How to Eat Around the World in San Francisco
San Francisco is known for its incredible diversity, and that extends to food. That’s why it should be no surprise that it’s one of the few cities in the world where you can taste the cuisine from dozens of countries without stepping foot outside of its 49 square miles. So if you’re looking for a unique global experience rather than just another meal, take a look at how you can enjoy the food of several countries without leaving San Francisco.
Mexican - Tacolicious (741 Valencia St.)
There are plenty of spots in the Mission to put on this list, and if you've gotten a Mission Burrito at one you might feel like you’ve been to all of them. But if you want to try something you can’t find just anywhere, such as shot-and-a-beer braised chicken or corn, summer squash and sweet peppers tacos, it’s time to visit Tacolicious. tacolicious.com
Spanish - Alegrias (2018 Lombard St.)
We get. After eating your way through San Francisco, you might be in search of something on the smaller side. Might we suggest tapas - or Spanish snacks - at Alegrias. The most popular dishes on the menu are empanadillas de carne, machego flambeado, patatas alioli and the much talked about flan. You'll feel like you've been instantly transported across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain. www.alegriassf.com
Moroccan - Mourad (140 New Montgomery St.)
If you’ve never tried Moroccan food, your trip to San Francisco wouldn't be complete without a trip to Mourad, a recently Michelin Star awarded restaurant. Popular Moroccan dishes include tagine, couscous and b’stilla. If you don't want to splurge, check out Mourad between lunch and dinner service at the bar for a great, and more affordable, dining experience. mouradsf.com
French - La Folie (2316 Polk St.)
La Folie is a critically acclaimed yet intimate, family-run restaurant located in Russian Hill in San Francisco. Chef Roland Passot and his wife Jamie opened La Folie in 1988 and, for decades, have thrived in their original location Polk street. La Folie’s dining room offer exquisitely prepared meals in an elegant ambience with warm lighting, sophisticated wood and mirrored panels, and top notch service. lafolie.com
German - Schroeder's (240 Front St.)
When you get a sudden craving for bratwurst, strudel or any sort of schnitzel, you’ll be happy you're in San Francisco, where you can find Schroeder's billing itself as the West Coast's oldest German restaurant since 1893. The restaurant, which has been in the same spot since shortly after the 1906 earthquake, was remodeled a few years ago, ushering in a new era for the German eatery. www.schroederssf.com
Italian - Locanda Osteria & Bar (557 Valencia St.)
North Beach, the West Coast's Italian mecca, is a great destination for delicious Italian food like lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli and, of course, pizza. However, San Francisco is home to dozens and dozens of Italian restaurants and one of the top-rated Italian restaurants is actually in the Mission District called Locanda, which has a menu that includes rigatoni, prosciutto, roasted eggplant and the Jewish-style artichoke. Pair that with one of their signature cocktails and you have yourself an amazing night. www.locandasf.com
Greek - Souvla (517 Hayes St.)
If baklava, lamb, Greek fries or gyros sound good to you, it’s time to find a Greek restaurant. Fortunately, there's Souvla, a fast-casual, affordable option in Hayes Valley that is quickly becoming famous for their photogenic food and inexpensive prices.
Ethiopian - New Eritrea (907 Irving St.)
Typical Ethiopian cuisine includes injera, wat and kitfo. If none of these terms sound familiar, it’s time to try out some Ethiopian food, preferably at one of the top-rated eateries here, such as New Eritrea Restaurant and Bar in the foggy, but delicious Sunset District.
Russian - Red Tavern (2229 Clement St.)
Considering the extreme diversity of food in San Francisco, it should come as no surprise that you can get some incredible Russian food here without traveling to St. Petersburg and back. When you want beef stroganoff, pelmeni or kotlety, the Red Tavern has just what you need.
Indian - Amber India (25 Yerba Buena Ln.)
Indian cuisine is known for combining practically every spice in the pantry to result in a flavorful, unique dish that’s unforgettable. So if you’re craving curry, tandoori chicken or some soft naan or any other North Indian specialties, Amber India Restaurant in SOMA has you covered. www.amber-india.com
Chinese - Crystal Jade (Four Embarcadero Center)
When you’re in the mood for authentic Chinese food, it makes sense to expect a city with its own Chinatown to satisfy you, but there are options outside of the famous neighborhood. Whether you want Hong Kong, Chinese or Cantonese style cuisine, Crystal Jade, which overlooks the Embarcadero, has what you desire, from dumplings and dim sum to crispy pork belly and Peking duck. crystaljade.com
Thai - Thai Spice (1730 Polk St.)
Some of the most popular foods from Thailand include moo nam tok, green curry, som tam, pad Thai and Thai fried rice. If you have a hankering for any of these delicious dishes, Thai Spice Restaurant can satisfy your craving. To our astonishment, they serve 80 more unique Thai dishes. After all, the "San Francisco Chronicle" named it one of the top five Thai restaurants in this city. thaispiceonpolkstreet.com
Korean - Han Il Kwan (1802 Balboa St.)
Kimchi, guksu or bokkeum might sound good to you right now. Then it’s essential that you find an amazing Korean restaurant while you’re in San Francisco. Han II Kwan consistently gets great reviews and is known for both delicious food and excellent customer service.
Japanese - Ozumo (161 Steuert St.)
If you’re craving Japanese food during your trip to San Francisco, conventional wisdom would tell you to go to the historic Japantown, but you’ll be glad to know that Ozumo Restaurant near the Embarcadero likely has what you need. Its menu includes traditional Japanese dishes like miso and edamame to start, followed by main dishes like shabu-shabu, tempura, sashimi and sushi. The extensive menu is complemented by a sake lounge and amazing views of the bay. www.ozumo.com
American - The Dorian (2001 Chestnut St.)
Sometimes you just need a burger, ribs or tender steak with a side of baked beans and tater tots, followed by apple pie. Good 'ole hearty American Fare at its finest. Fortunately, you can get all that plus more American food at the Dorian, which serves everything from burgers and steaks to chicken sliders and oysters in the Marina. doriansf.com
California - Foreign Cinema (2543 Mission St.)
The final stop on the world tour is right back where you started, California and Californian cuisine, which tends to mix different cooking styles. In other words, don’t show up expecting to get a simple pasta dish or house salad that you could get anywhere else. Instead, excite your palate with interesting options like sea bass ceviche or Pacific ahi seared rare, which you can find at Foreign Cinema. www.foreigncinema.com
Are you hungry yet? Then choose the cuisine you want to try tonight to kick off the global experience you can only find in San Francisco.