Where should you eat before you hit up a show at The Fillmore, Slim’s or The Chapel? We got you.
The Chapel (Valencia at 19th Street)
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Well, duh. It’s not like we’re telling you something new on this one, but it is super convenient and directly around the corner from the venue. Danny Bowien knows what’s up at his original outpost of MC, and you can enjoy favorites like the Chongqing chicken wings, thrice-cooked bacon, and rice cakes, or even the tingly lamb face noodle soup. Who doesn’t love a good tingle?
2234 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110
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Delfina is one of our go to pizza joints, and despite the wait time, we’re confident in saying that their dough is usually worth it. Salsiccia is our pie of choice; topped with fennel flecked sausage, red peppers and mozzarella. Also, if you can handle more meeeeeats, order the Neapolitan meatballs in sugo as an appetizer.
3621 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94110
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Three letters for you, friends. XLB. Go ahead and order at least one basket of Xiao Long Bao soup dumplings as soon as you arrive. We definitely recommend coming with crew - mainly because then you can order up multiple dishes and try everything from Korean rice cakes, "dope ass" chicken wings, cumin lamb noodles, and market clams.
3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
The Fillmore (Geary at Fillmore)
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Your best bet is hitting up SBP right around opening, putting your name down for a table closer to showtime, and then hitting a bar in the hood to keep you occupied for an hour or so. This is another spot where going with friends is always better. That way, you can order up all the best dishes like their pancakes, quail, dumplings and of course, the State Bird.
1529 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 94115
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Just opened next door (literally) to State Bird, this is another awesome option if you are heading to a show at The Fillmore. The catch here, is unlike its neighbor, you’re not going to snag a walk-in table by lining up outside around opening. So book a table on OpenTable and then enjoy their family style Asian-influenced seasonal eats.
1525 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 94115
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Sister to The Slanted Door down by the Embarcadero, this Pac Heights neighborhood spot is less crowded with tourists and still has the famous dishes like shaking beef and Dungeness crab noodles. They also serve wine on tap. On tap, people!
2232 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94115
Great American Music Hall (O’Farrell between Polk and Larkin)
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Huxley is a pretty new spot, so it may not be on your radar yet, especially thanks to its Loin’ location, but you should change that. This little gem is pushing out some delicious food and unpretentious small plates and dishes like short rib pie. Short rib pie!
846 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94109
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Not your average Thai joint, Lers Ros has a couple of locations through the city but honestly we think their slightly more gritty, Tenderloin location actually pumps out the best food of the bunch. Order a few of their Isaan-style dishes, spiked with serious heat, like larb, som tum and curries, and more.
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Here's what you need to order: #25, DRY, with a mix of egg and rice noodles and a fried egg on top. This dish, coined as "dry pho" has squid, shrimp, ground pork, fish cake on top of the noodles, with a side of "crack sauce" and steaming hot broth. The how-to here; pour over the crack sauce and stir through, including breaking the yolk of the egg, then pour just enough broth over the top to get things moving. Boom.
701 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA 94109
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Polk may have the reputation for being a little on the grimey side, but it also houses the infamous Cajun/Creole mainstay, Brenda’s. DO go early, because there’s usually a wait, and DO order your weight in crawfish beignets. Also, try the favorites like fried chicken and house made biscuits.
652 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Davies Symphony Hall (Van Ness at Grove)
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The first time we dined at Alta CA we fell hard for their smoked pork trotter with a perfectly slow cooked egg. Then, we went back for dinner and ordered almost everything on the menu, so suffice to say we really dig this spot. For those who love their chiccarones, try the house made beef tendon puffs. Yes, it sounds a little weird but these things are like crack.
1420 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102
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French food is sexy again and this is the place to be if you are into chowing down on some super fresh raw bar items and classics like steak tartare, marrow, hearty casseroles, and confits. They also do a solid burger too, so if you like your meeeeeats between buns, get their "fully dressed" hamburger.
451 Gough St., San Francisco, California 94102
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Their menu may be pretty simple, but this Greek fast casual sandwich spot knows their sh*t. Incredible spit roasted meats from organic farms, wrapped in pita and laced with traditional flavors like harissa spiked yogurt, pickled onions, and Mizithra cheese. If you’re not trying to carb load (why the hell not?) then you can get your choice of Greek meat in a salad version instead.
517 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Slim's (11th Street between Folsom and Harrison)
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This place is a favorite for us when we hit up SOMA and with some of the best bartenders in the city, we’d first recommend ordering a cocktail while you peruse the menu. Their whole concept is about being as sustainable and conscious as possible and they’re also one of the only certified "green" restaurants in the city. All their food is stellar, but if you can, while in season, order the roasted Dungeness Crab.
355 11th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
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Down the street from Bar Agricole is another cocktail centric spot with a fun spin on bar food, taking inspiration from The Rolling Stones and the French villa where they recorded "Exile on Main Street." While we’re not sure we’re convinced by a Southern France pizza, we would like the Kung Fu tacos with Asian-braised duck, and we sure as freaking hell want the steak au poivre poutine.
316 11th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
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BBQ fans: this little hole in the wall on a back street in SOMA is pumping out a mix of finger lickin’ favorites. Don't miss the Coca Cola-basted smoked brisket, and also try the St, Louis style ribs, sweet tea BBQ chicke, and cathead biscuits, which are literally the size of a cat head. For dessert they pay homage to the King, with a peanut butter, banana and bacon cookie.
1665 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103
The Independent (Divisadero at Hayes)
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While you may know about this crew after seeing them at the farmers market selling their meats and dogs, they have a brick and mortar spot with one of the area’s oldest wood-fire bbq pits. A massive meaty menu hits all the right points and we’re too down for their smoked ribs. If you’re hitting the show with a few in tow, go ahead and order "The Presidential" which gets you ALL the meats, ALL the sides and ALL the fixin's. That’s our kind of pre-show meal.
705 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117
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There's always a wait at Nopa, so plan ahead and book a reservation that’ll help you get eating incredible food a whole lot sooner. Last time we were there we devoured a massive NY Strip, grilled little gems, romesco, and their crunchy fries dipped in the best aioli ever.
560 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117
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Hit this neighborhood spot if you're in the mood for damn good Neapolitan style thin-crust pizza, house-made pasta, roasted meats, and other solid Italian-inspired dishes. The entire dining room is just for walk ins, so you can grab a spot for a casual dinner before the show. If you have a larger group, give them a call and you can reserve a table in the patio.
311 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117