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T+L's Definitive Guide to San Francisco

201308-a-san-francisco

Photo: Alanna Hale

Eat

The city’s hottest tables dish up an enticing mix of fusion cuisines.

Benu: Chef Corey Lee has reinvigorated the city’s fine dining scene with the clean-lined Benu, in SoMa. Here, every detail is carefully considered, from the porcelain tableware to the Eastern-inspired chef’s tasting menu (a 1,000-year-old quail egg; salt-and-pepper squid; lobster-coral xiao long bao, or steamed buns). $$$$

Rich Table: You’ll want to come back again and again to this homey restaurant owned by husband-and-wife chefs Evan and Sarah Rich. Dishes perfectly balance acidity and texture, and highlight surprise ingredients—the addictive sardine-laced potato chips are served with horseradish sauce; the chicken lasagna is sprinkled with crunchy popped sorghum. $$$

Cotogna: At the lively Cotogna, most plates come from the open hearth, including succulent, spit-roasted meats and wood-fired pizzas. As is the case at its sister restaurant Quince, the pastas are a must—try the buttery raviolo di ricotta with farm egg. $$

State Bird Provisions: Waiters roam the room serving innovative small bites from dim-sum-style carts at this casual, buzzy spot. Luckily, the food stands up to the quirky concept: the seafood selections in particular are worth flagging down for delicacies such as black-garlic aioli on a fried nori chip. $$$

Saison: After its smaller, scrappier spot received two Michelin stars, the farm-to-table Saison, run by chef Joshua Skenes, moved to a grander space in a SoMa historic building. Choose from an 18-course or a seven-course tasting menu—both highlight local ingredients, sourced from foragers and farmers’ markets. $$$$

Mission Chinese Food: This raved-about restaurant may have a divey interior, slack service, and an hour-long wait—but the food is worth it. Founding chef Danny Bowien (who last year opened an outpost in New York) calls his cuisine “Americanized Chinese food”; think fiery kung pao pastrami and a cardamom-laced beef brisket soup. Can’t brave the line? They deliver. $$

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

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