In a city as known for it’s food and culture as for its tech savvy millennials, there’s no reason to have a generic passe first date! Open up your Yelp, Lyft and MuniTracker app guys because we have the rundown on the best restaurants in San Francisco to impress your new college sweetheart.
1. Hand rolled pasta at Italian Homemade
Take a trip down to the lovely Union Street in the Marina District for a filling bowl of pasta and sauce of your choice. It’s a small place with a true homemade feel. All pastas are made fresh daily. Gnocchi and white sauce is my favorite! So authentic but not at all boujee and very affordable, you’ll never take a date to the 2 for 25 at Olive Garden ever again!
2. Cure your hangover at Kevin’s Noodle House
So maybe things got a little wild last night and you wake up with someone in your bed a headache, and no recollection of anything past 10pm (been there before). Once you all are situated head over to good old Kevin’s for a $6 bowl of piping hot vietnamese pho. The broth is delicious and your choices of meat are chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, combination, or all veggies. And they have boba! Both locations (Irving and Westlake) are always busy and upbeat means no awkward silences.
3. Steamy Dim Sum at San Tung
The inner and outer Sunset is a foodie’s dream and San Tung will not disappoint. Known for it’s tangy and crispy chicken wings and warm dumplings in soup, San Tung will leave you both satisfied. After, take the N Muni line on Judah down to Ocean Beach for a romantic swoon-worthy sunset.
4. Guy Ferrari approved Arepa’s at Pica Pica
For some culture catch the BART over to the Mission District for a bite of Venezuelan cuisine. The arepas are corn pockets filled with savory slow cooked meats, beans, plantains and topped with cheese. Not to mention everything is gluten free and it was even featured on an episode of Food Network’s Dinners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Indulge your hunny with a side of yuca fries or ceviche and they’ll sure to be blown away.
5. Pupusa Heaven at Panchita’s
Two words: Chocolate Horchata. Featuring traditional Salvadorian pupusas with fillings like pork, beans, cheese and chicken, spinach and mushrooms priced at only $3, Panchita’s is the spot for dating on a budget. Their casual picnic style tables are topped with jugs of their red sauce and cabbage curtido and pupusas are served on multicolored plates. Although, it’s close enough to Dolores Park to serve as to-go meal on a nice day and see the sun set over the skyline.
6. Tropical Booze filled Fruits at Soju Tonight
Who wouldn’t wanna drink an alcohol infused slush out of a pineapple? This place has a fun hangout vibe with dimmed lights and music to set the mood. Not too far from campus on Taraval and 19th, Soju Tonight has watermelon soju, pineapple soju and mango soju so tasty you can’t even taste the alcohol which will eliminate those first date jitters . Their shareable appetizers include potstickers, tonight wings and bbq chicken skewers.
7. Vegan Joy at Loving Hut
Authentic and delicious Thai cuisine which happens to be meat free will win over your favorite vegan. Pad Thai, fried rice and sweet Thai tea are the dishes you can’t go wrong with even for those of us who aren’t vegan. All white tables, chairs and floors with lace place settings give an elegant yet quaint setting.
8. 100% Sweet for your sweets
Dessert lovers rejoice, this menu is huge like 100+ food items huge. Favorites include Japanese style desserts like hokkaido almond milk pudding with red bean and mango shaved ice or there’s a make your own dessert option to woo your date’s taste buds. The main courses are all over the spectrum with baked spaghetti and carbonara sporali, Korean iron pots, banana french toast and even clam chowder.
9. Refreshing LA Lemonade at West Portal
Just a short Muni ride on the M Line from campus Lemonade at West Portal Station. Lemonade is a cafeteria style eatery where you fill your tray with comfort food of your liking that started in LA. If you suspect your date of being picky this is the right way to go. My favorite is the truffle mac and cheese with the cucumber mint lemonade.
10. Taste of Peru at Fresca’s
Disclaimer: This place is a tad boujee. But the empanadas, basket of sweet potato fries and sangria are fab. Your sweetie will appreciate the effort and your superior taste in exotic cuisine.