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The Cool List: 10 Restaurants That Aren't "Hot" But Are Definitely Still Cool

We regularly get asked about the best brand new restaurants in San Francisco, as well as about the all-time classics - and those categories are covered in our Hit List and Greatest Hits List.

But what about the places that get blown up for six months, until everyone decides to move onto the next shiny new thing? Many of these places are still absolutely fantastic. Let's not allow them to become the pink Razr you stashed in a drawer once the Blackberry Pearl came out.

With that in mind, we present The Cool List, featuring still-excellent restaurants that are no longer "hot," but are definitely still cool.

the spots

1

Bar Agricole

Soma
355 11th St.
8.3
MAP

Still one of our favorite spots around, Bar Agricole is perfect for almost any occasion. The outdoor area is stellar and the food is just the right amount of fancy without trying too hard. Also, the oysters are spectacular. Maybe most importantly, it’s calmed down enough that you can usually walk in reservation-free and just eat. Without waiting. At all. Don’t be confused, you don’t always have to stand in a line or kill time drinking heavily to eat good food.

2

Namu Gaji

Mission
499 Dolores St.
7.3
MAP

Korean fusion is pretty magical. Fried chicken and also bibimbap and also a burger? Yes all around. Namu Gaji isn’t the hot new freshman anymore, it’s more of the chill senior who knows that they have a job after graduation and can just hang out. Right on the corner of Dolores Park, keep Namu in your back pocket for date night, friend night, any night. Also a strong position to watch the line for Bi-Rite grow ever more insurmountable.

3

Burma Love

Mission
211 Valencia St.
8.1
MAP

Burmese food served not in the cramped, loud, cluster of a place that is the OG Burma Superstar is a big deal. And when the food also comes from the same people that do Burma Superstar, people tend to lose their sh*t. We think the food at Burma Love is even better, plus the location is far more convenient to all the things, like the freeway. Despite incredible food and a nice space, somehow this place is no longer at the top of everyone's list, which means it's easy to roll into even on the weekends. If you want to pretend you still have to wait an hour for a table, just drink at Zeitgeist beforehand anyway.

4

Cockscomb

Soma
564 4th St
8.1
MAP

Remember when being on Top Chef was the bee’s knees and any restaurant that was opened by a contestant was mobbed by hordes of Bravo groupies? Cockscomb was one of those places. But then the buzz died down. Guess what? The burger is still delicious, the meats are still served in aggressively large portions, and it still feels a little bit like a medieval dungeon. Keep it in the rotation for protein-loading and having a good time.

5

Causwells

Marina
2346 Chestnut St.
8.0
MAP

For about a year, the Causwells burger was high on the list of what people in the Marina talked about. Besides the price hike for ClassPass, it was pretty much been the biggest news in the neighborhood in years. Since then, new burgers have arrived and Causwells may have dropped off the radar a bit, but it’s still at the top of our list. They take reservations for brunch, which is when the burger has an egg on it too. This is not something you should take lightly.

6
8.4
MAP

Monsieur Benjamin serves fancy French food in a space that isn’t stuffy or snooty - it feels modern and the food looks very good and tastes even better. One of our go-to's in Hayes Valley, Monsieur Benjamin still feels like a special night out with the wine flowing and the lights glittering through the big glass windows. It’s just easier to get into these days.

7

Tosca Cafe

North Beach
242 Columbus Ave.
8.6
MAP

Did you hear the good news? "The lord is risen" might be a quote from the bible...but it’s also how people reacted when word spread that April Bloomfield of NYC's The Spotted Pig was opening a restaurant here. God showed himself to San Francisco in the form of her modern resurrection of the classic spot Tosca Cafe. And a few years later, it’s still a crazy cool spot with excellent drinks, strong Italian food, and some outstanding roast chicken.

8
7.9
MAP

All the way in Bernal Heights, Ichi Sushi was very buzzy for a while. Yes, it’s still all the way in Bernal Heights, but the experience is just as strong. We’re particularly into the small plates and skewers, but you really can’t go wrong. It won’t be slammed, and we are very much not complaining about that. There’s a good sake list, a cool wallpaper that teaches you how to eat sushi not like a moron, and all-around good vibes.

9

Loló

Mission
974 Valencia St.
7.8
MAP

Reminder 1: Loló is still rocking a very bright and very preposterously decorated spot in the Mission. Reminder 2: the food is awesome. More authentic than Tacolicious, easier to get into than Cala and more delicious and better priced than a lot of the other ‘upscale Mexican’ places around. Loló is great and a really fun place to be- don’t sleep on the brunch either.

10

Alta CA

Civic Center
1420 Market St.
8.1
MAP

The chef from Coi opened a chill spot. This was radical news and had ‘very into food’ people (not going to drop an F bomb here) and regular people freaking out. It was a big deal, even though the spot is in a bit of an odd location on Market (unless you work at Twitter or Uber or Square, in which case, jackpot). Alta has calmed down slightly since the early days, but the food is still amazing, the bartenders are still at the top of their game, and the vibe is California casual at its best.

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