5 great places to eat in San Francisco

To celebrate the release of Near & Far: recipes inspired by home and travel, the home part of which takes its lead from the vibrant food scene in San Francisco, author Heidi Swanson shares her 5 best places to eat in this multi-cultural metropolis.

20th Century Café


Eastern European-inspired baked goods, soups, and salads in a sweet, sun-drenched corner spot in the Hayes Valley neighborhood make this a favorite solo lunch (or coffee) spot. Watch as vintage-dressed bakers roll out house-made knish, and slice their celebrated 12-layer Russian honey cake.

Bar Tartine

A much-loved establishment in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district, a couple of blocks from the deservedly famous bakery of the same name. Don’t miss the smoked potatoes with black garlic, or house-fermented sodas such as fig leaf, tarragon whey, rose and lemon.

Kin Khao

This place will change everything you thought you knew about Thai food. Open for lunch and dinner in the unassuming base of the Parc 55 hotel in downtown San Francisco, Pim Techamuanvivit and her talented crew make food that sings with colour, flavour and heart. Order a Bangkok posh salad, or tofu khao soi with curry broth, mustard greens, and egg noodles.

The Progress

A sister establishment to much-lauded State Bird Provisions. If you can’t get a reservation at either, snag a seat at the Progress bar, near its big window, for A+ people watching and a robust bar menu. Double down on the ‘Everything’ roti with smoked soubise, vinegared summer squash and herbs. 

Native Co

Located in the financial district, not far from Union Square, Native Co is know for juices, but it’s also a great place for a quick, healthy lunch. Think quinoa, soba noodles, avocado toast, and kale salads. Order at the counter and take a seat, or grab some of the pre-made salads before you hop on a flight.

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