Not long ago, the best dining in San Francisco’s Western Addition—just west of the Tenderloin—was the fried chicken chain Popeye’s. But thanks to nearly a half-dozen new notable restaurants that have opened, it’s now one of San Francisco’s newest culinary hubs. The best way to taste what this on-the-rise gourmet ghetto has to offer? A progressive dinner, where you pop into a different place for each course. Don’t worry—we’ve done the hard work and have your order ready.
Appetizer-size plates at this buzzy new restaurant (pictured) are good jump-starters for the evening and your palate. Snow-white ricotta covered in crescents of crimson baby nectarines and the razor clams topped with kimchi piccata arrive still sizzling from the plancha. Pair them with a signature craft cocktails (we’re partial to the Navy Grog and Wild Cat). Tip: the bar opens a half hour before the main dining room, so arrive promptly at 5 p.m. to secure a sought-after seat.
Since earning the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2012, State Bird Provisions has been at the top of every local’s and visitor’s list. Now it’s nearly impossible to score a reservation, but don’t dismay: nearly half of its seating is set aside for walk-ins. The chef’s counter is where the action is, a prime perch for watching the steaming dim sum-style dishes being wheeled about, and where you’ll want to hold out for the first of the “commandables,” the restaurant’s namesake dish, quail fried in crouton-laced buttermilk and served with onions stewed in lemon and Parmesan.
This artisanal grocery store’s ice cream line earned cult creamery status at its flagship shop in the Mission nearly a decade ago (you’ll still find a permanent line wrapping around the block whenever it’s open). But their newer and lesser-known location on Divisadero Street dishes the same flavors for half the wait. The biggest draw? The Trifecta, a scoop of their iconic salted caramel, served alongside brown sugar with ginger caramel swirl, and malted vanilla with peanut brittle and chocolate.
This local butchery and meat-centric restaurant has a few outposts around town (a whole-animal butchery in the Mission, pop-up stands dishing bacon-studded hot dogs at many of San Francisco’s farmers’ markets), but it’s the late-night takeout window at their new brick-and-mortar that’s lately been getting all the love. The pork shoulder cooked in their wood-fired barbecue pit and a bag of their famous chicharrones make for a perfect final bite before heading to bed.
More good reads from T+L:
• Road-Tripping Across the American South, One Restaurant at a Time
• In Photos: Dîner en Blanc, the World’s Largest Pop-Up Picnic
• 17 Courses and Eight Bottles of Wine: These Are the Epic Feasts of Singapore