I hope I go to Heaven, and when I do, I’m going to do what every San Franciscan does when he gets there. He looks around and says, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.’ – Herb Caen


My San Francisco list is a mix of old and new:

Akiko’s: the best sushi in the West; where else can you get 4 different types of sea urchin [Bush St.] ($$$$)

The Cavalier:  This place is The Breslin of SF; I love anywhere that serves scrumpets ($$$)

Hong Kong Lounge:  Forget all the other dim sum in the world; this is the best ($$)

Smokestack: Cool vibe and serious BBQ (by the pound) down in the Dogpatch ($$)

Bistro Aix: Strength and conviction, this place never misses a beat ($$$)

The Hard Water: go for the whiskey, but enjoy  the snacks too ($$$)

Park Tavern: The deviled eggs and french fries have allowed me to forget Moose’s ($$$)

Merigan Sub Shop: A pre-game must; try the Baccala sub ($)

Swan Oyster Depot: the best lunch to go to at 10:30 a.m. ($$$)

Pabu: Just ge the app with the squid, pork belly, sunny side egg and bonito flakes…now ($$$$)

Wayfare Tavern:  Does every tavern in SF serve yummy deviled eggs? ($$$)

Nopalito: SFMoMex (Modern Mexican); casual, cool, delicious ($$)

Sam’s Grill:  I just love the seafood saute ($$$)

Third Rail: The only thing on the menu:  Jerky, as well as some good drinks ($$)

La Urbana: cool Hayes Valley spot with a refreshing take on Mexican; well worth a try! ($$$)

Quince: fancy & cool, cool & fancy, cool to see the Judge on the wine list ($$$$)

Chez Papa: a very, very French bistro; authentic food; great wine list ($$$)

Delfina: a little over-rated, but the spaghetti is unparalleled ($$$)

Town Hall:  cool space, great menu, and very solid execution ($$$)

Taylor’s (at the Ferry building):  garlic fries are better than SBC Park! ($)

Garibaldi’s: awesome neighborhood spot; food is consistently good; asparagus with pancetta, garlic, chili & oyster sauce is a must! ($$$)

Slanted Door:  the best Vietnamese in the world ($$$)

Kokkari: If every restaurant in Greece were as good as this one, their economy would be killing it… ($$$)

Gary Danko: could be SF’s best…unreal food, service and menu ($$$$)

Tadich Grill: The best place for a martini before noon and some good seafood to soak it up ($$$)

Zuni Cafe: doesn’t miss a beat; great Tuscan chicken ($$$)

Globe: an awesome little bistro near Jackson Square (open late) ($$$)

Lucca Delicatessen: my favorite Italian deli; great breads ($)

Pan E Vino: awesome neighborhood Italian; go for the stuffed artichoke ($$$)

Ella’s: a great way to start the day

Izzy’s: cool little neighborhood steakhouse; awesome au poivre ($$$)

Fringale: the ultimate SOMA French bistro ($$$)

The Home Plate: The Marina hangover breakfast classic ($$)


Just North

Madcap: Marin is quite fortunate to have Ron Siegal’s spot serving up incredibly fresh, delicious, innovative dishes; my new favorite spot! ($$$)

Buckeye Roadhouse:  I wish I still hat my Buckeye hat from the week this place opened; I’d trade it for a plate of their calve’s liver with bacon and onions ($$$)

Marche aux Fleur: the quintessential neighborhood joint…in Ross!  The gnocchi is the best I’ve had ($$$)

Sushi Ran: always one of the best sushi joints in Northern California ($$$)

Marinitas: fun, solid Mexican joint where I should always meet for high school reunions ($$)

Playa: go for the tequila, but be sure to sample a lot of their terrific Mexican food!  ($$$)

Half Day Cafe: a great place to waste away half the day…the first half ($$)


Further North

I really need a good food tour weekend of Napa and Sonoma to get this list updated.  Who’s up for that?

French Laundry: Simply the best in the U.S. ($$$$)

Bistro Jeanty: the best west coast french bistro ($$$)

Bouchon: the second best west coast french bistro ($$$)

Terra: been around forever and still strong ($$$$)

Tra Vigne: the best Italian between the vines ($$$)


South Bay

The Village Pub: As iconic as you can get in Woodside; burger/fires for lunch and everything for dinner ($$$$)

Madera: yes, it’s at Rosewood, but I’m sorry to report it is still awesome; pray  the rock shrimp are on the menu ($$$$)

Taqueria La Mexicana: when you think of the perfect taco stand, this is it; nothing fancy here; in Half Moon Bay ($)