Francisco who is impartial about food, so you will probably end up with a lot more information than you know what to do with. But that’s better than no information, right?