The grand epicenter of San Francisco shopping, and a stop de rigueur on any San Francisco visitor's to-do list, Union Square not only boasts some of California's best shopping, but also dishes out a variety of upscale and casual San Francisco dining options in a stunning setting. From swank eateries like the Rotunda Restaurant in Nieman Marcus (where lobster and champagne fuel shopaholics) to epic hotel restaurants like Michael Mina at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Union Square restaurants, combined with Union Square shopping and historic Union Square hotels, make it too easy for visitors to never leave downtown San Francisco's most fashionable quarter.
One of San Francisco's Top Restaurants
314 Sutter St., San Francisco CA 94108
Modern Asian. E&O Asian Kitchen is a Modern Asian restaurant and lounge in the heart of San Francisco's vibrant Union Square. Executive Chef Sharon Nahm creates exciting and bold flavors in modern Asian dishes. A sleek lounge offers guests a chance to enjoy shareable late night bites and creative cocktails. Spanning three floors, the restaurant offers numerous venues for private dining, parties, and special events. Easy off-site parking is available at the Sutter-Stockton garage next door.
63 Ellis St., San Francisco CA 94102
Italian American. Established in 1908, John's Grill is a landmark San Francisco restaurant, both for its hearty, by-gone era Italian-fusion grill comforts and for its museum-esque vibe, replete with Old San Francisco period furnishings and memorabilia glorifying the Grill's feature in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Featured in renowned publications like Esquire and Gourmet Magazine, John's Grill is a reliable choice for excellent steaks, pastas, fresh seafood and cocktails.
25 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.777.0500
Indian. The San Francisco installation of the renowned Amber India is equally as sophisticated, bejeweled and impressive as its sister locations. The delectable dishes of Indian fare arrive like works of art and span the spectrum of flavors in both traditional and innovative ways. This stylish Indian restaurant also summons a cocktail-sipping crowd with unique libations and visually provocative social atmosphere.
Annabelle's Bar & Bistro
68 Fourth St., San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.777.1200
American. Annabelle's Bar and Bistro is a classic San Francisco restaurant nestled between Union Square and Moscone Center. The warm dining room dates back to the early 1900s and features spacious high ceilings and ornate columns. Annabelle's has a full bar and a relaxed and lively atmosphere, complete with white linens and antique tile floors, and is open late for post-Metreon dining.
ANZU - Hotel Nikko
222 Mason St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.394.1100
Sushi, Japanese. The best of surf and turf come together at this warm and eclectic San Francisco restaurant in the lobby of downtown's Hotel Nikko, where a Japanese spirit meets Saloon Town. The prime aged beef, flown in from Chicago's Allen Brothers, is served alongside the fresh and creative sushi, made at Anzu's sushi bar. The protein overload pairs perfectly with Anzu's inventive Saketinis and Sakeritas.
44 Belden Place, San Francisco CA 94104; Tel. 415.986.6287
Spanish. A striking modern setting serves as the canvas for Catalan-inflected fare at B44 Catalan Bistro. This San Francisco Spanish restaurant features a menu of boldly flavored tapas, seafood dishes, rich meat-based entrees and outstanding paellas backed by a fabulous wine list, which includes over 200 Spanish wines and selections from Portugal, California and South America.
Biscuits & Blues
401 Mason St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.292.2583
Southern. Combining Southern cuisine with top-notch music, Biscuits & Blues is a San Francisco landmark restaurant. This all-ages supper club in the heart of the Theater District features live blues six nights a week, provided by local and nationally recognized talent, as well as a full bar and an enticing menu of soulful Southern fare.
88 Belden Place, San Francisco CA 94104; Tel. 415.593.8000
Italian. A stylish, breezy and romantic ambiance prevails at Brindisi. This charming neighborhood Italian restaurant in San Francisco favors traditional Italian cuisine with the occasional modern twist. The lengthy menu offers delectable appetizers, creative salads, classic pizzas, tempting pastas and an array of main courses that feature everything from succulent meats to fresh seafood.
Cafe Andrée - Hotel Rex
562 Sutter St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.217.4001
Californian. Located near Union Square in the stylish Hotel Rex, Café Andrée offers a casually elegant setting for all occasions. The well-scripted menu favors an eclectic approach, with globally influenced preparations of Californian and New American cuisine. The dishes are as beautifully presented as they are flavorful.
Café Bistro - Nordstrom San Francisco
865 Market St., San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.977.5155
Contemporary American. The Café Bistro in the massive San Francisco Nordstrom is a welcoming haven for weary Nordstrom and Union Square shopping warriors. The menu of contemporary American cuisine includes appetizers, colorful salads, sandwiches and brick oven entrees backed by a selection of indulgent deserts. A list of local California wines and specialty cocktails helps bring on a bit of mid-shopping spree relaxation.
