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From Our Survey: Top SF Bay Restaurants By Location

By Meesha Halm
October 23, 2013
Photo by: Cliffhouse

When it comes to choosing a restaurant, the old adage was right. It’s all about location, location, location. After all, if you want to grab a bite before the Giant’s game, you’re probably not going to head to a restaurant in the Mission, no matter how highly rated or trendy it is. So the next time you need to plan a meal out, be it after a day at the beach, while entertaining relatives down at Fisherman’s Wharf or between wine tastings, consult our handy slideshow below that features the top Zagat-rated restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area, organized by the most popular locations and points of interest. And be sure to check out all of our 2014 Bay Area Restaurant Survey coverage.

  • Top Restaurants Near AT&T Park

    Sure, the concession stands at AT&T Park offer some of the best ballpark food in the county, but why not skip the long lines and high markups by grabbing a bite to eat outside the stadium before the first pitch so you can actually watch the game? This year’s surveyors chose The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen at South Park as their MVP for pre-game eats. (Note: AGCK typically closes at 5 PM but stays open until the first pitch on all home games.) Other Cracker Jack options in the ‘hood include the swanky, cocktail-slinging Twenty Five Lusk and the carb-lover's Town’s End Restaurant & Bakery (open for breakfast and lunch only). Rounding out the list are Traci des Jardins’ Mijita and Momo’s, both located just a fly ball away from the stadium.

  • Photo by: Paige Green

    Top Restaurants Near Dolores Park

    Dolores Park is home to a diverse crowd. Luckily for foodies, it’s also walking distance to the many delicious offerings along the Mission’s 18th St stretch. The most popular food purveyor of the lot, as the lines snaking down Dolores Street attest, is Bi-Rite Creamery. The equally vaunted Tartine Bakery, which doles out sinfully delicious baked goods, comes in a close second. After dark, if you’re for you’re looking for more sustenance than salted caramel and sticky buns, surveyors recommend Delfina, Izakaya Yuzuki and Namu Gaji.

  • Top Restaurants at the Ferry Building

    We tend to think of the Ferry Building as one big progressive dinner house, where diners can happily graze their way through a diet of artisanal salumi, caviar and vegan donuts while shopping and taking in the bay views. But if they’d have to choose just one spot, Zagat surveyors recommend Hog Island Oyster Co. for freshly-shucked oysters, creamy clam chowder and other seafood treats, served both inside and on the promenade overlooking San Francisco Bay. The other four top-ranking, sit-down options at the Ferry Building are The Slanted Door, Boulette’s Larder/Bouli Bar, Il Cane Rosso and Gott’s Roadside.

  • Top Restaurants Near Fisherman's Wharf

    Gary Danko, the top rated restaurant in the entire 2014 Restaurant Survey, just happens to be located near Fisherman’s Wharf, but we realize that it isn’t exactly the kind of place that you stroll into after watching the seals down at Pier 39. So if you’re playing tourist for the day, surveyors recommend grabbing the catch of the day at the Crab House, Bistro Boudin, McCormick & Kuleto’s and Alioto’s.

  • Top Restaurants Near Moscone Center

    Stranded by the Moscone Center for a conference? Make the most of your meal breaks by hitting up one of the top-rated restaurants in the nabe. If you’ve got only one night, definitely make a reservation at Ame at the St. Regis for an evening of distinctive New American cuisine, pampering service and a crazy good selection of fine wines and sakes. Other top options located right around the corner are Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, Super Duper Burgers, Mo's and Sanraku at the Metreon

  • Top Restaurants Near Union Square

    Whether you’re on a shopping mission, catching a play at ACT or simply showing an out-of-town relative around, at some point, you’ll need to take a break and refuel. The most refined option in your midst is just steps away from Union Square, tucked away in the tony Taj Campton Place, where chef Srijith presents innovative Cal-Med meals infused with Spice Route ingredients (it also hosts one of the city’s most popular power breakfasts). Other date- and client-worthy spots include the fanciful seafooder Farallon, and the many marquee hotel restaurants such as Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak, Scala’s and Kuleto’s.

