The Best Restaurants In The Richmond

From dim sum spots and Russian bakeries to a decades-old Burmese institution, these are our favorite places to eat in this very big neighborhood.
The Best Restaurants In The Richmond image

photo credit: Melissa Zink

The Richmond is a huge neighborhood. So naturally, there’s also a huge volume of incredible restaurants—right alongside all the extra fog, gorgeous landmarks, and Sea Cliff mansions we Zillow-stalk in our spare time. The avenues are home to a pocket of cafes and markets known as Little Russia, dim sum bakeries with lines down the block, and a concentration of the best Burmese restaurants in the city. There are so many options your brain might spin—and then command you to eat everything, everywhere. Which is why we narrowed things down for you. Here are the best restaurants in the Richmond. 


photo credit: Erin Ng



$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysDate NightEating At The Bar
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Lily will make you feel like you’ve jumped up a tax bracket or two. Vietnamese iced coffee is adorned with a dense salted duck egg foam layer, and the only phở on the menu is finished with fatty roasted bone marrow, because Lily is just luxe like that. The space is also red carpet-ready, so expect shiny leather banquettes, carved wooden ceiling panels, and a mural of an ancient Chinese scroll on the entire back wall. Eating here means feeling like an A-lister, from start to finish, whether you come for birthday dinners or anniversaries.

The croissants from Arsicault are the best in the city, full stop. Everyone knows it, as evidenced by the locals and many, many cyclists that line up down the block for one. They're caramelized on the bottom, have delicate, buttery layers, and will become the benchmark for every croissant you encounter in the future. You’re here for this almond croissant, but the swirly kouign amann and chocolate chip cookies loaded with chunks of dark chocolate should also be a priority. 

The city’s Little Russia, which is mostly in Central Richmond near the Holy Virgin Cathedral, is home to an abundance of Russian bakeries, delis, and restaurants. One to pin at the top of your eat-now list is Cinderella Bakery & Cafe. The counter-service spot keeps their place stocked with fantastic pelmeni, piroshkis, and housemade breads. Don’t skip the medovik, a layered honey cake that’s one highly effective way to get us out of bed in the morning.  

Pasta Supply Co is both a pasta shop and restaurant that serves a roster of excellent, simply prepared, sub-$18 bowls of noodles. Mafaldine is tossed in just butter, cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper, and silky pesto coats hand-cut maltagliata triangles. But don’t be deceived by the straightforwardness of it all—the high-quality housemade pasta and sauces make all the Barilla and Rao’s that fill your pantry look like child’s play. This walk-in only spot is built for laid-back dinners that don’t cost the equivalent of one PG&E bill. It’s especially useful when sloth-like energy makes you incapable of boiling the carbs you need. 

The scent of yakitori wafts out of this tiny izakaya off Clement, making the entire three-block radius smell like charred chicken. Let it draw you in—Moku Yakitori-Ya nails every grilled skewer on the lengthy menu, plus the deep-fried mochi and umami-packed takoyaki. This place is the size of a shoebox, yet is built for sake and beer-drenched dinners, casual date nights, and meals at the bar in front of the TV playing anime. 

My Tofu House is bean curd paradise. The low-key BYOB Korean spot has nine different versions of it with fillings ranging from dumplings and kimchi to pork and mushrooms. Each one is loaded with tofu that’s velvety and melts in your mouth. The homey touches of this spot also keep us coming back. You’re never rushed out of here, for one, and servers scoop fresh rice out of a stone pot tableside. The barbecue is also fantastic, especially the slightly sweet bulgogi and kal bi.  

You go to My Tofu House for homestyle Korean cooking. You go to Han Il Kwan to fill up on heaps of barbecue. This is where to gather your best people around a tabletop grill, and order the peppery, just-so-damn-good spicy pork on repeat. Complementing the meal is generously portioned banchan. Your table will look like an opulent banquet before the high-quality meats even arrive. While the grilled meats are of course the main event, it’s nice to round out your order with crispy skinned mandu and vegetable-packed japchae.

The people at the Laundromat know their way around the oven, so give everything at this pizza place by night and bagel joint by day your undivided attention. The pizzas are Sicilian-style (rectangular with a focaccia-like crust) and sturdy-bottomed, with garden-fresh toppings. While the bagels are golden, plump, and fabulous. On top of great carb-y things (and a Wednesday night smashburger you should pay attention to), this place also has a vinyl-and-retro-graphic-tee aesthetic we love. Warm lighting, Elmer Fudd-themed glassware, and a laid-back energy will make you grab some pét-nat and linger. 