7 Claude Lane, San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.392.3505
French. A casual, comfortable Union Square dining spot, Café Claude impresses with a classic Euro-bistro atmosphere. Patrons can satisfy Gallic cravings with signature dishes like Coq au Vin, Coquille Saint Jacques, Nicoise salad and Kobe steak tartare. The well-poised staff takes care to provide attentive service, seating is available both indoors and out, and live jazz is featured on the weekends.
Cafe de la Presse
352 Grant Ave., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.398.2680
French. Fashioned after a Parisian café-cum-gallery, Café de la Presse presents an artistic, eclectic atmosphere that calls to contemporary crowds. The breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus flaunt inspired preparations of French cuisine, and a small list of wines by the glass supports light wine drinkers nicely, and a larger list of wines by the bottle showcases dynamite selections primarily from California and France.
708 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.391.8480
French, Californian, Italian. Fresh cuisine that draws on French, Californian and Italian culinary styles define Café Mozart, a stylish, casually elegant restaurant in the downtown/Union Square area. With a solid menu, well-poised wait staff and a posh setting replete with candles, a fireplace and European influences, it’s no wonder that Café Mozart is considered among the most romantic restaurants in San Francisco.
340 Stockton St., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.955.5555
Californian. The Campton Place hotel's restaurant, Campton Place, is a quiet gourmet and has been revered by award-granting wine swillers and fine diners looking for a classic and romantic atmosphere, elegant tableside service and a varied fine dining menu. Conde Nast went so far to say in 2000 that the Campton Place Restaurant has the best hotel food in the United States.
Chez Papa Mint Plaza
4 Mint Plaza, San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.546.4134
Provencal. Sister to the Chez Papa Bistro on Portrero Hill, Chez Papa restaurant in downtown San Francisco occupies an elegant space in the historic Mint Plaza. The regional French cuisine is served up in a style that pairs well with the attractive setting and the innovative selection of French wines.
cityhouse - Parc 55 Hotel
55 Cyril Magnin St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.392.8000
Steakhouse. A sleek, modern San Francisco steakhouse, cityhouse in the Parc 55 Hotel impresses with inventive translations of American classics. Modern cooking techniques fuse with fresh ingredients as chefs prepare homemade soups, fresh pastas, fresh regional seafood dishes and succulent steaks prepared over a wood fire grill and rotisserie. An extensive list of wines and microbrews almost exclusively features local labels.
Colibri Mexican Bistro
438 Geary St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.440.2737
Mexican/Southwestern. Located in San Francisco's theatre district, and just a block off Union Square, Colibri Mexican Bistro serves authentic Mexican food steeped in a rich family tradition. From great guacamole prepared and served tableside with fresh homemade tortillas to the tender chicken mole in a rich flavorful sauce, the food at Colibri is a refreshing twist on Central Mexican Cuisine.
347 Geary St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.616.5000
American. The prices are pared down at this mellow version of Beverly Hills' The Grill, an icon of Los Angeles chic in the 1980s. The Daily Grill serves large portions of traditional grill recipes, like Meat Loaf with mashed potatoes, Joe's Special (a San Francisco original) and excellent Cobb Salads, all at skinny prices. San Francisco's Daily Grill is located a half a block from Union Square and San Francisco's best shopping.
450 Post St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.956.6969
Seafood. If it weren't for Farallon's stellar seafood-centered menu, it would be easy to dismiss the stunning 1000 Leagues Under the Sea décor of the restaurant as a gimmick. But with an ever-inventive, always fresh seafood menu, Farallon remains one of San Francisco's knock out restaurant. Superb service makes the high prices worth it.
12 4th St., San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.348.1555
Contemporary French. On the fifth floor of the sleek SOMA's Hotel Palomar, the Fifth Floor is a seasonal ode to distinctive French Californian adaptations, and also boasts an award-winning wine list and an inspiring pastry team. The zebra carpet and hip décor bring a chic aspect to the elevated service.
First Crush Restaurant Wine Bar & Lounge
101 Cyril Magnin St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.982.7874
Californian. In the fall of 1998, First Crush opened their doors and immediately became one of San Francisco's favorite rendezvous spots for couples, friends, and colleagues looking for a restaurant that can truly accommodate any and all occasions. The stylish yet unpretentious street level restaurant offers a lively setting perfect for an early get together amongst friends or an intimate late night snack, glass of wine or sharing a scrumptious dessert with that special someone. First Crush offers a seasonal changing menu offering the freshest ingredients available. The restaurant takes pride in the extensive wine list, offering a large selection of both classic family California wineries as well as up and comers.
