The Richmond is massive. There’s the Inner, Outer, general middle area, and a whole lot of Geary Street in between. It’s the home to almost all of the city’s incredible Burmese restaurants, plus a ton of other top-notch ethnic spots. Dim sum, hot pots, tacos – the Richmond has it all.
So here’s a comprehensive guide to our favorite spots in this massive ’hood. Time to eat a lot of tea leaf salads.
The OG of Burmese food, the dine-in Burma Superstar is worth experiencing at least once. You’ll have to wait for several hours while drinking at the Irish dive bar a block away, and once you’re seated you will become intimately acquainted with the elbows of the person sitting next to you. But one your food arrives, you will forget those things and get hooked on Burmese food for life. After one experience though, calling in a to-go order is definitely a good idea.
BStar, little sis to Burma Superstar, tends to be where people head when they’re punched in the face with a two hour wait at the latter. Here’s a revolutionary idea: make BStar your destination. The tea leaf salad is just as good, the platha and dip is better, and the back room is a great place to hang out, drink Singhas, and eat rice and meats and delicious sauces. Don’t sleep on the brunch either – especially the tofu scramble and salmon ochazuke.
Craving some spicy fried chicken, cumin lamb, maps tofu, or other Sichuan delights? Spices! (!!!) does the classics well.
Deep in the Outer Richmond, YuZen has strong sushi rice game and delivers seriously fresh fish. The chirashi is beautiful, the uni and quail egg is ridiculous, and the prices are remarkably reasonable. No judging on the decor (there isn’t any to judge), the YuZen peoples are just spending their time focusing on the food instead.
You may have missed this tiny place serving spectacular thin crust pizzas, and we’re here to change that. Pizzetta 21 rocks four bar stools, four tables, and a couple outdoor seats to drink wine on while you almost inevitably wait your turn to consume these magic pies. Topped with the usual suspects, plus more creative things on the seasonal menu like thai chiles and butternut squash, we love pretty much every pizza on the menu.
Mandalay is the best Burmese restaurant in SF that doesn’t have Burma in it’s name. Not Myanmar either, so apparently we paid zero attention in Geography. This spot is slightly under the radar, but it outdoes Burma Superstar on service and takes reservations for parties of 5 or more. Get the tea leaf salad, string beans, and balada, and go from there.
OK, yes, we know, bagels in San Francisco just aren’t like they make ’em back in Syosset. But House of Bagels holds their own on the circular bread game. The everything and whole wheat are some of the best you can get in this city, and the True New Yorker is always our order. Definitely a to-go situation, but that’s how bagels are supposed to be eaten.
Omakase nigiri or just going crazy on the a la carte menu, you can’t go wrong at Wako, which is dropping some of the best upscale sushi around at better prices than spots like Kuskasabe. The bluefin tuna and butterfish are perfect, and the seats at the sushi bar are exactly where you want to be.
This corner spot in the Inner Richmond is a great option for a chill breakfast, lunch, or coffee and a snack. PSA: Skip the sub-par bagels and weird potpies and go with the egg sandwiches for breakfast, bulgogi or turkey avocado sandwich for lunch, and excellent chocolate chip cookies for a snack. Or just 10 cookies.
This Thai restaurant is a capital-E Experience. You take your shoes off upon entry, and sit at a table with leg space recessed into the floor. It feels like an occasion. The menu leans a little heavily on the American-Thai classics (satay, green curry, pad thai), but it’s a good time regardless.
Ramen from a Japanese chain that’s expanded to America is never bad (citation needed). And while there are other dishes on the menu should you need them (gyoza dumplings, karaage fried chicken), it’s all about that hot bowl of goodness. Get after it, be merry.
Baked eggs, killer pastries and bread, and a morning bun. Delicious sweet gentrification has come to the Outer Richmond, and we love it.
Might as well call this “the turkey sandwich market,” since that is LITERALLY (figuratively) the only thing anyone gets here. It’s a damn fine sandwich, on Dutch crunch. What more do you want?
A garden of otherworldly sandwich delights. You want the breakfast sandwich, you want the ami-cado (pastrami, salami, avocado), you want extra special sauce and jalapeño spread. Definitely in play for the Best Sandwich In The City title.
Sometimes, your body needs Korean BBQ, cooked over a grill at your table. Places like Jang Soo exist to fill that essential place in your life. There’s a medley of banchan, kalbi, and bi bim bap awaiting you.
This comes from the school of slightly-upscale dim sum Chinese, which makes sense because the owners have pioneered the form at Koi Palace in Daly City. Our favorites are the more creative options—sea bass dumplings, fried duck roll, rainbow taro bun, and the like. Go here if you’re a bit bored with the basics.
A cute cafe with some Japanese inflection. You can get a Japanese breakfast (miso, seaweed salad, egg in dashi), or some tasty quiche. As long as you pair either with a honey spiced latte, all is well.
Old-school French food: duck confit, escargots, profiteroles, and the like, with the atmosphere to match. Plus the bill is served in a hat (chapeau), for extra twee-ness. It’s too earnest to make fun of.
Sensing a trend? The Richmond should probably be called “Burmese Town,” since “The Richmond” sounds like a SOMA apartment building with a doorman named Kevyn. Anyway, Burmese Kitchen is another solid option, albeit located between a Toyota dealership and an auto parts store. Not the sceniest of spots, but the no-wait, no-frills set-up is sometimes just what you need. Spicy fish and coconut chicken should be on your table. Or in your takeout bag.
Tommy’s bills itself as the “World’s Best Tequila Bar,” and while we can get behind some Trump-ian braggadocio, it’s hard to say whether this is or isn’t the case. What is verifiably true is that the bar has a GREAT tequila list, and bartenders who are ready and willing to educate. The Mexican food ain’t half-bad either, but it’s really just a supplement to the liquid plata.
Two of the three Gordo locations are in the Richmond, and Clement St. is king. The grilled chicken burrito is the weapon of choice, but why not go crazy and throw a chile verde in there? We support your decision.
One of the most nostalgia-inducing ice cream options in SF. Is it as good as the fancy new hipster ice cream joints in town? Of course not! Does it hit the spot if you’re craving a basic mint chip or mocha fudge in an unpretentious environment? Definitely.
You get a hot pot of boiling, seasoned oils. You throw your meats in there. The dish is spicy. Life is good.
Char siu bao at a counter! Siu Mai at a counter! This is a cheap, delicious, hole in the wall. If you’ve always craved dim sum, but felt like it takes too long, Clement is your salvation.
Another to-go dim sum weapon of choice on Clement Street. This one often has a line, but serves an excellent version of the purest expression of the dim sum form: har gow, or shrimp dumplings. Disclosure: har gow has been Max’s favorite food since he was 6.