San Francisco has one of the hottest food scenes in the US - here are 10 of the top places to snag a table on your next visit, from a creative take on Chinese cuisine to a super-hip bakery and the best spots to sample some Mexican favourites.
1. The Ferry Building
Once obscured by a freeway, blackened by fumes and on the verge of dereliction, the 1898 Ferry Building has been returned to its former glory - but as a gourmet hotspot rather than a transportation hub. Gather some goodies from the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop, Hog Island Oyster Company and Miette for a picnic overlooking San Francisco Bay. 1 Sausalito.
2. Mission Chinese Food
What started as a food truck is now a celebrated restaurant, with a New York outpost to boot. The creative take on Chinese fare (kung pao pastrami, anyone?) combined with a dive bar ambience and a ghetto rap playlist makes for a night to remember. Forget so-so sweet-and-sour pork and try the signature thrice-cooked bacon. 2234 Mission Street.
At one of the most famous bakeries in the US, get ready for some carb-loading while you wait in the inevitable line. Hands down the best ham and cheese croissant I have ever tasted, plus pressed sandwiches (toasties to Aussies) with unusual ingredients and delicate desserts makes this the perfect spot to grab and go. Head to nearby Dolores Park to feast. 600 Guerrero Street.
4. Bar Tartine
Yes, it's from the same people from the down-the-road bakery but the offerings don't exactly come in a brown paper bag. Chef Nick Balla's ahead-of- the-curve Eastern European cuisine elevates a neighbourhood joint to something pretty special. And don't miss the smoked potato side dish. 561 Valencia Street.
5. Bi-Rite Creamery
The centre of the hip, food-oriented Mission neighbourhood is arguably this shopfront serving small-batch ice cream and soft-serve (salted caramel is a winner) to sweet-toothed locals who snake down the street in a hungry line. Using honey from hives on the rooftop of the adjacent Bi-Rite market, it's a foodie favourite. 3692 18th Street.
6. Kokkari Estiatorio
The city's financial district isn't where you'd expect to find a Greek restaurant serving classics as good as yiayia makes - but that's exactly what you get at this fine dining joint. The elegant dining room (and not a fishing net in sight) includes an open spit to slow-roast your dinner. Don't miss the rich, smoky-sweet moussaka. 200 Jackson Street.
Perched prettily on a steep hill, this bright and airy neighbourhood cafe has a reputation for the best brunch in town. The all-day menu offers dishes as diverse as lemon ricotta pancakes, bread pudding replete with chanterelles, yellow candy onions, treviso radicchio and cheddar through to a yolky fried egg and applewood-smoked bacon sandwich with melted Vermont aged cheddar. Get there early or be prepared to wait. 1299 18th Street.
Northern Italy meets northern California at this upscale neighbourhood joint that doesn't try too hard to impress, but does anyway. Simple food is exquisitely prepared, with favourites such as spaghetti with plum tomatoes, grilled Monterey Bay calamari on a bed of cannellini beans and sublime pannacotta providing the perfect antidote to overrated food trends. 3621 18th Street.
9. Foreign Cinema
Enter a discreet door and discover one of the city's most beloved spaces to gather and gobble. The loft-style restaurant opens out on to a sun-lit courtyard. Vintage movies projected on to a wall provide the backdrop to a menu with North African and Mediterranean leanings. 2534 Mission Street.
10. La Taqueria
You haven't experienced San Francisco's food scene if you haven't eaten at one of The Mission's squadron of taquerias serving Mexican staples. This one's my pick for a late-night tasty-burrito quest. 2889 Mission Street.