Off Beat Restaurants in San Francisco

Heavy hitters like Zuni Café, Chez Panisse, and Gary Danko draw the masses, and with good reason. But do yourself a favor and explore San Francisco's off the beaten path gastronomic pearls. It's tricky to cull a list of just ten!

Sporting just a handful of booths and a small counter, teensy Canteen has the best brunch in the city and its dinner menu changes weekly based on seasonal local ingredients. The bathroom may be in the Academy of Art dorm next door, but its incognito locale ensures you'll only be rubbing elbows with in-the-know locals.

Starbelly is a cheery neighborhood joint. The beer list is outstanding, their mixology, creative, and the interior is spacious, yet cozy. With stand-outs like oven-baked pizzas, cornmeal fried oysters, and mini corndogs with housemade ketchup, you can't make the wrong choice here.

Speaking of pizza, Russian Hill's Za Pizza is the closest you'll come to tasting East Coast-style pies. The Da Vinci's Palette with sausage and peppers seriously melts in your mouth. Walzwerk brightens a vacant-looking stretch of South Van Ness and brings hearty East German cuisine like schnitzel, spatzle, and chilled herring in sour cream to the San Francisco dining scene.

One of critically-acclaimed Boulevard's chefs recently opened Prospect, a chic space worthy of a splurge. Unique flavors unexpectedly merge perfectly on the palate; try the Dungeness crab appetizer or the Wagyu Zabuton (if you can get past the pronunciation). Vibrant Chez Papa is perfect for a special occasion and they are especially accommodating for group events. Fabulous French Provencal cuisine is offered for a very reasonable prix-fixe, save room for dessert.


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825 Sutter Street
Commodore Hotel

Taste of California... read more


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3583 16th Street

Fresh ingredients, big beers, great drinks...
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381 South Van Ness
Between 14th and 15th Streets

Proletariat chic... read more


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6 Claude Lane

Retro Euro charm and excellent wines... read more

Alembic Bar

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1725 Haight Street
Between Cole Street and Shrader Street

Southern-souled class joint... read more

Za Pizza

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1919 Hyde Street

Pizza Love... read more


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300 Spear Street

Boulevard's less-stuffy sister... read more

Chez Papa Mint Plaza

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4 Mint Plaza

Regional French... read more


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937 Harrison Street

Delicious, soulful Peruvian dishes... read more

Citrus Club

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1790 Haight St
At Shrader St

Noodles Out of this World... read more
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