In the Mood for San Fran Food

Are you noticing a recurring love theme with San Francisco?  It not just because of that annoying, catchy Frank Sinatra song…its because San Francisco is easy to give your heart to.   And, in our case, also your stomach!

Here are our favorite San Francisco restaurants.  Can’t wait to hear what you think, and for you to add to our list.


OMG.  First, love, love, love this part of town.  Second, growing up in the West I know my Mexican food.  This is some of the most creative, diverse and spicy Mexican I’ve ever enjoyed.  It didn’t hurt that I was enjoying Mi Cocina’s food with work friends and smoky tequila margaritas.  Order the chiliquilas.  A Vacation Success Family makes their own version for our annual President’s ski weekends.  Don’t tell them…Mamcita’s are better.  In fact, the best I’ve ever had.  The carnitas was pretty awesome too.

Slanted Door

I have visited this place many times over.  The cocktails are always original, always strong, and always prompt an interesting argument or conversation among my dinner companions.  Anything you order is going to be amazing.  I love this place because of the atmosphere and the family-style eating that the friendly wait staff promotes.  Try something new and different…like their brazino or chicken claypot.

Hard Knox Cafe

I know this is a fade(ish) thing to order.  But you know why?  Its awesome! Really, who ever invented the combination of chicken and waffles should be commended.  Sweet, salty, packed with protein…and paired with a tequila sunrise.  This dish screams VACATION!

Water Bar

What a cool location.  I loved the walk to the restaurant from the Embarcadero Haytt.  But as you already know, I love architecture.  Order whatever the special is, and enjoy.  For me, this place is great because of the location, the moving (literally) interior, and for the evening I spent with good friends and colleagues.  Order the Oak Roasted “Kettleman” Apricots appetizer.


Here’s a great article on other “Food with a View” restaurants.

Chez Panisse

I know it’s not in San Francisco, but it has to go on the list.  I’ve watched and wondered about Alice Waters since reading her biography Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee .  Last fall, a friend and I ran a half-marathon in Sonoma  (blog post in-progress).  We flew into San Francisco and drove up to Sonoma.  On the way up, we had lunch at Chez Panisse.  I’d made the reservations about 2 months in advance.  It was everything you’ve heard of Alice Water’s restaurant.   Let’s just say that I didn’t do the proper “taper” before my race.  Rather, I eat and eat and eat.  And was so happy I did.


In all fairness, I haven’t dined here yet.  It’s on my list for the next trip.  But, my good work friend, Brian was well-intentioned, planning to take a group of us to this restaurant before we changed our minds completely and went to Mamacita.  I’ll post more once I’ve been there.  In the meantime, know that Brian is a brilliant cook for his family, loves good wine, and always makes good restaurant recommendations whenever I’m traveling with him.

What better place to eat than San Fran?

I’ll keep adding to this list, just like the ones we’ve started for New Orleans, New York and Denver.  Send us your favorites; we’ll add them too. @vacationsuccess

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