The Mission District continues to retain its longstanding rank as the #1 restaurant neighborhood in the Bay Area and perhaps the world. It has been a long run where no San Francisco neighborhood or even another SF Bay Area City has had more critically acclaimed restaurants than the historic Inner Mission.
The Best 100 Bay Area Restaurants List by the San Francisco Chronicle for 2018 shuffled its Mission selection significantly removing 4 and adding 2 [Locanda & for a total of 10. These awards together with the Michelin List announced in October and now a new as of 2018 Zagut relationship with the Infatuation are used for this special neighborhood compilation. The Chronicle's Michael Bauer's top 10 in the Mission has 3 establishments which are not full service sit down (Tartine Manufactury, place in promoting the best in the Mission since 1996.
The 2017 list saw turnover of 25% to new establishments but the Mission only lost two members who chose to close, Range now [as of 23APR18] open as The Beehive at 842 Valencia as a 1960s cocktail lounge with bar bites to rave reviews and Bar Tartine expected to open in May 2018 as Stonemill Matcha at 561 Valencia.
The annual rankings by SFChronicle.com's premier restaurant critic Michael Bauer are announced in May and since 2016 are kept as premium content subject to a a "metered paywall" that allows limited sampling: http://projects.sfchronicle.com/2018/top-100-restaurants/
The Mission's first two-star restaurant, David Barzelay's Lazy Bear continues to sell out weekends well in advance for their Modern American fine dining in a unique dinner party format. Lazy Bear has a very loyal word-of-mouth following and minimal advertising budget. The mailing list has about 43,000 people and reservations are handled electronically. Lazy Bear seats diners at communal tables using a unique dinner party format for its 14 course meal was an underground restaurant in 2013. In 2018, he opened a cocktail centric location, also in the Mission called
"The expensive fixed price menu is a defining element of our current dining scene," the San Francisco Chronicle's food critic Micheal Bauer recently wrote as well as. "No other region in the country — not even New York, with 10 times the population — has such a deep bench of fine dining establishments."
There is a foodie segment with a willingness to spend hundreds or even 4 figures on a meal for two which has become a welcome sweet spot for San Francisco restaurant business. Even in good times there is much turnover in the restaurant business which in the City of San Francisco faces squeezed margins brought on by high rents, far flung employees, mandatory health care, paid sick leave and a $13 going on $15 minimum wage.
2. Californios✪ 3115 22nd St San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 757-0994 californiossf.com
Chef-owner Val M. Cantu changes the menu nightly and includes local fare but his signature has become taking familiar Mexican classics such as tacos, flautas and tres frijoles and turning them into something spectacular. Co-owner Charlotte Randolph maintains the wine list and is celebrated for her impeccable pairings. The top 100 list now features 6 Mexican restaurants tied with Japanese cuisine and only exceeded by Italian. Cantu's excellence has led the way for a cuisine closely associated with the SF Mission District. 19 course prixe fixe menu
"Flavors and textures marry flawlessly, creating a dramatic juxtaposition of luxury and rusticity.... Cantu is doing for Latin ingredients what Corey Lee at Benu has done for Asian ones: creating a Northern California-inspired and entirely personal cuisine, one that transcends techniques and ingredients and comes from within. " Michael Bauer awarding his highest rating Oct. 27,2017
YueStudio Y. (Yelp)
4. Al's Place✪ 1499 Valencia St San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 416-6136 alsplacesf.com
6. Delfina✪ 3621 18th St San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 552-4055 delfinasf.com
Annie and Craig Stoll opened Delfina in 1998 in a hole in the Brazilian restaurant before taking over the used furniture store next door. Since then they opened the first of four pizzerias in their original location next door and the the Roman-inspired Locanda at Valencia & 16th Streets. The Delfina kitchen continues to inventively make Italian classics more than the sum of its parts.
7. Locanda Osteria & Bar Italian (415) 863-6800 557 Valencia St
kitchen continues to shine under Melissa Reitz
8. Izakaya Rintaro 82 14th St San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 589-7022 izakayarintaro.com
9. Yuzuki Japanese Eatery 598 Guerrero St San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 556-9898 yuzukisf.com
10. Flour + Water 2401 Harrison St San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 826-7000 flourandwater.com
More Great Meals
Thirty picks rated by the picky foodies whose comments also populate Open Table
Find 23 restaurants in the Inner Mission but curiously nothing South of Cesar Chavez including our close fellow 94110 cousins Mission Bernal. Not inclined towards high priced tasting menus then consider their
Bib Gourmand designation which are awarded for simple yet skillful cooking for under £28 or €40.
Fifteen picks using for picks like "best tacos under $3 Taqueria Vallarta"
Salmon, spinach and tomato eggs benedict at Valencia Pizza and Pasta or An arepa at Pica Pica Maize Kitchen
Food Critic Melia Robinson weighs in on the near and dear subject adding a 3rd street surprise to a familiar list featuring heavy-hitters La Taqueria, El Farolito and Taqueria Cancún
What about the Greater Mission?
The Greater Mission includes the Outer Mission as well as our surrounding neighborhoods of Potrero, Bernal Heights, Castro, Noe Valley. Here we find that there are four nearby restaurants on the sfchronicle.com's Top 100 list worthy of your consideration.
Inevitably, the first to reblog the Michelin and SF Chronicle information is eater.com which covers the restaurant scene in nearly 250 cities. We were taken with how they ignore YELP reviews which are controversial, generally speaking, among business owners. Mission Merchants will also follow this lead and will be updating this article with an expanded lists of user reviews sites for our TOP 13 of 2017 in further updates to this list should you wish to bookmark us.
Openings & Closings
Hog & Rocks has served its final oyster at 3431 19th Street, a space that owner Scott Youkilis has sold to chef Anthony Strong, previously of Loconda.
Boogaloos is back on its brunch game at 22nd and Valencia, where its been missed for the better part of two years. It’s returned with a cleaner interior and a similar menu.
The Beehive is here on Valencia Street, serving swanky cocktails and ‘60s dinner party inspired bites in the former Range space.
Dancing Yak has opened for Nepalese cuisine in the former Babu Ji spot on Valencia Street. Co-owner Suraksha Basnet says the restaurant will be an authentic family affair.
Beer Nerds has opened in the former Adventures in Food and Wine space for pizza and beer selections.
2019 Michelin Guide "Bib Gourmand" Mission District Picks
"Bib Gourmand restaurants are defined by Michelin as “restaurants that offer high-quality food at pocket-friendly prices”; the price point varies by market, but in the Bay Area, that means two courses and a glass of wine or dessert cost $40 or less, before tax and tip. For the Bib Gourmands, it brings the total to 68, up from last year’s crop of 67 restaurants."
This year's Mission Picks include:
Delfina - Dosa - Farmhouse Kitchen Thai - Izakaya Rintaro - 1601 Bar & Kitchen - Starbelly- Yuzuki