’s Mission District was host to the city’s punk scene in the 1970s and became gang territory in the 1980s. Its evolving identity is in large part defined by an avant-garde approach to cooking and design. These 10 restaurants best represent the changing character of the Mission District.
Restaurant, European, $$$
Bar Tartine is one of the most intriguing and ambitious venues in San Francisco. This benchmark establishment features Eastern European dishes with contemporary American and Japanese influences, for a global yet distinctively Californian approach. Although the menu changes regularly, pistachio dip with laver and crackers, fisherman’s stew with collards and paprikaare and beef tartare with green horseradish and fried onion are among the list of highly innovative dishes prepared here. The restaurant is also notable for its expertly curated program of craft beers, which complements the complex and well spiced dishes perfectly.
Bar Tartine 561 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-487-1600
bar tartine bottarga, grilled bread, butter, radish ©Krista | ©Krista
The Blue Plate
The Blue Plate is a quaint and comfortable neighborhood dining establishment centered around the local community. Furniture constructed from random objects adorns the dining room and outdoor eating area, while the work of San Francisco artists is hung throughout the interior. The much celebrated menu combines the highest quality local ingredients, meats and produce for a mixture of American and Mediterranean flavours. Specialties here include house-made farmer’s cheese dumplings, slow-cooked pork belly and clams and olive-oil poached local albacore.
Blue Plate 3218 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, United States
The Blue Plate ©Menuism
Craftsman and Wolves
Craftsman and Wolves has built a reputation for its fabulously inventive pastries, cakes and savory treats, the king of them all being The Rebel Within. Try a savory muffin made with Asiago cheese, green onions, sausage and creme fraiche, with a soft boiled egg concealed inside. Pastry fans can also enjoy breakfast with a root vegetable croissant laminated with harissa butter, a mango, coconut, green curry thai scone or a pear, almond and yazu twice baked croissant among others. A variety of lunch options are also available along with the special CAW afternoon tea, which gives this old English tradition a contemporary face lift.
Craftsman and Wolves 746 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-913-7713
Interior ©craftsman and wolves
Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina
Delfina is repeatedly named as the city’s best place for delicious pasta, meats and antipasti, championing the use of fresh produce and natural flavors. With a refined ambience and atmosphere, Delfina caters to those in search of a tastefully low key evening. For a livelier crowd, diners can head next door Pizzeria Delfina, where the same culinary values are put to use in the creation of the perfect pizza.
Delfina 3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-552-4055
Courtesy of Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina
Restaurant, Mediterranean, American, $$$
Foreign Cinema offers rotating menus of Mediterranean inspired Californian cuisine in an industrial chic environment. Described as the quintessential San Francisco dining experience, guests savor innovative dishes while enjoying foreign and independent films projected onto the wall in the covered outdoor courtyard. Alternatively, diners can relax indoors next to the fire, or on the more private mezzanine, which offers views over the restaurant.
Foreign Cinema 2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-648-7600
Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, $$$
With flavors like prosciutto, beets, carrot and secret breakfast (a mixture of bourbon and corn flakes), Humphry Slocombe on Harrison street is truly experimental. This forward thinking ice cream shop boasts an extensive selection of flavors, including secret breakfast, Vietnamese coffee and McEvoy olive oil, establishing its reputation for outlandish concoctions. Quirky decor complements the unusual menu, as the taxidermied heads of a two headed calf survey the goings on in this neighbourhood spot. This cutting edge establishment is a perfect reflection of the overall ethos of the lively Mission District.
Humphry Slocombe 2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-550-6971
Humphry Slocombe ice cream flavors | credit Frankie Frankeny
Restaurant, Indian, $$$
Often named the premier Indian restaurant in the Bay Area, diners flock to DOSA for a taste of the country’s Southern cuisine. The restaurant is named for the crepe-like dosa, an Indian pancake made with a combination of rice and lentils and filled with any number of ingredients. In addition to dosas, featured dishes highlight traditional flavours, but are prepared and presented in a highly refined, innovative manner. DOSA’s interior takes advantage of the rich warm colours that India brings to mind. Red walls, a yellow, decorative staircase and South Asian artworks create a chic, comfortable dining environment.
DOSA 995 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-642-3672
Gracias Madre serves outstanding tacos, enchiladas, tamales and empanadas with a typically San Francisco twist. Catering to the city’s increasingly popular alternative eating philosophies, Gracias Madre is entirely vegan. Yet meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will confirm that the lack of animal product is of no detriment to the success of the dishes.
Gracias Madre 2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-683-1346
Gracias Madre ©
Cheesemonger, Bar, American, $$$
At Mission Cheese diners can either opt for an expertly curated cheese board and charcuterie plate or one of their specialty sandwiches or other cheese based dishes from the lunch and dinner menu. To complement the menu’s rich palette of flavours is an extensive list of craft beers and artisan wines all made in nearby California cities, championing the state’s focus on green consumption. Designed with an industrial chic sentiment, concrete surfaces and unfinished light fixtures are contrasted with a rustic wood bar and wall panelling, ceramic yellow tile work and subtle yet notable instances of graffiti art.
Mission Cheese 736 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA, United States +1 415-484-6553