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SFGuide

The Best Things We Ate This Week

A running list of the best dishes we’ve had recently.

Welcome to The Best Things We Ate This Week. This guide is filled with all the dishes you need to have on your table, whether you’re dining out at a new San Francisco hot spot or a tried-and-true gem. Go forth, scroll through, and use this for reference the next time you’re deciding where to eat next.

THE DISHES

photo credit: Julia Chen

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Kahnfections

$$$$

3321 20th St, San Francisco
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Dish: Biscuit sandwich

Simplicity is the key to a successful biscuit sandwich (you can quote us on that). And the version coming out of Kahnfections in the Mission understands this perfectly. The bacon is thick, and balanced out by a swath of garlic aioli. Creamy avocado adds richness. And most importantly, the golden-brown biscuit is buttery without being so heavy you’ll want to send an apology text to your cardiologist. 

Dish: Lumpia

Breadbelly deserves all the praise for their sweet things, from the kaya toast and mac-nut croissant tarts to the Basque-style burnt cheesecake. But the Asian-inspired bakery in the Richmond also nails the savory dishes with ease. Like the lumpia, a special that’s not always on the menu. There’s a delicate crunch to every bite, and the pork and shrimp filling is tender. You might be compelled to throw back the sweet chili sauce like a shot—the dip is good enough to eat on its own. We won’t stop you. 

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Dish: Panuchos

At this new-ish wine bar from the Taqueria Los Mayas team, you can pair Mexican wines with Yucatecan dishes like ceviche and chicken drenched in mole. The panuchos alone are reason enough to get to this Richmond spot. The black bean-filled tortilla is crispy and light. And while there are tons of topping options like turkey, carne asada, and nopales, getting yours with cochinita pibil is a requirement—the slow-roasted pork is a runaway hit balanced out with tangy pickled onions. Their panuchos are what you'll want to devour during your next first date or catch-up with a friend you haven’t seen in months. 

Dish: Tori paitan ramen

Mensho’s line is a permanent sidewalk fixture. But for next-level ramen, we’ll gladly wait. Their classic tori paitan will single-handedly send you to a dimension where everyone worships chickens. The noodles are thick and have the perfect amount of chew to them. Tender strips of chashu add another level of umami to every bite. And the whole thing gets a crunch from curled fried burdock root. The next time a flawless bowl of noodle soup calls to you, head over and get in line.

Dish: Veggie pizza

One reason to actually look forward to Mondays? It’s the only night of the week this coffee shop in NoPa serves phenomenal sourdough pies (5-8pm). On our latest visit to The Mill, we had a vegetable pizza topped with thick chunks of sweet potatoes and pumpkin and brown butter yogurt sauce swirls. Devouring it felt like the edible equivalent of jumping into a pile of crunchy autumn leaves. Whether you’re swinging by for a slice or going in on a whole pie (they’re nearly the size of a car tire), know that a trip here will quickly become your favorite way to make Mondays a little less worse.

photo credit: Tiago Russo

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Chezchez

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Dish: Chezchez potatoes

On paper, the potato puffs from this aperitif-focused cocktail bar in the Mission might look boring. They’re not. One taste of the bite-sized, golden-brown beauties is all it takes for you to start debating whether or not to get a stick-and-poke tattoo of the dish on your inner thigh. They’ve got the delicate quality of freshly fried donuts, and are so light on the inside you’ll feel like you’re sinking your teeth into a cloud. And the french onion ranch that comes on the side will make you want to slather it on every other potato you consume in the near future. Enjoying a bowl of these at one of their heated outdoor tables with a negroni slushy is an ideal way to kill time before dinner nearby.

Dish: Hakata tonkotsu

At Marufuku, rich ramen broth hits all your senses like an intensely porky flavor bomb. Combined with razor-thin noodles and chashu that practically dissolves in your mouth, these steaming bowls make it clear why the casual walk-in-only Japantown spot is always packed with people waiting for a turn to get one. A bowl to focus on (after you’ve braved the line), is their house hakata tonkotsu. It’s a simple, just-right bowl of ramen—there aren’t too many toppings to distract from the creamy soup, which always shines front and center.

Dish: Imperial rolls

Simply put, the imperial rolls from Tú Lan, the Mid-Market Vietnamese spot, are legendary. They’re always fried to a perfect golden brown, the pork filling is well-seasoned, and the audible crunch a roll makes when you bite into one is our preferred ASMR. We wouldn’t be surprised if we found out some kind of magic fairy dust was sprinkled into each one. Plus, at $3 each, they’re a pretty cost-efficient way to feel better about our adult acne, the coffee we just spilled on our white shirt (again), or whatever new dumpster fire has just been unleashed in the world. 

Dish: So-Cal breakfast burrito

The breakfast burrito from Bodega in North Beach is one of the city’s worst-kept secrets since they usually sell out within a couple of hours. But that’s all the more reason to get up before 9am on a Saturday and head over to this wine bar for the handheld stunner—it’s loaded with eggs, perfectly ripe slices of avocado, chorizo, and potatoes so crispy you can practically hear the crunch from a block away. Take your burrito and housemade salsa to Washington Square and enjoy it all in the sun as you contemplate becoming a morning person.    