  • Top Restaurants Near The Panhandle and Golden Gate Park

    Heading to Golden Gate Park for some inline skating or checking out the latest exhibit at the Hall of Flowers? Don’t pull a rookie move and make dinner plans by the windmill. Stick to the many great restaurants flanking the park near The Haight, Panhandle or Inner Sunset. The top-rated restaurant in this ‘hood is the trendy, ingredient-driven Nopa (the bar opens at 5 PM, but the restaurant serves weekend brunch). Other nearby recommended spots include Koo (dinner only), Ebisu, Magnolia Gastropub and Pacific Catch.

  • Top Restaurants West of Golden Gate Park 

    After a day at the beach or a long hike at Land’s End, there’s no more picturesque spot to dine than at ocean-fronting Sutro’s at the historic Cliff House. It’s hard to quibble about the food when you can watch seals frolicking right outside your window. For the same water-crashing-against-the rocks-view for less money, grab a seat upstairs at the more casual Cliff House Bistro. And for a decidedly more laid-back meal, do as our surveyors do and swing by the surfer hangout Java Beach Cafe, grab some BBQ and brews at the Park Chalet or enjoy a sunset dinner at the Beach Chalet.

  • Top Restaurants in Sausalito

    Visitors find it hard to resist the charm of Sausalito, but just because the hillside village gets overrun with tourists doesn't mean you can’t score a city-worthy meal, as long as you know where to look. Sushi Ran, for instance, the top-rated restaurant in Sausalito, is quietly tucked away on a residential side street. For dining options right on the main drag, you’ll find top-notch Italian food at Poggio and seasonal Mexican food and cocktails at Copita. However, you might need to pull out your GPS to find the other top-rated spots including Fish, a down-home sustainable seafood shack overlooking a working marina, and the land-locked Avatar’s, which turns out innovative Punjabi burritos.

  • Photo by: Drew Altizer

    Top Restaurants in Napa Valley

    For many gastronauts, there is only one restaurant worth talking about in Napa Valley: The French Laundry. But while you’re on hold trying to get through to the reservationist, consider booking a table at one of the other swoon-worthy, chef-driven wine country restaurants that scored an enviable 27 for Food: Terra, Hiro Sone’s New American in St. Helena (he and his wife Lissa also run SF’s Ame, see Moscone slide); Cole’s Chop House (Celadon chef Greg Cole’s wine country steakhouse featuring beefy wines), The Restaurant at Meadowood (which was singled out for its bespoke tasting menus and unyielding service) and the hilltop beauty, Auberge du Soleil.

  • Top Restaurants in Sonoma County

    Home to award-winning Russian River pinots, free-grazing Straus Family dairy cows and rugged coastline, Sonoma County is more rural and informal than its Napa neighbor, and not surprisingly, its most coveted restaurants are located far from the touristy tasting rooms and high-end boutiques. At the top of the heap is the Madrona Manor, a historical luxury inn located on the back roads outside of Healdsburg doling out innovative tasting menus and gracious service amid antique appointments. Also notching a 27 for Food are famiglia-run Cucina Paradiso in Petaluma, the farm-to-table Farmhouse Inn in Forestville and the homespun Bistro des Copains in Occidental. Rounding out the top five list is Café La Haye, which continues to be a foodie favorite turning out honest Cal-American food despite its Lilliputian set-up.


