Travel

Mission Restaurants

Establishment neighborhood
St. Frances Soda Fountain
2801 24th St., Mission
This classic greasy spoon has been in the exact same location since 1918 though it underwent a top-to-bottom restoration in 2002 to give the retro signage, a flashing neon sign, and vinyl booths the love they deserve. The menu has everything you'd expect from a diner, yet somehow the sandwiches, soups, and salads seem surprisingly light, not greasy (lots of vegan options, too). Even if you don't stay for a full meal, order a shake or a sundae at the counter—both are served old school with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., Mission
Come here to enjoy a dinner and a movie in one shot. The menu is surprisingly elevated, rife with perfectly executed American classics like oysters and fried chicken, and a pretty killer scallop situation. Films run the gamut from foreign to classic to indie (check out the screening schedule online). The poached egg with duck confit is particularly insane—it's only served at weekend brunch, which usually involves a wait, but luckily you can stroll around the Mission while your table is prepped.
Flour + Water
2401 Harrison St., Mission
Come nighttime, the dim lighting and loud music draw a younger crowd to this tightly-packed gem a few blocks off the main Mission drag. The lineup of house-made pastas is as unusual as they come. From maltagliati with braised rabbit and sunchokes to trenette with pork sugo and chili, the concepts are always inspired. The pizzas are just as interesting. It's not a light meal, so come with hungry friends as a lot of it is great to share. The dough room where they roll the pasta during is available as a private dining room in the evenings.
Commonwealth
2224 Mission St., Mission
Set up in a stark and understated space that looks more like a garage than a restaurant, the décor begins and ends with a hanging disco ball found in the attic during renovation. The food is serious, particularly the innovative approach to seafood and veggies: sea urchin with horseradish tofu, fried anchovies, fresh shelling beans with chanterelles. Chef Jason Fox put together a pretty substantial six-course tasting menu ($75, $10 of which does to charity), which somehow feels healthy and light. The a la carte selection doesn't disappoint.
Central Kitchen
3000 20th St., Mission
The indoor-outdoor dining room is equal parts rustic (Edison bulbs, communal tables) and modern (exposed kitchen, cement floors) while the food is hearty Northern California fare through and through. Taking full advantage of the region's bounty, Chef Thomas McNaughton developed relationships with local farmers who provide just-plucked produce for dishes like squash maltagliati, figs with coppa di testa, and melon and burrata. If you're hosting an event, keep in mind that the attached Salumeria, which is a market by day, becomes a cozy dining room by night.
Bar Tartine (Closed)
561 Valencia St., Mission
Co-chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns have curated a menu that's essentially a culinary trip around the world via dishes influenced by Japanese, Middle Eastern, and Hungarian cuisines. In-house fermentation and DIY is a big part of what they do here, resulting in food that's literally made 100% from scratch. The tartines that originally put Chad Robinson's establishments on the map are particularly good at brunch time (get the smoked salmon). Be sure to snag some of the famous fresh-baked bread on your way out.