25 Best Restaurants in South San Francisco, CA

This article was written by local contributor Michelle Lindsey & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in South San Francisco, CA

South San Francisco, California, is a gem of a city nestled between San Francisco Bay and the San Bruno Mountains.

I've been living here for quite some time now, and I must say, one of the things I love the most about this place is its diverse and vibrant food scene.

The city offers a plethora of culinary delights that cater to every taste bud, from the most exquisite fine dining establishments to the coziest family-owned eateries.

In this article, I'll be sharing some of the best restaurants in South San Francisco, California, that have become my absolute favorites over the years.

So, get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey through this wonderful city with me!

Sky Cafe

I've lived in this neighborhood for quite some time now, and I've always walked past the Sky Cafe without realizing the gem it is!

One fine morning, I decided to give it a shot, and trust me, it was one of the best decisions I've made.

I've had the pleasure of trying their global veggie & vegan dishes, and I just can't get enough of them.

One time, I had the traditional waffles and fried chicken, and it was by far the best meat substitute for chicken I've ever had.

Even the waffle was perfect, with a slight crunch on the outside and soft on the inside.

Knowing that they serve health-conscious food just adds to the delight of eating at Sky Cafe.

I can confidently say that I've found a new favorite spot in my neighborhood, and I'm sure any fellow local resident would agree.

Sky Cafe · 223 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Vegan restaurant

Little Lucca

The other day, I finally decided to try out Little Lucca, a cozy sandwich spot I've been hearing about for years.

It's located not too far from where I live, and you can find more details about it on their website.

I must say, their hearty sandwiches on Dutch crunch bread did not disappoint!

When I arrived, there was a line out the door, but it moved quickly, and everyone was wearing masks.

I ordered a 3-meat sandwich with cheese and roast beef, both with their famous garlic sauce on fresh Dutch crunch bread.

The sandwiches were not only delicious but also huge!

The place is small and can get cramped, but it's perfect for grabbing a quick lunch.

Little Lucca · 724 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Sandwich shop

Cafe De Casa

I just can't get enough of Cafe De Casa.

It has become my go-to spot for delicious Brazilian pastries and lunch plates.

One day, I was introduced to their coxinha by a coworker, and since then, I've been hooked! Not only are these treats tasty, but they are also quite filling.

Parking can be a bit tough, but finding a spot on the nearby streets is usually manageable.

I absolutely love their Saturday feijoada, as well as their coxinha de galinha, brigadeiro, and kibe.

I've tried various items on their menu, including Pao de Queijo, Rissoles (beef and corn), Coxinxa (chicken and cheese), and Pao de coconut.

Everything tastes amazing, and the prices are reasonable.

I've noticed that many locals frequent this spot too, which is a testament to the quality of the food.

I look forward to every visit to Cafe De Casa, and I can't wait for my next chance to enjoy their mouthwatering pastries.

If only those pastries were served piping hot straight from the oven - that would be the ultimate perfection!

Cafe De Casa · 1165 Airport Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Brazilian restaurant

Hidden Spot

The other day, I decided to finally check out Hidden Spot in South San Francisco, and I must say, I was not disappointed.

I arrived for lunch, and the place was already bustling by 11 am.

I ordered the pastrami sandwich, which turned out to be the best one I've ever had.

My friend tried the blue and provolone cheeseburger, which was juicy and flavorful.

We also shared some chicken bites and garlic parmesan wings – both were excellent, especially paired with a cold hazy IPA beer.

As a sports fan, I appreciated the presence of TVs, although I wish there was something other than hockey playing.

The service was fantastic, and the industrial-style bar atmosphere was just the right balance of casual and trendy.

There's a full bar, pool table, and plenty of seating, making it a great spot for meeting up with friends or family.

One highlight of our visit was the onion rings and tater tots – both were cooked to perfection.

The onion rings had a crunchy outer layer with a sweet onion inside, while the tots were just the right amount of crispy.

I can see why people rave about the quality gourmet burgers here, as they're packed with high-quality ingredients and bursting with flavor.

I've been wanting to try Hidden Spot for a while, and I'm glad I finally did.

I even ordered takeout recently, trying the Sheriff Burger, Hottie tots, and Other Guys chicken sandwich.

The burger and sandwich were both top-notch, and the tots were just as delicious as I remembered.

If you're looking for great burgers, wings, and more, do yourself a favor and visit Hidden Spot in South San Francisco.

