Leave it to San Francisco chefs to turn the most basic invention ever—the simple hot dog—into a canvas for creativity and exciting ingredients.
Here are a few of our favorite haute dogs in the city.
The Andouille Dog @ Alba Ray's
With creole flavors in the air and on the menu at Alba Ray's, the Nola classic andouille sausage is just what you might expect to find poking out of your po' boy bun. Chef Adam Rosenblum's off-menu dog flaunts a housemade sausage topped with a luscious mess of parmesan, Pecorino Romano, and butter—a rich, umami mixture that typically tops the restaurant's charbroiled oysters. It's finished with spicy slaw and served with garlic fries. // 2293 Mission St. (Mission), albarays.com
Japanese Hot Dogs @ Ichi Sushi
It may seem weird to order a hot dog at this well-loved temple to sushi, but just trust us. The selection of five Japanese-inspired dogs (pictured at top) is worth the stray. Four Arabiki pork dogs are topped with various Asian ingredients —mapo tofu, kimchi, Japanese curry, and tonkatsu mayo. There's even a vegan kimchi dog with green onion and sesame seeds. Who knew? // 3369 Mission St. (Bernal Heights), ichisushi.com
The Unagi Dog @ Chaya
Pescatarians can get behind this no-dog dog found on Chaya's bar menu, made with eel tempura, sushi rice, and cucumber all placed in a housemade brioche bun. Executive chef Yuko Kajino's secret to the unagi dog is his kabayaki preparation: the eel is split down the back, skewered and dipped into a sweet soy sauce before it hits the grill. // 132 Embarcadero (Embarcadero), thechaya.com
International Dogs @ Dapper Dog
Some of Dapper's more unique dogs include the Cubano—with ham, Swiss cheese, pickle and spicy mustard, of course—and the Napa Dog, topped with arugula, blue cheese crumbles. dried apricots and a house apricot sauce. We like the Banh Mi Dog for its refreshing slices of cucumber and kicky pickled carrot, jalapeños, and sriracha mayo. // 417 Castro St. (Castro), facebook.com
The Spam Bao Dog @ Aina
Leave it to the team at Aina to come up with a modern hot dog with a Hawaiian twist. Made from Stone Valley Farm pork spam, the Spam Bao Dog, on the dinner menu only, takes high-end toppings to the next level: Why yes, that is preserved-lemon gribiche and Tsar Nicoulai smoked trout roe you're tasting. The steamed bao bun is colored with beet juice for extra fun. // 900 2nd St. (SoMa), ainasf.com