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The Five Foods That Always Taste Better in San Francisco

April 23, 2019 California News No Comments

San Francisco is known as the home of deliciousness, from sourdough bread to Dungeness crab. The city’s cuisine is inspired by its vibrant culture and geographical surroundings. For a deep dive into San Francisco dining, see San Francisco Travel’s Culinary Guide.

Here are five foods in particular that showcase San Francisco’s blend of perfect ingredients, diverse influences and culinary innovation.

Dungeness Crab

San Francisco chefs make the most of this local crustacean. For one of the most unforgettable Dungeness dishes ever, head to the oldest restaurant in city. Tadich Grill (240 California St.) takes advantage of the crab’s naturally sweet and salty flavor by deftly incorporating it into light and fluffy crab cakes.

At Cioppino’s (400 Jefferson), crab is the star of an assortment of dishes, including the signature cioppino. Filled with mussels, snapper, calamari, and shrimp, and topped with mouthwatering crab legs, this is a dish fit for a (San Francisco) giant.

Dim Sum

A trip to San Francisco is not complete without a visit to Chinatown. In the oldest Chinatown in the U.S., dim sum is a must have, especially the shrimp and chive dumplings and har gow in the heart of the neighborhood at Delicious Dim Sum (752 Jackson St.).

You don’t have to be in Chinatown for superior dim sum. At Yank Sing (49 Stevenson St. and in Rincon Center), a James Beard Award-winning restaurant in the Financial District, the experience is as authentic as the food. Point to the sesame balls and egg custard when the servers push their food carts by your table.


When in San Francisco, indulging in local, Bay Area oysters is practically a requirement. Regulars at Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St.) don’t think twice about the lengthy wait for a seat at the counter.

At Waterbar (399 Embarcadero South), you can get the beauties for $1.05 a pop from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. All the more wonderful, the restaurant has one of the best views of the bay in the city.

If you like your oysters with a side of entertainment, go to Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.), where you can slurp shells while you watch classic films.

Ice Cream

When it comes to cooking up kooky ice cream flavors, San Francisco has it down cold. The craziest of all may be Secret Breakfast at Humphry Slocombe. Rich vanilla with crumbled cornflakes and bourbon (that’s the secret part) is not an everyday sort of meal but it’s exactly what you’ll need after a long night out on the town. Find it at Humphry Slocombe locations in the Mission District (2790A Harrison St.) or in the Ferry Building Marketplace. This prolific ice cream maker also creates special flavors in honor of theatrical openings, museum exhibitions and other special events.

The craze for salted caramel ice cream – and other artisanal flavors – may have been launched by Bi-Rite Creamery. What started as a small grocery in the Mission District has grown to four locations throughout the city and an ice cream truck that keeps on rolling from noon to 9 p.m. daily.

Sourdough Bread

Part of the unique, irresistible flavor of Boudin Sourdough bread is attributed to the strain of wild yeast within the mother dough that thrives in the distinct San Francisco weather conditions. It is called Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. The Boudin family recipe yields a distinct bread like no other, made with yeast culled from the original mother dough starter created by Isidore Boudin in 1849.

Though purists are partial to a chunk of fresh sourdough slathered with butter – accompanied by a glass of wine from a local winery – visitors also delight in eating clam chowder from a hollowed out loaf, then devouring the “bowl.” It’s such a popular meal that Fisherman’s Wharf holds an annual chowder competition, with awards determined by both a panel of judges and the vote of the people.

You can find fresh Boudin sourdough at locations around town, including a new store at San Francisco International Airport where you can take home the true taste of the city.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit, read the Visitors Planning Guide or call 415-391-2000.

American Express® is the official Card partner of the San Francisco Travel Association.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 46 international cities on 39 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with 79 cities in the U.S. on 13 domestic airlines. SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow SFO on and

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