Whether you skimped on lunch in anticipation for a big meal or simply lingered too long at pre-dinner drinks, sometimes the little bites that come to your table right when you sit down can really hit the spot; occasionally, they may even steal the show. From spiced, fried chickpeas at Nopalito, to ethereal cornbread and pepper jam at 1300 on Fillmore, to a daily-changing house-made bread selection at Quince, here are some spots that feed you well before you even have to ask.
Classy and truly Old School, HOPR knows how to take care of their guests. Portions are generous, the food is delicious, and the experience is one that has been impressing the pants off of SF visitors and residents for over 50 years.
Classic, comforting 'mom foods' like pork chops and roast chicken are executed to perfection alongside innovative plays on seasonal produce; creative mixology and damn good wine only make things that much better. Nopa's atmosphere is warm and lively, while their staff is knowledgeable and even warmer. Best yet for you night-owls, they're open till 2am!
Two words: KIMCHI. PANCAKE. Just when you thought something as delicious as kimchi couldn't get any better, To Hyang serves it up embedded in a big, scrumptious, supple, rice-flour pancake. The flavor and texture together make this one of the best pancakes (in any cuisine) I have ever eaten. It is a MUST ORDER item if you dine here, and well worth a visit just to try it!
Serving Soul Food soul through a California lens, 1300 on Fillmore delivers big flavors in generous portions. Their house-specialty ribs are a must-have for anyone who knows a good rack, and their cornbread is so delicate and succulent that it falls apart in your fingers and melts in your mouth. Better yet, they do a live Gospel Brunch on Sundays!
It can get crowded during the dinner rush, but for good reason: everything on the menu is DELICIOUS, and that includes the drinks. You can go with a classic Mexican dish like chicken enchiladas with mole poblano, or opt for something more contemporary, like pork belly tacos. As with its sister restaurant, NOPA, you can't really go wrong at Nopalito. And save room for a house-made popsicle on your way out!
State Bird's dim-sum style service turns dining into a choose-your-own-adventure experience, with exciting, unexpected plates at every turn. Best of all, the food is fanTASTIC! On my last visit, one of the off-menu plates offered was a from-scratch garlic knot, draped in melted buratta; it was so heart-warmingly, mind-blowingly delicious, I had to order another!