Best Restaurants in Downtown SF

Top eats
July 21, 2016
by Zagat Staff

Take a break in between walking along the Embarcadero and taking in the city views to dine at one of these top-rated restaurants in Downtown SF.

Kokkari Estiatorio
Greek · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

A Downtown "star for many years" , this "sublime" Greek "continues to shine" with "lamb shanks from the gods" , "flawlessly" spit-roasted meats and other "fabulous" specialties served by an "exceptional" crew in an "inviting" , "rustic-chic" space favored by "fashionable" crowds; the "memorable experience" requires a "difficult rezzie" and deep pockets to meet the "high-class" cost, but it’s widely hailed as a "must-go" "for a good reason."
Japanese · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.7

Chef Mitsunori Kusakabe "takes you on a culinary adventure" with his "incredible kaiseki-style" dinners at this "intimate" Downtown Japanese, a destination for "premium sushi" featuring "beautiful cuts of fish" prepared with a "precision" that's "inspiring" to watch; rounded out with "caring service" and a "vast" sake list, the experience may put a "dent in your wallet" , but all agree it's "splurge-worthy."
French · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.7

"Hard to top" for "fancy dining" "at its best" , this "refined" Downtown Californian from "passionate" husband-and-wife team Michael and Lindsay Tusk "sparkles" thanks to his "superbly executed" cuisine showcasing Italian accents and a "fresh, local food ethos" , complemented by a "fabulous wine list" in "dreamy" surroundings run by a "stellar" staff; you’ll "shell out some big bucks" , but for a "special occasion" that’s "absolutely over the moon" , it’s "well worth it."
Italian · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

A "high-end" Italian bistro that "keeps on delivering" , this "memorable" next-door sibling to Barbacco in FiDi/Downtown will "titillate your taste buds" with seasonal Piedmontese dishes that "marry tradition with innovation" , plus a "vast wine list" , all "served with style and civility" ; the "classy" space is "always packed" with "suits" and accordingly "loud" , though "seating upstairs is quieter."
Italian · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

"More relaxed" than its sibling Quince next door, this "remarkable" Downtown Italian from Lindsay and Michael Tusk excels thanks to "inventive, beautifully executed" pastas, wood-fired pizzas and more matched with a "rewarding" and affordable wine list that tempers the "expensive" tabs; "spectacular" service keeps the "social" atmosphere humming, and though it's "difficult" to land a table in the "constantly full" (and "loud" ) room, it's definitely "worth the trouble" ; P.S. the family-style "Sunday dinners are a must."
Michael Mina
New American · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"Everything at this place is first-class" say fans of Michael Mina's "vibrant" Downtown New American, known for its "sumptuous" cuisine (notably the "memorable" prix fixe dinners), "outstanding" service and "unbelievably elegant yet comfortable" surroundings; given the "pricey" tariffs, many save it for "celebrating" , but it's also "fun to eat at the bar" for a less "formal" meal.
Campton Place
Californian · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

Diners come "dressed up and ready to part with big bucks" at this "first-class" Cal-Indian with "top" service in the Taj Campton Place off Union Square, where chef Srijith Gopinathan's "beautifully presented" "haute" tasting menus (plus "spot-on" wine pairings) create a "blissful" experience; if the "elegant" dining room seems a bit too "formal" , there's also a bistro menu at the adjacent bar.