Union Square is at the very heart of downtown San Francisco. Home to a number of landmarks and dozens of shops and restaurants, Union Square is a frequent destination for visitors to the Golden City. It is also home to many of the best and most diverse culinary options in all of San Francisco. That’s why you’ll frequently see locals dining in Union Square, unlike other major cities (New Yorkers in Times Square, for instance). If you’re planning to visit San Francisco soon, take a look at our curated list of diverse dining establishments located in Union Square.
Gaspar Brasserie (185 Sutter St.)
Gaspar is an elegant yet refreshingly laid-back French restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of Union Square. While their dinners are great, many locals swear by the incredible and authentic French desserts. Even if you have dinner plans somewhere else, we recommend trying out one of Gaspar’s famous treats, such as the Le Fraisier pour deux. www.gasparbrasserie.com
Del Popolo (855 Bush St.)
Del Popolo is one of the more popular pizza places in San Francisco, and many locals stop by on a regular basis to enjoy their unique artisan-style creations. For those who want a more traditional pizza, they have several to choose from as well. If you’re in the mood for pizza, Del Popolo is the place in Union Square to visit.
Hakkasan San Francisco (1 Kearny St.)
You might already be familiar with the Hakkasan restaurant in Las Vegas, which is attached to one of the most popular nightclubs in that city. In San Francisco, Hakkasan is a lively and hip place where you’re certain to have a fun evening. We strongly recommend the dim sum, and locals frequently rave about the prawns. If you eat here, plan to stay a while, since dinner often lasts for two hours or more. www.hakkasan.com/sanfrancisco
Tratto (501 Geary St.)
Tratto is a simple and casual family-style Italian joint. If you’re in the mood for a freshly-made pizza and some Italian soda, try Trattos for lunch. Trattos is a simple restaurant and is great if you’re looking to eat quick and move on to the next activity. www.tratto-sf.com
Bartlett Hall (242 O’Farrell St.)
Virtually everyone in San Francisco knows Bartlett Hall. Located right in the heart of Union Square, this upscale but not stuffy venue features delicious food and constant sports entertainment on their numerous televisions. If you aren’t sure what to get, we recommend the Bartlett Burger, a delicious sandwich complete with caramelized onions, garlic chive aioli, and several other delicious ingredients you have to taste to believe. Their lounge area is also filled with overstuffed chairs, where you can hang out while watching the game or waiting for your table. www.bartletthall.com
Kin Khao (55 Cyril Magnin St.)
Kin Khao is one of the crown jewels of Union Square. This popular Thai restaurant has earned a Michelin star, and if you ask San Franciscans, they’ll emphatically tell you that Kin Khao has earned it. While they have a robust list of traditional Thai dishes, the chef at Kin Khao isn’t afraid to experiment. The menu is loaded with innovative fusion dishes as well.
Huxley (846 Geary St.)
Huxley is a fun bar and restaurant with American fare. It is located on the edge of Union Square, but is well worth a visit. While they have many of the typical dishes you’d expect in this type of restaurant, Huxley is also known for their innovative and daring menu items, including the truffle risotto, which is a must-try.
Burritt Room + Tavern (417 Stockton St.)
Burritt Room + Tavern is an American-style speakeasy. You’ll find a laid back atmosphere and live music that perfectly fits the ambiance of this popular spot. If you’re trying to figure out what to start with, their charcuterie board is particularly well-executed. Speak with your waiter or waitress about the specials. They change frequently and some of the best dishes are often not on the menu. www.burritttavern.com
398 Brasserie (398 Geary St.)
If you’re hungry for some French cuisine, 398 Brasserie is a fantastic option. Despite being located right in the heart of Union Square, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into Paris — at least for the duration of your meal. The 398 Brasserie combines classic French food and style with a modern, chic decor. If you are having trouble choosing a plate, we strongly recommend the duck leg confit and filet mignon, both of which are standouts on an excellent menu.
Le Colonial (20 Cosmo Pl.)
Le Colonial is the place to go for Southeast Asian fare in Union Square. From the tuna carpaccio to the scallops, everything on this menu is fresh and authentic. If you aren’t sure what to order, speak with the waiter or waitress, as they are more than happy to suggest many of delicious items for you to try. www.lecolonialsf.com
This is just a small sampling of the many delicious restaurants in Union Square. We strongly recommend that you walk around the neighborhood and see which restaurant calls out to you — you won’t be disappointed.