Where To Eat Around Dolores ParkWhen you're hungry and near Dolores Park, here's where to eat.
Hanging out at Dolores Park to people-watch, dodge flying footballs, and find the truffle man is as much a part of life in the city as carrying a light jacket with you at all times. But unless you packed a full-on picnic spread complete with napkins and a cutting board (respect), you’ll need to probably eat at some point while you're here. So go to one of these spots, which are within a 10 minute walk to the park.
Rhea’s Market & Deli is two blocks away, making the corner store a prime candidate for a picnic shopping spree. The grocery section has everything from chips and bottles of wine to an impressive assortment of cookies. But you’re here for the sandwiches, which are hefty enough to significantly weigh down your tote bag. We like to leave fate in the hands of the sandwich professionals and stick with one of the many pre-determined combinations, like the Diamond Hts with turkey, bacon, BBQ sauce, and honey dijon on toasted dutch crunch, or the Three Lil’ Pigs stuffed generously with ham, salami, and bacon.
photo credit: Erin Ng
Operating for over three decades at 16th and Valencia, Panchita's is where to go for some of the city’s best pupusas. Each one is packed with delicious meats and vegetables, and plenty of cheese that oozes out to form crispy edges around the griddled masa. Whenever we head to this counter-service Mission spot for quick meals, hearty lunches, or evenings when we want to stave off a hangover, we inevitably end up with a couple of revueltas—a classic mix of chicharron, bean, and cheese—and then make sure to add an extra serving of Panchita’s fresh curtido on top before heading out.
You’re not going to Eiji for a $250 omakase or baked rolls doused in aioli. You go here for the simple, high-quality sushi that keeps us coming back for casual weeknight dinners. Eiji is also cozy, quiet, and where we also turn to for non-sushi things, like the tender tuna belly steak with ginger-soy sauce and incredible homemade ankake tofu. Whatever you do, don't skip the strawberry mochi for dessert.
photo credit: Joey Backs
If you need something portable and handheld to bring to your all-day set up on the grass, go to Señor Sisig. The counter-service Filipino and Mexican street food spot has fully loaded burritos, tacos, and nachos that will carry you well into the afternoon. Go with the California Sisig burrito, which is stuffed with french fries, sour cream, and guacamole, for a salty and creamy flavor bomb. They also have a patio out back if you'd rather enjoy it from an actual table.
photo credit: Haley Heramb
The tiny, cash-only Burmese spot is where to go for fantastic wok-tossed noodle dishes. We‘re especially big fans of the spicy and crunchy tea leaf salad and the garlicky Yamo house noodles with pork. They're both delicious—and cost under $6.50 each. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal in the city.
photo credit: Susie Lacocque
At Nopalito’s casual takeout window, located across the street from the park, zero in on the totopos topped with tender, crispy carnitas—the dish lives rent-free in our minds, and the entire thing is finished off with a dollop of crema, and sprinkled with cotija, onions, and cilantro. It’s exactly what we want for a quick lunch, or a snack to share while we sit at the park and pretend to read. This place also does a pretty good rice bowl.
photo credit: Virginia Mae Rollison
If your stomach is grumbling as loud as the couple down the hill who won’t stop talking about bird-related conspiracy theories, then walk over to Taqueria Cancún. This Mexican place hits all the sweet spots of a great burrito joint. Prices are reasonable. And it’s open late. This spot is also our old standard anytime we want a burrito mojado that's so big it could function as a doorstop.
The sandwich GPS in our brain always directs us to Turner’s Kitchen, especially if we're hanging out at the park (Turner’s is right around the corner). You'll keep coming back for their constantly rotating sandwich specials, like tuna salad with chipotle-lime coleslaw or roast turkey and mole negro. Or you can always stick to their trusty standbys, like the french dip or the Thanksgiving-inspired Gobbler. Check their Instagram for suggested chip and drink pairings.
LONG SIT-DOWN MEALS
photo credit: Erin Ng
The sister restaurant of Liholiho Yacht Club is a place we always want to hang out at until the kitchen closes. Their eclectic menu draws influence from a ton of different, mostly Asian cultures. You’ll see Lao sausage served with a scoop of pasilla pepper jaew, boneless chicken wings with adobo glaze and garlic rice stuffing, and crying tiger shrimp with crunchy fried butter beans and red cabbage. They're all best enjoyed at a table on the breezy rooftop deck.
Stonemill Matcha is permanently closed
photo credit: Melissa Zink
When lunchtime rolls around and the closest thing you have to a proper meal is half a box of Wheat Thins, you’re going to need a backup plan. Luckily, Stonemill Matcha—and their incredible chicken katsu curry, which we could write endless love letters about—is pretty close by. Grab an iced matcha latte and something with their crisp golden-brown katsu, whether it’s the curry plate with rice or the pork katsu sandwich, plus some straight-up decadent matcha cream pie for dessert.
photo credit: Sarah Felker
Our love for Prubechu knows no bounds—and it’s the perfect spot to hit up when "a couple of hours" at the park turns into an entire afternoon. Not only does the Guamanian restaurant serve fantastic food with friendly service and great backyard party vibes, it’s also half a mile from the park. Come here and share crispy, tender ko’ko’ wings, sweet rolls with tuba butter, Chamorro BBQ plates, and fluffy banana donuts for dessert.
