8 Upscale Dining Experiences in Hayes Valley

by Fernanda DeSouza

posted on October 27, 2017

Photo Courtesy: Little Gem

What place comes to mind when the words "on-trend" and "upscale" are thrown around? Hayes Valley, of course. The neighborhood is home to San Francisco's trendiest boutiques, hip nightspots, and high-end boutiques featuring haute couture designers from across the world. It is also mere steps from the city's most iconic landmarks, including the Painted Ladies and Civic Center. What with so many incredible places to choose from, it's only fair to take a moment to treat yourself to the best of what this hood's got to offer. Below, we recommend eight eateries that'll make you fall in love with the Hayes Valley all over again.

Rich Table

Husband & wife team Evan and Sarah Rich have created a true neighborhood joint that radiates heart. From the enthusiastic staff to the stunning plates and flavor combinations, you need to keep Rich Table in your rotation.

Checkout: Porcini doughnuts, sardine chips, pasta dishes, tasting menu

Zuni Cafe

A quintessential San Francisco restaurant. The chic & breezy dining room is perfect for impressing parents or relaxing with friends. But regardless of why you're there, order the chicken. It takes an hour, so settle in with a drink. It's worth it.

Checkout: Roast chicken for two, oysters, Zuni fries


The sophisticated seafood-centric fare served at Cala is not what Americans associate with Mexican cuisine. It's better, and actually a lot more Mexican. Plus, Cala has a breezy space and a comfortably buzzy vibe. You won't want to leave.

Checkout: Trout tostadas, sweet potato with bone marrow, cod salpicón, nopal & eggplant


Priding itself on fresh seafood, this countertop spot serves up nigiri and sashimi in a warm wood-accented space. You can also nab a table to enjoy sake or light appetizers (think poké or fish tacos) before savoring more traditional fare.

Checkout: Jalepeño hamachi, Fire Tuna Balls, hamachi carpaccio


The owl-adorned wooden door is your first indication that something striking is going on at Nightbird. That meticulous style continues in the dining room and adjacent bar and calmly introduces the free-spirited, artistic cuisine of Chef Kim Alter.

Checkout: Nightbird only offers an ever changing tasting menu.

Little Gem

The reclaimed-wood bar, marble accents, pale concrete walls, and abundance of natural light just beg to be 'grammed at this sunny restaurant. Take a cue from the hip clientele and opt for swoon-worthy seasonal vegetables and rice bowls.

Checkout: Almond & quinoa pancakes, King of Hayes salmon, hen of the woods mushrooms on beans & rice

Monsieur Benjamin

Monsieur Benjamin is bringing back classic French food to San Franciso one succulent plate of frog legs at a time. This modern brasserie, inspired by Paris bistros and "The Little Prince," offers all the classics from duck confit to escargot.

Checkout: Raw oysters, fried frog legs, beef short rib, lemon tart

Petit Crenn

Warning: dining at Petit Crenn may cause acute childhood-envy. The chic French bistro draws inspiration from Chef Dominique Crenn's family home in Brittany: think seafood and veggies accompanied by a great wine list set in a cozy, beachy space.

Checkout: Gougerès, Petit Crenn omelette (lunch), the 7-course seafood and veggie tasting changes daily.

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