What to Eat in San Francisco: Burritos, Dumplings, Ice Cream and More!

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Article written by: Rebecca
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Wondering what to eat in San Francisco? Here are my personal recommendations – as well as a few of my favourite restaurants in nearby Sonoma.

Any weekend trip to San Francisco is going to involve a lot of eating. This city is known for its eclectic food scene that celebrates the variety and fresh produce that California has to offer.

From mouth-watering Mexican to delicious dim sum, to ice cream sundaes, we did not go hungry in San Francisco and Sonoma.

Read on for what to eat in San Francisco – based on my personal eating adventures – as well as a sample of a couple of the best restaurants in Sonoma.

A clear display case containing rows of sugar-covered donuts, some filled with cream and others with a red fruit jam, being served by a person in a striped shirt. So many donuts to try at the Ferry Building in San Francisco!

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Map of San Francisco food

The map below lists all the restaurants from this post so you can plan your own eating adventure. It includes everything we ate and recommend from our San Francisco itinerary.

What to eat in San Francisco

1. Zucchini pancakes from Mymy

We started our trip with a great breakfast at Mymy. It was a tough decision between the soufflé pancakes (banana and lemon ricotta flavours) and the zucchini pancakes.

I finally ordered the zucchini pancakes and knew I’d made a good choice when I took my first bite. They were super fluffy and flecked with crispy parmesan. It’s a small place, but the service was quick and friendly.

1500 California St
Open daily, 9am to 2pm
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A breakfast plate with a large pancake, a side of bacon, an orange slice, and a small cup of syrup, accompanied by a coffee cup and a water glass, on a table with a polka-dotted tablecloth. Try the zucchini pancakes at Mymy in San Francisco.

2. Delicious Dim Sum

I can’t remember where I got the recommendation for Delicious Dim Sum. We strode through the streets of Chinatown looking for it. I’d been expecting a restaurant, but instead we were surprised to find a small shop with glass cabinets stuffed with dim sum and one lonely table in the back, surrounded by sacks of flour and cooking pots.

We hesitated in the doorway, but a customer beckoned us in, enthusiastically telling us how great the food was and then pointing out all her favourite items.

We sat down at the table and ordered from the huge menu on the wall (in English and Chinese): pork buns, spring rolls and siu mai. People streamed into the shop, happily carrying containers stuffed with dim sum out with them.

Our total bill was around $12 – and we were stuffed.

It was one of those times where we didn’t know what to expect, but then afterwards felt like we’d discovered a local gem.

752 Jackson St
Open daily (except Wednesday), 7am to 6pm (closes at 5.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday)
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A tray with an assortment of steamed dumplings, alongside a small container of soy sauce, on a pink table. Wondering what to eat in San Francisco? Try the food at Delicious Dim Sum in Chinatown.

3. Ferry Building Farmers Market

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the Ferry Building comes alive with a farmers market. Vendors sell fresh produce, cheese, breakfast tacos, honey and jams.

We wandered through the market and then entered the Ferry Building to try empanadas from El Porteño. They were enormous and stuffed with Malbec-marinated lamb and humita (corn).

Having lived in Argentina for several years, I’m quite picky about my empanadas. These were much larger than the empanadas you usually find in Argentina, but just as delicious and flaky.

Ferry Building Marketplace
1 The Embarcadero
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A hand holding a brown paper bag with "Humita" printed on it, containing a golden-brown, crescent-shaped pastry called an empanada. The empanadas at El Porteno in San Francisco are delicious.
A bustling outdoor farmers' market with a vibrant display of assorted vegetables and fruits, with various vendor stalls under yellow umbrellas. The Farmers Market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco is great for local produce.

4. Burrito from La Taqueria

I don’t know what it takes to become the best burrito in the world, but whatever La Taqueria is doing, they seem to end up on this list regularly. It’s also now listed in the Michelin Guide.

Located in the Mission District, every day La Taqueria has streams of people out the door, everyone obediently lining up to order the famous burrito, tacos or a quesadilla. I went straight for the burrito, stuffed with aromatic grilled steak, avocado, sour cream. They’re simple, tasty and fresh.

If the line’s too long here, never fear – La Taqueria has plenty of competition in the area. Head to El Faro (2399 Folsom St) or Taqueria El Buen Sabor (699 Valencia St) – but you’ll likely find queues here too!

2889 Mission St
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 8.45pm (closes 7.45pm on Sunday)
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A close-up of a hand holding a foil-wrapped burrito, partially unwrapped to reveal a meat and cheese filling. The burrito at La Taqueria in San Francisco has been voted the best burrito in the world.

5. Ice cream

We had such beautiful weather in San Francisco – perfect for ice cream.

On our walk around the Russian Hill neighbourhood we stopped in at Ghirardelli, the famous chocolate makers. I ordered the enormous ice cream sundae which came layered with chocolate sauce and topped with a brownie, whipped cream and a cherry.

