Bay Before Anyone Else

Explore the hottest restaurants in San Francisco right now

San Francisco has been known as a food town for years—but a new generation of chefs is taking the city's dining scene far beyond what's become known as California cuisine.

We asked one of the city's most sought-after food and restaurant photographers, Aubrie Pick, to give us an inside glimpse of the restaurants, chefs and dishes that everyone is talking about. Who better to ask: She's shot the local culinary scene for the likes of Bon Appetit, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7 and more.  

Check out Pick's gorgeous photos, then put all of these restaurants on your list for the next time you're in the City by the Bay.

Belga

From the folks who brought you Super Duper burger, Lolinda, Delarosa and Beretta, to name a few, comes the Cow Hollow spot serving up Belgian food (hello, pan-roasted mussels with witbier) and killer drinks.

All photos by Aubrie Pick

Octavia

Melissa Perello's follow-up to her perennial neighborhood favorite, Frances, is a treat from the moment you walk in the door. Beautiful interiors, fantastic service and dishes like Monterey calamari with roasted eggplant vinaigrette make it a meal to write home about.

Aatxe

Another stellar restaurant from the Flour + Water team. Ryan Pollnow captains the ship with a Basque-inspired menu in the former Swedish American Hall.

Citizen Fox

This pop-up goes brick-and-mortar in 2016, bringing a brewery and you-won't-believe-it's-vegan food, like this Benedict with fried avocado, to the Mission.

Cala

Mexico City's charismatic, passionate Gabriela Cámara just landed in the Bay, bringing her ingredient-driven Mexican food (mussel tamal with chile serrano and leeks; sopes playeros with black beans, crema and ricotta salata) to the Mid-Market neighborhood. And in a truly ingenious move, she's also opened a taco window out back.

Lazy Bear

With advance ticketing and two seatings a night, Lazy Bear changed the rules of the game. It's a cocktail hour, it's a dinner party, it's amazing food in a gorgeous setting—and the line between dining room and kitchen is blurred to wonderful effect.

Liholiho Yacht Club

Ravi Kapur's riff on Hawaii-meets-NorCal (think beef tongue with kimchi, cucumber and poppy seeds in a steamed bun) has become one of the best meals in the City.

AL's Place

Chef Aaron London's little spot took Bon Appétit's Best New Restaurant this year—and with dishes like this pear curry with black lime-yellow tail, persimmon and blistered squash, deservedly so.

Tartine

Head baker Chad Robertson's empire is expanding, but he'll always be a hometown hero for his beautiful breads.

Craftsman and Wolves

With a new location headed to Pacific Street, a pastry window slated for the Bayview and an outpost in L.A., in addition to the Valencia Street original, William Werner's pastry artistry and chocolate mastery is poised to conquer the entire West Coast.