Expanding Mission: Best restaurants in San Francisco's hottest 'hood

Finding the "perfect" meal in San Francisco can feel like Mission Impossible. Who knew so many food options could be squashed into forty-nine square miles? If you're tired of climbing the hills of North Beach or pressing through the crowds of Chinatown, head to the unofficial "Foodie Central" of San Francisco: the Mission District.

Although it's renowned for its Latino dishes, a new wave of foodie fanatics have opened up the most popular restaurants the city has to offer. In fact, the neighborhood has become so popular for new restaurants that the city council recently considered changing zoning laws to allow restaurants to open on the second floor of buildings.

The best buzz for food is definitely in the Mission, with classics like La Tacqueria still going strong, as well as overlooked gems like Yamo finally getting their just desserts (so to speak.)

Before dining, your appetizer should be walking up and down the hippest runway of the Mission, Valencia Street, where some of the most popular restaurants have opened. The Mission is mostly flat and gets more sun than any other neighborhood in San Francisco, so start your dinner search mid-afternoon, giving you plenty of time for Happy Hour sangria and soaking up the eclectic atmosphere of this vibrant community. 



You could walk right past 2234 Mission Street and not think twice that you're passing one of the most popular restaurants in the city. And not just best Chinese restaurants outside of Chinatown, best restaurants, period. So good that head chef...  Read More



If you want to experience the cutting edge of California cuisine with your steak, Lolinda is the best place to capture that avant-garde spirit. Situated in the red-hot Mission district, where new and inventive restaurants seem to pop open...  Read More



While Foreign Cinema's misleading moniker may seem a better fit for a movie theater than an oyster bar, this restaurant's real attraction is their Mediterranean-inspired menu and outstanding oysters. They do, in fact, offer film showings in the...  Read More



If you believe the most successful plan is a simple one, Flour and Water might just be the spot for you. The name says it all; Chef Thomas McNaughton is serious about the flour and water that goes into his many different kinds of pasta, pasta...  Read More



Loló restaurant is a beloved Mission District institution. The restaurant is family-owned and operated by Executive Chef Jorge Martínez, his wife Lorena Zertuche and General Manager Juan Carlos Ruelas. Loló's bright and vibrant interior,...  Read More

DOSA on Valencia


Dosa provides some of the finest authentic Indian Cuisine in San Francisco. The restaurant derives its name from its specialty dish, the dosa, which is similar to a crepe, it is made from rice & lentils (no wheat) and served with a variety...  Read More



Owners and partners Tim and Erin Archuleta have put their heart and soul into this small, popular sushi restaurant. Since opening, ICHI Sushi has won Best of the Bay in five outlets, was named one of Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Guide 2013's Top...  Read More



The Mission is known for its cheap but excellent Mexican food (see: La Tacqueria). Yamo keeps the price low but switches the cuisine by going east, as in Far East, as in Burma. If you like hole-in-the-wall bars, then you'll like the atmosphere...  Read More



At La Taqueria, you'll not only get a great Mexican meal, but you'll save a little cash too! The menu specializes in burritos, tacos, and quesadillas served with beef, pork, sausage, or chicken. Carne asada comes highly praised, and chorizo...  Read More

Photo courtesy of used in book.


Simplicity and authenticity reign at this small, popular restaurant. Zinc tabletops and exotic hardwoods bear this out, as does the incomparable Italian fare with its top-notch ingredients. Treat yourself with grilled calamari salad, braised...  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