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August 20, 2014

The San Francisco Secret Menu Index

This story is brought to you by the great people over at the Bold Italic. The Bold Italic is an online magazine, shop, and events hub in San Francisco. We celebrate the free-wheeling spirit of the city.

There’s nothing quite like a secret menu to make you feel like you’re in the know. From hidden luxe toppings to epic food mash-ups, San Francisco’s got no shortage of hidden gems just waiting for an enterprising eater to order them. Presenting the San Francisco Secret Menu Index, a collection of dining options from the regular customers’ list.

Presidio Social Club (563 Ruger St.)
The Dirty Dozen - Twelve brioche beignet balls filled with a chocolate mousse and served with crème anglaise for dipping.
The Craw - PSC’s classic mac ’n’ cheese with lobster and breadcrumbs added.

Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.)
Balsamic Egg Burger - A combination of two of the restaurant’s most popular brunch items, their daytime-only burger is topped with a balsamic fried egg.

A16 (2355 Chestnut St.)
The Widowmaker Pizza -
This much-loved pie can be found in the A16 cookbook but not on the menu. It features Grana Padano, mozzarella, fennel sausage, pancetta, Calabrian chili, chili flakes, garlic, and arugula.

Betelnut (2030 Union St.)
Beggar’s Chicken - A longtime favorite at Betelnut, the Beggar’s Chicken features a whole bird stuffed with pork belly, wrapped in lotus leaves, and baked in clay (that’s cracked with a mallet tableside). It’s no longer on the menu, but you can call a day ahead to request it.

Delarosa (2175 Chestnut St.)
Bartender’s Special Pizza -
A red-sauce pie topped with burrata cheese, Kalamata olives, hot red peppers and sausage.

Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe (566 Columbus Ave.)
The Chicken Number 3 -
A combination of Mario’s Chicken Number 2 and grilled eggplant focaccia sandwiches, the Number 3 includes both grilled chicken and eggplant, plus feta, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Three Twins Ice Cream (254 Fillmore St.)
Ice Cream Float -
A classic ice cream float made with cold-brewed iced coffee and the ice cream flavor of your choice.

Rosamunde Sausage Grill (2832 Mission St. & 545 Haight St.)
Secret Sausage Topper -
Order your sausage with an unlisted condiment — house-made mango chutney (it’s a particularly good fit for the duck sausage).

Little Star Pizza (846 Divisadero St. & 400 Valencia St.)
The Brass Monkey -
The classic deep-dish Little Star pie with sausage added.

Starbelly (3583 16th St.)
The Doc’s Way Burger - Hello, burger decadence. Starbelly’s classic beef blend is topped with caramelized onions and a hearty slab of their excellent chicken liver pate.

Ike's Place (3489 16th St.)
The Harbocalypse, the Cowboy Curtis, the Jose Canseco, and Beyond -
Ike’s place has upwards of 50 secret sandwiches. Thrillist did a comprehensive taste test.

Anchor Oyster Bar (579 Castro St.)
Cioppino -
You can always order this sometimes-listed special, a perfect iteration of the classic San Francisco seafood soup. The dish includes crab, mussels, clams, flakey white fish and a crazy amount of garlic.

Biergarten (424 Octavia St.)
Wednesday Burger -
There’s always a half-pound Prather Ranch burger on Biergarten’s Wednesday menu, but toppings will change by the week. Toppings might include pimento cheese, green garlic aioli or pancetta.

The Boxing Room (399 Grove St.)
French Fry Po’ Boy -
This stoner carb-bomb dream takes the form of a baguette that’s loaded with mayonnaise, filled with French fries, and topped with bacon giblet gravy and cheddar cheese.

Sweet Woodruff (798 Sutter St.)
Barnyard Burger -
The burger is a blend of beef and pork and is topped with Dijon aioli, tomato jam, pickles, American cheese, and an egg.

