Eye Candy: 6 Stunning San Francisco Restaurants

By Tamara Palmer  |  September 3, 2013
Credit: Osso Steakhouse

Eating in a gorgeous restaurant might not technically make the food taste better, but a meal that engages all of the senses is most memorable. Peruse our picks for places that deliver as much eye candy as flavor on the plate for ideas on where to make a reservation the next time you are in need of somewhere stylish. Feel free to offer your own suggestions for show-stopping restaurants in the comments.

  • Hi Lo BBQ

    Never has a former retirement home been reborn with such a youthful glow. Charred wood walls and serene, beachy art pieces enhance the kicked-back and relaxed vibe.

    3416 19th St.; 415-874-9921

  • Osso Steakhouse

    This Nob Hill newcomer is taking it back - way back. A chic color palette of black, white, green and wood tones transports diners to the Art Deco era. It provides a slice of retro elegance that is sorely missing in San Francisco.

    1177 California St.; 415-771-6776

  • Bouli Bar 

    Boulettes Larder's new pizza and mezze cafe is one of the year's more glorious examples of expansion. A sparse but sophisticated design blends industrial with homey touches, instantly elevating the mall-like hallway of the Ferry Building.

    1 Ferry Building; 415-399-1155

  • Roka Akor

    Local design firm Arcanum Architecture envisioned and built this recently opened Japanese restaurant designed around the fiery elements of the centrally located robata grill. Light wood, glass and a concrete wall stylized to look like bamboo help to create a natural, Northern California-meets-minimalist Japan feel.

    801 Montgomery St.; 415-362-8887

  • M.Y. China

    When television personality and cookbook author Martin Yan finally opened his own restaurant in San Francisco, he chose to go big - and to go back in time. Among M.Y. China's most-eye-catching design features are the 1,800-lb. monastery bell that teeters over the bar and a brilliant wall of 18 cloisonné monks sourced from an antique market in Guangzhou.

    845 Market St.; 415-580-3001

  • AQ Restaurant

    Although AQ has been open for two years, it always feels like a fresh, new place because not only the menu changes frequently - the decor does as well. Drop in on them every few months, and you'll notice new details in the bar tops, new foliage and lighting in the room, and other subtle but noticeable tweaks that keep you guessing.

    1085 Mission St.; 415-341-9000