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Dining Out 1 minute 22 July 2019

Along the Inspector Trail: San Francisco

A guide to some of our inspectors' favorite food trucks, bars, sandwich shops, cafés, bakeries and other food spots outside of the restaurant selection.

guide inspectors San Francisco

The Castro district is a perpetual party brimming with cool cafeterias. Start your day here at Kitchen Story or Thorough Bread and Pastry. Linger on the patio at Flore or stop in at the original Rosamunde Sausage Grill. Kitschy kiosk Hot Cookie is just right for a bit of sweet.

Cole Valley may be small, but flaunts a big personality. Lines snake out the door for pernil asado at Parada 22. Noe Valley Bakery bakes the best bread around, after which a pour from Castro Coffee Company is simply a must.

Neighboring Tenderloin’s Larkin Street is crowded with shops like Saigon Sandwich just as nearby Turtle Tower SF is frequented for fragrant pho ga. Hayes Valley’s Chantal Guillon spotlights exquisite macaróns, but carnivores delight in Fatted Calf Charcuterie’s meats. On the other hand, those vegan-leaning hipsters seem to love the Lower Haight neighborhood, especially Noc Noc, for its sake-infused libations.

Over in the Financial District the Ferry Building hosts a myriad of eateries, including Boulettes Larder + Boulibar, Cowgirl Creamery and Acme Bread Company. Marina denizens may gather at The Tipsy Pig, but carnivores flock to Roam Artisan Burgers. Presidio’s Off the Grid at Fort Mason is most coveted for its food trucks—from Curry Up Now to the Lobsta Truck. Not far behind is Japantown—swing by Super Mira market for lunch or even grab a bento box at Nijiya Market.

Speaking of which, the Mission boasts some of the best bazaars in town, including La Palma Mexicatessen and Bi-Rite Creamery. Locals might also mob Pizzeria Delfina, Tartine Bakery or St. Francis Fountain for its age-old sundaes.

Then venture on to mighty posh Nob Hill to impress out-of-towners at Swan Oyster Depot or Top of the Mark. Russian Hill’s Nick’s Crispy Tacos is a perennial foodie haven, while the chocolate earthquake from Swensen’s Ice Cream (in business since 1948) is a treasured dessert.

Richmond has earned the nickname "New Chinatown" for good reason. Tuck into the juicy siu mai at Good Luck Dim Sum or enjoy a spread of sweet and savory dim sum at Wing Lee Bakery.

If in the Sunset area however, pick up fresh-baked pastries at Arizmendi Bakery or simply stroll around the corner to Beanery. Over on Noriega Street, the line snakes out the door and down the block at Cheung Hing.

Baseball fans may then indulge in a casual bite at SoMa's 21st Amendment Brewery or Little Skillet, which may just serve the best fried chicken and waffles in town. Seal the deal over green tea at Samovar Restaurant & Tea Lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens.

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