photo credit: Melissa Zink
It’s not easy to secure a spot at Handroll Project, the 12-seat temaki place from the people behind Ju-Ni. But for their fantastic handheld pockets of scallops and spicy tuna, just hop in line (which snakes down the block nightly), put your name down on the inevitable waitlist when you get to the front, and lay around at Dolores until your seats are ready (or just make a reservation). The handroll sets of five, seven, or ten get more decadent as the meal goes along—you’ll start with salmon and end with buttery A5 wagyu and smoked uni with ikura.
photo credit: Melissa Zink
Mission Curry House is a lowkey Indian restaurant we beeline to for golden-brown dosas, plump and juicy momos, and curries that are rich and comforting. Getting the lamb biryani on your table is also a requirement—the fragrant dish overflowing with tender lamb is our favorite version of it in the city. Getting a table with a group is usually easy, which is why you’ll find us here with friends often, methodically making our way through the long chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegetarian sections of the menu.
Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant
Maybe you spent the entire afternoon grazing on chips and crackers, and now you’re looking for a place to eat where you can fulfill your federally recommended daily vegetable intake. Cha-Ya is here for you. It’s a Japanese vegetarian (and vegan-friendly) restaurant with a bunch of small plates, like agedashi tofu and soba salad, plus a selection of colorful sushi rolls.
Pizzeria Delfina is located about a block away from the park, so stop by if you’re heading home after a long day in the grass and want to eat your body weight in pizza crust. Sit on their parklet and people watch on 18th Street with a glass of wine while you dig into some meatballs and a margherita pizza, or the panna with cream instead of mozzarella.
Leaving the park with a big group but aren’t quite ready to head home and watch TV alone? Find a table at Lers Ros. The Thai restaurant has a novel-length menu with plenty of noodle dishes, curries, soups, and more (plus lots of vegetarian options). It’s all served family-style, so we like to share a few things before calling it a night. If you’re too indecisive in narrowing down your choices, you can’t go wrong with the stir-fried pork belly or coconut and lemongrass soup with prawns.
photo credit: Fable
Fable is one of the best and most romantic spots in the city, and you’ll see why once you step into their lush back patio. The Castro spot reminds us of a secret Mediterranean garden, with tons of palms and string lights—and once you’re here, you’ll want to take your time sipping on a glass of wine. They have a great menu of things like pork chops and burgers, plus a Happy Hour from Monday to Friday, 3-5pm.
photo credit: Mary Lagier
Bright, energetic, and always a great time, this Mexican restaurant in the Mission does Californian-Jaliscan food right. The panko-crusted shrimp tacos are served on jicama tortillas, fried fish tacos are amped up with a piquin pepper-peanut sauce, and the empanadas are perfect, puffy pockets filled with mushrooms, corn, and cheese. Excellent cocktails and an atmosphere that has more buzz than a deuxmoi rumor drop—a dinner at Loló always adds up to a fun night.
photo credit: Krescent Carasso
When all you want is a damn good burger and fries, this casual neighborhood tavern can help you with that. Sit on the parklet with a pint from their extensive beer list and enjoy the burger, which comes with onion jam and gruyere, and hop salt fries—or get their well-seasoned fried chicken sandwich with apple slaw and two fluffy buns. Dogs are welcome.
photo credit: Lani Conway
Whether it’s your first or 21st time, Tuba makes you feel like a regular. Friendly servers eager to run you through the signature dishes on their menu of mezzes and big plates, might also compel you to stay until closing (or, at least, ignore the siren song of your half-made bed and stockpiled episodes of a new survivalist show). Dishes here are comforting and thoughtfully presented. So, naturally, bring a ton of friends, order big, and share the sweet cevizli ezme, deep-fried phyllo rolls loaded with feta and potatoes, and the crispy adana kebab, which is wrapped in lavash and sliced.
BAKED GOODS AND SNACKS
If you’re the first to the park because your chronically late friends are, well, late, consider waiting it out in line at Tartine. The iconic bakery is home to some of the best pastries in SF, from flawless morning buns to cheesy gougères, plus bread we’d wake up at 6am on a Sunday for. Fill a box with everything that looks good, and head back with your treasures.
Walking into Bi-Rite Market always feels like a picnic basket exploded and became a store. It’s a reliable, one-stop shop that has everything you need for a day at Dolores—from chocolate bars and cold deli salads to Cowgirl Creamery brie and fresh fruit. For something more substantial, they also make great sandwiches, like the Vegan Hippy with avocado and crispy sweet potato, or the prosciutto and mozzarella on an Acme baguette. If you’re in the mood for dessert, walk across the street to Bi-Rite Creamery for thick soft serve or a cone of rincanelas ice cream.
The Rebel Within is one of the most photographed baked goods in SF that’s also worth crossing town for. It’s flat-out delicious. The savory sausage and cheese muffin has a soft-cooked egg baked inside, and the yolk oozes out when you cut it in half. Craftsman and Wolves has other great pastries too, like the buttery kouign amann and chocolate croissants. And if you end up here for lunch, they have turkey clubs and burrata croissant sandwiches filled with onion-tomato-bacon jam.