The Best Places to Eat and Drink near San Francisco’s Union Square!

I have been lucky to work in Union Square for about ten months now and even luckier to have friends and a husband that will explore and eat and drink all the things with me! Below are a few of my places broken down by type of cuisine or bar! Let me know what I’ve missed!

American:

  • Hops and Hominy: This place is hidden down a little alleyway but so worth the extra eye! You have to try their Macaroni and Cheese, Fried Oysters and Fried Chicken!
  • Daily Grill: This is very, very close to the center of the square and the type of place that has a large menu so there is something for everyone! The place is also MASSIVE so it’s great if you have a really large group! I’ve enjoyed the calamari, Turkey Club and Chicken Pot Pie.

Appetizers and Bar Snacks:

  • Golden Gate Taproom: This place has the regular bar menu you would expect but the best part is the atmosphere! It’s usually pretty busy, any and all sports games are always on and they have games! You can always find me snacking on nachos and playing Skeeball!

  • Jasper’s Corner Tap and Kitchen: This place is great for appetizers because…POUTINE! I sincerely adore poutine so this is a go to for me if I need a good drink and a snack for dinner later on.

Beer Bar:

  • Hogwash: A great place on Sutter St. that is usually pretty busy and remember to order at the bar! They have a large beer list and a great list of simple food like sausages and salads. I am a huge fan of the beet salad and the pretzel roll!

  • Mikkeller Bar: This place an extensive list of their own brews and beers from other local and national breweries. They have seasonal menus which is nice to try different things and right now, the summer menu has a delicious burrata appetizer and a really fresh tasting falafel plate!

Breakfast for the Weekday:

  • Mr. Holmes Bakehouse: Oh myyyy goooooness. Everything is good. It’s just amazing. I have never had anything I didn’t absolutely love. If I HAD to choose a favorite it would be the croissant with poached pears and lemon verbena cream. UGHHH.
  • Farm:Table: This place is tiny so if you don’t find a seat, just order and check on it intermittently or you will lose your mind. They have a small menu but it is all made very well. I love their quiche and their tarts with mascarpone cheese and fruit!

Brunch for the Weekend:

  • Brenda’s French Soul Food: BEIGNETS!!! Give me allll of the beignets!  and that’s easy because they have a sampler! You’ll just be in heaven. Start with those and share them with your table (Or shove them in your pockets and save them all for yourself) then fill yourself with some mimosas and shrimp and grits or a fabulous tofu hash!
  • Trace: This restaurant is inside the W Hotel. I suggest the ever changing Avocado Toast or Breakfast Pizza! This place is kind of bougie so it’s a really fun way to cap off your vacation or start your Saturday shopping spree!

Craft Cocktails:

  • Pacific Cocktail Haven: Don’t let how packed this place looks deter you from going in! The bartenders are amazing and give incredibly attentive service even to those standing in the back. Their menu is organized by base liquor which makes my life so much easier. This is absolutely worth a try and much better than a overpriced and mediocre hotel bar you may accidentally stumble into!
  • Benjamin Cooper: Keep an eye out because this place is super easy to miss! Look for the white door on Mason. It’s small so not ideal for big groups but ideal if you aren’t looking for big groups (me!) I love the “All in the Wrist” (sign me up for anything with elderflower) with some fresh oysters!

Dessert:

  • Beard Papas: This is a chain that has a few places all over the Bay Area and have the most delightful cream puffs! It’s a great afternoon snack when you need something sweet or an awesome dessert for a grab and go option! More shopping time! You can never o wrong with the original vanilla but I have to say that I have a mildly unhealthy obsession with the S’mores Puff…
  • Ghiradelli Chocolate: Ghiradelli Chocolate just tastes better in San Francisco, I don’t care who you are. If you don’t want to fight even mooooore crowds at Ghiradelli Square, just pop into the Westfield Shopping Center and get your sugar fix!

Diner Food:

  • Lori’s Diner: Quintessential Diner Food and open 24/7! They’ve got the booths, milkshakes, 50’s décor, Chicken Tenders, Classic Breakfast…exactly what you are looking for from an old school diner!
  • Café Venue: This is a more modern diner but the same type of options! There’s always delicious specials, salads, sandwiches, fresh juices, made to order pasta and, my husbands favorite, chorizo breakfast burritos!

