Where To Eat After A Bad Week

16 places to grab a meal when sh*t hits the fan.
Where To Eat After A Bad Week image

photo credit: Brit Finnegan

Maybe your landlord found a colony of extremely fertile rats in your basement, or you permanently stained the pants that you specifically bought to replace the original pair you permanently stained. Whatever the case, sometimes you just need to cope with a terrible dumpster fire of a week in the presence of an entire pepperoni pizza, or by crying into a bowl of steaming hot phở. Here are 16 spots that are guaranteed to turn your week around.


photo credit: Melissa Zink



$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerWalk-Ins
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Polishing off a bowl of phở dặc biệt from Kevin’s is our preferred way to forget that our favorite houseplant has been reduced to a pot of brittle sticks. The Vietnamese institution in the Sunset does comfort food right—their noodle soups are steaming hot perfection, whether you go for phở or one of their egg noodle bowls. In the 45 minutes it takes you to sit down, order, and finish the entire bowl, you’ll have moved on from the fiddle leaf fig snafu.

So you just missed the bus, accidentally cried when the Trader Joe’s cashier asked how your day was going, and you owe the IRS thousands of dollars. Happens to the best of us—just drown your sorrows in sugar the next morning at Butter & Crumble. The North Beach bakery excels at all types of French pastries, with fun twists that remind you this place isn’t taking themselves too seriously. There’s a spiral version dotted with little bacon chunks and topped off with a gooey egg yolk, and another filled with pistachio cream we’d eat like ice cream. Which doesn’t sound like a bad idea, after the week you’ve had.

photo credit: Brit Finnegan

There’s no better way to get over your horrible new haircut (other than finding a new hairstylist) than by heading to Katsuo + Kombu in NoPa. Stroll up to the counter and choose anything from their simple menu of nine Fukuoka-style udon bowls. The housemade noodles are thin and chewy, and when the rich dashi broth (made of katsuobushi and wild kombu) is poured over, you’ve got a winning combination. Go for the spicy tan tan dry noodles with juicy kurobuta pork or the Fukuoka signature topped with massive pieces of crispy burdock root tempura.

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups

For those looking to shake off their breakup-induced funk, head to Muukata6395, a chaotic charcoal Thai barbecue spot where it’s impossible to have a bad time. Gather with a group of your closest confidants and prepare to be shrouded in a haze from the pork belly, shrimp, and bacon sizzling away on the domed charcoal grill surrounded by a broth moat. Friends are essential for this journey: it’s impossible to finish this mountain of meat alone, and commiserating over a bottle of soju is the best way to get over someone. They’re open until midnight every night of the week—so you can always come here after a late-night crying session.

Donaji is a Oaxacan restaurant in the Mission that you should beeline to whenever you need serious emotional support in the form of mole-drenched chicken or sopes piled high with cochinita pork. It’s also a literal bright spot, with papel picado hanging overhead, big hummingbirds painted on the walls, and a bike filled with hot sauce by the door. Come here to loosen up after realizing you accidentally sent a flirty text to your boss’s boss, who happens to have the same name as the person you just swiped right on. And make sure to keep the sangria coming. 

Many occasions call for a meal at Mandalay, like birthdays, group catch-ups, or end-of-the-week dinners after finding out you have multiple cavities and your dentist “strongly” recommends adult braces. The sunshine yellow space in the Richmond runs over with charm, with umbrellas and ornaments hanging from the ceiling and cut-out hearts all over the walls. And the homestyle Burmese dishes, like creamy ong no kaw soi and chicken sautéed with juicy chunks of mango, are exactly what you want to eat while trying to ignore how much you’re about to spend on orthodontics. 

This ramen spot in Hayes Valley focuses on noodle soup with chicken-based broth, instead of pork-based versions you more commonly see around town. The broth is so creamy you’ll be tempted to shrink yourself and take a calming bath in the bowl. But fantastic soup isn’t the only reason to make this place a high priority. The noodles are thick and bouncy. The onion-packed chicken meatballs are stunners that soak up an impressive amount of soup. And there’s enough rich umami in every spoonful to almost forget about the fact that a friend spilled a small container of yogurt on your backseat and you can’t quite get the stain out. 

Your upstairs neighbor won’t stop blasting country music at an ungodly volume, no matter how many times you aggressively bang on the ceiling with a broom handle. Just take a breather, vacate the premises, and calm down with a trip to Dumpling Home. The Chinese spot in Hayes Valley serves some of our favorite shengjianbao in the city, plus soup dumplings with a delicate wrapper that’s practically translucent. Don’t leave without an order of their cucumber salad, which is heavy on the garlic and incredibly delicious.

At this casual Vietnamese spot in the Sunset, you can sit down, order, and have a big plate full of garlic noodles, crispy-skinned five-spice chicken, and imperial rolls in front of you in no time. The trio is precisely the comfort meal you’ll want after accidentally screen-sharing your most unhinged Spotify playlist at a company-wide all hands.

The kouign amann from B. Patisserie in Pacific Heights can fix basically every sh*t show situation you might have found yourself in this week. Did your boss tell you they’re “not angry, just disappointed”? Or did your once-flourishing houseplant develop a fatal mealybug infestation? Listen carefully. Kouign. Amann. It cures all. The pastry is sugary, flaky, and buttery, and is a straight injection of dopamine. Plus, a boxful is cheaper than replacing that plant.

Eating breakfast from Plow is like getting a hug from a giant, freshly blow-dried Samoyed. One bite of their lemon ricotta pancakes or golden-brown biscuit and you’ll understand, too. The Potrero Hill spot works wonders at making you feel better—the coffee refills are endless, the pancakes are fluffy, and no one will judge you if you put your head down on the table to have a little cry.

Like a cleansing crystal, eating a meal at Volcano Curry is one direct way to set you on a positive path. This Richmond spot specializes in Japanese curries that are poured over different proteins and starches. The katsu chicken curry is comfort food at its finest, as is the mini fried Spam katsu sandwich—a crispy, creamy palm-sized flavor bomb you’ll easily inhale in three bites.

If it’s been one of those weeks where the dryer shrunk your favorite sweater, your fridge broke, and you were ghosted by your only promising Hinge match, make your way to El Farolito in the Mission. Because there’s no better way to hit the reset button than by diving into a fantastic, baby-sized super burrito. Get their carne asada, which is so tender it might make you burst into tears. Go ahead, let it out.

This casual Castro spot bills itself as a place for Arabic comfort food, and they do not disappoint. Swing by any time you need to complain about your work nemesis over a plateful of incredible dips and warm pita, or garlicky chicken shish tawook that comes with “mom’s rice,” which tastes like getting tucked into bed and kissed on the forehead.

For some reason, staring out at an expansive body of water while suffering through a weekly existential crisis just makes sense. So head to Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building and order yourself as many oysters as you can physically consume, plus a bowl of their phenomenal clam chowder. Then eat it all while you sit at one of their waterfront tables and try not to think about the concept of age.

If the answer to “when’s the last time you had a pizza that brought you closer to complete philosophical enlightenment?” isn’t “today,” then order from Square Pie Guys. The Detroit-style pizza place in SoMa is churning out excellent rectangular pies topped with everything from pepperoni to mushrooms and garlic ricotta cream. Don’t forget to add their trio of creamy dipping sauces on the side. You might just have an epiphany about your life’s ultimate purpose mid-bite.

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