Hidden Spot - South San Francisco · 303 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Hamburger restaurant

Molloy's Tavern

One evening, I decided to check out Molloy's Tavern with a few friends, and I must say, it was quite a lively atmosphere!

There was a local school fundraiser going on in the main event area, which I thought was a nice touch, especially if you're planning to host an event at a bar.

We especially enjoyed the karaoke and billiard table that was available for patrons.

Additionally, the historical newsprints from the local area, which were part of the décor, added a unique touch to the overall ambiance.

Molloy’s · 1655 Mission Rd # 6, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Bar

Luigi's Sandwich Palace

Just the other day, I decided to grab lunch at Luigi's Sandwich Palace, and it was a great experience!

The place is conveniently located near the airport, making it perfect for a quick bite before or after a flight.

For my meal, I chose the Forklift-Chicken sandwich, which came with mayo, avocado, cheese, garlic, lettuce, and tomato.

It was delicious, and the garlic flavor was mild to my liking.

I noticed that they have a parking spot outside that allows you to stay for 10 minutes, which is just enough time to order and grab your food to go.

Luigi’s Sandwich Palace · 326 Littlefield Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Sandwich shop

La Tapatia Mexicatessen

I absolutely love La Tapatia Mexicatessen! Whenever I'm in the mood for some mouthwatering Mexican food, it's my go-to spot in the city.

The food is truly authentic, and the portions are huge especially their burritos.

You can check their menu on their website here.

However, due to its popularity, it can get quite busy, especially on weekends.

So, I make sure to plan ahead or sometimes even call in my order to pick it up.

I love getting their chips, pico, and salsa for parties - they're always a hit with my friends and family.

La Tapatia Mexicatessen · 411 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican grocery store

Brothers Cafe

One of my favorite places to grab breakfast in town is Brothers Cafe.

Their Home Run breakfast sandwich is to die for - packed with eggs, bacon, and a delightful aioli sauce.

I also love their Santa Fe egg scramble, which is both filling and satisfying.

I find their hash browns a bit strange, as they're quite thin and paper-like, but it doesn't bother me too much since the sandwiches and scrambles are so delicious.

What makes Brothers Cafe even better is their use of locally sourced ingredients, giving their American comfort food an elevated and fresh taste.

I once stopped in for dinner and found their menu to be just as impressive as during breakfast hours.

The cafe is part of a split operation, with a brewery on the other side, which adds to the overall ambiance and appeal.

One thing that sets Brothers Cafe apart is their pet-friendly outdoor patio.

My pup and I love being able to enjoy our meal outside together.

The ordering process is pretty simple - you place your order at the front counter and wait for your food to be delivered to your table.

Brothers Cafe · 382 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Andiamo In Banca

I've seen Andiamo In Banca since it opened, but I never had the chance to try it until recently.

It was a Friday night, and I didn't have a reservation, but thankfully there was enough seating available.

The restaurant has an elegant atmosphere, and I learned that it was actually a bank in its previous life.

They have a full bar and cocktails, and their homemade dishes truly stand out.

I ordered a garden salad for starters, which had fresh vegetables and amazing flavors.

Their ricotta ravioli in the marinara sauce was exquisite - delicate and just melted in my mouth.

My only complaint would be the pour on my glass of wine, which seemed smaller than usual.

The highlight of my dining experience, however, was their chocolate lava cake with raspberry jam and ice cream.

It was simply divine!

I also had the chance to see the vault, which adds a unique ambiance to the place, as one of the big groups was seated inside of it.

Andiamo In Banca · 301 Linden Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Darby Dan's

Being a long-time resident of South San Francisco, I have had the pleasure of enjoying countless sandwiches from Darby Dan's Sandwiches.

Let me tell you, these are some of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted.

The bread is always fresh, the ingredients are top-notch, and the sandwiches are simply mouth-watering.

One of my all-time favorite sandwiches from Darby Dan's is their meatball sandwich – it's big, flavorful, and incredibly satisfying.

But the real star of the show is their crab sandwich served on a Dutch crunch roll – it's absolutely divine.

If you're lucky enough to visit on a Thursday or Friday, don't miss out on their 1/2 shrimp, 1/2 crab salad sandwich – it's like a little bite of heaven.

Being a part of the community for so many years, it's heartwarming to see that Darby Dan's hasn't lost its touch.

My friends in the neighborhood all know and love this place.

Darby Dan’s Sandwiches · 733 Airport Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Sandwich shop

Love Burn - Hot Chicken

The other day, I decided to try out Love Burn - Hot Chicken as I had been hearing great things about their mouth-watering sandwiches.

