Where to Eat Well After 11 PM in San Francisco

Stay up late and enjoy a great, civilized meal at these night owl–friendly restaurants
January 20, 2017
by Trevor Felch

Late-night dining in San Francisco used to mean fast food or old-school diners. My how times have changed. You can now have a top-notch meal in SF after 11 PM (especially on Friday and Saturday nights), which might mean ramen in Oakland, top-tier pizza in the Mission or Cubano hot dogs in the Tenderloin. For the night owl diners of San Francisco, the late-night dining options have never been better.


Don’t panic over the pimento cheese–slathered burger's departure from this Mission bar. The recently unveiled New F**kin burger with white cheddar and a secret sauce is just as enjoyable and messy. If you're not in a burger mood, try another of the clever handheld creations like the mapo sloppy joe or falafel lamb dog (think evolved corn dog) with a well-made cocktail. Pro tip: Do a midnight burger crawl and check out the equally stellar burger across the street at Monk’s Kettle.
Last order: 1 AM
Must-order: Any burger; the spirit-forward, mezcal-based Quicksand cocktail

3174 16th St.; 415-400-4748

Courtesy of Beretta

Midnight eats in the Mission usually means greasy slices or burritos that will keep your stomach stuffed into the next morning. Beretta has changed all of that, and there's a reason it's always full when all the neighboring restaurants are asleep. Since its opening in 2008, the Valencia Street cocktail bar/restaurant has been slinging its puffy, slightly crispy pies, antipasti, salads and meatballs into the night. It’s some of the best Italian food — period — any time of day.
Last order: 1 AM
Must-order: Margherita pizza with burrata and egg; meatballs; Frothy Rattlesnack cocktail with rye and maple

1199 Valencia St.; 415-695-1199

Brazen Head
When you want to keep the dark theme of late-night dining going, this three decades–old Cow Hollow legend has you covered. Its wood paneling and stained-glass windows make the space feel like a dark, retro country pub. And its no-frills menu balances old-school dishes (prime rib, prawn scampi) with a few 21st-century favorites (salmon sliders, tuna tartare). Best of all, it’s one of the coziest and most romantic places to have a meal in the city. Just remember that it's also one of San Francisco’s priciest cash-only restaurants, and ATM visits are no fun at 1 AM, so plan ahead.  
Last order: 2 AM
Must-order: Filet mignon or prime rib

3166 Buchanan St.; 415-921-7600

The Marina has a reputation for its bars — but not for food to quench your hunger after an evening of drinking. That's why the pizza (and pasta and small bites) at this always happening Chestnut Street Italian hot spot is such a welcome sight. The cocktails are terrific as well. Note that a second Delarosa near Union Square and Moscone Center serves food until midnight, making it a prime destination after a performance at one of the Union Square theaters.
Last order: 1 AM
Must-order: Hot salami and coppa pizza; Dungeness crab arancini

2175 Chestnut St.; 415-673-7100

Courtesy of 
Aubrie Pick

One of 2016's marquee openings blessed Union Street diners with fish tacos and a hefty portion of carnitas with homemade corn tortillas. Sit either in the lively front bar, or the more civilized rear space. There are tons of bars and few late-night dining options in this neighborhood, so it's a welcome addition.
Last order: 11 PM weeknights and midnight Friday and Saturday
Must-order: Kale and huitlacoche quesadilla; Margarita de Flores with mezcal

2030 Union St.; 415-796-2926

Courtesy of 
Itani Ramen

Itani Ramen
Finding late-night eats in Oakland has always been a challenge. Taking a big first step in solving the neighborhood's after-hours dining dilemma is chef-owner Kyle Itani. After all, there are few things more satisfying as a big bowl of tonkotsu or shoyu ramen with a side of gyoza after a long night of visiting the many East Bay breweries.
Last order: 11 PM weeknights and midnight Friday and Saturday
Must-order: Seasonal ramen (currently miso oxtail); pork gyoza

