12 Foods You Must Eat When in San Francisco

C99KT2 Molinari Deli Delicatessen Little Italy San Francisco California United States of America American USA Town City
C99KT2 Molinari Deli Delicatessen Little Italy San Francisco California United States of America American USA Town City
Photo of Deanna Morgado
10 November 2017

San Francisco is, without a doubt, the go-to food city, and some yummy dishes are just a little bit more SF than others. Next time you find yourself by the Bay, check out these classic staples when your stomach starts grumbling.

Dutch Crunch

Deli, Grocery Store, American, $$$
Map View

Eating practically anything on a few slices of Dutch Crunch bread is amazing. Bakeries all over the city take pride in their loaves and slices, and with good reason. Roxie Food Center, right outside Balboa Park, is a simple, no-frills grocery, but its deli has some seriously delicious sandwiches. Anything between a roll of Dutch Crunch is a San Francisco must.


Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, $$$
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This rich fish stew (calamari, dungeness crab, mussels, and more seafood favorites all married together in a tomato broth) was born in San Francisco, making it essential in the SF experience—as is the act of eating it, especially when ordered at Telegraph Hill’s Sotto Mare. The cioppino portion is huge and is best dug into with bibs, large spoons, and a side of bread.


Bakery, Dessert, $$$
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Although not as well known, San Francisco’s cheesecake easily rivals New York’s. The difference is that San Francisco’s cheesecake, like the scrumptious desert served at Zanze’s Cheesecake, is lighter and more like a delicate souffle. Let the popular East Coast version of this decadent cake take a backseat and indulge in San Francisco’s version of cheesecake.

The Rebel Within

Patisserie, Pastry Shop, Bakery, American, $$$
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Little muffin hybrids of goodness, The Rebel Within is a savory soft-boiled egg that has found a home inside a sausage muffin—it doesn’t get much more San Francisco than that. The geniuses behind this delicious coming together is none of than Craftsman and Wolves in the Mission District. Always served with an itty-bitty bottle of Tabasco hot sauce, the entire dish is a whole new take on breakfast.

Clam Chowder Bread Bowl

Bakery, American, $$$
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Hands down, no food is more San Francisco than clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl, another East Coast invention that San Francisco has taken and run with. No one dishes out clam chowder bread bowls like the infamous Boudin Bakery, serving the city since 1849.

Xiao Long Bao

Restaurant, Family style, Cafe, Chinese, $$$
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A traditional Chinese steamed bun, Xiao Long Bao is a surprising staple in San Francisco. These piping hot dumplings are both cooked and served in a Chinese bamboo steaming baskets, and no one gets these thin-skinned beauties perfectly cooked like Yank Sing in the Embarcadero. Can’t get yourself to China to enjoy this dim sum dish? Head to this San Francisco favorite instead.

Carne Asada Burrito

Restaurant, Mexican
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Despite the nearly 1,900 miles between San Francisco and Mexico, not diving in to a carne asada burrito in the city should be unlawful. And you can’t find a tastier, delightfully greasier, and flavorful carne asada burrito than at Taqueria El Farolito. There’s a few different locations throughout the city and just outside, but there’s almost always a line of people trying to get their hungry hands on the San Francisco burrito.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Bakery, Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, $$$
Map View

There’s nothing like enjoying a chilly SF day with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. Bi-Rite Creamery is one among a long list of palatable ice cream shops, with salted caramel being one of the top favorites. Taste the salty-sweet, creamy goodness to understand why.

Sticky Chewy Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream
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It’s no exaggeration that San Francisco is turning into one of the best ice cream destinations around, so much so that at the iconic Swensen’s Ice Cream is revamping the idea of ice cream with its sticky chewy chocolate ice cream. The delightfully stretchy, rich, and mouthwatering (and completely accidental) treat has become a must-try in San Francisco.

Swedish Pancakes

Restaurant, American, $$$
Map View

For another example of melting pot culture, give Swedish pancakes a try. Yummy, fluffy, and about as big as a silver dollar, Swedish pancakes are a San Francisco breakfast loved by many. Since 1938, Sears Fine Food has been serving the city from morning till night, with a whopping 18 Swedish pancakes with your order, making up one delicious San Francisco breakfast.