Atelier Crenn is a unique culinary adventure that propels its guests on an epicurean journey of the senses. Chef Dominique Crenn calls it ‘poetic culinaria,’ where the names of dishes like ‘Under the midnight glow, I can taste the sweetness of the sea’ are meant to evoke an intuitive experience created through her imaginative combinations of assorted ingredients. This pairing of whimsy and culinary precision earned Crenn the distinction of becoming the first female chef in the U.S. to earn two Michelin stars, and diners can opt for two different prix fixe menus that change with the seasons.
Atelier Crenn, 3127 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 440 0460
Known for its large selection of excellent ceviches and its comforting lomo saltado (a spiced stir fry of steak strips, onions, tomatoes, French fries and rice), Fresca is a long-standing local favorite for ‘Nouveau’ Peruvian cuisine. Groups of friends drinking pitchers of sangria keep things boisterous, where patrons compliment the Peruvian specialties like empanadas and fried plantains. Prices are reasonable, especially at happy hour; just don’t expect five-star service as things move at a brisk pace at this busy room in the Upper Fillmore section of Pacific Heights.
Fresca, 2114 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA, USA + 1 415 447 2668
Sitting at the summit crossroads of these two Pacific Heights streets, Jackson Fillmore is the true archetype of a cozy neighborhood trattoria. Flavorful classic Italian dishes like linguini with prawns fra diavolo served with a good selection of reasonably priced Italian wines has made this spot a locals’ favorite since it opened nearly 30 years ago. Chef and owner Jack Kreitzman treats his regulars well and keeps thing fresh by frequent trips to Italy. The ambiance is warm and friendly, if occasionally just as booming as a trattoria back in the old country. Just make sure to reserve ahead as the place is virtually always packed.
2506 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA USA +1 415 346 5288
Considered by many in San Francisco as the best Italian style pizza this side of Naples, Pizzeria Delfina serves authentic Neapolitan pies in their perennially busy Pacific Heights location. They capture the Italian penchant for high-quality ingredients that are simply and perfectly prepared. This philosophy extends to their whole menu, including their delicious contorni, such as broccoli di ciccio with anchovy, caper and chili, or their house-made gelato in exciting flavors like Spiced Cardamom and Popcorn. This is not a destination for a quiet date, the ambiance being consistently loud and lively. Be sure to get there early or be prepared to wait as they don’t take reservations.
Pizzeria Delfina, 2406 California St., San Francisco, CA, USA + 1 415 440 1189
Terzo is a neighborhood gem that maintains a stylish ambiance and attention to service, located down the hill in the Cow Hollow area of Pacific Heights. Chef Mark Gordon’s pan-Mediterranean cuisine is inspired by the Mediterranean’s coastal regions but uses locally sourced ingredients. A focus on small plates encourages a sampling of the many carefully prepared and delicately flavored dishes, and a notable wine list offers a large selection of varietals from across the Mediterranean and California in a broad range of prices.
Terzo, 3011 Steiner St., San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 441 3200