Dinner with a View:

  • Top of the Mark: I went to Top of the Mark before we even moved to the Bay Area and absolutely fell in love. It’s the top floor of the Mark Hopkins (Top of the Mark…get it…?) and has such an amazing view! It makes you feel all fancy to be sipping a glass of sparkling rose, snacking on some caviar or crab nachos. This is a must for a special occasion! If you do not have a reservation, make sure to get there right when (or before!) they open at 4:30 so you can get a seat. The elevators are small and they are accommodating hotel guests so it can take a bit to actually get up there.
  • Leatherneck Steakhouse: This Place is definitely a hidden gem! It’s on the top floor of the Marines’ Memorial Club and open to the public! It’s one of the best views I’ve seen. They have a menu that you would expect from a SF steakhouse, I’m in love with the salads or the mussels!

Farm to Table:

  • Homage: Another little hidden gem down an alleyway that focuses on really quality ingredients and is always highlighting a local farm that you can read about on the menu. I’ve had an incredible garlic soup and the Trout Tartine Toast is soooo amazing!
  • Blue Stem Brasserie: This is another place I’ve been going to long before we moved to San Francisco since we always stayed in the Marriott Marquis. Always go for one of their signature cocktails, a glass of champagne, and their roasted chicken!

Healthy and Juice Bars:

  • Native Co.: This place gets PACKED for weekday lunch so if you want to try it, either go a bit before or a bit after the lunch hour if you aren’t looking to wait. They focus on healthy eats with a lot of vegetarian and vegan options. They have a mix of order and wait for it while it’s made and grab and go items. I need to branch out but I’m so obsessed with the quinoa sushi below!
  • Juice Shop: This is a little place close to the Financial District that is just a walk up stand. They have the cutest short and chubby glass bottles for their juice and you get a credit on your next juice if you bring them back! They taste so incredibly fresh and if you aren’t really sure what you like in a juice, they totally take their time and go through some options with you!

Italian:

  • Cesario’s: There’s only one Italian place I have found in Union Square that I would reccomment and that is Cesarios’s on Sutter and Mason. It tastes very fresh, they have fabulous specials (Lobster Ravioli is a common one and delicious!) and the staff is great! The owner is always there and happy to make sure your meal is delicious and you leave happy! It’s also affordable which can sometimes be hard to find in this area.

Mexican:

  • Chisme: I think this might be on my all time Top 3 Mexican places to be completely honest. It’s an adorable little place with a super fun honey bear mural (you’ll know when you get there) and have absolutely DELICIOUS food. They have some great vegetarian and vegan options, too!

  • Colibri Mexican Bistro: First off, you have to start with the guacamole and a margarita! It is one of the best guacs I have ever had. While snacking and sipping, browse the unique menu for things like cheese stuffed prawns wrapped in bacon or a filet mignon atop a stuffed ancho chile with spinach and chipotle sauce. My personal favorites are the tortilla soup and cheese enchiladas!

Pizza:

  • Uncle Vito’s Pizza: Right on the Cable Car Line and everyone’s favorite pizza around us! Right up the hill, great price, and never had something I didn’t like. It’s not your fancy brick oven sit down with a glass of wine restaurant. It’s a true old school get your pizza, chow down and get on with your fabulous night kind of place. They also deliver!
  • Montesacro Pinseria- Enoteca: Ughhhh this place is sooooo delicious! Pinsa, a ‘modern take on artisanal flatbread’, pays homage to Roman cooking and oh my goodness it is so delicious. My test for a real Italian pizza restaurant is a Margherita and there’s is fabulous! They have a HUGE selection of cheese and salumi. It is a must go!

Wine Bar:

  • Eno Wine Bar: There aren’t maaaany wine bars I don’t like but Eno really is fantastic. They have fabulous and comfy seating options with a amazing fireplace and a really high end wine menu (our Veuve below!) and a great selection of cheese and charcuterie. It’s directly off the center of the square so it’s not too much of a hike if you don’t want to trek too far away from the big stores!

  • Resolute: While Eno is very central, Resplute is a little bit further but so worth it. They have a great (and long!) happy hour and, of course, cheeeeese!! IF you are looking for more than just a cheese board, make sure to try the Tarte Flambee, a super creamy pizza like thing, or the Artichoke and Pesto Pizza!  They even had an orange wine my girlfriend tried and loved it! It’s worth the walk to see a bit more of SF and try some different wines you usually couldn’t find.

What are some of your favorite Union Square eats?! I’d love to hear and try out some new places!

Love, Chels

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