The Best San Francisco Restaurants For Outdoor Dining: September 2020

Given the fact that coronavirus halted two of my absolute favorite pastimes and topics of journalistic coverage — eating out and traveling — its an understatement to say that this year been rough for me personally. While it’s uncertain as to when I’ll be jumping on an international flight, I’m back to exploring San Francisco’s best restaurants and bars!

Patio dining is opening up in the city rapidly and I’m 100% here for it. As is my appetite and camera! What’s better than being in the fresh air, surrounded by numerous plates of delicious food, drinks in hand, while people watching as life gets back to a new normal? Exactly.

With that said, here are five San Francisco restaurants I recommend checking out in the coming weeks and what to order at each! I hope this list gets you started on your San Francisco post-Coronavirus eating journey. Just don’t forget your mask!

Check out my previous Best of San Francisco Restaurant posts here!

Happy eating!

My Top San Francisco Restaurant Picks!

Curio | Mission District

My favorite reopening in the Mission District is Curio Bar and Restaurant, a place I’ve passed a million times without ever actually trying it out! They’ve recently reopened with three distinct dining spaces spanning over 3000 square feet, including a covered patio where live music plays seven nights a week. The ambiance is fun, hip and lively — and Curio also has the best people-watching (when we dined we were in view of an all kid string quartet).

The food itself is incredible. Chef Jason Raffin, formerly of North Beach’s Comstock Saloon, is the new consulting chef. According to Chef Raffin, the menu is “enlightened gastropub food centered around versatility and being sensitive to those with dietary restrictions without compromising flavor or technique. Think of it as California Comfort Food.”

They’ve launched an all-new brunch menu and a secret drink menu, in addition to a dinner menu with highlights that include the BEST RIBS I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. Literally fall-off-the-bones tender. The ribs are Coca Cola braised and come in two flavors: dry-fried Vietnamese and Curio barbecue glazed. You have to order both because they’re that good.

What to order: dry-fried Vietnamese ribs with preserved orange nuoc cham, fresh herbs, pickled carrots, Vietnamese seven spice; Curio bbq glazed ribs with Fernet Branca BBQ, crispy potato sticks, red frill mustard greens; truffled mac and cheese with Vella Bear Flag Brand sharp white cheddar, grana padano, truffled gouda, musicalnote pasta, crispy parsnips and leeks; tuna tartare with Anchor Steam aioli, smoked pineapple, crispy shallot; the Americana Burger with smoked pork; and the smoked potato wedges.

Check out my Forbes piece on my experience here!

Charmaine’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge at the Proper Hotel | Financial District

One of the things I miss most about New York City is the boozy (and bougie!) rooftop brunches! Once I stepped off the elevators at the rooftop of the Proper Hotel, I knew I had found the perfect place to fill that void. Brunch at Charmaine’s had everything I had been missing: a DJ spinning records; sweeping views of the city; plush seating, open outdoor space and fire pits; a fun, chic atmosphere; delicious cocktails and of course amazing food! Chef Jason Fox launched a new all-day menu, to add to their new weekend brunch selection, inspired by global flavors and seasonal ingredients in the Bay Area.

What to order: Japanese Breakfast Box with green tea glazed smoked salmon, kosho pork belly skewers, cured soy onsen eggs, miso soup with greens, tofu, housemade Japanese pickles and charred seasonal vegetables; tonka bean cream on a buttermilk waffle with cherry compote, salted maple oat milk sorbet; savory rice porridge with roasted mushrooms, soft cooked egg, sesame, seaweed and puffed wild rice; smoked polenta with cilantro braised pork, scallions, pickled Fresno chilis and fried egg.

Check out my Forbes piece on my experience here!

Boudin Bakery | Fisherman’s Wharf

It’s a quintessential San Francisco dining experience for anyone who loves fresh crab! While Fisherman’s Wharf is normally swamped by hoards of tourists from around the world, that isn’t the case any longer making it the perfect time to take advantage of Boudin Bakery’s new outdoor seating during their Boudin Summer Grill & Crab Fest—a waterfront pop up and al fresco feast.