I went with my family and ordered a level 2 spicy chicken sandwich, while my kids opted for the level 0 spice.

The chicken was incredibly crunchy, and the sandwich was packed with fresh ingredients.

I personally would have liked a little more slaw in it, but it was still delicious.

The spice level 2 was perfect for me, and it was a very tolerable level of heat. H

owever, my partner ordered a level 3 spicy chicken sandwich, and it was extremely spicy!

He was sweating from the heat but couldn't stop eating it because the flavor was just too good.

The Diet Coke and hot ranch he had on the side seemed to help him cool down and continue enjoying the meal.

The quality and taste of the food were exceptional, and I would come back for their delicious chicken sandwiches and wings.

Love Burn - Hot Chicken · 130 Northwood Dr, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Fried chicken takeaway

Taqueria Las Pencas

One of my favorite places to grab a quick and delicious meal is Taqueria Las Pencas.

This taco truck has some of the best Mexican food I've ever tasted.

One of the standout dishes for me is their shrimp burrito - it's not overly stuffed, but the flavor is amazing.

I've tried shrimp burritos at other places, but I keep coming back to Taqueria Las Pencas for their version.

You can find their location on Google Maps.

Another dish that I absolutely love is their Birria Ramen.

It's a unique twist on traditional ramen, and it has easily become one of my go-to dinners at least once a month.

The flavors are just incredible, and it's something I haven't found anywhere else.

Taqueria Las pencas · 1655 Mission Rd, South San Francisco, CA 94080, Verenigde Staten
★★★★★ · Mexicaans restaurant

Jo Ann's Cafe

One of my favorite weekend activities is to head over to Jo Ann's Cafe for a delicious breakfast in a cozy atmosphere.

My go-to dish is their scrumptious pancakes, which are hands down the best I've ever had.

The freshly squeezed orange juice is the perfect addition to any meal, and I've never been disappointed with their scrambled eggs.

My partner enjoyed the orange-flavored French toast, stating it had a unique and refreshing taste.

I've also brought a few friends along on different occasions, and they've sampled dishes like the Mushroom Burger with fries and Paul's Sandwich with bacon.

What I love about Jo Ann's Cafe is their flexible menu.

They close at 2 pm and reopen from 6 pm-9 pm with a Mexican menu, offering more variety for different tastes.

The service is always friendly and efficient, and although parking can be a bit of a challenge, it's definitely worth the wait.

The cafe is also wheelchair accessible and provides both indoor and outdoor seating options.

The daily specials on the chalkboard inside the restaurant always offer something new and exciting, and their freshly baked muffins are a must-try.

Jo Ann’s Cafe · 1131 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Cafe

Amami San

Just the other day, I stopped by Amami San for a sushi fix.

What I love about this place is the great quality sushi at a very reasonable price, especially when compared to other sushi places in San Francisco.

They offer a wide selection of options, and I must say, the spicy tuna cones and hamachi appetizer were fantastic!

The tea was also quite enjoyable.

I ordered sashimi and a few other dishes, which were delicious.

Meanwhile, the unagi was fresh enough and satisfying.

Amami San · 310 Linden Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Japanese restaurant

Cable Car Cafe

One of my favorite spots in the city to grab breakfast or lunch has to be the Cable Car Cafe.

This bright, basic diner has a charm of its own and serves up some of the best traditional American egg dishes and other familiar eats.

I've been to this place several times, and I can vouch for the freshness of their ingredients and the mouth-watering flavors in every dish.

Whenever I'm in the mood for a good breakfast, I usually order their signature omelet, which is not only large but also filled with plenty of tasty ingredients.

You can check it out for yourself at Cable Car Cafe.

My friends who've tried other dishes like Eggs Benedict have had mixed reviews, but the majority of them agree that the food is enjoyable overall.

My personal favorite, however, remains the omelet.

What sets this cafe apart for me is not just the food but their excellent service as well.

The fun decor adds to the overall ambiance of the place, making it a great spot to catch up with friends or just enjoy a meal by yourself.

Cable Car Cafe · 423 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★★ · Breakfast restaurant

Nueva Perla

One evening, I decided to swing by La Nueva Perla for a delicious, authentic Mexican dinner.

Upon entering, I instantly appreciated the laid-back atmosphere of the place.

I decided to treat myself to a cold beer and some chips and salsa while I mulled over the menu.

Eventually, I opted for a chicken and seafood entree meal, which turned out to be incredibly tasty.

