What to Eat in San Francisco, California? 11 Best Local Food in San Francisco

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor June 14th, 2020 Posted in North America Travel Blog, Restaurant and Recipes, Travel Blog No comments

Have a taste of local food in San Francisco that will surely make your mouth water as soon as you try them.

San Francisco is a city in California that is as popular as Los Angeles. There are so many places you can explore in this city. One of the most popular attractions is the Golden Gate Bridge. This place is also a city that has the most visitors compared to other United States cities. With this, San Francisco offers various tourist destinations. And when tourism is developing, one thing that’s also developing is its culinary.

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Maarten van den Heuvel

The United States is popular with its fast food. But we can still find authentic dishes in each district, including California, especially in San Francisco. With abundant resources from Pacific Oceans and its land, San Franciscan cuisine can tempt your taste buds.

Here we have 11 best local food in San Francisco that can be your reference while you’re staying in this beautiful city.

1. Burrito

Best Local Food in San Francisco
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You might be wondering why Mexican cuisine is in the local food in San Francisco list. But the Mission district’s two taquerias claim that they have invented the first Mission-style burrito. The Taquerias who claimed it was La Cumbre and El Faro. While La Cumbre said that they invented this Mission-style burrito in 1969, the El Faro said that their owner created the Mission-style burrito in 1961. Apart from that, mission-style burritos are still a delicious dish that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in San Francisco.

The Mission-style burrito is using a large flour tortilla. The common filling in this dish is rice, beans, meat, and salsa. It’s presented along with sauce or dip such as Guacamole, sour sauce, or cheese. You can choose based on your preference. La Taqueria is one of the best places to serve the Mission-style burrito. Please be reminded that La Taqueria is closed every Monday.

La Taqueria, 2889 Mission St, Mission District

2. Cioppino

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Haydn Blackey CC BY-SA 2.0

Surrounded by water, San Francisco seafood is a good choice for satisfying your tummy. Cioppino is San Francisco’s most popular seafood dish, and it’s a tomato-based seafood stew. They invented this dish in the 19th century by the San Francisco Italian fisherman. It was a home cooking dish, but the restaurants started to sell this on their menu and it became popular in a short time.

They made cioppino from crab, shrimp, clams, and fish and seasoned with minced onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Those ingredients cooked along with olive oil, herbs, and wine. Cioppino has a flavorful taste and heavenly aroma.

You can find the best Cioppino in Tadich Grill, 240 California St., FiDi. This restaurant is closed every Sunday and operates from 11.30 AM to 11.30 PM.

3. Dungeness Crab

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view CC BY 2.0

Another seafood dish from San Francisco shores that you have to try is Dungeness Crab. This crab has a large population, so it will be a waste if you come to San Francisco and not going to try this dish. The best season of Dungeness crab is in late November. But don’t worry, since you can find it whenever you want in local restaurants.

There are so many places that served a great taste of Dungeness crabs, such as Anchor Oyster Bar, R&G Lounge, or the most popular one is Swan Oyster Depot. These places have their own signature seasoning. The most common way to processing the crab is to boil or steam it.

Swan Oyster Depot is in 1517 Polk St., Polk Gulch, Nob Hill and this restaurant is closed every Sunday.

4. Sourdough

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Tommaso Urli

One of the San Francisco staple foods is Sourdough. This is a huge bread that is enjoyed along with varieties of dishes. The habit of consuming bread in San Francisco started in the 19th century when many bakeries opened in this city. One of the longest-running bakeries is the Boudin bakery.

The shape of the bread is a bowl-shaped, but it’s common to find sourdough in the shape of a star. This unique shape is popular among kids. You can go to Tartine or The Mill to taste the best Sourdough in the city.

5. Clam Chowder

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Simon Shek CC BY 2.0

Enjoying the coast with special food is always the best therapy on your busy day. Clam Chowder is a San Francisco classic dish and has a rich cheese on its ingredients. This dish is a perfect match with sourdough and no one ever says otherwise. The cheese absorbed in bread produces a delicious taste.

If you want to experience tasting the best clam chowder in a sourdough, you can go to Boudin Bistro. This place is popular in San Francisco that almost everyone knows about this place. Boudin Bistro is in 160 Jefferson St., Fisherman’s Wharf.

6. Prime Rib

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Ernesto Andrade CC BY-ND 2.0

Prime Rib is actually a name of a place, accurately it’s House of Prime Rib or abbreviated as HOPR. This place is popular since 1949 and a restaurant with a classic English style. Their signature dish is no other than the prime rib. Besides that, the creamed spinach is also worth a try.

7. Fortune Cookie

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Karen Neoh CC BY 2.0

Fortune cookies might have a long history. The Japanese immigrants brought it to San Francisco around the beginning of the 20th century. The San Francisco fortune cookie has a sweeter taste than the Japanese one. Nowadays, you can easily find the fortune cookie in San Francisco’s Chinatown. But the Golden Gate factory offers the flavorful Fortune Cookie that you can buy in a large amount. This is the perfect gift for relatives after you left San Francisco.

8. Ghirardelli Fudge Sundae

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Gnawme CC BY-ND 2.0

Chocolate and ice cream, who doesn’t love it? Ghirardelli is a company that serves sundae that has a lot of chocolate. The chocolate topping has a sticky texture and there are various types of ice cream that you can find in this place. Some scoops of ice cream topped with melted chocolate and other ingredients such as hot fudge, peanuts, almonds, and cherries. This combination produces a mixture of hot and cold, thick, and mild texture.

You can find Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in 900 North Point St., Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf. This place opened every day from 9 AM to 11 PM.

9. Rocky Road Ice Cream

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by Willis Lam CC BY-SA 2.0

Another ice cream in San Francisco that you shouldn’t miss is Rocky Road Ice Cream that you can find in Oakland. The most common types of rocky road ice cream are classic chocolate with peanut and marshmallows on top. This combination producing a sweet tasty ice cream that believed it can reduce your stress.

When this ice cream invented years ago, the rocky ice cream with peanut and marshmallow popularity skyrocketed. That’s because the common flavor is only strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate.

10. Anchor Steam Beer

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Photo by James Cridland CC BY 2.0

Did you know when was the first brewery built in the US? It was in 1896 and San Francisco is a city where this history began. Using the traditional method during the winter, the first beer in the US was born. Nowadays, you can even visit this long-running brewery and taste the original beer directly from the factory.

Today, technology became more modern, so did the brewery method. One of the first modern factory that produces beer is San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co. This factory is producing the original steam beer with the latest technology.

11. Martini

Best Local Food in San Francisco
Johann Trasch

Martini is one of the most popular liquors in the world. But have you ever know that martini was invented in San Francisco? The Occidental Hotel in San Francisco is a place where this legendary drink was born. Unfortunately, the earthquake in 1906 destroyed the place and nothing was left except the recipe of the drink.

Martini is made from gin, vermouth, and maraschino. While you’re in San Francisco, visit the North Beach to find the best Martini in town.

That is our list of local food in San Francisco that can be your reference when you come to San Francisco. You don’t have to always eat fast food even though America’s known for its fast food. There are so many other options you can choose from and it’s special. So, which one of those dishes you want to try for the first time?

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at kach@twomonkeystravel.com

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