Coming out to SF for the high point of the Apple annual calendar? Checking out the main event, AltConf, or Layers? Feel like checking out some food and drink that’s within spitting distance of Moscone, but less likely to be mobbed? We’ve got you covered.
This list is sorted into the four primary meals of the day: Coffee, Lunch, Drinks, and Dinner. We kept our recommendations for coffee and lunch close to home, but you should venture farther afield after each day’s conferencing for better food and drink.
If you’re interested in more general recommendations around the city (and in NYC, Chicago, and Denver) download the Infatuation app, coded by the very developer who’s writing up these restaurant picks.
“The Apple of coffee,” as it were. These caffeine wizards are taking over the world, but, for now, their closest outpost is a few blocks from Moscone. It’s worth the walk — we recommend a New Orleans cold brew.
Two floors of artisanal mayhem. You’ve always had an idealized vision of what an SF coffee shop might be like? This is it. The ratio of Macbook Airs to patrons is near 1:1.
The best choice in close proximity, if you must.
Just a few blocks down, under the bridge, lies a paean to guacamole tacos and rare craft brews. It’s an awesome break from whatever cafeteria action is being served inside the conference, and while not really SF-style Mexican, San Diego-style will do in a pinch. The play is the “zapato,” a pressed cheesy burrito-like thing. You’ll love it.
Look, this is a bit of a walk, but they serve a giant brisket/corned beef/salami sandwich that’s called the “$$$.” Need we say more?
But perhaps giant mountains of meat are not your style. How about giant mountains of...KALE? Welcome to California, my friends. And there’s small batch fancy ice cream for dessert.
This is the Shake Shack of San Francisco, in that it’s the best more- expensive-not-quite-as-good In-N-Out knockoff you’re likely to find. Still tasty, though.
If you’re feeling the munchies from a “mid-conference unwinding session” or just a little hung over, the insane Korean-Mexican-Hawaiian action at HRD will get you over the hump. Kimchi burritos? Pork over rice? Loco Moco? It’s all happening.
This is more of an upscale cocktail bar than a brews-with-new-friends joint, but the drinks are top caliber (especially if you’re down with brandies), and the cured meats are best-in-class.
While Novela can feel a little corporate, we recommend you venture into foreign territory for one reason, and one reason alone: the punches. The six punches can be sampled in batches of three, so if you go with a friend, you can have them all. This is one of the best drink deals in town.
Whiskey! Get your Ron Burgundy game on just a few blocks north of Market. This should be far enough away to avoid the conference crush, and if you go late, you can sip well into the night.
If you’re a beer maven, you have to make the pilgrimage. The food is fine, but the brew selection is unmatched.
A solid selection of 21st’s finest, with a fun bar scene. Don’t get suckered in to getting the Hell or High Watermelon, though, it’s a gimmick.
A little ways down charmless Folsom lies a nice wine-beer-ceviche-taco jam, with a patio. Should be relatively easy to get into and a good place to hang for a while.
A quality pizza joint just a hop from Moscone, with drinks and soft-serve to match. This is Neapolitan-style, not thin-and-foldable, so set the visiting New Yorker’s expectations in advance to minimize carping.
Just a solid all-around restaurant. No one you take here will not have a good time, particularly if they order the roast chicken or the burger.
A brand-new “Jersey-style” pizza and pasta joint that’s been stirring up positive vibes. If you’re looking to try something on the leading edge, check it out.
Meats! Meats meats meats. The “ham” burger is killer, as are any and all of the other red meat options. Go here to feel like the carnivore you are.
These last two restaurants are a little further afield, but worth the walk or cheapo-uber. Huxley is a great place to dine on the most quintessentially-Californian dish of them all: avocado toast with uni. Good for solo dining or a date, if you’re in the mood.
Like Huxley, a bit of a trek, but well worth the effort. Delicious Hawaiian concoctions abound in a well-lit, fun setting. You’ll have a good time if you make it out here after a heavy day of learning about new APIs. The cocktails will go down...swiftly. See what we did there? Good one.