The Best San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants: Summer 2022

As a journalist who covers food, drink and travel eating the best food is pretty much a part of my job. Who doesn’t love to eat well when they’re on vacation? Finding new places to eat is one of my favorite ways to both explore the city and also spend time with friends and familywe’re eaters. Living in the Bay Area has spoiled me with a huge variety of the best restaurants and pop-ups that cover more cuisines than I can probably list. From over-the-top Michelin-starred cuisine to incredible Mission-style burritos to world-class seafood and everything in between, San Francisco is known for being one of the best cities in the world to eat. I plan on tackling our impressive array of dining experiences and unique Bay Area restaurants one spot at a time!

And so I bring to you this series of the best places to eat and drink in San Francisco and beyond! Whether it’s new Bay Area restaurants hitting the ever-changing dining scene, or a place that I’ve been frequenting since before I can remember, they’re places that I’d enthusiastically recommend to anyone! I’m an adventurous eater, so get ready for a very non-discriminatory, cravings-inducing list of places each month.

With that said, here are ten San Francisco Bay Area restaurants I recommend checking out in the coming weeks and what to order at each!

Check out my previous Best of San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants posts here!

Happy eating!

My Top San Francisco Bay Area Restaurant Picks: Summer 2022

Ernest | Global California Cuisine | 1890 Bryant St Suite 100

Ernest is the first solo venture of Chef Brandon Rice, formerly of Rich Table and Coi, and for anyone who’s familiar with those restaurants, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a dining experience here is going to be not only memorable, but unique and captivating. To that point, Ernest was most recently added to the 2022 Michelin Guide for California. The menu is divided up in to four parts: raw bar; snacks; salads and vegetables; and meat & seafood. Each section is made up of dishes made to surprise and delight the palate in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Definitely the place for adventurous eaters!

What to order:

The menu is always changing, but I ordered: Keluga Caviar Tater Tots; Sushi Rice with ikura and raw beef; Uni Toast with jamon serrano and quail egg; Mexican Shrimp Coctel with avocado and saltines; Lo Mein Sea Urchin ‘Carbonara’ with Olivier’s bacon; Pork Tomahawk Tonkatsu; and the Duck Confit Fried Rice.

Check out my Forbes piece on Ernest here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

Handroll Project | Japanese | 598 Guerrero St

Handroll Project is the city’s first-ever hand roll sushi bar and the first from a Michelin-starred team in the country. The menu features 10 different hand rolls, as well as specials and small plates, and a small, curated list of wine, sake, Japanese beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. Each hand roll is made-to-order from one of only two hand roll makers in the small restaurant, making it a super unique experience. They don’t take reservations, so earlier the better. The good news is the rolls come out fast and as fresh as can be.

What to order:

Salmon & Sesame with ikura, bonita flakes; Spicy Tuna with shiso, shichimi aioli, cucumber, garlic; Spicy Kani with tobiko, negi, miso aioli; Smoked Hamachi with shiso and negi; Chef’s Poke Hand Roll with chef’s choice poke, ikura; Creamy Scallop with tobiko, negi, spicy miso aioli, avocado; and Toro Takuan wth fatty tuna, pickled radish, shiso, negi. The hand rolls come in sets of five, seven, and ten.

Chef Lee’s special rolls include the A5 Wagyu with garlic chips, shiso, chives; Smoked Uni & Ikura with smoked hokkaido uni, ikura; and Ikura & Ankimo with salmon roe, monkfish liver pate.

Check out my Forbes piece on Handroll Project here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

RH San Francisco | Live Fire | 590 20th St

RH opened its newest location within San Francisco’s 80,000 square-foot landmark building, the Historic Bethlehem Steel Building, at Pier 70. This is a stunning, five floor, first-of-its kind design and dining destination that features The Palm Court Restaurant & Wine Bar; a Rooftop Park with views of the San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge; and more. At the heart of the building is the beautiful Palm Court Restaurant, a live-fire dining experience featuring a monolithic marble cooking hearth flanked by custom Molteni rotisseries from France. Two wine bars are found nearby the restaurant’s two entrances pouring still and sparkling wines from around the world to accompany the menu.

It’s very expensive, but worth experiencing once. It caused quite a stir when it opened thanks to its famous $48 wood grilled avocado with 10 grams of Petrossian Kaluga Caviar and creme fraiche. At the very least go some very Instagrammable photos!

