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San Francisco’s Most Iconic Restaurants

A photo of Red logo
by The OpenTable team
Updated December 15, 2023

Seasons change, trends come and go, but these restaurants have withstood the test of time—and have become integral parts of the San Francisco dining scene. Here are San Francisco’s OpenTable Classics: the places that continue to excel after 10+ years. There’s a reason they’re still around: they keep giving us a reason to come back.

A photo of Kokkari Estiatorio restaurant
4.8
4.8 (8718)
$31 to $50
Mediterranean
Financial District / Embarcadero

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
There are many things about this financial district spot that make you feel like you’re either in an ornate ski lodge or someone’s large home in the mountains. High ceilings with wood beams, oriental rugs, warm lighting, and an oversized fireplace add wonderful ambiance to SF’s most remarkable Mediterranean restaurant. Their taramosalata and tzatziki served with warm pita are exceptional ways to start things off before the onslaught of mouth-watering meats begins (you can’t go wrong no matter what you order). Also—keep in mind—Kokkari is pricey and a conservative white-tablecloth sort of place, so choose your occasion to visit accordingly.
Top review
PaulCvip
Dined 2 days ago
I have been going to this restaurant for at least 10 years and I always am pleased with both the food and the service. The food is both creative and delicious and the service is always excellent. The ambiance is fitting to such an excellent place to dine. It is a bit pricey but it delivers for it.
A photo of Foreign Cinema restaurant
4.7
4.7 (8446)
$31 to $50
Californian
Mission District

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
It’s hard to believe this much-loved, uber-popular, and constantly-busy Mission restaurant has been at the top of its game since 1999. Nothing about this place feels dated. The name (and restaurant) has all the sultry mystique of an old French film, and sometimes that’s exactly what they’ll be playing in their outdoor courtyard, which is definitely where you want to sit. Brunch is a great time here, but nighttime is special—their courtyard’s strung-up lights twinkle, movies play on a brick wall, and the place just glows—so come for dinner, and order the fried chicken or pork chop.
Top review
llovenewportvip
Dined 2 days ago
I have never been disappointed when dining here. Great cocktail list. Solid menu. Service is always welcoming and knowledgeable. The pork chop listed lavender so I was hesitant and was worried too perfumey. Not at all. Cooked to perfection and delicious. Wavy beef didn't disappoint. Savory.
A photo of House of Prime Rib restaurant
4.8
4.8 (14916)
$50 and over
Steak
Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
This SF classic has been around since 1949 (it’s as good as ever), and they devotedly follow the traditional steakhouse model: you’re here for one thing, steak’s what they know and they do magical things with it. They’re known for their unique food service, and have a much-loved chopped salad, which they dress tableside in a chilled spinning bowl. Their pure—21-day aged—prime rib is also carved tableside (however thick you’d like it) from roaming stainless steel carts. Your steak comes with potatoes (mashed or baked & loaded), creamed spinach or creamed corn (so good), and Yorkshire pudding. Instead of regular bread, you should opt for their special corn bread, which is amazing and served hot. This spot is a dazzling meat masterpiece, and you’ll love it.
Top review
Princess
Dined 2 days ago
It was always great dining there. Great steak and services.
A photo of Zuni Cafe restaurant
4.7
4.7 (7467)
$31 to $50
Modern European
Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
This well-lit, loft-looking space, has two-story floor-to-ceiling windows, which creates a bright and relaxing environment to eat their amazing food in. They make an epic roast chicken (for two), a very special burger, and have a nice assortment of oysters. But, really, all of their food is great and pairs well with their roundup of refreshing cocktails.
Top review
Foodie8
Dined 5 days ago
Even though we didn’t have Zuni’s fabulous chicken, the food was great! Attentive service too.
A photo of Absinthe Brasserie and Bar - SF restaurant
4.7
4.7 (7135)
$31 to $50
French
Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Don’t be scared off by the name, there’s no chance you’ll forget anything about your meal here (though it depends how much absinthe you drink). They’ve definitely got the whole French thing down pat (great pâté too)—dim lighting, red velvet banquettes, and an undeniably romantic vibe—you could very well be in a Parisian brasserie. And while they certainly have the staples you’d hope for, they’ve been around long enough to have a few special dishes in a class of their own. A section of their menu is dedicated to these famed “Absinthe Classics”: French onion soup, soft garlic pretzels with cheddar mornay, steak tartare with quail egg yolk, and coq au vin with bacon. Clearly, they have great cocktails too, so order brazenly.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
Been coming here over 30 years. They have a new chef and the food is fabulous! Yay Absinthe!
A photo of Marlowe restaurant
4.5
4.5 (2819)
$30 and under
American
SOMA

