We all love a Michelin-starred restaurant. Our wallets? Not so much.
That’s why the celebrated food guide offers the Bib Gourmand, a rating for restaurants whose high-quality offerings also provide a lot of value for a little less.
There are dozens of Bib Gourmand restaurants from Sausalito to San Jose and, unlike Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s a good chance you’ll get a reservation at one (or even just walk in!) right away. Here are eight of our favorite Bib Gourmand options in San Francisco.
(Courtesy of @dumplinghome)
At Dumpling Home, delicate xiao long bao are an art. The absurdly affordable steamed dumplings are stuffed with a wide variety of slurpable fillings including “numb & spicy” pork, shrimp and loofah, and even the elusive vegetable. Dumpling Home’s namesakes also come in pan-fried and pot sticker form, which are served alongside an extensive menu of unexpected small plates (think beef tongue boiled in spicy “thousand year old sauce,” or jelly fish salad with green onion dressing), soups, and noodles. The restaurant’s second XLB outpost will open in Pac Heights later this year.
// 298 Gough St. (Hayes Valley), dumplinghome.com
(Courtesy of @bansang_sf)
One of the newest additions to SF’s roster of Bib Gourmand restaurants, Bansang takes a contemporary approach to Korean cooking, incorporating ingredients rarely found in traditional dishes like parmesan, winter truffle, and Spanish chorizo. The menu encourages sharing, with crowd-pleasing small and large plates like buttery uni scallop toast, delightfully crunchy lime soy fried chicken, and black cod marinated in gochujang and chili fumet served simultaneously so that their flavors can be combined and contrasted. Named for a style of noble table setting in the Joseon kingdom, Bansang’s pedigree comes through in the attention and care they give to each dish, not in its atmosphere: The sun-soaked restaurant, with its clean lines, wood paneling, and understated style, is comfortably laid back.
// 1560 Fillmore St. (NoPa), bansangsf.com
(Courtesy of @trestle_sf)
You may not expect a three course meal for just $42 to be of Bib Gourmand quality but Michelin begs to differ. At the homey, exposed-brick interiored Trestle, you’ll choose between two starters, two entrees, and two desserts for one bargain basement price, each prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients that lean towards, but are not strictly, Italian influenced (an additional pasta course is just an additional $12). The menu rotates weekly with dishes like Walla Walla onion chowder with hatch chile relish, smoked bacon, and chive cream; crispy duck confit with braised fig, wilted baby cabbage, and fig leaf-bergamot jus; and dark chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache, toffee crumble, and chocolate caramel.
// 531 Jackson St. (Jackson Square), trestlesf.com
From not-so-humble food truck roots to Bib Gourmand darling, Del Popolo is hands down one of the city’s best for wood-fired, Neapolitan-inspired pizza. The delightfully chewy, artfully blistered crust comes topped with drool worthy combinations like salami, peppers, and onions; yukon gold potatoes, red onion, fontina, and rosemary; and charred corn, Jimmy Nardello peppers, and pickled ramps. Whether you’re grubbing in the buzzing, high-ceilinged restaurant or taking an order to go, don’t forget to add a deliciously executed, seasonally rotating starter or two to your order (fried squash blossoms for the win).
// 855 Bush St. (Lower Nob Hill), delpopolosf.com
(Courtesy of @cokes_sf)
Just six months after it opened in 2015, Izakaya Rintaro was hailed as one of the 10 best new restaurants in the U.S. by Bon Appetit. The following year, Michelin, too, recognized the restaurant for its artistically designed dishes, seasonal NorCal sensibility, and excellent flavors. Today Rintaro, with its interior hermitage of redwood wine cask booths and peaceful garden patio, is still going strong with charcoal-grilled meats, ultra fresh (and often local) sashimi, and dashi-simmered bites. The menu also includes eats like “Southern Barbarian” style anchovies in spicy vinegar, chrysanthemum greens with charcoal-grilled duck breast and kumquat, and panko-crusted chicken-and-Cowgirl-Creamery-cheese katsu.
// 82 14th St. (Mission), izakayarintaro.com
(Courtesy of @flores_sf)
This joyful Cow Hollow restaurant embroidered with patterned murals and woven basket light fixtures is a great upscale spot for tacos and regional Mexican favorites—not to mention $8 happy hour margaritas and five different tequila and mezcal flights. At dinner, housemade tortillas filled with chicken tinga and carnitas are served alongside mole, enchiladas, and an entire branzino marinated with guajillo-achiote adobo. At lunch they also offer lighter rice bowls, and breakfasty yums like cornmeal pancakes and chilaquiles at weekend brunch. If you’re in Marin, the restaurant has a second location with a huge patio in Corte Madera.
// 2030 Union St. (Cow Hollow), floressf.com
(Courtesy of @theincurablecook)
According to Michelin, Sichuan Home is among the best of what Geary Boulevard has to offer. As its name suggests, the no-frills restaurant, with its plexiglass-topped tables and wood paneled walls, specializes in the bold flavor and peppery heat of Sichuan cuisine. Look for dishes like roast cumin lamb chops, dan dan noodles with minced pork, sauteed lily bulbs with gingko and mixed nuts, and spicy chef’s special stew—plus a number of palate-pushing options like frog and pickled peppers and steamed intestine and pigs blood in spicy sauce.
// 5037 Geary Blvd. (Inner Richmond), sichuan-home.business.site
Hilda and Jesse
(Courtesy of @hildaandjessesf)
The modern North Beach noshery Hilda and Jesse evolved out of a series of popular brunch-for-dinner themed pop-ups. But lately, while continuing their breakfast tradition Saturdays and Sundays, they’ve branched out to dinner foods, too. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, the seasonal five-course Chef’s Adventure Menu showcases innovative takes on classic dishes like schnitzel and apple pie a la mode served up in the playful diner-inspired space. Brunch is a decadent affair with a three course tasting menu or a la carte choices like fried duck wings, rolled Latvian pancakes filled with white truffle and pumpkin cottage cheese, and shrimp toasties with chili mayo. At both meals, Hilda and Jesse’s sparkling wine collection befitting of the restaurant’s endless effervescence.
// 701 Union St. (North Beach), hildaandjessesf.com