Trending: Belgian Food on the Rise in SF

By Karen Solomon  |  June 19, 2015

New Belgian spots slinging moules frites and lambic are popping up all over town. While Fritz and La Trappe were some of SF’s Belgian food pioneers, the next wave of recently-opened Belgian eateries has everything coming up gaufres.

Food + beer = happy place. Pi Bar “pi-oneers” Richard Rosen and Jennifer Garris are forgoing the pizza for Belgian food in Bernal Heights, including housemade sausage cured with hops and beer, rich cheese soup accented with beer, and a serious array of moules frites. Call it a gastropub if you must, but you’ll find a variety of accessible dishes with Dutch, German, and French influences, and, naturally, a beer list of saisons, triples, trappists, and krieks.

3215 Mission St.; 415-206-1000

Photo by Virginia MIller


This Belgian-inspired brasserie in Cow Hollow is casual and welcoming, providing that lax outdoor cafe feel for homesick Europeans. Restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Starbelly, Lolinda, Super Duper) brings French and German cuisine together with California sensibilities under the hand of executive chef Freedom Rains. The bar stocks both the obligatory brews and the hard-to-find gems that lure fans of Belgian beer to the table, as well as cocktails and wine.

2000 Union St.; 415-872-7350

Vive la Tarte

This is pure baking ambition at its finest. Traditional Belgian techniques shape this innovative artisan baking collective that is a full-service bakery, wholesale, and catering business of quiches and sweet tarts. The vegan, the paleo, the vegetarian, and the gluten-free may rejoice, as any dietary need will be accommodated. Which is a good thing, as no one wants to miss out on savory asparagus, ramp, and pecorino quiche, or kale and lemon-ricotta pizza. And few could succumb to the charms of the airy SF cheesecake with a speculoos​ crust, orange crème brûlée in a sweet crust topped with dark chocolate mousse, or the 60% Belgian dark chocolate gateau. They use local, seasonal ingredients, Straus organic butter, milk and eggs from Clover Organic, and bake on vintage equipment for that fully rustic vibe. Oh, and unused tarts, if there are any, go directly to the SF Food Bank.

1160-1164 Howard St.; 415-891-9PIE