Given the fact that coronavirus halted two of my absolute favorite pastimes and topics of journalistic coverage — eating out and traveling — it’s an understatement to say that the past several months have been rough for me personally. Now that things are starting to open back up, I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I can’t wait to resume life again (with my mask on, of course!).
While it’s uncertain as to when I’ll be jumping on an international flight, I’ve already started planning out the best spots in San Francisco to dine al fresco! Alfresco dining is opening up in the city rapidly, and despite June not being our warmest time of year, I’m 100% here for it. As is my appetite and camera! What’s better than the sun shining on you and your numerous plates of delicious food, drink in hand, people watching as life gets back to a new normal? Exactly.
With that said, here are 10 San Francisco restaurants (with alfresco dining) I recommend checking out in the coming weeks and what to order at each! From fresh French macarons and chocolate imperial cake to loaded cheeseburgers and stacked, cheesy Detroit-style pizza, here’s a little list to get you started on your San Francisco post-Coronavirus eating journey. Just don’t forget your mask!
Check out my previous Best of San Francisco & Bay Area Restaurant posts here!
The Vault Garden | Financial District
Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
What to order: Pan-seared salmon with heirloom tomato panzanella, cucumber; bianca murgia burrata; sashimi rice salad with tuna, halibut, salmon, cucumber, shiso, and tobiko; xo baked clams with fennel and ham; the vault burger with a double patty, fiscalini cheddar, lettuce, secret sauce, and fries; 14 day dry-aged New York steak; blueberry beignets with lavender glaze, lemon and cornbread crumble; and the parker house rolls are a must too!
Check out my Forbes article on The Vault Garden’s opening and gorgeous alfresco dining area here!
INDIE SUPERETTE | Cow Hollow
Open Tuesday – Saturday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
What to order: Quinoa and Mushroom Tacos with avocado salsa, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, cilantro, and pickled onions; PB & Yay toast topped with peanut butter, blueberry, hemp seed granola, walnuts, banana, coconut flakes, cinnamon, and honey; Indie Bowl with beet hummus, roasted beets, taro chips, tahini vinaigrette, avocado, cashew dukkah, alfalfa sprouts, and baby spinach; and the Marina Chia Bowl with chia seed pudding, strawberries, banana, honey, blueberries, coconut flakes, and hemp seed granola.
ONE65 | Financial District
Open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
What to order: chocolate bon bons; chocolate imperial cake; brioche with pastry cream; homemade pâté; and homemade ice creams and sorbets. Honestly, every dessert!
Check out my Forbes piece One65’s chef and opening here!
EPIC Steak | Embarcadero
Open reservations Monday – Thursday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Sunday and noon – 8 p.m.
What to order: steak tartare with umami potato chips and egg yolk emulsion; daily charcuterie; smash bacon cheeseburger with secret sauce and cheddar cheese; corn elote casserole; roasted Branzino with crispy rice and spicy tomato vinaigrette; the classic 14 oz. ribeye served with Epic Steak Sauce and Chimichurri; and the black forest cheesecake with brandied cherry syrup and vanilla chantilly.
ROOH San Francisco | Financial District
Open Tuesday – Sunday from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (dinner service only).
What to order: Tandoori octopus with house pickle, mustard vinaigrette, dill cream, nori; traditional butter chicken red pepper makhani, fenugreek, micro cilantro; and beef short ribs curry baby turnip, rawa & marrow kofta, garlic mash.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana | North Beach
Open Wednesday – Sunday from noon – 10 p.m.; Monday – Tuesday from noon – 8 p.m.
What to order: The Americano with pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Italian sausage, bell peppers, pancetta, cherry tomatoes, linguica, bacon, mozzarella, and salami; Bucatini with a pork ragu cream sauce and calabrese peppers, ground beef, served with a calabrese sausage link pecorino, parsley; and the coal fire New Yorker topped with oregano, mozzarella, calabrese sausage, and chopped garlic.
Pier 23 Cafe Restaurant & Bar | Embarcadero
Open Wednesday – Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
What to order: The shrimp & octopus ceviche salad with avocado, cucumber, charred tomato, and chili; the summer salad with grilled radicchio, ricotta, pistachio, peach, and 7 year balsamic; the kale salad with lentils, shaved cabbage, strawberry, pepitas, camembert, and a sesame soy vinaigrette.
Noosh | Pacific Heights
Open Wednesday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
What to order: falafel-crusted lamb & beef burger; meatball melt chubby pita sandwich; manoosh rolls; and seasonal salads. Take your order to the nearby Alta Park for alfresco dining!
The Dorian | Marina
Open Tuesday – Friday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Hit up happy hour from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Friday.
What to order: oysters; mac and cheese with smoked gouda, comté, white cheddar, parmesan; campfire trout with roasted and smoked river trout, pearl onions, cauliower, red bliss potatoes, beurre blanc; NY steak fritz with angus ny strip, umami-maria rub, trufe aioli; and the “Leisure in a Glass” frosé.
Capo’s Pizza, Pasta & Cocktails | North Beach
Open for dinner service Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; and Friday – Saturday from 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
What to order: The Dillinger, a white pie with smoked Hanger 1 vodka cream sauce, marinated chicken, bacon, broccolini, artichoke hearts, red onions, red bell peppers, garlic, crushed red pepper, fresh lemon, and parsley; the Deville with hot red pepper oil, soppressata picante, nduja, local honey, arugula, mozzarella, and Parmigiano; Detroit Rock City with feta, pesto, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, broccolini, roasted red peppers, and garlic.
Check out my Forbes piece on my Capo’s dining experience here!
For more information on these restaurants and the San Francisco dining scene, head to my Forbes article!