by Allie Pape - 10 Reviews - 45 List
There are plenty of reasons to love San Francisco, but its superlative restaurants--most inspired by regional ingredients--certainly top the list. It's hard to pick just five of the city's best restaurants, but these San Francisco fine dining restaurants are tops when it comes to service, atmosphere, and, of course, food. (Photo: Coi, by Andrea Petrini)
Updated: October 21, 2011
Synonymous with high-class dining, this lavish French spot has even won over quirky Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, who describes it as a "14-star restaurant." From Osetra caviar to roasted Maine lobster to foie gras-stuffed quail, a meal at Gary Danko is pure indulgence.
Luscious handmade pastas, stunning seafood, and a cheese cart seemingly imported straight from heaven are among the delights at this romantic Jackson Square Italian spot. After a meal at Quince, it's easy to see why chef Michael Tusk took home the 2011 James Beard Award for Best Chef-Pacific.
Celebrity chef Michael Mina rose to prominence at Aqua in the mid-1990s, and he's come full circle--moving his eponymous restaurant into the space where he made his name. Mina's signature presentation involves a single ingredient prepared in various styles (fish five ways, foie gras three ways), but he's also known for luxe takes on comfort food (lobster pot pie, Wagyu beef shabu-shabu and foie PB&J all appear on the dinner menu).
Though still new to the San Francisco dining scene, French Laundry alum Corey Lee's SOMA restaurant has already earned national acclaim for its fine service and Asian-inflected cuisine. Don't miss the faux shark-fin soup, a signature dish that will make you forget that California's banned the genuine article.
More adventurous diners shouldn't miss this molecular-gastronomy temple in North Beach, which has notched two Michelin stars and is one of only two Chronicle four-star restaurants in San Francisco proper. Daniel Patterson's menu changes nightly, but diners can expect a little bit of seasonality and a lot of textural magic.