Best Restaurants in Hayes Valley

July 21, 2016
by Zagat Staff

Here's the top rated restaurants in the Hayes Valley.

Zuni Café
French · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

"Emblematic" of San Francisco, this "always-true" Hayes Valley Mediterranean is "still at the top of its game" with an "incredibly well-executed" menu of "delectable" , locally, sustainably sourced seasonal dishes, "fab oysters" and "must-haves" like the "succulent" brick-oven chicken for two; with "expertly mixed cocktails" and "pro" service enhancing a "lively" late-night scene in "stylish" yet "comfortable" duplex digs, it's a "culinary legend" that's perennially "hip and unique."
Pläj Restaurant
Scandinavian · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.2

"Savory" "modern" Scandinavian fare and "unusual, delicious" cocktails provide a "real taste treat" at this "quiet" , "cozy" and somewhat "hidden" Hayes Valley "gem" at the Inn at the Opera; "artistic preparations" and a "knowledgeable" staff round out an "upscale" experience that "brings it all home."
Rich Table
New American · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

"Inventive" yet "approachable" , this Hayes Valley "destination" by Evan and Sarah Rich "wows" with its "unique" , "delectable" Californian dishes matched by a "killer wine list" and "warm" service in a minimalist (and "loud" ) space adorned with salvaged barn wood; it's "hard to get into" (though walk-ins can sit at the bar or the communal table) and the "pricey" , "locally sourced" menu "changes" often, but "if the stars align, you will leave sockless."
Wing Wings
Chicken · Lower Haight · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.8 · Service 4.2

An "affordable go-to" for chicken wings, this Lower Haight storefront features free-range birds and "fantastic" housemade sauces that include "contemporary" variations (the "Angry Korean is worth noting" ); while seating is scarce, the counter service is "fast" and "reliable" for a bite on the fly.
French · Hayes Valley · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

Pre-theater dinners are "so much a ritual" that chef Traci Des Jardins’ "fantastic" , California-inspired French fare "ought to be included in the Civic Center ticket prices" say followers of this Hayes Valley "triumph" , a "classy" , "long-running hit" boasting "wonderful wine" and servers who "treat you like royals" ; the "supper-club vibe" signals "pricey" tabs, but it’s "always hopping" , and seating upstairs provides an elevated "people-watching" perch.
Monsieur Benjamin
French · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

This Hayes Valley "hot spot" from Benu’s Corey Lee shows "huge attention to detail" in its "exceptional" updates of French bistro dishes, complemented by an "excellent wine list" and "wonderful service" in a "modern" , open-kitchen setting; true, it can be "pricey" , "packed" and "noisy" , but it's "perfect before the symphony, ballet or opera" – as long as you "book ahead."
Greek · Hayes Valley · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

"Succulent" rotisserie meats are the main attraction at these "simple" Greek sandwich specialists in Hayes Valley and NoPa, where the "short menu" also features salads, Mediterranean wines and frozen Greek yogurt for "a unique sweet" finish; the "vibrant flavors" and "value" ensure the all-day counter-serves are often "packed" , but getting it to go is also "an easy option."
Espetus Churrascaria
Brazilian · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

"Unapologetic" carnivores with "endless appetites" "fast during the day" then "wear big clothes" to these "vibrant" Brazilian churrascarias offering a "bountiful" buffet of salads and sides, and, of course, "savory, tender" "meat, meat and more meat" served right off the skewer; the staff keeps the "beautifully prepared" cuts coming "until you beg for mercy" , adding up to a "costly but outstanding" meal that's "worth it for special occasions."