Your guide to your next dining experience at one of San Francisco's most desired restaurants, Lazy Bear

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April 20, 2018
Photo courtesy of Lazy Bear's official Instagram account (@lazybearsf).

Everything You Need to Know About San Francisco's Legendary Lazy Bear

San Francisco is known for its culinary delights. It is home to such trend-setting institutions as State Bird Provisions, The Slanted Door, and Chef Corey Lee's stylish In Situ. Adding to the city's culinary reputation is Lazy Bear, which offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. 

This is not your typical American restaurant. Here, you sit down with strangers at a communal table, talk to chefs as they prepare the meals, and even jot down notes for every course that you have. What started off as an underground dining event has become one of the most sought-after dining experiences in San Francisco.

Here is everything you need to know about Lazy Bear. 

The History of Lazy Bear

Unlike San Francisco's historic establishments such as the Cliff House or the Tadich Grill, Lazy Bear is as modern as it gets. The concept began in 2009, when Chef and Founder David Barzelay hosted a dinner party for friends at his home. Word of his impressive culinary skills got around fast. Before David knew it, he had to contend with a growing guest list. After doing pop-up, underground events for six years, Lazy Bear found a permanent home in the Mission District in 2015.

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The Lazy Bear Experience

Lazy Bear is in a two-tier warehouse. The upper floor is for drinks and aperitifs. After sampling tasty concoctions and appetizers like Kumamoto oysters, guests head downstairs to the dining room. At the dinner table, each diner gets a pencil and a notepad.

The staff encourages guests to go into the kitchen and interact with the chefs as they prepare the meal . The atmosphere at Lazy Bear is that of a friendly dinner party that happens to be hosted by extremely talented chefs. As the night rolls and cocktails flow, it is not uncommon to see diners and chefs develop a camaraderie that's infectious.

Menu Highlights

The cuisine at Lazy Bear is full of contemporary surprises. The menu changes every month, depending on the season and availability of ingredients. Chefs put together complex flavors, resulting in imaginative dishes that will please most palates.

In the past, Lazy Bear has served such interesting combinations as chilled peas with ham and shellfish. Their matsutake mushroom consomme deserves a special mention. If you like seafood, you will love the Antioch Delta crawfish, served with pickled cucumbers and rice grits. There is also the smoked beef strip, served with tomato raisins and amaranth. The tomatoes are seared in beef fat to bring out their sweetness, which works very well with the smokiness of the beef. Other favorites at Lazy Bear include lightly seared Miyazaki ribeye served with a pumpkin puree, as well as horchata ice cream. 

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How to Reserve a Table

You need to buy tickets to a Lazy Bear dinner. Ticket availability is announced via their Twitter handle (@lazybearsf). All tickets for a particular month go on sale the month prior. Lazy Bear hosts dinners Tuesday through Saturday in two separate seatings, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary between $165 and $195 per person, excluding taxes and service charge. You can add beverages to your course for an extra $95.

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How to Get to Lazy Bear

Lazy Bear is in the Mission District, which means it is easy to get to. The 14 and 49 Muni bus lines will stop a block away, and the 16th Street BART station is just a short walk up Mission Street.

Other Restaurants in Mission District

Getting a reservation at Lazy Bear is no easy task. Thankfully, the Mission has quite a few other restaurants that are equally good. There is Foreign Cinema, an eclectic French bistro that attracts a hip clientele. First opened in 1999, it has consistently been ranked as one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. There is also Flour + Water, which offers an intimate dining experience. The four-course menu here includes freshly rolled pastas, some lip-smacking desserts, and a curated wine list. Other notable restaurants in the Mission include Lolinda and Central Kitchen

Nearby Attractions

The Mission District has a lot to offer visitors. If the night is still young, head to one of the many bars in the area. Doc's Clock and Knockout are the best dive bars in the neighborhood. For sophisticated drinks, ABV on 16th Street is your best bet. You can also head to Trick Dog on 20th Street for some mean cocktails. In the off-chance that you have room for dessert, there is Bi-Rite on 18th Street, with its famous flavors. There is the popular Savanna Jazz Club in the neighborhood, which has live acts every night of the week. For a cover charge between $5 and $10, you can enjoy some great live music.

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