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San Franciscans Love Breaking Bread—Sourdough, Preferably

Written by Sarah HoltzResearch by Shelley D. FargoPublished Oct. 12, 2022 • 5:00am
Customers enjoy dinner at Tosca Cafe where dinner service has resumed outside in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. | Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The SF Chronicle via Getty Images

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When he was asked by The New York Times to name his favorite American culinary destination, the late Anthony Bourdain had no reservations: “Anyone who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco is pretty much dead to me,” he said in 2011. “It’s a two-fisted drinking town, a carnivorous meat-eating town, it’s dirty and nasty and wonderful.” 

Name-dropping SF institutions that are still around today, like Mr. Bing’s and Zam Zam, Bourdain described the SF dining scene as “untouched by time.” Almost a dozen years later—even as issues like homelessness, drugs and crime continue to divide locals and generate national headlines—San Franciscans can still unite around the dinner table.

Or, just as likely, in line at the neighborhood taqueria. 

As part of The Standard’s spring voter poll, we asked residents what they like most about living here, and 55% of respondents reported that it’s the food, restaurants and nightlife. What’s more, in our new fall voter poll, 83% reported regularly going out to restaurants, and a majority also kick back at the many happy hours and farmers’ markets the city has to offer.

To no one’s surprise, burritos still reign supreme here. People reported that they can’t live without a carne asada or carnitas burrito from places like El Farolito and La Taqueria—which Nate Silver once dubbed “America’s Best Burrito.”

The city’s iconic sourdough also racked up plenty of votes.

See Also

We also hit the streets of San Francisco to speak directly with voters, who were eager to share their recommendations for best eats across the city.

Indigo Loury, a Bayview resident, wholeheartedly recommended Panchita's Pupuseria & Restaurant, while Jinx Guillen recommended nearby Yamo, a cash-only Burmese restaurant also in the Mission.

San Francisco residents weigh in on the best food and restaurants across the city in video interviews conducted on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

Below you will find a selection of write-in answers to what may be the least scientific—and undoubtedly most delicious—portion of our poll.

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Sarah Holtz can be reached at [email protected]


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