Fish & Farm
339 Taylor St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.474.3474
Californian. Michelin-rated Executive Chef Jacob Des Voignes brings his extraordinary talents to the kitchen at Fish & Farm, fashioning delicious creations from all organic produce and sustainably farmed or harvested seafood and meats. The award-winning wine list backs the menu brilliantly, and deserts showcase fresh approaches to American classics. The atmosphere of this San Francisco restaurant is refined, with a cozy lounge area and intimate private rooms.
Grand Café – Brasserie and Bar
501 Geary St., San Francisco CA 94109; Tel. 415.292.0101
French. At the elegant and stylish Grand Café in San Francisco, a large cafe and bar area fronts a spacious dining room featuring whimsical sculptures, dramatic pillars, soaring ceilings and an open kitchen. Service is professional and fast, permitting an excellent meal before a performance at any of the nearby theaters. The menu at this San Francisco French restaurant boasts regional French cuisine prepared with seasonal ingredients.
Grandviews at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco
345 Stockton St., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.398.1234 x3600
Californian. Grandviews Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco sits on the 36th floor of the hotel, supplying spectacular views for those who choose to sup on the well-crafted Californian cuisine in the classy dining room. Award-winning chefs weave fresh, locally sourced ingredients into the creative dishes that make up the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
Hana Zen Yakitori & Sushi Bar
115 Cyril Magnin, San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.421.2101
Japanese. Reasonably priced, inventive Japanese cuisine and fusion-style sushi is the draw at this Union Square restaurant. From fresh Manila clams steamed in sake to Teriyaki dinners to rice dishes to noodles, this San Francisco Japanese restaurant has much more than excellent Sushi Nigiri rolls. With bacon-wrapped salmon filets and yakitori-marinated scallions, the a la carte menu at Hana Zen Yakitori & Sushi Bar is full of tasty bargains.
124 Ellis St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.421.8700
Tapas / Small Plates. A 6,000 square foot Asian-inspired venue, Infusion Lounge is one part dining spot, one part swanky lounge and one part vibrant dance club. This Union Square restaurant and lounge attracts everyone—from hipsters to business folk, fashionistas to models—with a full menu of Cal-Asian fusion small plates and truly unique style. In addition to dining, this hybrid venue features a VIP room, a fully equipped dance floor and a roster of world-class DJs.
221 Powell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.397.7720
Italian. You're starving; you're shopping your buns off at Macy's, Nieman's and Ann Taylor. What to do? Hit the bustling trattoria filled to the rafters with gorgeous people, killer decor—lots of spun copper and blown-glass tchotchkies—and serious pastas (delicious and affordable). Also, this San Francisco Italian restaurant is a favorite for to-die-for raviolis and tons of olive oily foccacia. There's a smart little espresso annex next door too, where you can load up on pastries.
La Scene Café and Bar
490 Geary St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.292.6430
Californian. Located in the Theatre District's Warwick hotel, La Scene San Francisco restaurant has a flair for the dramatic with portraits of famous San Francisco performers adorning the walls. Part of an international network of hotels, La Scene cuisine caters to an eclectic palate grounded in California. This popular pre- and post-theater dinner spot also offers a prix fixe menu.
845 Market St., 4th Floor, San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.593.4100
Steak. A stylish and lofty San Francisco steakhouse, LarkCreekSteak takes care to offer patrons the finest in fresh, seasonally charged steakhouse cuisine and a memorable dining experience. In addition to sitting at a traditional table, diners can sit at the Chef’s Counter to take in cooking demonstrations by the head chef and his expert team. Also, special “only at the counter” tasting menus are offered for dinner and lunch, and the chefs are the ones to serve them.
453 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.391.2233
French. San Francisco’s first French bistro, Le Central has been satisfying Gallic cravings since 1974. The menu of authentic French cuisine boasts pates, creative appetizers, cheeses, meats, poultry, legumes and seafood, followed by an indulgent selection of deserts. The atmosphere is stylish and classy, attracting a smartly dressed set of enthusiastic, wine-swilling patrons.
20 Cosmo Place, San Francisco CA 94109; Tel. 415.931.3600
Vietnamese. Located in a quaint, stand apart building on a side street in San Francisco's theatre district, Le Colonial feels like a French chateau in a romanticized colonial Vietnam era (the outdoor seating feels like a lush Saigon sidewalk café). The bar features live jazz and palm fronds while the service is upscale and the cuisine fresh and inventive. The French-inflected dishes of modern Vietnamese cuisine have earned critical acclaim, and the award-winning wine list presents ample pairing options.
