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Like many destinations around the world, San Francisco, California has a cuisine all its own. Whether they consider themselves true foodies or not, visitors should find a way to eat several items on this list for the quintessential experience in the City by the Bay.
1. Sourdough bread bowl: This dish may have originated on the East Coast, but many people not native to the San Francisco area associate the city with sourdough bread bowls. Filling it with a warm, heavy soup to eat on a chilly day by the water makes eating a bread bowl an even better experience.
2. Pizza at a North Beach restaurant: North Beach is to San Francisco what Little Italy is to New York City. That means locals and tourists alike can find several city blocks of delicious and authentic Italian food. Tony’s Pizza keeps seven ovens running continuously to ensure guests can receive their favorite style of pizza as quickly as possible. If Tony’s is too busy, as it often is, Il Casaro and Golden Boy each make excellent alternatives.
3. Ferry Building Marketplace: This building, located among the famed Embarcadero, is the place to go for those seeking the best artisan food. Visitors can enjoy everything from a quick sandwich to a full meal from one of the many vendors. They typically include artisan producers, local farmers, and independently owned and operated restaurants.
4. Authentic Chinese cuisine in America’s oldest Chinatown: San Francisco’s Chinatown, located adjacent to the Downtown business district has a rich history. In fact, it boasts the title of the oldest Chinatown in the United States. Within the roughly 1.3 square mile neighborhood are dozens and dozens of authentic Chinese restaurants. Try some of the nation’s best Chinese cuisine at establishments such as Z & Y Restaurant, a Michelin-gourmand rated eatery for several yeas running.
5. Purple ice cream at Mitchell’s: Mitchell’s Ice Cream serves the traditional flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry for those who are so inclined to order it. It also offers several flavors with an obvious Filipino influence, such as purple yam, young coconut, and avocado. Not too many ice cream parlors in the United States can claim the same.
6. Twilight picnic at the Presidio: What could be more romantic than a picnic at sunset? A picnic at dusk with a clear view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio offers diners this amazing experience on a weekly basis throughout the summer. With dozens of food trucks on the premises, guests have endless options for their evening meal. A portable cocktail bar and a roaring campfire complete this unique experience.
7. State Bird Provisions and The Progress: Diners could eat at one of these two San Francisco restaurants, which are owned by the same company, and never receive the same meal. The menu changes frequently and features such items as quail, raw local halibut, and Napa Valley lamb tartare. This unique American take on dim sum-style dining has earned praise from foodies not just in San Francisco, but nationwide.
8. Swedish pancakes: According to its sign, Sears Fine Food is the Home of Little Pancakes. The cakes may be small, but they’re also large in number. In fact, diners receive a plateful of 18 of them upon request. Warm maple syrup and melting butter complete this ultimate breakfast experience.
Planning a trip to San Francisco should be much easier with this list in hand. However, travelers should come with a big appetite and plenty of time to ensure they get the most out of each of these unique dining opportunities.