Chef Picks: The Best Under-the-Radar Eating Experiences in San Francisco

If you're looking to side-step the hype and find delicious food, follow an off-duty chef or bartender. We asked some of the Bay Area's best to reveal their favorite lesser-known food haunts.


The Bay Area may has earned a reputation among food nerds for its ingredient-driven, intensely locavore dining culture. But for every restaurant worshipping at the alter of Alice Waters, there is a beloved, no-frills dive or dirt-cheap taqueria that locals wouldn’t trade for all the greenmarket sunchokes in the world.

As we've said before, the best way to sniff out a city's lesser-known gems is to follow off-the-clock food industry worker—people who care about what they eat and drink, but tend to seek satisfaction over hype when they step out of the kitchen. From greasy burgers to real-deal ramen, we tapped a dozen of chefs and bartenders from San Fran and Oakland to uncover their favorite under-the-radar haunts.

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