The one thing I hate about the United States? Why does every restaurant put the calorie count on every item? I just want to enjoy my ice cream sundae, not know that I’m consuming almost a thousand calories in one sitting!! Either way, I felt I’d earned it after slogging up those San Francisco hills!

The facade of the "Ghirardelli" chocolate shop with large lit-up lettering, seen during daylight with shoppers passing by. Stop by Ghirardelli in San Francisco to try the amazing ice cream sundae!
An indulgent dessert with layers of chocolate, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry on top, served in a tall glass with a spoon. Stop by Ghirardelli in San Francisco to try the amazing ice cream sundae!

We also wandered over Mission Dolores Park after lunch at La Taqueria and stopped by Bi-Rite Creamery for a small cup of malted vanilla with peanut brittle and milk chocolate ice cream. Delicious, but it melted quickly in the warm sun.

A cup of vanilla ice cream, slightly melted, held in a hand with brightly painted nails, with a park's green grass in the background. Try the ice cream at Bi-Rite Ice creamery in San Francisco's Mission District.

Ghirardelli Square
Open daily, 9am to 11pm (open until midnight Friday and Saturday)

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St
Open daily, 12pm to 9pm

6. Spanish tapas at Coqueta

After disembarking from the night tour of Alcatraz, we went looking for some food.

I’d already spotted Coqueta along the Embarcadero, so we made a beeline for it and luckily nabbed one of the last tables outside.

A Spanish restaurant, the tapas and raciones menu was substantial, and we chose grilled octopus, the patatas bravas and chicken croquettes. The patatas bravas were crumbed and fried and served with two dipping sauces, and I dare say are the best patatas bravas I’ve ever eaten. They also make a great gin and tonic.

Pier 5, The Embarcadero
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

An evening dining scene featuring small plates of various foods including patatas bravas, grilled octopus, and fried croquettes on a dark wooden table. The tapas at Spanish restaurant Coqueta in San Francisco are a must.

Best restaurants in Sonoma

The deliciousness didn’t end in San Francisco. We found some tasty eats when we headed over to Sonoma, too.

Le Garage

On our way to Sonoma, we stopped in Sausalito at the recommendation of a friend. Just across the Golden Gate Bridge, this small town is right on the water, with sail boats bobbing by the docks.

We had brunch at Le Garage, a cute French bistro located in a converted auto shop right on the water. The oeuf a la coque was delicious, 2 soft-boiled eggs served with black truffle butter mouillettes, prosciutto, potatoes and mushrooms.

85 Liberty Ship Way
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A brunch plate featuring slices of toasted bread, a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup, slices of prosciutto, roasted potatoes with mushrooms, and cucumber slices, all arranged on a rectangular white plate on a wooden table. Stop in Sausalito on your way to Sonoma, and grab brunch at Le Garage.

the girl & and the fig

This rustic bistro has been a mainstay of Sonoma for more than two decades and it’s easy to see why. Lovely, carefully-prepared food, friendly service and an expert wine list. the girl & the fig is located right on Sonoma Square and has a big outdoor patio (although it was windy the night we went and several glasses of red wine ended up on the ground!).

I chose the steak frites. The steak was perfectly cooked and there was a huge mound of French fries piled on the side. My husband had the crispy chicken thighs which came with lemon spaetzle.

You MUST end the meal with the chocolate chip cookies. On the menu, they’re served with a milkshake, but that just felt wrong after drinking wine all afternoon, so the waitress suggested we replace it with a scoop of ice cream instead.

110 W Spain St
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A plate of steak frites, with a grilled steak garnished with parsley beside a pile of thin, crispy French fries, served with a side of mayonnaise, on a round white plate, with a wine glass and water glass in the background. Farm-to-table restaurant the girl and the fig in Sonoma is one of the best restaurants in Sonoma.
A freshly baked cookie with chunks of chocolate, served alongside a small cup of vanilla ice cream, on a white plate with two spoons, ready for sharing. Farm-to-table restaurant the girl and the fig in Sonoma is one of the best restaurants in Sonoma.

El Dorado Kitchen

After a boozy day visiting wineries in a vintage VW with West Wine Tours, we needed something to soak up all the wine. We’d spotted El Dorado Kitchen the day before so decided on an early dinner there.

We munched on tuna tartare piled into crispy wanton “tacos” with a delicious sesame dressing and a simple chicken quesadilla (which also ended up being our breakfast the next day as we headed to the airport).

405 First Street West
Lunch and dinner daily, 11.30am to 8.30pm
Read reviews on TripAdvisor

A gourmet dish of crispy wanton "tacos" filled with tuna and topped with a colourful slaw, drizzled with a creamy sauce, presented on an oval white plate on a granite countertop. Grab a casual meal at El Dorado Kitchen in Sonoma.

For a small town, we were really impressed with the food scene in Sonoma.

As usual, I didn’t get to every restaurant I had on my list, but we made a pretty good effort.

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Where would you recommend eating in San Francisco?

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I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

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