500 Post St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.929.2087
Californian. Located in downtown San Francisco's luxury Pan Pacific Hotel near Union Square on the fashionable Post Street, the JW Marriott's Level III is a perfect pre-theatre fine dining locale. The menu boasts an attitude true to the Pacific Rim, with creative seafood dishes and flavorful meat-based entrees that come to life with bold flavors. The Pan Pacific restaurant and bar's ambiance is stylish and pacifying with live piano music, a crackling fire and indoor fountains.
648 Bush St., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.989.7154
Contemporary French. Masa's, located in the Vintage Court hotel, Union Square's boutique ode to Napa Valley wines, offers a colorful France meets the World fusion cuisine with standouts like steamed lobster under leaves of sweet and sour vinaigrette-braised turnip and rack of lamb with a pinot noir sauce. The prix fixe menu is $75 and includes a range of appetizers, entrees and desserts all served in an elegant setting (where jackets are required for men).
335 Powell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.397.9222
American. Michael Mina's culinary holdings have grown to 16 restaurants, but his eponymous San Francisco restaurant is the flagship. Mina's inventive, multi-course menus highlight different ingredients prepared several ways. Located in the Westin St. Francis hotel on Union Square, the dining room is as elegant and refined as the food.
185 Sutter St., San Francisco CA 94104; Tel. 415.835.6400
American. Michelle Mah, the 2006 San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef, employs a creative sensibility in the kitchen of Midi. This modern American restaurant in San Francisco impresses with a menu of seasonally charged fare that might include warm baby beat salads, Hawaiian kampachi crudo, pan-fried veal sweetbreads, filet mignon tartare, braised spring lamb and pan-roasted local rock cod. The sleek atmosphere blends gallery appeal with executive style.
Millennium - Hotel California
580 Geary St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.345.3900
Vegetarian, Vegan. An award-winning destination, Millennium reinvents vegan cuisine in a way that will lure even the most adamant meat lovers. Proving that vegetarian and vegan fare isn’t just for crunchy protesters anymore, this stylish restaurant in the Hotel California features a completely animal-free menu of locally sourced ingredients and serves artfully presented, deliciously gourmet vegan cuisine that spans the culinary gamut. As one of the most celebrated vegan restaurants in San Francisco, Millennium also takes eco-friendliness to a new level with a selection of organic wines and vegan versions of known liqueurs like Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Mission Steak - Marriott Downtown San Francisco
55 4th St., San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.442.6043
Californian. A contemporary San Francisco steakhouse, Mission Steak in the Marriott Downtown San Francisco impresses with a reliable menu of California cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The downtown location and stylish atmosphere makes this trendy dining spot a particular favorite for power lunches and post-work cocktails.
Morton's The Steakhouse
400 Post St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.986.5830
Steak. A San Francisco installation of the nationally renowned steakhouse chain, Morton’s The Steakhouse in San Francisco maintains a fabulous reputation with animated tableside menu presentations and a stylish atmosphere. The menu boasts top-quality steaks and seafood, creative appetizers and delicious deserts, all rounded off by an impressive selection of wines.
New Delhi Restaurant
160 Ellis St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.397.8470
Indian. Considered among the top Indian restaurants in the country, New Delhi Restaurant is more than just a place to find the freshest local ingredients woven into outstanding Indian cuisine. With phenomenal customer service, a bejeweled atmosphere reminiscent of a Maharajah’s private banquet room and a menu of recipes that recalls royal Indian menus dating back 300 or 400 years, it’s no wonder the New York Times called dining at New Delhi Restaurant “an extraordinary culinary and cultural experience.”
The Oak Room - The Westin St. Francis
335 Powell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.774.0264
American. A stately restaurant steeped in Old World elegance, The Oak Room fits flawlessly into the high-class Westin St. Francis Hotel. At this Union Square restaurant, the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are alive with American favorites peppered with International flair, and the wine list features a comprehensive selection of California wines. The atmosphere is casually elegant, with live piano players providing background music on Fridays and Saturdays.
401 Taylor St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.775.7979
Asian. A playful San Francisco restaurant for contemporary Asian cuisine, Ponzu is located in San Francisco's Theater District downtown near Union Square. This Asian restaurant attracts both a bar crowd and a dining crowd looking for creative cocktails and bold and bright entrees and appetizers that take tastes from Thai, Malaysian, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese ingredients and cooking styles. The three illuminated 125-gallon salt water tanks back the bar and lend to the slick and fun ambiance.
