11 Pre-Theater Restaurants Near the Orpheum

Savvy dining options for your night on the town
May 23, 2017
by Trevor Felch

After you score tickets to the Orpheum Theatre's latest blockbuster Broadway fare, you face the age-old theatergoer's challenge: where to dine beforehand. Luckily, you have many stellar options right now in and around the show's Mid-Market neighborhood; all our picks are within a 15-minute walk to the theater, from splurges (for a fancy night out) to elevated fast-casual options (if you blew the budget on tickets). The show must go on — after your meal at one of these 11 choice spots.

Alta CA
European-influenced American fare and craft drinks on Market Street from the Daniel Patterson Group, with an open kitchen, bar and soft serve ice cream

Must-order: "Everything spice" deviled eggs; any smoked fish dish; the cheeseburger; one of the many barrel-aged cocktails
Pre-theater tip: Local office workers tend to fill the restaurant from happy hour to curtain. Don't risk having to wait for bar spots and make a table reservation. After the show, there are late-night specials after 10 PM and the bar stays open until either midnight or 1 AM depending on the night.

1420 Market St.; 415-590-2585

Hazel Southern Bar & Kitchen
Among the rapidly gentrifying blocks where Van Ness meets Market, this lively lounge and Southern kitchen serves snacks and shared plates in comfortable, rec room–style digs.

Must-order: Gator bites; fried chicken and waffles; shrimp and grits; vanilla-spiced old fashioned
Pre-theater tip: The adjacent Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio also offers a limited menu from Hazel's kitchen. Catch live jazz with cocktails and some collard green dumplings before or after the show.

1446 Market St.; 415-851-8562

The Perennial
A Mid-Market upscale New American bistro and bar serving locally sourced, eco-friendly fare in industrial-chic quarters

Must-order: Pork ciccioli and pickles with Kernza bread and Perennial butter; crisp and tender grains; any aged-beef preparation; Muir Woods cocktail with Cynar and morel mushroom-infused Genever
Pre-theater tip: If you make a 5:30 PM reservation, you'll still have time for the four-course, $59 prix fixe menu which showcases the best chef Chris Kiyuna has to offer. 

59 9th St.; 415-500-7788

Upscale Mexican from celebrated chef Gabriel Camara on the Mid-Market/Hayes Valley border, serving a seafood-centric menu amidst a chic, atriumlike dining room with skylights and whitewashed walls

Must-order: Trout tostadas; sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra; mussel tamal; any cocktail with mezcal
Pre-theater tip: Reservations are a challenge at the popular restaurant. Luckily, the walk-ins-only bar area holds about 20 diners and rarely fills up before prime hours.

149 Fell St.; 415-660-7701

The Hi Neighbor Group's low-key eatery with elevated American comfort fare in contemporary digs on the ground floor of the 100 Van Ness building

Must-order: Any pasta; meatloaf Wellington; seasonal salads like a springtime five-pea and ricotta salad
Pre-theater tip: Saturday matinee-goers, take note: Corridor just launched a Saturday brunch service that is perfect for a 2 PM curtain time.

100 Van Ness Ave.; 415-834-5684

Monsieur Benjamin
Modern French dining from chef Corey Lee (Benu, In Situ) in a polished bistro setting complete with reclaimed wood and white accents

Must-order: Steak tartare; seafood sausage; quail à la chausseur; île flottante dessert
Pre-theater tip: With about two-dozen raw seafood and small plate/appetizer selections, it's easy to have a fulfilling meal grazing on multiple dishes (especially if timing is a factor).  

451 Gough St.; 415-403-2233

Cadillac Bar & Grill
An airy, lively tavern in the Twitter building for margaritas, happy hour, tacos and Mexican platters

Must-order: Grilled lobster puffy tacos; chile relleno; any margarita version
Pre-theater tip: Take advantage of the weekday happy hour. It only lasts until 6 PM, but if you order a $26 house margarita pitcher for the table at 5:59, you'll be set for the show.

44 9th St.; 415-554-0181

The Market
The Twitter building's industrial-style food hall with cafes and counter-serve eats, plus local and organic grocery items

Must-order: Laksa and noodle dishes at Azalina's; purple potato or margherita pizza at Tony's Slice House; poke bowls at Poké Bar
Pre-theater tip: Order food from one of the stations then bring to the circular, central bar to enjoy with food and wine.  

1355 Market St.; 415-767-5130

Industrial-chic enoteca on a Mid-Market side street for Roman-style pizza (called "pinsa") from a brick oven, plus wine and beer

Must-order: Corviale pinsa with buffalo mozzarella, porcini mushrooms and lardo; namesake pinsa with mozzarella, lacinato kale, Calabrian chile and fish sauce; roasted porchetta
Pre-theater tip: Plan on having antipasti before the pinsas, so be sure to sit down at least 90 minutes before curtain.​

510 Stevenson St.; 415-795-3040

Zuni Cafe
A bustling Market Street bistro serving a famous, signature roast chicken and other wood-fired eats

Must-order: Roast chicken; Caesar salad; any pasta; espresso granita
Pre-theater tip: Order the roast chicken immediately if you're set on trying it before the show (it takes an hour to cook). After the show, try the excellent hamburger, a specialty served daytime and late-night only.

1658 Market St.; 415-552-2522

Tú Lan
A longtime Mid-Market hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese eatery for bowls of pho and traditional noodle dishes. Note: It's cash only.

Must-order: Imperial rolls; pho bo (Hanoi-style pho with beef); bún thit nuóng (pork shish kebab with rice noodles)
Pre-theater tip: Service is fast but expect to wait up to 15 minutes to sit. Allow an hour in total. Also note Tú Lan is closed Sundays.

8 6th St.; 415-626-0927

theater district
food halls