Contrary to my initial expectations, it wasn't dry at all but rather had a salsa-like consistency that paired well with some crackers.

Apart from the delightful food, what really stood out to me was the excellent customer service.

La Nueva Perla · 222 Lux Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★☆ · Mexican restaurant

Basque Cultural Center

I recently attended a friend's baby shower at the Basque Cultural Center, and let me tell you, it was an unforgettable experience!

The space was warm and welcoming, perfectly suited for our group's needs.

One of the highlights of the day was the delicious traditional Basque cuisine.

Served in family-style portions, it was the perfect way for us to bond and enjoy each other's company.

The Basque Cultural Center is truly a great place for events, not to mention the convenience of a huge parking lot for all attendees.

I've also dined at the Basque Cultural Center on other occasions and found their comfort food to be both affordable and scrumptious.

I especially enjoyed their tossed green salad with house dressing, New York steak with a side of veggies and potatoes au gratin, and of course, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with a thin crunchy wafer for dessert.

The atmosphere is always pleasant, with a slightly livelier vibe during lunch hours.

Basque Cultural Center · 599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★☆ · Basque restaurant

Taqueria El Farolito

One of my go-to places for a delicious and affordable meal is Taqueria El Farolito.

This casual counter-serve Mexican spot has some of the best tacos and burritos in town.

Plus, they offer a selection of beers and other drinks to enjoy while devouring their comfort food.

You can find their location on Google Maps if you're interested in giving them a try.

I cannot recommend their burritos enough! The Super Burrito Chile Relleno is my personal favorite, but my friends have tried other varieties and loved them just as much.

Not only are their burritos amongst the best I've ever had, but they're also very reasonably priced for San Francisco standards.

Don't forget to grab some chips for just $0.75 with their absolutely delicious salsas to share with your group!

Besides their amazing food, Taqueria El Farolito offers fast service and a very affordable menu.

I once ordered a chicken with beans and rice meal, asked for it to be spicy, and it came out perfect.

Despite being a busy spot, they never disappoint with their variety of options and consistently great taste.

It's definitely a must-try place for anyone in the area.

Taqueria El Farolito · 394 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States
★★★★☆ · Mexican restaurant

Other Restaurants Nearby


Mazra has been my go-to spot for Mediterranean food.

What first drew me in was their laid-back atmosphere, but it's the wood-fired meats, wraps, and rotisserie chicken that keep me coming back for more.

The first time I went to Mazra, I tried their double kebab plate and Garlic Rotisserie Chicken plate.

The flavors were amazing, and I also appreciated the fresh seasonal juice they offered with my meal.

Just a heads up for those who order the beef kebab - it does have a mild lamb odor, but it didn't bother me too much.

I've gone there many times with friends and family, and the service has always been top-notch.

They also have a number system for ordering, which makes the process super easy and pain-free.

For my fellow vegetarians, Mazra offers a great variety of options.

In fact, I would say it's the best Mediterranean food for vegetarians in the Bay area.

Don't miss out on the oyster mushroom wrap - it's absolutely divine!

The roasted cauliflower may not be their strong suit, but it's still worth a try.

The ambiance is chic, with both indoor and outdoor seating options, which makes it a great spot for all seasons.

If you're planning to visit during lunch hours, I'd recommend going a little after 2 pm to avoid the rush and enjoy faster service.

Mazra · 504 San Bruno Ave W, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★★ · Mediterranean restaurant

Big Mouth Burgers

One of my go-to spots for a satisfying burger fix is Big Mouth Burgers.

This compact counter-serve joint may not have the fanciest interior, but they make up for it with their creative and hearty burgers.

Although their prices might be a bit on the higher side, the portions are generous enough that I often end up sharing a meal with a friend.

The last time I went, I ordered their 49er burger, loaded with BBQ sauce, provolone cheese, fried onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and a pickle.

It also came with a side of garlic fries, which were absolutely delicious.

My friend tried the Hawaiian burger, featuring teriyaki sauce and pineapple, along with a side of regular fries.

My friend absolutely loved the garlic fries that came with my meal.

I've also had my eye on their milkshakes and homemade bread pudding, which I'll definitely try the next time I visit.

Big Mouth Burgers · 851 Cherry Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★☆ · Hamburger restaurant

Isla Restaurant

One of my favorite places to hang out and indulge in delicious Filipino cuisine in the city is Isla Restaurant.

I've been to Isla multiple times, and it never disappoints.

