Bay Watch Restaurants
by MARCIA GAGLIARDI and LORA ZARUBIN
Saison / saisonsf.com
Hidden off a desolate street in the Mission is this destination-worthy oasis. Chef Joshua Skenes employs a full-time forager, and the nightly (pricey) tasting menu and food-friendly wines shine. A patio with open fireplace adds to its charms.
Atelier Crenn / ateliercrenn.com
Owner Dominique Crenn (an Iron Chef contender) is as much poet as chef, with tasting menus featuring a modern European sensibility, beautiful seasonal ingredients and conversation-starting presentations that look right out of the forest.
Spice Kit / spicekit.com
Farm-fresh Asian street food created by French-trained chefs: five-spice chicken, grilled pork belly, vegetables served in a classic Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich, Korean ssäm bap and more. A great casual place for a bite on the way to SFMOMA.
Quince / quincerestaurant.com
Not only is everything about this restaurant exquisite, but its chef, Michael Tusk, is the winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Pacific. If you could only have one meal in San Francisco, this should be the place you choose.
Citizen’s Band / citizensbandsf.com
For a taste of San Francisco’s funky South of Market scene, this hip diner packs ’em in for knockout burgers and homey classics like fried chicken and mac and cheese topped with feather-light onion rings.
Z&Y Restaurant / 415-981-8988
A change in ownership brought new life to this Chinatown spot known for fire-breathing Szechuan cuisine. Chef Li Jun Han has cooked for Chinese presidents, and now lucky locals can reap the benefits. Worth the trip alone is the chicken with explosive chili peppers.
Una Pizza Napoletana / unapizza.com
Anthony Mangieri is devoted to making the finest Neapolitan pizza ever. And he makes it easy: five choices and no substitutions. The naturally leavened dough is superb, and get this—the place serves until they run out of it.
Out the Door / outthedoors.com
The latest branch of Charles Phan’s Slanted Door serves up a smaller menu while hitting all the right notes of a simple Vietnamese bistro. Garlic fried chicken served with a sriracha butter and pickled vegetables? The ultimate comfort food.
Flour + Water / flourandwater.com
The lines of people who frequent this off-the-beaten-path restaurant in the Mission remain consistently long. The draw is chef Thomas McNaughton’s array of pastas, wood-fired pizzas, well-priced Italian wine list, late hours and cool aesthetic.
Swan Oyster Depot / 415-673-1101
There’s no better place to relish freshly shucked oysters and cracked Dungeness crab than at the counter of this venerable establishment that’s fittingly oldschool— no Website or email. Go early or late for lunch, because seating is limited.
Tell Tale Preserve Company / telltalepreserveco.com
The company provides toothsome pastries (try the Rebel Within—which tucks a runny-yolked egg in a sausage-studded roll), preserves and confections to spots citywide, from Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to Four Barrel Coffee on Valencia. See their blog for exact locations.
Sightglass Coffee Roasters / sightglasscoffee.com
Brothers Jerad and Justin Morrison take the perfect cuppa joe or shot of espresso to a whole new level. Beans, prepped in a vintage roaster, are brewed through a 1972 La Marzocco, for an unbelievable flavor.
PHOTOS: Atelier Crenn: Maren Caruso; Saison: Naseema Khan; Out the Door: Frankie Frankeny; Flour + Water: Eric Wolfinger; Tell Tale: Anita Chu; Citizen’s Band: Naseema Khan