21 great wine restaurants in San Francisco

Whether you are visiting San Francisco or living there, this guide is for you, wine lover!

By Lulu McAllister Churchill

  1. Phone: (415) 397-9222

    Address: 252 California Street, San Francisco

    Restaurant Michael Mina has been central in the careers of many sommeliers — perhaps most notably Rajat Parr, who remains the Wine Director at large for the Mina Group. The Michelin-starred flagship Financial District restaurant offers a contemporary take on the Middle Eastern heritage cuisine of its namesake chef. Mina’s luxurious dining room is a great place to indulge in the fully attended culinary experience, but one need only to pull up to the restaurant’s long bar to explore the depth of its wine program over a slightly more unbuttoned meal.

  2. Phone: (415) 771-2216

    Address: 2355 Chestnut Street, San Francisco

    A16 draws a mix of neighborhood patrons and international visitors to Chestnut Street in the Marina District with its James-beard-Award-winning wine list centered around the grapes of Southern Italy and an assortment of handmade pizza and pastas to match. The space recently underwent some remodeling, but the special atrium at the back of the restaurant remains a favorite hideaway for lunch, dinner, and wine events.

  3. Phone: (415) 551-1590

    Address: 398 Hayes Street, San Francisco

    Absinthe opened two decades ago just a stone’s throw from San Francisco’s Civic Center and quickly set the tone for the increasingly wine-friendly Hayes Valley we know today. This is one of the few restaurants in town where the best time to pop by sans reservation is actually around 7pm due to the odd ebb and flow of individuals attending nearby performances in the evenings. My preference is to tuck into a small table in the bar area at any hour (they offer continuous service throughout the day for most of the week), where one may enjoy smaller portions of bistro classics with a special bottle...

  4. Phone: (415) 872-9442

    Address: 132 The Embarcadero, San Francisco

    Angler overlooks the Bay Bridge from its place along the waterfront on the Embarcadero. The restaurant places fresh, locally sourced seafood at the center of its menu, with a large hearth oven contributing additional rusticity to the low-key vibe of the dining room.

  5. Phone: (415) 430-6580

    Address: 888 Brannan Street, San Francisco

    In a town rich with Italian- and French-focused wine lists, Bellota shines as a purely Spanish option in SoMa (South of Market). Pitch perfect regional cuisine — tapas for the slightly peckish, paellas for the hungry masses — and a warm, gold-tinged open space with generous bar provide a perfect backdrop for exploring Iberian wine.

  6. Phone: (415) 416-6959

    Address: 838 Divisadero Street, San Francisco

    On the northern border of Western Addition’s NoPa (North Panhandle) neighborhood, restaurant Che Fico offers northern Italian cuisine through the lens of California with a special nod to “Cucina Ebraica”, the Jewish-Italian culinary heritage. One may enjoy their meal at either a broad table in a softened industrial dining space or in the buzzy, dark bar area near the entrance.

  7. Phone: (415) 685-4860

    Address: 22 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco

    Walking into the minimalist interior of three-star Michelin restaurant Benu, one gets butterflies anticipating the performance that is about to unfold. The restaurant, situated near Yerba Buena Park, received the James Beard award this year for Best Wine Program — recognition long overdue in the minds of those who have had the pleasure of experiencing the restaurants hallowed wine list or Wine Director Yoon Ha’s congenial pairing menu in the last decade since the restaurant opened. After a meal at Benu I started seeking saké for my caviar (rather than Champagne) and craving sour fruit beers w...

  8. Phone: (415) 757-0994

    Address: 3115 22nd Street, San Francisco

    Family-owned Modern Mexican restaurant Californios sits discreetly between two beauty salons in the middle of the Mission District. Hidden behind mirrored windows and with only an abstracted symbol for a business sign, one might even miss it casually strolling through the neighborhood. Inside the Michelin-rated restaurant, the bold and the elegant intermingle around traditional Mexican flavors creatively applied to fresh local ingredients.

  9. Phone: (415) 648-7600

    Address: 2534 Mission Street, San Francisco

    Foreign Cinema is a spacious, award-winning restaurant in the middle of the Mission District. The local institution has been luring locals and tourists alike with ample open-air seating in the interior courtyard, movies in constant rotation on a giant screen, and a menu focused on California ingredients through a creative Mediterranean lens. A sizeable, well-curated wine list provides just as much incentive to drop in.

  10. Phone: (415) 285-6005

    Address: 300 Precita Avenue, San Francisco

    Overlooking Precita Park at the base of Bernal Heights, Hillside Supper Club stands as a neighborhood haven that also draws wine-savvy guests from other parts of town. The restaurant’s one-page list is a mix of old world classics, such as Elisabetta Foradori and Gonon, and California darlings like Graham Tatomer. For the first time now the brothers Ferrari have also added their own rosé to the list; while Italian by name, it is Provencal by nature — and sourced locally, just like the cuisine.

