Eat Around the World in SF: 10 International Cuisines

By Tamara Palmer  |  November 18, 2013
Credit: Flickr/gnaihc

It's a small world, after all - and especially so when you can taste dishes from all over the planet within the seven square miles of San Francisco. No passport is necessary to take a global dining tour of this city. Peruse our picks to discover where to find food from Iran, Sweden, Venezuela and many more faraway lands.

  • Turkey: Troya Fillmore

    While the restaurant specializes in general Mediterranean food as well as Turkish cuisine, it is the hallmarks of the latter such as yogurt-laden beef manti dumplings (pictured) that help to maintain a loyal clientele. Try also the sister location in the Inner Richmond.

    2125 Fillmore St.; 415-563-1000

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Iran: Lavash

    This cozy and charming cafe specializes in Persian kotlets (cutlets), kebabs and stews. Cute details, like hearts-on-the-rice platters (pictured), offer a homey feel from across the world.

    511 Irving St.; 415-664-5555

  • Nepal: Little Nepal

    This Bernal Heights restaurant feels like one of the most clean and serene in town. Indian food enthusiasts will recognize some similarities in the curries on the menu.This is also definitely the place to discover Nepal's version of beef dumplings, called momos.

    925 Cortland Ave.; 415-643-3881

  • Credit: Flickr/nodame88

    Cambodia: Angkor Borei

    Also in Bernal Heights is this diminutive gem where everything is priced under $15. There's an extensive menu for vegetarians and carnivores alike, making it an ideal spot for the party that collectively doesn't eat everything but wants to try something new.

    3471 Mission St., 415-550-8417

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Peru: La Mar Cebicheria Peruana

    In Peru, ceviches are called cebiches, which, alongside whipped potato causas and international calling cards like lomo saltado, are a specialty of this stylish waterfront restaurant. La Mar is a stateside restaurant from Peruvian celebrity chef Gaston Acurio.

    Pier 1.5 The Embarcadero, San Francisco; 415-397-8880

  • Denmark, Norway and Sweden: Pläj

    San Francisco has boasted of this one Scandinavian restaurant for two years now. The menu format centers on small plates, so there is an opportunity to dabble in dishes from all of these countries as interpreted through the lens of fresh California produce.

    333 Fulton St., 415-863-8400

  • Credit: Flickr/navin75

    Afghanistan: Helmand Palace

    Fall is a perfect time to try the comforting meat and vegetarian dishes at Helmand. Both converge in the can't-miss kaddo, a baked baby pumpkin sprinkled with sugar and (if you're carnivorous) ground beef.

    2424 Van Ness Ave.; 415-345-0072

  • Credit: Flickr/gnaihc

    Laos: Champa Garden

    San Francisco recently welcomed Champa Garden to build its second location as part of a city initiative to revitalize the often-overlooked Excelsior and Ingleside neighborhoods. The original has long thrived in Oakland.

    613 Faxon St.; 415-349-4186

  • Credit: Flickr/gnaihc

    Venezuela: Pica Pica Maize Kitchen

    As the name implies, here you'll find the wonders of corn turned into the doughy sandwich pockets known as arepas that are all too scarce around these parts. Best of all, everything on the menu is gluten-free.

    401 Valencia St.; 415-400-5453

  • Greece: Kokkari Estiatorio

    Kokkari is great for executive power lunches as well as intimate family dinners over plates of dolmathes and grilled octopus. As one of the Financial District's showpieces with actual substance, it is perfectly adaptable to both.

    200 Jackson St.; 415-981-0983