Michael Mina, award-winning chef and restaurateur

Michael Mina—die-hard 49ers fan and grilled-meat aficionado—has lived and cooked in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 20 years. Brought to you by the makers of PEPCID®, helping food lovers explore great tastes without the fear of heartburn, he shares his favorite SF spots (and how to make his insanely delicious, pork belly-topped Le Royale Burger).

  • San Francisco’s Best Burger

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① Ferry Building

No visit to San Francisco is complete without a visit to the Ferry Building Marketplace. It’s a food lover’s dream come true with everything from artisan cheese shops to fresh local fishmongers—and I never leave without a pour-over coffee from Blue Bottle. There’s also an amazing farmers’ market in the plaza on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

Photos: Blue Bottle Coffee

② The Melt

San Francisco is known for its cool, foggy summers. On chilly days, I head to The Melt for a comforting grilled cheese sandwich (there’s even one with macaroni and bacon on it) and a cup of creamy tomato-basil soup.

Front photo: The Melt
Back photo: The Melt by @stmikael

③ The Ramen Bar

I collaborated with chef Ken Tominaga on this fast-casual spot, which blends rich California cooking philosophy with Japanese technique and ingredients to create a new variation on Japanese ramen with West Coast style. My personal favorite is the Tokyo-style ramen made with a savory soy-infused broth shoyu tare, pork belly and a soy-cured egg.

Photo: Michael Mina

④ Saison

Chef Joshua Skenes at Saison is one of the most talented chefs in San Francisco at the moment. His tasting menu—which changes daily based on the best seasonal ingredients he can find and includes up to 18 courses—is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Photo: Michael Mina
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⑤ Swan Oyster Depot

This is where I go when I’m in the mood for fresh seafood or oysters on the half shell, which are served with jalapeño & habanero mignonette, red wine mignonette, fresh horseradish and sliced lemons. If you’re lucky, you can order “crab fat”—an off-menu specialty that involves sweet Dungeness crab mixed with plenty of butter and served in its shell. You soak it all up with bread.

Photo: Swan Oyster Depot

⑥ The Deli Board

I fell in love with The Deli Board a few years ago and was lucky enough get one of the stellar sandwiches named after me—so, of course that’s what I recommend. “The Mina” is stuffed with Romanian pastrami and roast beef, cheddar and Muenster, cherry peppers, coleslaw, and the sweet-and-tangy Board sauce on a garlic French roll.

Photo: Michael Mina

⑦ Liholiho Yacht Club

This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city right now. The off-menu Spam musubi is incredible. It gets busy though, so definitely make reservations.

Photo: Michael Mina

⑧ Tosca Cafe

I love visiting Tosca in North Beach. And the house cappuccino (which doesn’t actually have coffee or espresso in it, but rather chocolate, bourbon and Armagnac) is the perfect way to end a night.

Photo: Tosca Cafe