San Franciscans have high standards when eating out. The city has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country, and its food scene consistently attracts the national spotlight. So when a hotel restaurant here fills its seats with as many locals as visitors, you know they’re doing something right. Here’s a list of outstanding restaurants and bars that happen to be found in centrally located hotels.
You can count on these timeless establishments to deliver a polished experience for a special occasion.
If you appreciate a hushed, elegant dining experience and top-notch service, consider making a reservation at Campton Place, a Michelin star restaurant. The menu here is exceptional—chef Srijith Gopinathan uses classic French cooking techniques to create outstanding dishes that fuse subtle Indian flavors with a California sensibility. Lunchtime brings a special treat, the naan bar, where mini portions of flatbread are topped with flavorful ingredients like curried shrimp, Spanish anchovies or spiced kale. 340 Stockton St., San Francisco, 415.781.5555
Plaj, Inn at the Opera.
This city is rife with global cuisine, but Plaj, a genteel restaurant with white tablecloths, fills a niche with its Scandinavian focus. Tucked in a quiet corner of the desirable Hayes Valley neighborhood, near the symphony and opera house, this is a place to sample fine Nordic cuisine from a Swedish chef. Menu highlights include the Taste of Herring with marble potatoes and Vasterbotten cheese; wild boar belly with Swedish mash and Brussels sprouts; and aebleskivers, sphere-shaped Danish pancakes served with cloudberry jam. 333 Fulton St., San Francisco, 415.294.8925
Parallel 37, Ritz-Carlton.
Parallel 37, a swanky and modern restaurant atop Nob Hill, is named for San Francisco’s latitude. Chef Michael Rotondo, a protégé of the late Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, prepares globally inspired California cuisine that will satisfy even the most discriminating diner. 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, 415.773.6168
Garden Court, The Palace Hotel.
A soaring, 12,000 square-foot stained glass domed ceiling, Italian marble columns and Austrian crystal chandeliers create a superlative backdrop for teatime at the Garden Court. Built in 1909, this is the dining room where Woodrow Wilson spoke in support of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and the United Nations held its opening session banquet in 1945. For a full taste of Victorian splendor, make a reservation for the signature Saturday high-tea service, complete with fine china and silver, exquisite finger sandwiches and fresh scones. Or stop by any other day of the week for a more casual (yet still fancy) a la carte afternoon tea service in the GC Lounge. You might just end up extending your visit into the evening, sipping a cocktail while enjoying the live piano or guitar music. 2 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, 415.546.5089
These hot spots are so successful in their own right that locals might not even realize that they’re located inside hotels unless they’ve dined there.
Burritt Room + Tavern, Mystic Hotel.
The Burritt Room, a stylish speakeasy style bar originally founded by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, draws hoards of residents with its craft cocktails and live music. The seasonally changing drinks feature housemade syrups, tinctures and juices, and the bar recently introduced a fortified wine program. Bar bites like cheesy tater tots and fried mac and cheese with ham are big hits, as is the happy hour with $1 charcuterie, fries and wings. 417 Stockton St., San Francisco, 415.400.0561
Gaspar, Galleria Park Hotel.
Duck into Gaspar, a French brasserie downtown, and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported from the busy streets of San Francisco to Paris. Glowing vintage chandeliers, tufted leather banquettes in a rich shade of cherry and a pressed tin ceiling create a romantic setting. The menu opens with large selection of cheeses and chilled seafood platters and proceeds to small plates and entrees. 185 Sutter St., San Francisco, 415.576.8800
Kin Khao, Parc 55.
You’ve probably never had Thai food like this before. Kin Khao, a small restaurant with a trendy atmosphere, has been named one of the country’s best new restaurants by Bon Appetit and GQ magazines. The Bangkok-born owner’s goal was to bring higher quality and more variety to stateside Thai cuisine. Less familiar dishes like rabbit green curry, crab sen chan, Yum Yai Salad and hor mok crab are made with seasonal ingredients and sustainable meat. The curry sauces, pastes and relishes are made in house daily. 55 Cyril Magnin St., San Francisco, 415.362.7456
The Cavalier, Hotel Zetta.
The Cavalier, a James Beard Award semifinalist, is a posh British-inspired gastropub and another hit from the team behind the restaurants Marlowe in SoMa and Park Tavern in North Beach. The city’s most sought out designer, Ken Fulk, created the striking interior. You can’t go wrong ordering the ham and cheese soldiers with hen egg hollandaise for breakfast or the fish and chips with minted peas for dinner. 360 Jessie St., San Francisco, 415.321.6000
Dirty Habit, Hotel Zelos.
See and be seen at Dirty Habit, a rooftop venue that offers a splash of glamour not often found in San Francisco. Heat lamps, sofas and a fire pit keep the patio cozy, and the cocktails pair well with indulgent dishes like the steamed lamb belly bun, foie gras mousse and crispy wings topped with spicy chile and sweet soy. 12 4th St., San Francisco, 415.348.1555