The San Francisco Party Planning Guide
Pulling together the right event mix—whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, or a party for no real reason at all—is all about a certain special sauce. Great food and drinks, spot-on music, maybe a few extra shenanigans and flowers for fun, plus a great photographer to capture it all. Below, our San Francisco Rolodex of great vendors.
Tusk Events415.775.8508 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Cotogna and its more formal sister restaurant, Quince, are beloved San Francisco staples, so it's no surprise that their catering business is booming. Tusk Events (named for Lindsay and Michael Tusk, the husband-wife pair who run both places) can handle events of any size, offering casual Italian family-style fare from Cotogna, more formal options from Quince, or anything in between. Also good to remember: Cotogna's big tables can easily be reserved for large parties–a nice option if you're looking to host a fairly large gathering with minimal effort.
We recently attended a desert feast, cooked under the stars and inches from our table by Moonrise Standard: platters of lamb so tender we could pull it apart, bowls of spicy hominy, crunchy salads, and an incredible orange polenta cake. The surest sign of a great meal: Everyone stopped talking. Feasts are typically seven courses and emphasize whatever is best that is seasonal and local. The company hosts events throughout California and is available to cater smaller-scale parties and dinners.
Humphry Slocombe2790A Harrison St., Mission District | 415.550.6971
This quality SF ice cream shop (which has locations in The Mission and Embarcadero) caters a crowd-pleasing dessert at events big and small. They're known for their somewhat unusual ice cream flavors (Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Salt & Pepper, Cucumber, Bacon…), but there’s also plenty on offer for the less adventurous sort.
Del Popolo855 Bush St., Union Square | 415.589.7940
Del Popolo’s pizza is worthy of its fame—their Neapolitan-style pizzas are out-of-this-world good. They started off as a mobile pizzeria in 2012 and expanded into a brick-and-mortar space in Union Square in 2015. The beloved truck is still in business–and available for private events within a 50-mile radius of SF.
Taste has been serving San Francisco for more than 30 years, and in those three decades, they've established excellent relationships with local farmers–you’ll know exactly where your tomatoes, beef, and even your coffee comes from. Considering Northern California's year-round bounty, you'll be getting farm-fresh food regardless of season. They also offer full-scale event planning.
Jessica Lasky Catering510.339.7157
Jessica Lasky's meals always feel homemade, even when she's serving a huge crowd. With straightforward menus and a rustic style (think beer bottles on ice in old washtubs and charcuterie plates served on well-loved cutting boards), they do excellent dressed-up family style.
McCalls Catering & Events415.552.8550
While they call themselves a catering company—and their food is fantastic—McCalls is really a full-service event group. With wedding planning and floral design departments in-house, they bring a lot of resources to the table (pun fully intended) and are a great option if you're looking for a single point of contact.
Izakaya Rintaro82 14th St., Mission | 415.589.7022
For a less typical catered meal in the Bay Area, we recommend Rintaro, which serves excellent Japanese-style food at private parties. They also have a restaurant in the Mission, which is worth checking out, too.
Paula LeDuc Entertaining510.547.7825
Paula LeDuc is sort of a San Francisco institution. She's been catering in the city for years, and is credited with introducing the concept of farm-to-table to the industry. Her exquisitely designed meals are best suited for sit-down events; for a black-tie wedding, there's really no one better.
Bi-Rite Market Catering415.321.8070
Bi-Rite is actually a neighborhood market—it's best known for hyper-local fruits and vegetables and a seriously good deli. Their catering business is capable of everything from a few pre-made meals to a full course dinner, and we love their big platters, which are perfect (and perfectly easy) for corporate events. Their famous ice cream, made in their in-house creamery, makes picking the dessert option a no-brainer.