1736 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; 510-788-7489

Trevor Felch

Monsieur Benjamin 
If the bright lighting at this Hayes Valley French bistro doesn't wake you up, then the lengthy food menu — everything from frog legs and escargots to steak frites and mussels in a white wine–saffron broth — will force your eyes open. Desserts are a hidden strength, so may we suggest going savory pre-show and ordering a hazelnut-praline gâteau Marjolaine with a Calvados at 11 PM?
Last order: Midnight
Must-order: steak tartare; cassoulet

451 Gough St.; 415-403-2233

Courtesy of 

No restaurant is more synonymous with late-night dining in San Francisco than this Divisadero classic. It wasn't until Nopa kept its kitchen going strong at midnight that anyone realized there was a need for after-hours eats. The restaurant is a civilized place and also an industry haven. Hours shifted recently, but you can still enjoy signatures like the roast chicken and Moroccan vegetable tagine long after concerts and shows end.
Last order: Midnight weeknights, 1 AM Friday and Saturday
Must-order: Wood-grilled burger; Moroccan vegetable tagine; Eucharist​ digestif with two types of sherry and smoky scotch

560 Divisadero St.; 415-864-8643

The Saratoga/Facebook

The Saratoga
The newest entrant into the late-night game is already one of the best. Head to this Tenderloin restaurant and bar earlier in the night for a multicourse dinner and plenty of wine (the restaurant is related to Spruce, which has one of SF's finest wine programs). Go later in a snack mood, and try a hot dog–Cubano sandwich hybrid and Toga tots with chorizo and cheddar. Cocktails are also a strength, and that's why The Saratoga is one of our hottest bars. Bargain seekers and burger hounds should take advantage of the $20 burger, beer and a shot after 11 PM too.
Last order: Midnight on weeknights and 1 AM Friday and Saturday
Must-order: Any cocktail; Cubano frank; bagna cruda poached tomato

1000 Larkin St.; 415-932-6464

Tosca Cafe/Facebook

Tosca Cafe
In terms of nightlife neighborhoods, none quite match the energy of North Beach. Not surprisingly, you'll find lots of late-night fast-food options nearby, but when you want a step above, try this venerable cafe. It will save your night with its terrific pasta, roast chicken for two with chicken liver toasts and cocktails that rival the best in any neighborhood. Keep an eye on the bar sandwich, a small-sized panino that is just right when you want a quick, satisfying bite while absorbing Tosca's gorgeous murals and always buzzy atmosphere.
Last order: 1 AM
Must-order: Bucatini with guanciale; house cappuccino cocktail with chocolate, whiskey and armagnac (no coffee involved)

242 Columbus Ave.; 415-986-9651

Trick Dog/Facebook

Trick Dog
Cocktails get the headlines, but the creative, above-average pub grub deserves lots of love at this perennially packed Mission bar. When you visit at a later hour, the bar is far more pleasant than during the 6–9 PM crush, and you have a better chance of eating the namesake hot dog–shaped burger in an actual seat. Better yet, sit upstairs at the full-service tables until 11 PM weeknights and you get the best of all worlds without having to stand in a three-deep crowded floor.
Last order: 1:30 AM
Must-order: Kale salad (trust us); shrimp roll; any cocktail with at least one ingredient that you've never heard of

3010 20th St.; 415-471-2999

Zuni Cafe
First, let’s get the burger out of the way. It's only served at lunch or after 10 PM, so plan accordingly, and it is worth planning around, as it's one of San Francisco’s finest burgers amidst stiff competition (add on blue cheese and grilled onions). Then there's the roast chicken, the Caesar and the countless other Zuni greatest hits that are there until closing. Zuni is near the opera, symphony and ballet, so you won’t be the only one dining late. Don't miss the fluffy-as-snow espresso granita dessert, which offers just the right amount of refreshing sweetness and buzz.
Last order: 11 PM weeknights and Sunday, midnight Friday and Saturday
Must-order: Burger; espresso granita; roast chicken

1658 Market St.; 415-552-2522

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