Cozy Up: Best Spots for California Comfort Food in San Francisco

San Francisco is universally recognized as a city of fine cuisine and artistic design. Many would argue the most successful design is the simplest one, and the simplest design for a good meal is homestyle. There's no question that the complex, ancient sauces of Chinatown are a must-try, and the rich, sultry risotto of North Beach cant' be missed. But when you just want a meal to end with a satisfied belly, plain and simple, then you're in the mood for some homestyle. 

If homestyle means BBQ to you, then try the delectable ribs and sausages at Hi Lo BBQ in the always interesting Mission District. If you want a sense of where locals find their comfort food, the buffets at either Tommy's Joynt or Lefty O'Doul's on Union Square are legendary troughs. 

Whatever spot on your list you pick, you'll get what we all want from homestyle cooking: simple foods that fulfill the simple purpose of filling up our bellies without any fancy fuss. Although the city by the bay is know for restaurants, it's also known for historic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and iconic Coit Tower - both destinations that take time and energy to get to. So fill up your belly with some homestyle and get walking!

The Tenderloin

Founded way back in 1937 and having survived the Great Depression, Original Joe's is a great place to eat. The simplicity of the meals is only outdone by the portions: the classic Flatiron Steak and Eggs is three square meals on one plate. The...  Read More

Mission / Bernal Heights
Hog and Rocks

As the name indicates, this Mission favorite likes to pair oysters with ham. Not just any ham, but the finest proscuitto, from Iowa to Spain to Italy and all parts in between. And not just any oysters, but both locally grown and carefully...  Read More

La Traviata

As the name would indicate, this Italian restaurant takes opera as seriously as it does cuisine. Polished woods and opera-themed art set the scene for a wealth of delicious dishes, including veal, poultry, seafood, and pastas. Expanding the...  Read More

Soup is on the menu year round in San Francisco, a place that can stay in the high 50's for much of August. If you find yourself in downtown San Francisco on one of those days when it feels like the wind and fog are barreling right through you,...  Read More

If you want an Asian restaurant with plenty of space and attentive service, Yamo's may not be for you. But if you'rw willing to sacrifice some of the atmospheric frills that accompany most residents for an excellent, thoughtful meal, then try...  Read More

Rosamunde Sausage Grill
Photo courtesy of used in book.

Within this small, bright eatery, you'll find some of the city's best sausages. Choose from kielbasa, knockwurst, Italian, chicken or weisswurst, or live boldly by sampling wild boar with chutney or smoked duck with figs. The variety is...  Read More

Cole Valley
Park Chow

Constantly bustling, this restaurant along the southern edge of Golden Gate Park offers a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. It also dishes up top-quality Italian food, friendly service, and great prices. A favorite with both locals and visitors, it has...  Read More


"Life is complicated enough... so a simple, affordable meal like grilled cheese and soup is an easy way to make people happy." So says the founder of "The Melt," Jonathan Kaplan, who also invented the Flip phone. The first "Melt" opened in 2011...  Read More

At first glance, San Francisco's Hi Lo BBQ seems like just another addition to the restaurant-crazed Mission District, which sees 'Grand Openings' on a regular basis. But if you take the time to look- and smell - a bit more closely, you'll find...  Read More

Tommy's Joynt opened on the corner of Geary and Van Ness (a.k.a. Route 101) back in 1947 with budget prices and a strong dedication to overflowing carnivorous sandwiches and entrees of pulled pork, oxtails, and spareribs. Luckily, things haven't...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom