Rintaro restaurant in San Francisco.Credit…Aya Brackett
Where’s the best place to eat?
There’s never a single restaurant that answers that question. Instead, for most of us trying to reply as accurately as possible, there’s a litany of follow-ups: Which neighborhood? Casual or fancy? What kind of mood are you in? What vibes are you seeking? Does it require a perfectly prepared cocktail?
Last week, my colleague Tejal Rao, food critic at large, kicked off a new series that provides some answers, starting with her list of the 25 best restaurants in Los Angeles right now.
The New York Times will showcase its favorites in cities across the country, highlighting the places that our reporters and editors recommend to visitors, our go-to neighborhood joints or the places we know are just generally delicious.
Today, we are spotlighting some of the best San Francisco restaurants.
Sure, the Bay Area pioneered hyperseasonality to the point of becoming a punchline. But it is, like Los Angeles, home to some of the largest immigrant communities across the country.
There are newer restaurants on this list, like Prik Hom and Noodle in a Haystack, two unassuming spots on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco that deliver such virtuosic dishes that they landed a place on our national list.
Nearby in the Outer Sunset, Yuanbao Jiaozi nourishes diners with bowls of beef noodle soup and freshly made dumplings that you can watch being assembled while you eat.
California has its own taxonomy of burritos. In a less foggy part of the city, at 25th and Mission Streets, La Taqueria has recently been receiving accolades from around the country, but local people have been flocking there for five decades. Miguel Jara and much of his staff have become like family to many diners, serving perfectly griddled burritos and making millions of tacos for the neighborhood.
And while our restaurant critic Pete Wells recently noticed a surge of chefs executing Korean fine-dining menus in New York, the chef Cory Lee has been doing just that for over 10 years with Benu, a placid but triumphant oasis in SoMa.
Still, a joy of living in San Francisco is that it never ceases to surprise.
When they aren’t working 60-plus hours a week, the city’s chefs, restaurants and hospitality workers somehow still find ways to create community by D.J.-ing parties at El Rio in Bernal Heights or combating the opioid epidemic by working with the city’s harm-reduction task forces.
So when people outside San Francisco ask, “Are you OK?” the best answer might be Jimmie Fails’s line from the film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”:
“You don’t get to hate it unless you love it.”
Eleanore Park is an editor for New York Times Cooking. She is based in the Bay Area.
The rest of the news
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, a move that left the chamber without a leader and plunged it into chaos.
More than 75,000 unionized employees of Kaiser Permanente, a nonprofit health system that operates in California, seven other states and the District of Columbia, are walking out today after an agreement was not reached on a new labor contract.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s choice of a successor to Senator Dianne Feinstein was complicated by two television interviews that attracted political pressure from many sides.
A bill awaiting the governor’s signature could prohibit by 2027 the sale of food products that contain additives banned in the European Union, CalMatters reports.
The San Dieguito Union High School District has settled a lawsuit over a redistricting map that removed the homes of all but two school board members from the areas they had been elected to represent, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Fresno Teachers Union may be headed for a strike as the school district plans to more than double the pay for substitute teachers, The Fresno Bee reports.
San Francisco may soon ban right-hand turns on red lights, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Campbell Brown, who led Facebook News, is leaving its parent company Meta but will remain an adviser as her team is folded into media and sports partnerships development.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from Beverly Kraut, who recommends visiting the Ruth Bancroft Garden in the Bay Area:
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
Lori Hu didn’t believe the stories she saw on the Netflix reality show “Love Is Blind” about couples who fell in love and became engaged before ever seeing each other. Then it happened to her.
Hu, who works at a venture capital fund in San Francisco, matched with Nick Matcheck, a former naval aviator, on the dating app Hinge in March 2020. The couple began dating online, bonding over their love of ’90s music and nostalgic films, and soon planned their first date: a picnic by the Golden Gate Bridge for late April 2020.
The picnic never happened, because of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but the two kept dating. After weathering some major challenges together, including the death of Hu’s father, they decided a few months later to move in together in Wisconsin, where Hu’s family owned a home.
By the time the two finally met face to face that June — Matcheck was waiting on a marble staircase in the lobby of a Chicago hotel, a single red rose in hand — the stories on “Love Is Blind” seemed much less incredible.
At the couple’s wedding in Sonoma this year, Hu’s brother played the violin for her walk down the aisle. “It reminded me of her walking down the staircase in Chicago,” Matcheck said of the moment, adding: “It’s the same feeling. I knew it was the life I wanted then. I made the right decision again.”
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back tomorrow.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Soumya Karlamangla, Maia Coleman and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].