Zen Yai Thai Restaurant (771 Ellis St.)
Boat Noodles -
Noodle soup is made with a rich, earthy pork blood base and topped with ground pork, a fish ball and chicharrones.

Turtle Tower (645 Larkin St., 5716 Geary Blvd, & 501 6th St.)
Pho Tai Ga -
Turtle Tower’s lauded pho base with both chicken and rare beef.

Farm:Table (754 Post St.)
Little Smoky and Espresso Soda -
Little Smoky is coffee, cream and sugar topped with a double shot of espresso. The Espresso Soda includes Seltzer Sisters soda water, espresso and lime.

Abbot's Cellar (742 Valencia St.)
The Bar Burger -
There are only 16 of these burgers available nightly at Abbot’s, and you can get them only at the bar. It’s a ground short-rib patty topped with harissa aioli, Valley Ford Cheese Company Highway 1 cheese, and IPA pickles, served on an Acme pain de mie bun.

Heirloom Cafe (2500 Folsom St.)
The Heirloom Burger -
Funky Époisses cheese is blended with beef for the Heirloom Burger. While the burger is still off the menu, it can always be ordered.

Hog & Rocks (3431 19th St.)
Chicken & Biscuit Sandwich -
Late at night, get a brunch favorite in sandwich form — fried chicken served on a biscuit topped with pickled peppers and spicy mayo, with a side of "half and half" fries (half are spicy, and half are glazed with egg yolk).

Dynamo Donut & Coffee (2760 24th St.)
Bacon Focaccia -
Arrive early to try this fresh-baked focaccia topped with bacon and fresh roasted vegetables.

Emmy's Spaghetti Shack (18 Virgina Ave.)
Spaghetti Puttanesca -
An Italian classic, Emmy’s Puttanesca includes the requisite olives, anchovies, capers, tomatoes, garlic, onions and chili flakes.

Garaje (475 3rd St.)
The “Regulars” Menu -
Garaje’s “secret” menu includes a number of former or one-time menu items that regulars kept asking for (including a Tuna Tostadita, a fried crab sandwich, and fish and chips).

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen (1 South Park Ave. & 2400 Harrison St.)
The Works -
AGCK’s classic Mousetrap sandwich plus bacon, roasted tomatoes and house-made bread ’n’ butter pickles.

Farmerbrown's Little Skillet (360 Ritch St.)
Eggs McMahon -
A waffle that’s topped with a fried egg, cheddar cheese and scallions that sits in a pool of sausage gravy.

Zero Zero (826 Folsom St.)
Hard Root Beer Float -
A grown-up take on a childhood classic, this boozy root beer float can be paired with your pizza (a non-alcoholic version is available too).

AK Subs (397 8th St.)
Secret Sub Menu -
AK Subs’ secret menu is available online, if you can find the hidden website (spoiler alert: it’s right here). The menu features flavor riffs on some of their most popular items and sandwiches named after regulars.

Tekka Japanese Restaurant (537 Balboa St.)
“Hot” Menu -
This much-lauded sushi destination (that has been known to be nearly impossible to get into) has a secret menu of hot cooked items — and you have dine there to find out what they are.

Hall of Flame Burger (73 Cambon Dr.)
The Ben Roethlisberger -
Named for former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, this massive beef patty is topped with a split sausage, grilled onions, cheese and coleslaw.

Beach N' Boba Cafe (3560 Taraval St.)
Sweet Potato Pizza Tots and Fries -
You can get a sweet potato version of Beach N’ Boba’s pizza fries (topped with pepperoni, cheese, garlic and onions) on either tots or fries. They have a number of secret-combination milk teas too (try the Old Lady, a blend of jasmine and rose milk tea).

Umami Burger (2184 Webster St. and 242 King St.)
Cheesy Tots - Umami Burger might have started in Southern California, but has made their mark on San Francisco by opening up two popular locations. You might come for the burgers, but you'll want to stay for the cheesy tots. Ask them to add a little truffle oil and you'll be in heaven.

Photo by Jun Seita / CC BY

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