Their family-style food offerings are perfect for sharing among friends and family.

The atmosphere is lively, making it an excellent choice for get-togethers and celebrations.

Last Friday, I went there for a friend's wedding rehearsal dinner, and I must say, the food was absolutely mouthwatering.

If you ever find yourself craving Filipino food in San Francisco, I highly recommend paying a visit to Isla Restaurant.

Their adobo ox tail and crispy pork binagoongan are some of the best dishes I've ever had.

Don't forget to check out their lengthy weekday happy hour – it's a great way to unwind and treat yourself to some fantastic food and drinks.

Isla Restaurant · 448 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★☆ · Filipino restaurant

Jack's Restaurant and Bar

Oh, how I love Jack's Restaurant and Bar in San Bruno!

It's been my go-to place for any occasion, whether it's a casual dinner or a special night out.

The atmosphere is lively and welcoming, with a full bar, TVs, and a cozy, comfortable setting.

The menu at Jack's is incredible, offering a wide variety of options – from breakfast to bar food, pasta, and classic American dishes.

Whenever I visit, I struggle to choose between all these delicious options.

Last time, I had their cheeseburger with garlic fries, and I was blown away.

The burger was a juicy, half-pound patty cooked just right, and the garlic fries were the best I've ever tasted.

My friends who joined me loved their meals as well, including the steak & eggs, corned beef hash, and banana French toast.

They offer various seating options, including standing tables and bar seating, which is great when the place is crowded.

The prices are fair, and the quality and portion sizes of the dishes are exceptional.

Jack’s Restaurant and Bar - San Bruno · 1050 Admiral Ct SUITE A, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★☆ · American restaurant

West Coast Cafe

I always look forward to special occasions because that's when my family and I enjoy a delightful meal at West Coast Cafe.

This relaxed yet elegant eatery never fails to impress us with their wide menu of upscale Italian fare and an extensive wine list.

During our last visit, we were a group of eleven, and they were more than accommodating by seating us in their back area.

Everyone was highly satisfied with their appetizers, drinks, and entrees.

The service was exceptional, and they even allowed us to taste the wine before committing to a bottle.

West Coast Cafe · 466 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

JC Bruno Restaurant

One of my favorite spots in town has to be JC Bruno Restaurant.

I remember the first time I went there for dinner with my family.

We were immediately drawn to the laid-back atmosphere and the spacious patio. Since it was a nice evening, we decided to dine outdoors.

The menu offered a variety of seafood classics, pizzas, and fancy desserts, which made it hard to choose.

We ended up ordering the mussels as a starter, and I have to say, they were amazing.

The house salad that we shared was light and fresh, perfectly complementing the mussels.

For our main courses, I had the scallops, and my sister had the bouillabaisse.

The scallops were huge and cooked to perfection, pairing well with the rice.

The bouillabaisse was filled with a great variety of fresh seafood, making every bite a delightful experience.

One thing I appreciate about JC Bruno Restaurant is their decent beer and wine options, which definitely adds to the overall dining experience.

The service has always been fairly attentive, and although it can get a bit loud due to the crowd, it never becomes unbearable.

JC Bruno Restaurant · 741 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

A One Kitchen Bar Restaurant

My go-to spot for delicious and authentic Asian cuisine has got to be A One Kitchen Bar Restaurant.

I remember the first time I tried their garlic crab, which was a bit pricey but absolutely worth it.

The garlic sauce was perfectly flavored, and the crab was cooked to perfection.

I also enjoy their som tum papaya salad, which comes with these amazing crunchy pork rinds.

Their Thai iced tea is always my drink of choice, as it's not too sweet but just the right amount of sweetness.

A One Kitchen Bar Restaurant is not only known for its great food but also for its late-night hours, making it a great spot to grab a late meal after a long day.

I've even brought my out-of-town friends there after picking them up from the airport, and they've always been blown away by the quality of the food and the service.

They offer a variety of dishes to satisfy everyone's palate.

I love how the Pad Thai comes with a side of spices and seasonings, allowing you to customize the dish to your taste.

The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, perfect for a casual dining experience.

A one kitchen bar restaurant · 677 San Mateo Ave, San Bruno, CA 94066, United States
★★★★★ · Asian restaurant

Final Thoughts

Living in South San Francisco has truly been a gastronomical adventure.

Each of these restaurants has provided me with unique and unforgettable dining experiences that I cherish.

I can confidently say that South San Francisco's diverse food scene is one of the reasons I'm proud to call this city my home.

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