What to order:

Check out my Forbes piece on RH San Francisco here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

iChina | Chinese | 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd

iChina is a one-of-a-kind Chinese dining concept in Silicon Valley’s upscale shopping destination, Westfield Valley Fair. The menu highlights the eight culinary regions of China, along with the flavors and ingredients of various provinces, using modernized cooking techniques. iChina is truly a dining destination, housing four distinct, stunningly designed dining options for guests including: the JiuBa Cocktail Lounge, a full-service dining room, tea ceremony, and four exclusive private dining areas. Not to mention this is home to VR Realm, Silicon Valley’s first virtual reality dining room.

What to order: Order one of the set tasting menus for a taste of everything!

Check out my Forbes piece on iChina here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

Cassava | Modern California | 3519 Balboa St

Situated in San Francisco’s unassuming Outer Richmond is Cassava, a neighborhood favorite that’s grown a loyal fan base thanks to popular dishes like the Japanese breakfast and fried chicken. Serving Modern California cuisine, their menu is greatly influenced by market availability and what is ethically grown or sourced. Earlier this year, Cassava celebrated a decade in business and has plans to move to the much more lively San Francisco area of North Beach.

What to order: Japanese breakfast, fried chicken, duck leg confit, avocado burrata toast, slow braised lamb belly.

Check out my Forbes piece on Cassava SF here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

Navio | Seafood | 1 Miramontes Point Rd

Novio is located atop a rugged bluff overlooking 50 miles of stunning California coastline is The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Recognized as the only San Francisco Bay Area oceanfront resort, this property is a timeless, elegant resort that is home to 261 rooms, a relaxing spa, a world class golf course and fine dining. It’s a gorgeous place to celebrate a special occasion.

What to order: Both the seven course tasting menu for dinner and the all-you-can-eat à la carte brunch experience are both worth the money.

Check out my Forbes piece on Navio here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

BarZotto | Italian | 1270 Valencia St

Located in San Francisco’s Mission District is BarZotto, a charming Italian restaurant and wine bar specializing in Cal-Italian-style pizza and pasta. It offers a nice selection of wine to complement its seasonal menu and offers a welcoming, lively atmosphere for diners.

What to order: Dungeness Crab Suppli; Cauliflower ‘XO’; Roasted Maitake Mushroom Pizza; Spicy Sausage Pizza; Strozzapreti pasta with sorrel and pistachio pesto; Spaghetti & Barzotto Meatball Pasta; Gnocchi with morel mushroom crema; and Crispy Rotisserie Market Porchetta.

Check out my Forbes piece on Barzotto here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

Bodega SF| Vietnamese | 138 Mason St

Bodega SF is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. This modernized, fine dining restaurant is the latest iteration of his family’s previous restaurant, Bodega Bistro which served traditional Northern Vietnamese cuisine from 2003 to 2017. It’s an upscale restaurant that serves both authentic dishes and elevated versions of them for dinner.

What to order: Banh Cuon (Vietnamese rice rolls, ground pork, wood ear mushrooms); Shaking Beef with potatoes and Maggi butter; Pho Ga (free range chicken, fresh wide noodles, chicken bone broth); Whole Fish Cha Ca with dill, turmeric, and galangal; the Bo Luc Lac with grass-fed tenderloin, Maggi truffle butter, heirloom tomatoes, fingerling potatoes and pearl onions; bun cha with pork belly and grilled pork and noodles.

Check out my Forbes piece on Bodega here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

Empress By Boon | Chinese | 838 Grant Ave

Empress by Boon is a stunning, modern Cantonese restaurant seeking to showcase the inimitable flavors of Cantonese cuisine in a refined, upscale manner. Chef Ho’s cuisine incorporates ingredients not typical to Chinese food and happily surprises diners who most likely expect strictly traditional Chinese dishes. The expansive 7500 square foot restaurant features several incredibly ornate, unique dining areas with one-of-a-kind city views. Chef Ho and the team’s mission is to give guests an inviting, authentic place in Chinatown to celebrate and enjoy seasonal, modern Cantonese gastronomy.

What to order: Order the tasting menu with the Peking duck supplement.

Check out my Forbes piece on Empress By Boon here!
Check out my full experience in the video below!

What restaurants are you loving right now? Let me know in the comments below!

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


Chelsea is a San Francisco-based 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, INSIDER, SF Gate 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.

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