According to our very accurate calculations, the dim sum specialties at this counter-service Chinese bakery are the size of a mini bowling ball. Meaty pork siu mai, huge fried sesame balls, and pork buns with jammy fillings draw crowds. Given the generous portions, you’ll walk out of here filled up, and for under $10. Service is also efficient, so don’t let the line deter you. Once to the front, pick from treats loaded in the pastry case or big metal steamers, and be on your way. Also, it’s cash only. 

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

$$$$Perfect For:BrunchBig Groups

Dragon Beaux is fancier than Good Luck Dim Sum and a sit-down situation. Purple booths are flanked by glowing gold pillars, and there’s cherry blossom wall art and a huge back room broken up with intricately carved panels. Even the dishes have a flair for the over-the-top, like the charcoal sponge cake rolls and rich squid ink-tinted black truffle xiao long bao. This place also does an all-you-can-eat hot pot for dinner. Getting the endless stream of shaved-to-order meats and harder-to-find proteins, like beef tendon and squid, next to vats of bubbling chili-packed broth, is our favorite antidote to any misty night.

Mandalay was the first Burmese restaurant to arrive in the city (1984), and judging by the crowds that pack this place for dinner and weekend lunch, it's still going strong. The short answer why: the sunshine yellow spot runs over with charm. There are hand-cut paper hearts everywhere, hanging umbrellas and ornaments, and leafy garlands wrapped around the ceiling beams. Adding to the cheery vibe is excellent food—like the coconutty ong no kaw soi, mango chicken, and an intensely nutty tea leaf salad, which doesn’t include lettuce, unlike other spots in town.  

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups

A group dinner at this DIY Thai charcoal barbecue spot is organized chaos, in the best way. Massive platters of pork shoulder, bacon, and seafood sizzle away over domed grills, surrounded by moats of bubbling pork broth. The space is constantly shrouded in a gray haze thanks to all the grilled meats, and you’ll have to yell just to be heard over the smoke alarm that’s occasionally set off. Everything gets gorgeously charred over glowing red embers, and the flavor of the broth gets more concentrated and umami-packed as it boils down during dinner. Also, prepare to consume your body weight in meat and soup. 

Dinner at this walk-in only spot feels like eating a meal in a friend’s (tiny) home. There are only four indoor tables, and a roving restaurant dog that keeps folks company while they wait—and there will be a wait. But it’s worth it, because the snappy, seasonal pizzas here will make you pledge your allegiance to thin crusts for the rest of time. Also get your hands on their flourless chocolate cake, which is dense and not too sweet. 

Wako is a kind-of-fancy sushi restaurant with range. Blow some cash on date night omakase ($165) or go more casual a la carte with their simple yet well-executed nigiri, handrolls, and maki. Don’t skip the uni-topped chawanmushi, which has creamy cod milt buried within it. The spot with wood accents and chic overheard lights could pass for an intimate museum cafe. It’s also never uncomfortably quiet, so feel free to debrief your midweek crisis in peace. 

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchQuick Eats

Our ideal day is staring lovingly at a gigantic tuna melt from Lou’s Cafe (on a fluffy dutch crunch roll, obviously), and then inhaling the entire thing in less than three minutes. The same goes for the rest of the standard deli sandwiches this counter-service spot turns out, like the turkey cranberry on sourdough or the Roma’s Club stacked with bacon and avocado chunks. Get here to spice up a weekday lunch, and always level your sandwich up with the glorious creamy special house sauce and salty-spicy jalapeño spread. 

There’d be a Pearl 6101 on the corner of every neighborhood in town if we had our way. The Richmond is lucky to have this place. The Mediterranean-ish bar and restaurant is the poster child for sexy date nights and “quick” catch-ups with friends that turn into extra-long meals with multiple rounds of cocktails. The globe lights are always dim and romantic, the leather booths are cushy, and the tall white walls make the dining room feel airy. The seasonal dishes alone are what you want on hand when you decide to stay for two more hours. Dishes rotate, but the rich white bolognese over silky handkerchief pasta and the chicory caesar covered with crispy fried prosciutto are permanent mainstays, and what we always come back for. 

At Cielito Lindo, the tortas are roughly the size of a tank. So you know coming to this counter-service Mexican spot is always the right call, especially for a meal that’s anything but meager. This place also turns out quesabirria that’s also substantial. The beef nearly bursts out of crispy-cheese-edged corn shells. And since this spot is always ensuring you walk away happy, there are breakfast burritos and solid Guanajuato-style enchiladas on the menu too.