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
This American eatery is the third restaurant from the great team behind Park Tavern and the Cavalier. They serve the same beloved burger at Park Tavern, which is made with about 20% lamb and comes with horseradish aioli and bacon. But, before you dig into that, order the deviled eggs (also with bacon) and the Brussels sprout chips.
Top review
megannmvip
Dined 1 day ago
Food was terrific! Great vibe, lovely staff. Waiter was patient.
A photo of Boulevard restaurant
4.7
4.7 (8803)
$50 and over
Californian
Financial District / Embarcadero

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Aside from their impressive menu of traditional Californian-French dishes, this iconic SF restaurant (a stronghold from the 90s) gives you a breathtaking view of the Bay. They’re not joking around with quality here, from the ACME bread they serve to all the locally-sourced and pristine ingredients they use, everything is top-notch. They make especially great fish—like halibut, salmon, and abalone—but their filet mignon and soft shell crab are also quite noteworthy. Their fine dining experience is great for groups, possibly on the more mature side (this is not a hip and trendy spot, it’s a classic) and ideally celebrating something special.
Top review
SaltySue
Dined today
We last visited Boulevard in 1996 when we were on our honeymoon. Now we’re empty nesters and visiting SF for the first time in many years. We knew we had to return to Boulevard and it was as good as we remembered. Everything was top notch — the food, ambience and service. We especially liked that the menu is now prix fixe. Timothy provided excellent service. He answered all our questions about the various course options. He and all the wait staff were at our table just when needed. They never hovered or were absent. Tonight really was our best dining experience since the pandemic hit in 2020. Timothy and Boulevard really shone tonight. We won’t wait quite so long before our next visit.
A photo of Spruce restaurant
4.8
4.8 (5155)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Presidio Heights

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
Spruce is in Presidio Heights and both are quite fancy. While this upscale American restaurant is steeply priced (and probably best for a special occasion), it’s also knock-it-out-of-the-park delicious. Whatever pricey protein you choose—from the lobster and steak to the duck breast and foie gras terrine—it’ll be exceptional. A more accessible and equally delicious option here is the (enormous) burger, and if you’d prefer a more low-key experience, you can enjoy it at the bar, which has a much less formal feeling.
Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 2 days ago
This was my second time having dinner at Spruce. While it’s a great restaurant, unfortunately, I can’t say that it was as pleasant an experience as the first time. The food was not nearly as spectacular and the service was good, but staff was simply not as attentive this time around. Unfortunately the temperature in the restaurant was very cold when we sat down. I think the restaurant attempted to balance the temperature, but it really went from too warm to too cold throughout our dinner. We also paid a $63 service charge and I’m not sure what that was based on.
A photo of Perbacco restaurant
4.6
4.6 (6886)
$30 and under
Italian
Financial District / Embarcadero

At the moment, there's no online availability within 2.5 hours of your request. Do you have another time in mind?

About the restaurant
A busy and bustling financial district spot, which is a popular destination for all the suits who work in the area. This sister restaurant to Barbacco (next door) uses fresh and locally-sourced Californian ingredients to create classic Italian dishes. Burrata is a beloved way to start meals in the Bay, and Perbacco’s got a great one with black truffles. Their short rib is delicious as a standalone entré and also in the ragu served with pappardelle. But, their duck breast and quail “cacciatora” are also popular orders.
Top review
MalcolmHvip
Dined 1 day ago
Our third time here and it did not disappoint us. Had a nice drink at the bar and was entertained by the Spanish barman.......he recommended a terrific gin (Monkey 47) for my G&T. We were seated about 20 minutes after our reservation as the place was buzzing and we had a nice 2-top in the middle of things. Our waited was excellent and understood all the menu and ingredients. Started with the Frito Misto and the variety of ingredients was nice and tasty. We then shared the Risotto and the Ribbon Pasta. The risotto was very delicate with a hint of lemon and the prawns were perfectly cooked. The ribbon pasta and short ribs were decadent with an elevated taste. We shared some frozen desserts that were just OK. Wine by the glass was nice but overpriced for the variety offered. We will be back..............
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