Dish: Dropped a banh on mie

Stopping by Ham & Cheese Deli always puts us in a great mood. The outside is painted bright yellow and blue, arcade games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are inside, and rainbow and Pac-Man decals cover the walls. But the real day-maker at this lunch spot is their creatively named (and super flavorful) sandwiches. We love the Dropped A Banh On Mie loaded with smoked chicken, rich pâté, and spicy pickled carrots. It’s pressed until toasty and oozing with creamy lemon pepper mayo. Grab an Arnold Palmer or fresh orange juice to go with it, and feel better about taking on the rest of your day from one of the sidewalk tables. 

Dish: Fettuccine all’amatriciana

Drinking wine and eating some pasta in the presence of your own company is one of life’s greatest pleasures. You don’t have to share your noodles with anyone, and can ponder all the ways you’ll furnish your imaginary villa in the countryside in peace. One great place for this carb-y solo date is Corks. The lowkey spot in the Richmond has shelves full of Italian wine, and house-made pasta, like the fettuccine all'amatriciana. It has caramelized guanciale chunks, slick red onions, and bell peppers for added sweetness, and is topped with fresh parmesan. And even though that villa might very much be an unattainable dream, the amatriciana will always be here for you.

Dish: Tan tan noodles

Rain, shine, muggy days that has everyone starting conversations with “how strange is this weather?”—you’ll want to get to this Chinese noodle house on Kearny Street for noodle options galore. We recently turned to the tan tan noodles in soup and never looked back. The broth is nutty and rich. Wheat noodles are abundant. And devouring this deep bowl of comfort will leave a tingly, numbing sensation in your mouth. Grab this dish whenever “quick and easy” is your day’s dining energy. 

Dish: Stir-fried rice cakes

This casual Shanghainese spot just opened a second outpost in Duboce Triangle, meaning there’s another place to get their fantastic stir-fried rice cakes—the standout of our recent meal. The dish is loaded up with tender chunks of pork, saucy cabbage, and rice cakes that have just the right chewy-to-crispy ratio. They flew off the plate so fast we highly considered ordering another round. Instead we settled on planning to come back for more next week. 

Dish: Diamond Hts sandwich

When our eyes start to glaze over in the middle of a workday, we fixate on getting a sandwich—specifically on dutch crunch, the best form of a pick-me-up. The pressing urge for one leads us to Rhea’s Market & Deli in the Mission, the corner store that sells hefty sandwiches on, you guessed it, pillowy soft dutch crunch rolls. One we love is the Diamond Hts loaded with turkey, bacon, and avocado, plus generous swaths of garlic aioli, barbecue sauce, and honey Dijon that adds the right amount of sweetness. Throw in a bag of chips and a cold drink from the fridge for an ideal midday boost. 

Dish: King shrimp wrapped with kadaif 

The butter-poached shrimp from Taksim, the high-end Turkish restaurant in SoMa by the Lokma people, is crunchy, creamy, sweet, sticky, and screams “get me in your mouth now” (figuratively, of course). For something deceptively simple, the two firm yet juicy king shrimps swaddled in finely shredded filo dough is an appetizer with many flavors and textures. They’re also just a ton of fun to eat. Hold the shrimp by the tail and sweep up the sweet sticky pomegranate molasses with your shellfish broom before diving the whole thing into the creamy, hot red muhammara.

Dish: Macaroni & cheese

These days, we’re casually dropping into Kowbird, the West Oakland counter-service spot for perfectly juicy fried chicken sandwiches—and looking forward to the macaroni and cheese. The chewy corkscrew pasta has a slightly crispy crust of multiple cheeses, and is wonderfully stringy when you pull bites of it out with a fork. It’s also creamy, not too heavy, and arrives steaming in the takeout cup. Get it with the slightly-sweet Southern Bird stuffed with sweet pickles and herbed mayo, and don’t look back. 

Dish: Duck leg confit

At Routier, the French-ish restaurant in Lower Pacific Heights, seasonal dishes are served on charming vintage floral plates and wine hailing from France and California is poured all night long. We fell hard for the duck leg confit on a recent visit. The stunner of a dish came with a saucy pool of lentils and jammy onions, and was dotted with bright red strawberries that provided a refreshing tang. And the meat itself was slow-roasted with the care we imagine Timothée Chalamet would give to his nightly gua sha routine—crispy on the outside and slide-off-the-bone tender inside, and so soft we didn’t even need a knife to cut our little bites. The menu changes frequently, so get here soon so you don’t miss this one.

Dish: Tlayuda with shredded beef

Much like free samples at Costco or ginger ale on a plane, a trip to Donaji is something we’ll always say yes to. This Mission restaurant has brightly colored walls and a relaxed energy that makes you want to stay a while—plus fantastic Oaxacan dishes that keep us coming back. The highlight on our most recent visit was the tlayuda, which was loaded with refried beans, queso, shredded beef, and slices of avocado fanned out like a pinwheel. The crunchy, 11-inch tortilla held up the toppings beautifully, and every bite was like a never-ending parade of flavor and texture. This is a tlayuda we’re currently planning our weekend around, and we recommend you do the same. 

Dish: Forbidden fruit pizza

A pizza is only as good as its crust, a made-up mantra we were especially reminded of after a meal at Pizzahacker in Bernal Heights. The casual spot nails the stretch factor in their tangy sourdough crusts. Despite being gorgeously charred, they’re just the right amount of chewy, with air bubbles you can stick a finger in. The pie that we fell in love with on a recent visit was the Forbidden Fruit, which is basically a Hawaiian pizza. The sauce has a slight tang and is balanced out nicely by sweet chunks of pineapple and jalapeños. It’s exactly what we want to be eating on midweek date nights, catch-ups with friends, or any other occasion that calls for fantastic pizzas.

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