Located in a beautifully preserved residential area, the Castro and Noe Valley dining scene shine with small, local restaurants that deliver inimitable culinary kitsch and neighborhood niches. In the heart of the Castro, Cote Sud is an all-organic French restaurant that delivers all the ceremony without the pomp of downtown French restaurants. For hipsters looking for a Castro haven, Luna Park delivers American comfort food and an active bar scene in one shot. Frequented by locals staying close to home without forfeiting foodie fabulousness, the Castro and Noe Valley dining scene also brings in a fair amount of tourist traffic for its friendly, gourmet sensibilities. Glen Park, which neighbors Castro and Noe Valley, woos residents and travelers with an eclectic mix of quaint restaurants and mom-and-pop shops.
737 Diamond St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.282.4969
Italian. Open, stylish and possessed of a casual elegance, Bacco Ristorante is a prime member of the San Francisco dining scene. Well-crafted dishes of Italian cuisine populate the menu, with highlights being the made-to-order pastas and risottos. Excellent wines and deserts complement the dining experience.
Barracuda Japanese Restaurant
2251 Market St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.558.8567
Japanese. A hip dining spot in the Castro District, Barracuda is a fun and stylish Japanese restaurant favoring neo-Japanese cuisine dolled up with Brazilian and Peruvian influences. The vibrant dining room and lively atmosphere suits the experimental approach to the culinary journey.
4068 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.252.8000
Chinese. Brandy Ho’s is a San Francisco dining institution. This Chinese restaurant has garnered critical acclaim for its fresh, MSG-free approach to the peasant-style cuisine found in the Hunan region of China. The wide selection of vegetarian and meat-based dishes come to life with tongue-tingling spices, but they can be ordered mild for less brave palates.
2362 Market St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.431.5000
Seafood. A chic and popular SF dining spot, Catch is frequently listed among the best seafood restaurants in San Francisco. The atmosphere is appropriate for just about any occasion, with a stylish bar area, a cozy heated patio and an artistic interior with exposed brick walls.
683 Chenery St., San Francisco CA 94131; Tel. 415.337.8537
American, Southern. Considered among the best neighborhood restaurants in San Francisco, Chenery Park takes a unique approach to contemporary American comfort foods. The small menu is big on Southern-inspired creativity, with options like baked mac & cheese, saffron arancini, panko crusted catfish, blood orange BBQ pork shoulder and house-made gnocchi with pancetta. Fabulous deserts round off the menu.
4238 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.255.6565
French. A charming French restaurant in the Castro, Côté Sud is known for a menu of French bistro cuisine that ranges from traditional dishes to enticing delicacies. A great wine list boasts over 180 options for pairing. This San Francisco French restaurant also offers live jazz every Thursday from 7:30pm on.
1740 Church St., San Francisco CA 94131; Tel. 415.648.3337
Japanese, Sushi. Deep is an innovative San Francisco dining spot that offers an eclectic menu built on the foundations of Japanese cuisine. Pretty and posh with Asian décor and amber lights, this Noe Valley restaurant impresses with creative dishes like uni pasta, miso marinated lamb, tuna sashimi with a soy-garlic vinaigrette, and crispy duck noodles.
1815 Market St., San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.552.4451
Latin American. Destino is an ultra-stylish and ornately colonial San Francisco restaurant serving authentic and inventive Nuevo Latinio cuisine woven into affordable, tapas-sized plates. The wine list includes Riojas and the food, ever since the restaurant opened, has kept San Francisco diners loyal with robust flavors and creative Latino fusion desserts.
Eureka Restaurant & Lounge
4063 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.431.6000
American. A relaxed and romantic hideaway in the Castro, Eureka Restaurant & Lounge is the kind of neighborhood gem where reservations are recommended. The contemporary American menu leads off with an attractive selection of small plates, and evolves into a selection of entrees that feature unique twists on comfort food favorites.
Fresca - 24th Street
3945 24th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.695.0549
Peruvian. Nouveaux Peruvian cuisine shines at Fresca. This creative San Francisco dining spot features a menu of innovative Peruvian dishes crafted from traditional ingredients, blending old and new with skill. Mimosa brunches are a reason to visit this local favorite on the weekends.
