We spent the final few days of 2017 exploring the charming and eccentric city of San Francisco, California. I couldn’t think of a better way to end our year than eating our weight in dumplings and ramen – so that’s exactly what we did. If you enjoy food as much as us, you’ll definitely want to keep reading to find out our favorite places to eat in San Francisco.
Where to Eat:
Some cities are famously known for their unique food scene, and San Francisco is definitely one of those cities. From seafood, to Chinese food, to sourdough bread, the city is a foodie paradise. Throughout the trip we mostly agreed on what we liked and didn’t, but we thought it would be fun to include my husband’s thoughts as well. Billy really wanted to call his portion of the blog “Husband’s Take” so look out for his review of each restaurant. Although we both generally love the same foods, he definitely has some differing opinions from me. Read about some of our favorites below!
We have a rule that our first meal of any trip has to be amazing in order to start the trip on the right foot. That’s why we had to eat at Dumpling Time first thing when we arrived in town. I had seen a lot of really positive reviews online accompanied by drool-worthy photos of giant dumplings. We arrived and there was a bit of a line (a common theme in San Francisco, we soon learned), but we enjoyed watching the chefs hand form the dumplings while we waited.
We ordered Xiao Pork XLB Dumplings, Beijing Noodles, Shrimp & Pork Siu Mai and Pork Gyoza. Everything was so delicious but my favorite were the Beijing Noodles and Pork Gyoza. I loved that the portions were just the right size to enjoy, but also small enough that you could order many different items to try. If you enjoy dumplings, you’ve got to stop by Dumpling Time when in San Fran.
Husband’s Take: Dumpling Time is a must for Chinese food lovers. The chefs have a passion for their work at this family owned joint and you can taste it in every bite.
Be prepared to arrive early, or you may find yourself waiting in a long line. Marufuku Ramen opens at 11:30 am and when we arrived at 11:15 am, the line was already super long. We ended up waiting about 50 minutes to eat, but it was fine because Marufuku is located within a Japanese shopping mall. I really enjoyed wandering the book store after we put our name in.
The wait was well worth it and we could see why people were lined up for this place. We ordered the fried squid to start and both agreed that it was the best we’ve ever had. Then it was time for our noodles, I ordered chicken and Billy ordered pork. Both soups were delicious and super different from each other. The broth was creamy and rich. My favorite part was the soft boiled egg that was also the best egg I’ve ever had. Ramen is always so filling so I recommend arriving on a very empty stomach.
Husband’s Take: This was the best meal we had in San Francisco and if I had to recommend one place to eat, it would be here.
Boudin Bread Factory.
Did you know that sourdough bread was invented in San Francisco? Boudin Bakery is home to the original sourdough bread. It was previously believed that sourdough bread could only be produced in San Francisco due to the foggy weather. Luckily bread scientists discovered ways to produce sourdough elsewhere making it popular all around the globe. I personally love sourdough bread, hence Boudin Bread Factory was a must for me. I enjoyed their famous sourdough bread bowl and Billy ordered a sourdough pesto and crab pizza. The bread bowl was exactly what I expected: delicious and comforting. It’s definitely a must try item when visiting this city that is famous for inventing sourdough bread.
After our meal we got to walk through their factory to learn about the history of sourdough bread. We even got to watch the bread making process from above the assembly line. It’s a pretty cool experience if I do say so myself.
Husband’s Take: If you’re feeling traditional, order the bread bowl. If you want something delicious, order anything with crab – I highly recommend the crab, pesto pizza.
Chocolate and ice cream lovers will enjoy taking a stroll through Ghirardelli Square. Although our only (and rather large) complaint was that we had to wait in an hour long line, the ice cream was some of the best I’ve ever had. I LOVED the fudge drizzled over and the fudge brownie, it was so rich and decadent. Because we visited just after Christmas, the square was still decorated with beautiful lights and a giant Christmas tree. Ghirardelli Square is huge, and a nice place to spend an afternoon or evening, especially with kids. Again, the line was super long for us on a Saturday night so you may want to research when the best time to visit is.
Husband’s Take: If you get there and there is no line, then go ahead. Otherwise, not worth the wait.
This was the restaurant that inspired “husband’s take.” Because while I enjoyed my aesthetically pleasing avocado toast and cappuccino, Billy was less than impressed with his breakfast (I guess that’s what you get for ordering anything with kale in it…) . Cafe Reveille is a bright and stylish cafe that is the perfect for your morning coffee. The atmosphere is definitely catered towards those who like taking photos of their food, with cute pink tables and elegantly plated items. My avocado toast was not only Instagram goals, but it was also super delicious.
Husband’s Take: This is a pretty place to drink a pretty coffee, but if you’re looking for great food, look elsewhere.
Hog Island Oyster Co.
I’m still debating, but I think this may have been my favorite place that we ate at during our time in San Francisco. I didn’t even particularly love my entree (fried oyster po boy), but the raw oysters were out of this world. If you love oysters, make sure to put this place on your list. We were greeted by another long line, but we had read so many good things that we didn’t mind the wait whatsoever. I think if we were to come back, I wouldn’t order an entree and just stick to the raw oysters.
Husband’s Take: Hog Island Oyster Co. had the best oysters I’ve ever had (and ask Rachel, I’ve had quite a few). Next time around I’d skip the entrees, which were pricey and so-so. Again, best oysters – so fresh and well worth the price tag.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.
Another Instagram sensation, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse was one of those places that I thought if we make it that’s great and if not I’ll be okay. It turned out that is was just around the corner from our place and Billy agreed to check it out.
The trendy decor of this bakery make it a popular photo spot, especially because of it’s eye catching neon sign that reads “I Got Baked in San Francisco.” Funny enough we walked in and saw a sign on the wall reading “sorry, neon sign is broken.” Confused, Billy asked “why do they need to apologize for that?” I explained by showing him how popular the sign is on Instagram, which you can see in my screenshot above.
I ordered the chocolate croissant and a coffee, which were both great. The only problem I had is that they didn’t have a toaster to warm the croissant. However we arrived 10 minutes after they opened so it was still warm and fresh. Billy tried their famous jelly-filled doughnut while I settled for a photo of my cute coffee cup sans neon sign.
Husband’s take: Overpriced and trendy, but the doughnut was good.
We loved eating our way through San Francisco, and are planning to return soon to eat some more! I hope you check out some of these places and let us know what you think of them! Comment below if you enjoyed reading my husband’s take! Or let me know if you think he should keep his opinions to himself hehe 😉