The Mission Restaurants
595 Alabama St., The Mission
Opened a year ago, Tartine's light-filled, warehouse-like offshoot is a foodie paradise with lines out the door to prove it. There are the same amazing breakfast and lunch options you can find at the original location, but here you'll also find beer and wine, a soft-serve machine, and (blessedly) a full-on dinner menu. There's a separate, and semi-secret, line for people who are just buying bread and jam, but if you want to wait for something from the full breakfast menu, or a gem from their pastry case, there's a Blue Bottle next door offering sustenance and caffeine in the meantime.
3560 18th St., Mission
The gentrification of the Mission hasn't included a ton of new architecture, so Farina's neon sign and sleek modern build makes it stick out a little on the street—all the better, because their famous Neopolitan pizzas (cooked in a specially made oven) are not to be missed. The best seat in the house is the back patio, which is super lush, and benefits from the Mission's warmer microclimate (it's usually about 10 degrees warmer here than in the rest of the city). The entire patio can be rented out for private events, and the restaurant provides heat lamps that make it a good option year-round.
1199 Valencia St., Mission
The first thing you'll notice about Beretta is the elegant décor—industrial chandeliers dangle from the high ceilings and glass light fixtures dot the bar. One of the first spots that brought the Mission to culinary fame, they're best known for great Italian comfort food (don’t miss the thin crust pizzas and classic pastas) and an insanely good brunch (how can you not order the carbonara brunch pizza?). The upstairs event space is perfect for an event that feels sophisticated but with a little bit of cool factor.
3189 16th St., Mission
So at three doors strong, Lers Ros is technically a chain, but don't let that stop you from giving their simple, authentic Thai food a shot. Menu items vary slightly from location to location and everything is consistently perfectly prepared and delicious. There's also a location in Tenderloin and Hayes Valley.
741 Valencia St., Mission
While the name may suggest otherwise, at Tacolicious the drinks and the scene are the main draw. Take the margaritas: there are several on the cocktail list and each one is good enough to order by the pitcher. That said, the tacos are solid, as are the salads and guacamole. There's also a location in the Marina and the Embarcadero.
680 Valencia St., Mission
The success of the original Oakland outpost inspired Chef James Syhabout—he's the guy behind Commis, also in Oakland—to bring his much-adored Laotian Thai restaurant (the 24-hour Pork Belly is something else) to S.F. Both spots are full of color and life, designed to encourage customers to stick around for drinks and laughs long after the food is cleared, but the weekend brunch and Happy Tiki Hour are exclusive to S.F., while lunch service is only available in Oakland.
499 Dolores St., Mission
There's a lot to appreciate about this insanely cool-looking Korean-American restaurant, not the least of which is the fact that it's run by three brothers who inherited their skills from their chef mom. What's more, most of the ingredients used for the seasonal plates are supplied by their very own farm. And if that doesn't impress, the beer is on tap (i.e. you can order by the pitcher), the dessert comes in shave ice form, and there's a dedicated kids menu perfect for easing little palettes into flavor-heavy Korean cuisine.
2889 Mission St., Mission
Widely considered the best taqueria in in the city, this unassuming spot has literally won awards for its tacos and burritos, which are stuffed with really good, clean meat and are best washed down with the house aguas frescas. That said, many would argue the carnitas are the sleeper hits here. We've also heard whispers of a secret menu so make friend with some regulars, stat.
3218 Mission St., Mission
Set up in an old converted home complete with a back yard, this is the kind of laid-back, blessedly well-priced spot locals feel good coming back to on the regular. The menu is packed with comfort food staples like meatloaf, fried chicken, and various pastas. It's pretty ideal for weeknight family dinners.
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.
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