Home Restaurant & Bar on Market St.
2100 Market St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.503.0333
American. At the busy intersection of Market and Church, Home is a small refuge of comfort. The covered outdoor patio and bar is an intimate spot for happy hour cocktails in the Castro and signature dishes like Macaroni and Cheese and Iceberg wedge salads make Home a broken-in, neighborhood haunt.
291 30th St., San Francisco CA 94131; Tel. 415.550.8114
Italian. A cozy, intimate Noe Valley restaurant, La Ciccia showcases the culinary wonders of Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Beautifully flavorful seafood, meats and pastas are combined with fresh produce and creatively prepared, reflecting the owners’ clear passion for cuisine. A fabulous wine list evidences parallel enthusiasm for wine.
151 Noe St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.437.2600
French. A classic French bistro in San Francisco, L’Ardoise is an attractive neighborhood eatery soaked in European charm. This quaint and tiny dining spot boasts a small but powerful menu of creative French cuisine that comes to life with unique and savory flavors. Dining at the bar is a prime way to watch the chefs in action and to enjoy the convivial atmosphere.
4063 24th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.647.9400
French. Donning an antique zinc bar to support the moniker, Le Zinc is the kind of quaint French bistro that delivers an almost irresistible atmosphere in the dining room, out on the sidewalk patio or in the leaf- and vine-draped courtyard. The menu oscillates between traditional French fare and creative tasting plates showcasing Asian and North African influences. A small wine list represents the main wine regions of France.
Lime Restaurant & Lounge
2247 Market St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.621.5256
Fusion / Eclectic. The ‘60s-era modernist décor, international vibe and globally charged menu help Lime Restaurant & Lounge to remain a chic, well-adored Castro dining spot. The menu is made up of approachably priced small plates designed for sharing, with creative options like miso-glazed seabass, beef tartare with spicy Thai red curry, ricotta gnocchi, deviled eggs and braised pork quesadillas. Creative cocktails and bottomless-mimosa brunches further encourage patrons to join the cast of enthusiastic regulars.
2367 Market St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.556.6200
French. Stylishly reminiscent of a hip Parisian lounge, Panam stands out among the myriad fabulous Castro restaurants with eclectic French fusion cuisine. Well-composed menus offer dinner, weekend brunch and late-night dining options that range from crab mimosas and 7-hour braised lamb to smoked trout salads with pumpkin seeds and homemade duck leg confit.
4072 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.252.9325
Italian. A warm San Francisco Italian restaurant, Poesia is as well known for its menu of Italian cuisine as it is for a well-poised staff dedicated to providing a casual yet memorable dining experience. The dishes at this vibrant neighborhood restaurant in the Castro remain true to the zesty roots of Italian cuisine with a robust menu of hand-made pastas, traditional ingredients, fresh herbs and traditional Italian spices.
4243 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.626.7864
Sushi. A small, nicely decorated sushi restaurant in the Castro, Sumi Sushi can (and regularly does) pack in quickly with small groups and dates enjoying the lengthy menus of Japanese fare. The cooked dishes are reliably good, but the highlight of dining here is the incredibly fresh fish served as sashimi or woven into sushi creations. Sitting at the sushi bar is one of the best ways to avoid what can sometimes be long wait periods for a server to return.
3499 16th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.626.1700
Pan-Asian, Fusion. Specializing in bright and flavorful preparations of Pacific Rim cuisine, Tangerine has established itself as a popular, one-of-a-kind Castro/Noe Valley dining spot. This sophisticated yet breezy corner restaurant impresses with the imaginative menu of dishes crafted from the freshest available meats, seafood and produce.
4039 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114; Tel. 415.626.2260
Vietnamese. A sleek Castro dining spot, Zadin is appealing with minimalist décor, an eclectic wine list and well-crafted preparations of traditional Vietnamese cuisine peppered with modern twists. The menu is rich with both meat-based and vegetarian dishes, with a hearty array of gluten-free options thrown in. The salt & pepper calamari, the pan-fried pho noodles and the saté beef noodle soup are some of the more notable menu items.