Cantina Los Mayas makes the least-boring bar food in the entire city, let alone the Richmond. The Mexican wine bar (by the same people behind Taqueria Los Mayas) serves Yucatecan dishes that will become the main topic of conversation during any night here. Think panuchos crowned with juicy cochinita pibil, seafood skewers atop papaya, pineapple, and habanero sauce, and chicken absolutely covered in rich mole. Go to this not-so-stuffy spot for flirty dates or when your group needs drinks and a full-on meal. 

There’s always something new to try at Breadbelly since the menu changes often. That’s good news for you—everything from this counter-service Asian-inspired bakery and cafe deserves a national holiday. The kaya toast is a photogenic stunner, embellished with squiggles of just-sweet-enough coconut-pandan jam. And the macadamia nut croissant tart has beautiful caramelized edges. This place also does hefty char siu and egg salad sandwiches that you should blow up your weekend schedule to get to. 

Anyone with an aversion to the overly fussy, take note of Volcano Curry. The counter-service spot provides neighborhood fuel in the form of hefty Japanese curry plates. Each one comes with enough curry to fill a pool (it’s lava-like and full of curry-soaked carrot and potato cubes), plus your protein of choice, from perfectly fried pork katsu to the vegetarian options like eggplant and zucchini. Especially considering the portion sizes, the affordable prices feel straight out of 1999. Pop in for a quick, easy lunch or dinner, order a mini $3.99 spam sandwich flavor bomb to go with it, and keep your day moving.

photo credit: Lokma



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TV has Cheers reruns and the Richmond has Lokma. The Turkish spot is the destination for meet-ups and long meals. The den-like space with brick walls and window sills full of found glass, bird feeders, and plants in mismatched pots has a lot to do with it. Adding to the charm is a long list of mostly Mediterranean wines, and a stay-awhile-friendly service. We like dropping in for a glass, offloading our thoughts to a friend, and filling up on tomato-heavy manti, hearty karniyarik, and calamari.

Aziza is a Big SF Restaurant best saved for special occasions, like birthdays, dinner with the parents, or nights when you’re taking important clients out on the company card. The upscale Moroccan restaurant looks like a glitzy bar that could double as a coastal wedding reception venue. Every table is packed with some of the butteriest cornbread in town, the signature chicken confit-filled basteeya (a crackly behemoth with caramelized onions), and prawns that are charred within an inch of their lives, in the best way. 

Hong Kong Lounge is the sweet spot between the more upscale dim sum experience of Dragon Beaux, and the in-and-out takeout operation of Good Luck Dim Sum. This place leans traditional, serving dim sum staples you’d expect from a spot that looks like a classic Chinese banquet hall and a hotel conference room. Baked pork buns and siu mai are highlights, along with the heartier pan-fried noodle rolls with XO sauce and the lap cheong-dotted fried sticky rice. Hong Kong Lounge is a last-minute group destination, and even though there’s usually a wait on weekends, things move quickly. 

When we find ourselves anywhere west of the fog line and hankering for chicken and waffles, grits, and mac and cheese, we head to Hard Knox Cafe. This spot churns out soul food classics that make you feel right at home. Step inside and you’re hit with a mishmash of retro street signs, license plates, and beer ads, plus red booths with metal siding that teleport you to some bygone era. While the food won’t blow your mind—the spicy chicken and waffles don’t have a kick and the grits are unremarkable—the corn on the cob and mac and cheese are hearty and buttery, and the energy is perfect for a low-key brunch.

If waiting for a table at Pizzetta 211 is out of the question, Fiorella is a great option. The Italian spot is another reliable standby, but for blistered wood-fired pizza and a more spacious dining room, complete with wallpaper of famous Bay Area people like E-40 and Alice Waters. It’s always buzzing with groups splitting burrata-topped pies and bottles of wine, and enjoying bowls of pasta on the back patio. Seasonal small plates, like spring pea arancini or fig and ricotta bruschetta, also make a meal exciting. 

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Suggested Reading

The Best Burmese Restaurants In SF image

The Best Burmese Restaurants In SF

Seven great spots, yes, including Burma Superstar.

The house sampler at New Eritrea

Where to get dumplings, seafood pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches in this gigantic neighborhood.

The Best Russian Food In The Richmond image

Get your fix of borsch and blintzes without ever leaving the Bay.

A plate of mushroom and fish dumplings at Yuanbao Jiaozi

Where to go when you really want dumplings.

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