The Best Restaurants In The Castro, San Francisco

Megan Busch

The Castro District is a bright, colorful, and flourishing neighborhood in San Francisco. It was one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States and remains to this day a prominent symbol of LGBTQ activism and events around the world. That and its proximity to the business district on Market Street has helped it become a popular destination for restaurants, stylish shops, and popular bars. Here’s our guide to some of the most popular restaurants in this vibrant neighborhood in San Francisco.

Ike’s Place

1. Ike’s Place

Sandwich Shop, American

Ike’s Place is a delicious and creative sandwich shop. Their bread is baked fresh every day, and they have a special ‘Ike’s Dirty Secret Sauce,’ which is baked right in the bread, while another layer is spread on, giving it extra flavor. They also have a variety of vegan options.

2. Anchor Oyster Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Seafood

Anchor Oyster Bar is a nautically themed, locally owned restaurant that features fresh fish and shellfish. Start with a bowl of their delicious clam chowder or cioppino, followed by oyster shooters and crab cakes, and finish your meal with a cracked Dungeness crab entree.

3. Frances

Bistro, Restaurant, Contemporary, North American

This small venue has a menu that changes daily and features locally sourced California-inspired dishes. Always arrive early to Frances because tables are highly sought-after, and it can get crowded and somewhat noisy. Enjoy hearty appetizers like applewood smoked bacon beignets and panisse fries, delicious entrees like Sonoma duck confit and Mount Lassen red trout, and follow up with dark chocolate bread pudding or lumberjack cake and a nightcap.

4. Sushi Time

Market, Restaurant, Sushi

Got a craving for sushi? Well look no further than Sushi Time in the Castro. They offer a unique experience centered around becoming a kid again — which means special sushi rolls named after children’s toys like G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty, Speed Racer, and Astro Boy to name a few. It’s the perfect place to spend time with friends or family and enjoy the restaurant’s unique character.

5. Kitchen Story

Restaurant, American, Asian

Book Inc.
© Tommy Chong/Flickr
Kitchen Story is a cozy spot with modern decor that specializes in Californian cuisine with Asian influences. With dishes like the primavera omelet, chicken tango melt, and ricotta hotcakes for breakfast and a burger or panini for lunch, Kitchen Story has a great selection. They also offer their famous Millionaire’s Bacon, which is a real crowd pleaser. Kitchen Story also offers free delivery at dinnertime.

6. Dinosaurs

Market, Restaurant, Asian, Vietnamese

Thorough Bread & Pastry
© kennejima/Flickr
Dinosaurs is a popular Vietnamese restaurant offering authentic banh mi sandwiches. They also offer a selection of chicken and beef steamed buns and spring rolls. At Dinosaurs, you can grab your meal to go or choose to sit inside the restaurant or on their patio. For those who don’t want to leave their apartment but are craving a banh mi sandwich, they also do delivery.

7. Thorough Bread & Pastry

Bakery, Pastry Shop, American, Pastries

Thorough Bread & Pastry is a small shop that sells baked goods, with everything from cookies to light sandwiches. Their almond croissants, cinnamon pecan scones, peanut butter cookies, blueberry fruit tarts, and bread pudding are crowd favorites. Stop by at breakfast to grab a tasty treat before work, or take a quick lunch break to grab a sandwich to go.

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