Wine drinkers fall into two categories: You've got the people who know exactly what they like and don't like, and tend to be finicky about anything that falls outside of their Trader Joe's/Chardonnay/Pinot comfort zone; and you've got the people who are always seeking out the odd and different, who are always the first to try new restaurants and tell you about some new booze they just tried.
Your mother always told you not to fill up on the free chips at any given restaurant, but at various Mexican spots in SF, the chips and salsa are almost the star of the show, not necessarily free, and you might even want to save room for them by just ordering a light dinner. It's not going to win you any points from your nutritionist, but it will make your mouth pretty happy.
If you ask a pizza snob where they think the best pizza in town is right now, they're likely to name Una Pizza Napoletana, because when it comes to pizza purity, Neapolitan is the O.G. style, and Anthony Mangieri is the Zen-like pizzaiolo who gets it right just about 100% of the time.
As for other styles, San Franciscans frequently complain that it's impossible to find a good New York-style slice in this town, however we have our fair share of good deep-dish, with Little Star and the new Capo's doing it best.
But today we're here to talk to you about the much harder to define, though quite well represented, "California style" of pizza, of which there are quite a few good examples across the city. They're not necessarily wood-fired, not necessarily made with zero-zero flour, and the toppings lean in a more seasonal, and idiosyncratic direction. But they don't always deserve second-fiddle status -- we just do our own thing here, and these are the finest examples:
Though we've hardly earned it this particular winter–how about this weather, huh?–this is traditionally a season for hot toddies, brown liquors, and dark, spicy digestifs. Also, we're in the height of the season for citrus, the varieties and beauty of which other parts of the country never see, and cocktails provide an excellent vehicle for fresh tangerines, Cara Caras, and blood oranges. Below are a few of our recent favorites.
Don't let anyone tell you different: This is a great burger town. From the workaday deliciousness of Gott's and Super Duper to the excellent, hand-ground, well seasoned beauties put out by 4505 Meats and Zuni, there is a whole range of greatness to be found around the Bay between two buns.
Wine bars. San Francisco actually boasts the first one in the country, London Wine Bar, which opened in the Financial District in the seventies (and closed in 2008), but the trend got to be a bit overwhelming in the last decade or so. Nevertheless, we have a lot of cool and impressive wine spots here–St. Vincent, Hotel Biron, and The Hidden Vine to name a few–and three recently opened new ones, which promise to free you from your Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel ruts.
The recent closings of longtime San Francisco institutions like Sam Wo's (which may still reopen) and the Gold Dust Lounge (which is reopening February 1 in a new space at Fisherman's Wharf), and the recent threat of eviction for the 92-year-old Tosca Cafe in North Beach, has got us thinking about some of the other local classic spots we've maybe been taking for granted.
Essential SF knowledge in your inbox
Sign up for our email newsletters to keep up on events, restaurants and SF haps.