Places Mentioned

Kuleto's Restaurant

Italian • Tenderloin

Food23 Decor21 Service21 Cost$48
Roy's San Francisco

Hawaiian • SoMa

Food24 Decor23 Service24 Cost$54
Crab House at Pier 39

Seafood • Fisherman's Wharf

Food23 Decor19 Service20 Cost$41
Izakaya Yuzuki

Japanese • The Mission

Food24 Decor18 Service21 Cost$43
Bar Terra

American • Saint Helena

Food25 Decor24 Service24 Cost$53
Cole's Chop House

Steakhouse • Napa

Food27 Decor24 Service25 Cost$69
Twenty Five Lusk

American • China Basin

Food22 Decor27 Service22 Cost$60
Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant

American • Golden Gate Park

Food16 Decor21 Service16 Cost$31
Scala's Bistro

Italian • Downtown

Food23 Decor22 Service23 Cost$49
Boulettes Larder

New American • Embarcadero

Food25 Decor18 Service20 Cost$35
The Slanted Door

Vietnamese • Embarcadero

Food26 Decor23 Service22 Cost$53

Seafood • Nob Hill

Food25 Decor27 Service25 Cost$69
Poggio Trattoria


Food25 Decor25 Service23 Cost$47
Ebisu Restaurant

Japanese • Inner Sunset

Food24 Decor18 Service20 Cost$37
Cliff House

Seafood • Sea Cliff

Food20 Decor25 Service22 Cost$41

Indian • Sausalito

Food23 Decor13 Service22 Cost$20
Hog Island Oyster Co

Oyster Bar • Embarcadero

Food26 Decor18 Service20 Cost$36

Mexican • Sausalito

Food24 Decor22 Service22 Cost$40
The French Laundry

French • Yountville

Food28 Decor27 Service28 Cost$297
Delfina Restaurant

Italian • The Mission

Food26 Decor20 Service23 Cost$48
Namu Gaji

Asian • The Mission

Food24 Decor22 Service21 Cost$33
McCormick & Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant

Seafood • Fisherman's Wharf

Food21 Decor24 Service21 Cost$47
Bourbon Steak San Francisco

American • Nob Hill

Food23 Decor23 Service24 Cost$85
Sushi Ran

Japanese • Sausalito

Food27 Decor22 Service24 Cost$61
Cucina Paradiso

Italian • Petaluma

Food27 Decor23 Service26 Cost$37
Gary Danko

American • Fisherman's Wharf

Food29 Decor27 Service29 Cost$111
Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery

Gastropub • Haight-Ashbury

Food22 Decor20 Service18 Cost$29
Bistro des Copains

French • Occidental

Food27 Decor21 Service26 Cost$44
Pacific Catch

Seafood • Inner Sunset

Food22 Decor17 Service20 Cost$26
Food27 Decor27 Service27 Cost$293
Park Chalet Garden Restaurant

Californian • Golden Gate Park

Food16 Decor22 Service18 Cost$29
Town's End Restaurant & Bakery

American • South Beach

Food21 Decor16 Service21 Cost$30
Tartine Bakery & Cafe

NoneThe Mission

Food27 Decor15 Service16 Cost$16
The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen

American • China Basin

Food22 Decor16 Service19 Cost$14
Gott's Roadside

American • Embarcadero

Food22 Decor15 Service17 Cost$19
Java Beach Cafe

Cafe • Outer Sunset

Food20 Decor19 Service20 Cost$12

American • China Basin

Food19 Decor20 Service20 Cost$40

Mexican • China Basin

Food20 Decor14 Service16 Cost$19
Cafe La Haye

Californian • Sonoma

Food26 Decor20 Service25 Cost$54
Bi-Rite Creamery

NoneThe Mission

Food27 Decor15 Service21 Cost$7

Californian • Alamo Square

Food26 Decor23 Service24 Cost$48

Sushi • Inner Sunset

Food26 Decor19 Service22 Cost$43
Alioto's Restaurant

Seafood • Fisherman's Wharf

Food21 Decor19 Service20 Cost$44
Madrona Manor Restaurant

American • Healdsburg

Food27 Decor26 Service27 Cost$105
Campton Place Restaurant

Fine Dining • Downtown

Food26 Decor25 Service25 Cost$79
Cane Rosso

Pizza • Deep Ellum

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
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