What to order: Enjoy the sunshine under big red umbrellas at patio tables and indulge on whole cracked crab, roasted crab with garlic sourdough breadcrumbs, crab salad sandwiches, crab cocktail and crab cakes. There’s also a selection of pepperoni, margherita and veggie pizzas with a crunchy sourdough crust baked -to-order in their wood-fired oven.

Check out my Forbes piece on my experience here!

Burma Club | Financial District

Burmese food is one of my favorite cuisines and it’s always a shock to me when people say they’ve never had it! It’s a mix between Thai, Chinese and Indian food, blended with Burma’s unique flavors and cooking style. Burma Club, the Burma Superstar Restaurant Family’s newest endeavor, has recently reopened with a new outdoor dining patio complete with heating lamps, string lights and a pretty foliage canopy. Located in the heart of San Francisco, its an elegant outdoor dining experience with elevated Burmese cuisine and creative cocktails!

What to order: chicken or lamb samusas; their famous fermented tea leaf salad with it’s mixture of nuts, beans, garlic and veggies; rainbow salad with over 22 ingredients including fried garlic, fried onions, chickpeas, green papaya and more; dry fried string beans; shrimp with Myanmar chutney and veggies; garlic noodles with house sweet & spicy sauce; mango chicken; lamb Burmese curry; and the wok-tossed chili with lamb.

Check out my Forbes article on Burma Club’s opening here and the how the restaurant group revolutionized the fermented tea leaf industry here.

Capo’s | North Beach

If you love good pizza, why wouldn’t you try it from a World Pizza Champion? Tony Gemignani has reopened his popular North Beach restaurant, Capo’s, with a brand new focus on Detroit-style pizza, in addition to a new outdoor dining section.

What’s Detroit pizza? “Those crisped edges give this style such a robust flavor from the brick cheese cheddar and mozzarella—this caramelization of cheese is called frico,” says Chef Gemignani. “This style also uses sauce on top meaning that the ingredient is used to finish the pizza and really adds a richness to the flavor profile.”

What to order: fried ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms; house-made Calabrese sausage; baked artichokes in spinach and provolone cream; The Dillinger with smoked Hangar 1 Vodka cream sauce, marinated chicken, bacon, broccolini, artichoke hearts, red onions, red bell peppers, garlic, crushed red pepper, fresh lemon, parsley; The Big Joe Zerilli with garlic, pepperoni, Chicago Italian sausage, smoked ham, house honey Calabrese sausage, ricotta, meatball, mushrooms, red onions, roasted peppers, bacon; The Deville with hot red pepper oil, soppressata picante, ‘nduja, local honey, arugula, mozzarella, Parmigiano; and the Detroit Rock City with feta, pesto, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, broccolini, roasted red peppers, garlic.

Check out my Forbes piece on my experience here!

Love these spots? Pin them for your next San Francisco dining adventure!

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Chelsea Davis
Chelsea Davis

Chelsea is a bicoastal freelance journalist whose passion revolves around exploring the world, immersing herself in foreign cultures, and of course, eating and drinking everything delicious.

Her work can be found in TravelPulse, Forbes, This Is Insider, Fox Lifestyle and more. She covers all things food, drink and travel and is always up for an adventure, whether that means an adrenaline-pumping excursion or trying a new cuisine.

4 Comments

  1. September 21, 2020 / 3:22 pm

    Hi Chelsea. Glad you included a Burmese restaurant!

    • Chelsea Davis
      Author
      October 9, 2020 / 1:54 pm

      Omg I love Burmese!!!

  2. September 21, 2020 / 3:39 pm

    Great piece once again Chelsea. You really talked about ( and provided the pics which do make one hungry!) Some unique food. Japanese breakfast? I need to research that and Burmese food?. I would have guessed it a lot like Cambodian with north Indian influences, but Italian? Sounds great so it is off to find a restaurant here that serves it. Keep up the great work and look forward to when we all can get on that international flight!!

    • Chelsea Davis
      Author
      October 9, 2020 / 1:54 pm

      Hi Jim! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoy reading about my food adventures!

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