My fondest memories of our travels always include the best dishes and desserts that we ate at each city. This applies to our recent trip where we found 6 amazing places to eat in San Francisco. I was so excited for this 3-day trip because I LOVE seafood! ♥ San Francisco has the best clam chowder and fish & chips I have ever eaten! To my surprise, we also discovered non-seafood eats that were to crave for! Read the post below to see which restaurants and food shops made it to my list of 6 Amazing Places to Eat in San Francisco.
6 Amazing Places to Eat in San Francisco
1. Tadich Grill
Location: 240 California St.
Price: $25-$40 per meal
*Minimum food charge: $11.75/seat
Known for being the “traditional, authentic San Francisco restaurant,” Tadich Grill is one of the oldest restaurants in San Francisco. It has been serving high-quality seafood dishes since 1849. The restaurant has a distinct, classic look with its long brown tables and servers dressed in white coats and aprons.
We didn’t make any reservations but a long line soon formed after we were seated. It was highly recommended that we order Tadich Grill’s signature dish, the famous Seafood Cioppino ($32.50). So, we did! It is the most delicious seafood stew I have ever tasted! ♥ It was a LARGE serving of the freshest scallops, prawns, mussels, crabmeat, white fish, clams, and bay shrimps! Each seafood was cooked in perfection and were in excellent quality in terms of size and freshness. It’s unbelievable how much seafood they could serve in one dish.
Could this get any better?! Yes, it could. The toasted garlic bread that came with the Seafood Cioppino was sooo good! It was crunchy on the outside, soft in the inside, and has the right amount of garlic and butter/oil. I enjoyed dipping it in the rich, hearty tomato-based broth of the Seafood Cioppino! No wonder Seafood Cioppino kept coming out of their kitchen every several minutes. It’s the dish you definitely must eat! Certainly worth every penny.
Halibut Florentine Baked Casserole with Cheese Sauce and Spinach
For a different seafood approach, we also ordered a Halibut Florentine Baked Casserole with Cheese Sauce and Spinach ($25). The cheese sauce was creamy and rich in flavor. The halibut was also in excellent quality – a thick fillet of fresh fish! It was also perfectly cooked and seasoned. Although I very much prefer the Seafood Cioppino because of all the flavors and texture in one dish, the Halibut Florentine was still an excellent baked casserole!
2. Hog Island Oyster Co
Location: Ferry Building, The Embarcadero
Price: $14-$20 per meal
I have been searching for the best clam chowder ever since I tried one in Seattle’s Pike Place Chowder. So, before arriving in San Francisco, I researched for clam chowder tips. We always have only few days to try the best food in the city so every meal counts! I encountered several reviews recommending NOT to eat the clam chowders in Fisherman’s Wharf. There are many stalls in the area selling clam chowder but try not to settle just anywhere.
We didn’t want to take the risk so we chose the restaurant with rave reviews, Hog Island Oyster Co.
We ordered the much-awaited Hog Island Manila Clam Chowder ($14). Oh my… This is the best clam chowder I have ever eaten. Its flavorful broth tasted like clams and bacon simmered in butter yet it was very fresh, light and creamy. I liked its thin consistency, different from the typical thick broth. We asked the server to split the clam chowder into 2 servings since we also ordered oysters. Each half-serving was loaded with fresh sweet clams, bacon and potatoes. Around a pound of sweet Manila clams might have been used for a full serving of clam chowder.
Our server was kind enough to refill the bread.It tasted so good when dipped in the warm, delicious chowder. We finished the clam chowder down to the last drop! Yummy!!!
Our other order was the Grilled Oysters with BBQ Bourbon Chipotle Butter Sauce ($14 – 4 pcs/order). It was divine! You’ve got to order this too. The Hog Island Sweetwater oysters were big and fresh. Its sauce has a sweet, buttery and smoky flavor. It’s mildly spicy with a hint of garlic. It’s so delicious, it would be a sin not to sip the leftover sauce!
My only regret was not ordering their raw oysters. I’m glad we waited to eat here. Hog Island Oyster Co is definitely one of the places to eat in San Francisco if you’re craving for oysters and clam chowder!