Puccini & Pinetti
129 Ellis St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.392.5500
Italian. Energetic and inexpensive, Puccini & Pinetti is an Italian grill and American Bar just off Union Square. The pastas range from light to rustic and the menu also offers wood fired pizzas, salads, paninis, hearty meat and seafood dishes and decadent desserts. The ambiance is one of San Francisco's most kid-friendly restaurants (kids can make their own pizzas and choose from a special kid's menu).
The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus
150 Stockton St., San Francisco CA 94108; Tel. 415.249.2720
Contemporary American. Whether stopping in for tea sandwiches and afternoon tea, creative sandwiches or a glass of bubbly, dining at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus is a classic experience in San Francisco fine dining. The dining room sits beneath a striking glass dome constructed of more than 2500 pieces of colored glass, and booths offer fabulous views of the hustle and bustle of fashionable Union Square. And the fare? Lobster salads and unhurried butternut risottos are enjoyed in a gilded setting for half the price of a DKNY top.
Saha - Hotel Carlton
1075 Sutter St., San Francisco CA 94109; Tel. 415.345.9547
Middle Eastern. Saha at the Hotel Carlton takes a unique approach to Middle Eastern cuisine, with an extensive menu that features both traditional dishes and Arabic-influenced translations of California cuisine. The considerate chef has taken care to offer options for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans, welcoming everyone with a taste for the exotic to indulge in sweet, savory and delicately spiced flavors in the attractive dining room.
242 O'Farrell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.402.0060
Mediterranean. Santorini Restaurant offers bold, bright Mediterranean cuisine and a warm atmosphere just one block from San Francisco's Union Square. Shoppers can stop for lunch in the inviting dining room, or relax after a busy day of retail therapy and enjoy one of Santorini's many happy hour specials. An ample wine menu includes offerings from Italy to California, reflecting Santorini's all-encompassing Mediterranean aesthetic. Serving classic Mediterranean and American food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Santorini caters to the droves of hungry tourists, shoppers and locals flooding Union Square for a day of work or play.
432 Powell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.395.8555
Italian. Just a half a block from Union Square, Scala's Bistro is bustling with Old World ambiance, from original murals and a warm atmosphere done in deep, rich tones to a pan-Mediterranean menu. The open kitchen pours out aromas from Italy, Spain and France while the service is just as warm as the decor. After dinner, Harry Denton's Starlight Room is the place for a cocktail on the twenty-first floor of the Sir France Drake hotel overlooking downtown San Francisco's city lights.
Sears Fine Food
439 Powell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.986.1160
American. Sears Fine Food honors the natural bounty with dishes comprised of the finest local ingredients. Popular entrées feature fresh fish, shellfish and succulent turf options, and it would be a crime to visit San Francisco without stopping into Sears Fine Food for their legendary Dollar Size Pancakes or their world-famous Swedish pancake plate for breakfast.
Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel
757 Market St., San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.633.3838
Steak. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s business district, the refined Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel is a classic choice for the power-lunching crowd. The professional wait staff is attentive yet discreet, allowing plenty of privacy for hammering out deals or sharing not-for-the-water-cooler gossip while dining on premier cuts of beef and the freshest available seafood. In the evening, this San Francisco restaurant comes to life with a well-dressed happy hour and dinner crowd.
845 Market St. #597, San Francisco CA 94103; Tel. 415.668.1783
Asian. Singaporean cuisine finds modern presentations at Straits Restaurant in San Francisco. This stylish restaurant attracts a well-heeled crowd with a broad menu of fragrant and flavorful Pan-Asian delights and an array of specialty cocktails. The San Francisco installation of Straits is also a choice venue for special events and private dining.
333 O'Farrell St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.923.4400
Gastro Pub. Urban Tavern is located 460 feet above the ground atop the beautiful Hilton San Francisco, offering breathtaking, panoramic views of the City to complement the elegant but relaxed atmosphere. The menu delivers with comforting tavern-style food crafted from locally sourced, sustainable ingredients that are organic whenever possible. The exclusive wine list and selection of draft beers backs the cuisine nicely or just provides a little lubrication for socializing at the bar.
501 Post St., San Francisco CA 94102; Tel. 415.885.8850
Italian. One block from Union Square, Zingari is an inexpensive San Francisco restaurant for Northern Italian cuisine and seafood, as well as offering live jazz and gypsy violinists (Zingari means "gypsy" in Italian) on Wednesday and Saturdays. Like its namesake, Zingari is relaxed and charming San Francisco restaurant with simple and satisfying dishes, as well as a steal of an early bird pre-fixe menu for $30 from 5:30 to 6:30pm.