The big red bridge, the temperate weather year-round, that windy road.
San Francisco already has a lot going for it, but the food is one of the main reasons it is always catapulted to the top of the list of awesome cities to visit.
Guide books have their standard (er, boring) dining recommendations, but the joints truly worth visiting are those local favorites. After all, getting the inside scoop from a resident is a great way to get a feel of what it means to live in the city.
Lucky for you, we happen to know of five haunts that locals crave, and they’ll definitely leave a really good taste in your mouth.
A salad made with tea leaves, fried yellow beans and tomatoes? Granted, it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re wondering what to have for lunch, but one taste will make you an instant convert. Burmese food is reminiscent of the flavors of India, Thailand and China, so you really can’t go wrong. And even though the Tea Leaf Salad has been featured on the Food Network, locals still try to keep this place on the down low. (309 Clement St., 415- 387-2147)
For Asian cuisine with a sleek and modern twist, Slanted Door debunks every image of what a Vietnamese restaurant should look like. Stunning views of the bay served up with haute cuisine may ruin Vietnamese takeout for the rest of your life. The spring rolls are a must, and other highlights like the pan-seared scallops and Niman Ranch short ribs will leave you in Far East heaven. (1 Ferry Building #3, 415-861-0832)
There’s a reason why on weekend mornings you see lines out the door of The Grove’s three city locations. The breakfast menu is superb and vast, offering plenty of options. The popular breakfast sandwich with eggs, applewood bacon, sharp cheddar, arugula and avocado…enough said. (690 Mission St., 415-957-0558; 301 Hayes St., 415-624-3953; 2016 Fillmore St., 415-474-1419)
It may be well-known among some tourists, but the straightforward, consistently delicious food is why it always gets top billing from locals. Signature dishes, such as the roasted chicken with warm bread salad, is enough to keep coming back for more. Oh, and don’t forget to try the shoestring potatoes. (1658 Market St., 415-552-2522)
Seekers of Mexican cuisine don’t need to look further than this authentic mainstay in the Castro neighborhood. The burritos stuffed with delicious fillings — take your pick of chicken, steak, fish or shrimp — make for a very filling and hearty meal. La Tortilla also offers tacos, quesadillas and even breakfast tacos for those who want to kick off their day with a lot of spice. Muy delicioso. (495 Castro St., 415-861-3990)
Know a place in San Fran that Fodor’s doesn’t? Don’t be shy about it. Give credit where credit’s due, and tell us.