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San Francisco is one of the world’s finest restaurant cities


Fans of great wine and gourmet cuisine could look the world over and find no better place to visit than San Francisco.

Sitting right between California’s prime agricultural land and the Pacific Ocean, the city not only has plentiful access to fresh ingredients, but is also near one of the nation’s best wine regions.


With more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States, San Francisco has enough variety to please any taste. Cultural diversity brings the finest ethnic cuisine from all over the world.


But you won’t have to bust your budget. For those visiting in late January or early June, there’s a new two-course lunch menu for $17.95 and a three-course dinner menu for $34.95 at more than 100 participating Dine About Town restaurants in the San Francisco area.


Several San Francisco chefs and restaurants have won James Beard Foundation Awards, considered the Oscars of the food world. In 2009, Nate Appleman, formerly of A16 in San Francisco, was named the national Rising Star Chef. Three San Francisco restaurants were nominated for the 2010 award for Best New Restaurant including RN74, Flour + Water, and Frances. At least two San Francisco restaurants or chefs were nominated in almost every category in 2011.

In 2012, Boulevard won for Outstanding Restaurant. This award goes to one restaurant in the United States that’s been in operation for 10 or more consecutive years and serves as a national standard-bearer for consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service. This follows the Foundation’s 2010 nod to Boulevard’s Nancy Oakes as the best chef in California.

San Francisco’s Emily Luchetti, pastry chef and author, was inducted into the Foundation’s 2012 Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.

In the 2012 Michelin Guide, a well-known guide to exceptional restaurants, Coi maintained its 2-star (excellent), while Benu and Saison are new on the 2-star list. Earning a 1-star (very good) rating are 17 other San Francisco eateries.


It’s no wonder San Francisco is repeatedly rated by magazines and culinary foundations as one of the best restaurant cities in the world.


A few San Francisco restaurants you can’t miss:

Let’s start with the restaurant named the nation’s best in 2012: Boulevard at 1 Mission St. Opened in 1993, chef Nancy Oakes’ blend of hearty American regional flavors with a French influenced style, soon made the restaurant a regional and national favorite. The superb cuisine and outstanding service would be reason enough to visit, but the restaurant’s location also has significance. The historical building that is home to Boulevard is the only local structure to have survived the 1906 earthquake and the fire that destroyed major portions of San Francisco.

Coi, at 373 Broadway, crops up again and again on annual favorites lists. This elegant fine-dining establishment has an 11-course prix-fixe menu that uses fresh, local ingredients, along with a wine-pairing option. Since its opening in 2006, food writers have swarmed it with attention.

The Stinking Rose, 325 Columbus Ave., is one of the most popular San Francisco restaurants among Northern Californians. This eatery is a garlic-lover’s paradise, serving more than 3,000 pounds of the pungent herb each month. With specialties such as 40-clove garlic chicken, roasted Dungeness crab (two-plus pounds) and vegetarian lasagna, there’s something to please any garlic fan.

Frances, 3870 17th St., offers a casual atmosphere with a daily-changing menu of California-inspired French cuisine from local suppliers. Only a couple of years old, it has already made it to the top of many prestigious “best of” lists, including Bon Appétit’s 10 best new restaurants in America.

Nopa, 560 Divisadero St., is a favorite gathering spot of locals, serving simple but flavorful fare created with seasonal and local ingredients. It specializes in organic wood-fired cuisine and has an acclaimed weekend brunch.

Opened in April 2011 by Craig and Annie Stroll, the ones who brought the very popular San Francisco Italian restaurants Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina, Locanda, 557 Valencia St., already is receiving nationwide recognition. It has a variety of poultry, fish and meat, but is mostly known for its traditional Roman pasta.


San Francisco restaurant reviews:


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