photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

The Progress image

The Progress



$$$$Perfect For:Date NightBirthdaysImpressing Out of TownersSpecial Occasions


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Talking about The Progress means mentioning State Bird Provisions. You know, State Bird—the Fillmore spot that elevated itself to small plates royalty with hyper-seasonal, hard-to-categorize dishes served via dim sum cart. So when the team opened The Progress next door in 2014, the new spot understandably had a lot to live up to.

But The Progress stands on its own with confidence. Even if it wasn’t attached to what’s arguably one of the most well-known restaurants in SF, this special occasion spot is still worthy of your time. 

The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Like State Bird Provisions, the shareable plates at The Progress change with the seasons, and are influenced by cuisines from around the globe. But the similarities stop here. The Progress’ dining room is grandiose yet airy. The space, a converted theater with high ceilings and light wood, transports you to a far-off coastal getaway where time stops and your only responsibility is to pick out which shade of linen to wear. Consider packing up your things and moving in.    

The menu will snap you out of your dream vacation ambitions and to the task at hand: deciphering it. It’s designed like a Venn diagram and may require multiple reads before you understand what’s going on. Don’t overthink. Masa dumplings, crispy kimchi wax beans, and other starters are listed in the middle, with “vegetables, mostly” and “seafood” on the outsides. Point at whatever sounds good. Impressive dishes will come to you.

The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Punchy flavors are on full display, and all of the dishes are light—this is the meal you'd want to dig into if you were sitting beachside. Clams are umami-rich from anchovy-infused sambal. The “caviar potato cloud” is both fascinating and satisfyingly salty. And toma cheese gushes out of those masa dumplings. The real star is the BBQ half duck with the meat prepared several different ways—it’s rightfully the centerpiece on every table (although an order runs a not-so-insignificant $74). On the plate are slices of duck breast fanned out around a mound of peanut fried rice, a confit leg with meat that slides off the bone, and a fried wing that glistens under the light. This dish will be some of the best duck you’ll ever come across in your mortal life.

So, why should you come to The Progress instead of State Bird? Well, first, it’s easier to get a table. And the “if you know, you know” air of this place will make you feel like you scored a seat at the cool kids’ table. This spot is also the ideal backdrop for nicer-than-usual date nights and birthday dinners for someone who’d rather stick a candle in a fried duck wing than a cake. If that someone is you, get here.

Food Rundown

The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

BBQ Liberty Farms Half Duck

Come to The Progress prepared to spend $74 on a half duck. This smoky, perfectly cooked masterpiece is iconic, as is the mound of spicy peanut fried rice served with it.
The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Caviar Potato Cloud

This dish makes zero sense on paper, but go with it. The potato “cloud” is fantastic—it tastes like mashed potatoes that took a spin on the Giant Dipper, and there’s a burst of salt from the caviar in every bite. It’s $12 per cloud, and easily shareable between two.
The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Burrata & Fried Butter Beans

The butter beans are crispy on the outside, but somehow still perfectly creamy inside. The rich burrata is brightened up by slices of kiwi and jalapeño.
The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Thick Cut Porcini Toast

We firmly believe this porcini toast (pictured here with hedgehog mushrooms) could convert all mushroom haters into fans. It’s a buttery little thing packed with umami—and a must-order, if it’s on the menu.
The Progress image

photo credit: Carly Hackbarth

Anchovy Sambal-Chile Clams

A gorgeous bowl of clams. The anchovies lend some saltiness to the sambal, which we love.

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Suggested Reading

State Bird Provisions image

State Bird Provisions

We could eat at State Bird Provisions five nights in a row and never get bored—that’s because the Fillmore spot makes the most creative small plates in the city.

The Anchovy Bar image

The Anchovy Bar is romantic, charming spot from the State Bird Provisions team, and they serve excellent seafood.

The Best SF Restaurants For A Birthday Dinner image

17 places to ring in another trip around the sun.

The duck, potatoes, and broccolini at The Morris

The Morris is a Mission spot serving house-cured charcuterie and other American small plates, but you’re here for the duck.

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