3. The Codmother Fish & Chips
Location: Fisherman’s Wharf
I’m not really a big fan of fish & chips because the batter is usually too thick or the fish is too small for my preference, but since it’s a favorite of Mr. C, I had to find a good fish & chips restaurant and include it in our itinerary. The Codmother Fish & Chips is a food truck located in a small area in Fisherman’s Wharf.
We ordered its famous Fish & Chips ($9.95), upgraded it to Crazy Fries with Baja Sauce (+$2.50), and Deep-Fried Oreos ($3). Unlike the usual fish & chips, their batter is thin, crisp and not greasy. Just the way I like it! You could easily taste the fresh fish as you bite through the perfect batter. It was delicious! The fish was flaky and succulent. Aside from its tartar dip, we also tried putting vinegar (available in every table) onto the fish and it complemented the taste. We were unable to finish the Crazy Fries because it was too heavy but we really enjoyed the Baja Sauce with garlic. It was unique and has a lot of Mexican flavors.
It’s better if you order a side of Baja Sauce ($0.75) instead of upgrading the Fish & Chips to Crazy Fries. The portions are large even for 2 people.
4. Taqueria Cancun
Location: 2288 Mission St.
Price: $7.50-$10.50 (cash only)
This is the cheapest meal we’ve had in San Francisco but it’s also one of the largest servings. Although it’s a long commute from where we stayed (Fisherman’s Wharf), it was convenient for us to get our dinner from Taqueria Cancun. Its late closing hours accommodates our itinerary. Our itinerary always ended late because the sites we went to were either too far or needed a lot of time. I was also interested to see the Mission District and know why the area is known for its Taquerias.
After a whole day of walking, our huge appetite tempted us to upgrade our orders from regular burrito ($7.50) to Super Burrito ($8.50) to, eventually, the Burrito Mojado or A Big One ($8.75). Each burrito comes with free chips and salsa. The Burrito Mojado is like a regular burrito but it has green salsa, spicy Mexican salsa, melted cheese, and sour cream. Best of all, it’s smothered with enchilada sauce!
We ordered Lengua/Beef Tongue Burrito and Carnitas/Fried Pork Burrito. The Burrito Mojado really is “A Big One!” It was huge and packed with fresh ingredients. I liked the Carnitas better because it’s more flavorful and there were chunks of meat. The Lengua, although delicious as well, was chopped too small for my preference. The burrito was very satisfying to eat especially when dipped into the enchilada sauce, melted cheese and sour cream!
5. Ghirardelli Square
Location: 900 North Point St.
Ghirardelli Square is the chocolate house I’ve been dreaming of when I was a kid! It has 2 buildings in the North Point location, Original Chocolate Factory and Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace, both with heaps of assorted premium chocolates and Sundae Bar.
Ghirardelli is famous for its sundaes with handmade hot fudge but since I’m a HUGE fan of milkshakes, my favorite was the Nob Hill Chill. It’s the ultimate chocolate milkshake, sinfully delicious! It has 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream blended with their thick, decadent hot fudge and topped with semi-sweet chocolate chips. It was very rich and creamy, I love it!
A long line of dine-in customers usually forms at the first building, Original Chocolate Manufactory. If you want to skip the line or you want to enjoy a more peaceful ambiance, you can check the other building, Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace.
6. El Porteno
Location: Ferry Building
We found El Porteno while we were walking around the Ferry Building. I ordered the Jamon Y Queso (prosciutto with Fontina cheese). It tastes great! The crust is flaky. The cheese was super gooey. The prosciutto complements the cheese but its quantity was not enough.
While its main attraction are its empanadas, the real winner for me are its Alfajores! Those are the best Alfajores I have ever eaten. The delectable caramel filling has the right amount of sweetness. The shortbread cookie crumbles with every bite. Both Dulce de Leche and chocolate-covered Alfajores taste amazing! I can’t decide which one is better. With the Dulce de Leche alfajores, I can feel the powdered sugar and shortbread cookie melting into my mouth. I can also easily distinguish the taste of the perfect caramel filling without the chocolate cover. The chocolate-covered alfajores, on the other hand, had a good-quality chocolate coating.
For more travel tips on San Francisco, check my recent post on 7 Fascinating Sights to See in San Francisco.
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