  11. Phone: (415) 440-5446

    Address: 871 Sutter Street, San Francisco

    Halfway up the hill in San Francisco’s diverse “tendernob” neighborhood, a neon blue and yellow sign outside of Liholiho Yacht Club directs guests into a bustling bar and a narrow room with an equally busy open kitchen. Make no mistake, this is not a yacht club in the traditional sense — the nearest body of water is two miles away. The restaurant’s name refers to a low-key “yacht club” gathering among friends, a memory from Chef Ravi Kapur’s culturally diverse upbringing in Hawaii. The playfulness of the name hints at the vibe coming through the creative, heritage-driven food (pulling predo...

  12. Phone: (415) 872-5512

    Address: 2065 Polk Street, San Francisco

    In a storybook Victorian building on a corner in Russian Hill, restaurant Lord Stanley’s streamlined interior frames striking dinner platings of naturally ornate seasonal local ingredients, artfully presented with a modern touch. Items like confit morel mushroom galette or onion petals with Sherry vinegar are available a la carte; but the chefs’ tasting menu with optional beverage pairings is a must for the full experience.

  13. Phone: (415) 359-1212

    Address: 1760 Polk Street, San Francisco

    Restaurant 1760 opened on Russian Hill end of Polk Street in 2013 with the idea of serving creative, ingredient-driven food in portions to share. Dark and spacious with plenty of different seating options, this spot beckons for friends to linger over a bottle at any point in the evening.

  14. Phone: (415) 612-8480

    Address: 2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco

    Having worked previously as beverage director at Frances and with a hand in other restaurants in the Bay Area over the last two decades, Paul Einbund now pours his extensive expertise into his own passion project. The Morris, named after Einbund’s father, sits in a sturdy, vintage corner spot in a quiet, somewhat industrial quarter of the Outer Mission en route to Potrero Hill. Entering this space, one passes between an open kitchen and a transparent wine room with bottles — Einbund’s babies —stacked to the ceiling.

  15. Phone: (415) 673-1294

    Address: 1525 Fillmore Street, San Francisco

    The Progress sits in the middle of the Fillmore Jazz District of Western Addition, Immediately adjacent to big (little) sister restaurant, State Bird Provisions. Here one may order a la carte dishes to be eaten family style. One should definitely plan to come en mass to the Progress, not simply to share a BBQed half duck or harissa-grilled lamb from local farmers, but to crack into accomplished sommelier Jason Alexander’s excellent list.

  16. Phone: (415) 986-9651

    Address: 242 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

    Tosca Café is a true San Francisco institution, long-favored among celebrities, politicians, beatniks and everyone in between. Although founded in 1919, this North Beach establishment only became a major dining destination over the last half-decade under the direction of famous New York Chef, April Bloomfield. Menu items strike a note of nostalgia for old Italian San Francisco while maintaining an element of seasonal freshness. The contemporary version of this historically infamous watering hole also contributes a tidy Italianate wine list to the extensive continuing roster of special bar offe...

  17. Phone: (415) 359-1000

    Address: 710 Montgomery St. CA, San Francisco

    Modern French restaurant Nico favors clean, modern platings inspired by the best ingredients in the market presented with subtle, attentive service. The sleek restaurant recently reopened in its new Jackson Square location, and the wine program has never been better.

  18. Phone: (415) 864-8643

    Address: 560 Divisadero Street, San Francisco

    Nopa has become a food industry darling at its corner spot in the center of NoPa’s lively Divisadero corridor. For over 10 years now, wine professionals citywide have made it their ritual to unwind in the late evening at Nopa over urban rustic cuisine (yes, absolutely seasonal and locally sourced) and a glass (or bottle) of something to suit any mood and preference.

  19. Phone: (415) 775-8500

    Address: 470 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco

    Quince is a San Francisco institution in Jackson Square owned and operated by Chefs Michael and Lindsey Tusk that features California cuisine at its finest: inspired daily creations from produce sourced directly from Fresh Run Farm. The three-star Michelin-rated restaurant offers an 8-10 course menu with optional beverage pairings in the main dining room or an abbreviated seasonal tasting menu in a more casual salon area.

  20. Phone: (415) 861-8032

    Address: One Ferry Building #3, San Francisco

    The Slanted Door has been a major fixture in San Francisco’s food scene since the mid ‘90s, when it opened in a small space in the Mission District. Now the popular restaurant sits along the waterfront of the Embarcadero in a spacious corner spot inside the SF Ferry Building. There patrons can enjoy dishes small to large off of an authentic and inspired Vietnamese menu.

  21. Phone: (415) 931-5100

    Address: 3640 Sacramento Street, San Francisco

    This Grand-Award-winning institution has been open now for over a decade, providing culinary refuge on a stretch of Laurel Heights otherwise occupied by mostly design stores and daycares. Spruce sources ingredients locally, mostly from their own dedicated organic farm. It’s possible to have the tricked-out classical service experience in the restaurant’s spacious dining room, where members of the highly-trained wine team are just waiting to geek out with you over a bottle from deep in their over-2,500-bottle list.

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