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Top 5 Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

The Top 5 Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco is home to many hidden gems when it comes to dining. These top 5 hole-in-the-wall restaurants – Swan Oyster Depot, Tartine Bakery, Burma Superstar, El Metate, and Tony’s Pizza Napoletana – offer a wide range of cuisines and dining experiences that are sure to satisfy any foodie. Here is why they are the best restaurants in San Francisco for you to discover.

1. Swan Oyster Depot – Another classic seafood spot, Swan Oyster Depot, included as one of the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a tiny hole-in-the-wall that is always packed. Customers love the fresh oysters, clam chowder, and crab Louie salad.

2. Tartine Bakery – This bakery, one of the most popular hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is famous for its flaky croissants and sourdough bread. Customers also love the pastries and tarts, which are made with high-quality ingredients.

3. Burma Superstar – This Burmese restaurant, among the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, has several locations throughout the city, but the original location in the Richmond District is a hole-in-the-wall favorite. Customers love the tea leaf salad, the samusa soup, and the garlic noodles.

4. El Metate – This Bernal Heights taqueria, another of the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a local favorite for its delicious and affordable Mexican food. Their burritos are huge and packed with flavor, and their salsa bar offers a variety of options. Customers recommend the carnitas and al pastor tacos.

5. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana – This North Beach pizzeria, amid the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a bit larger than some of the other hole-in-the-wall spots on this list, but it’s still a hidden gem. Their Neapolitan-style pizzas are some of the best in San Francisco, with a variety of creative toppings and a crispy, chewy crust. Customers recommend the Margherita pizza.

Top 5 Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

1. Swan Oyster Depot - Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

Swan Oyster Depot

Address: 1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Hours: Monday-Saturday 8am-5:30pm (closed on Sundays)
Phone Number: (415) 673-1101

Swan Oyster Depot, included as one of the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a long-standing seafood counter in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant has been serving up fresh seafood since 1912 and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The interior of the restaurant is small and bustling, with a few small tables and a long counter where customers can sit and watch the chefs shuck oysters and prepare seafood dishes.

The signature dish at Swan Oyster Depot is, of course, their fresh oysters. They offer a variety of oyster types that change daily, depending on what’s fresh and available. Customers can choose to have their oysters raw or cooked, and they come with a variety of toppings like cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon wedges. Other popular dishes include their Dungeness crab, clam chowder, and shrimp cocktail.

One unique aspect of Swan Oyster Depot is their lively atmosphere. The chefs and staff are friendly and welcoming, and the restaurant has a busy, bustling energy that adds to the experience. Customers should be prepared to wait in line, as the restaurant is often busy and seating is limited. However, the wait is worth it for the fresh seafood and unique dining experience.

The service at Swan Oyster Depot is excellent. The staff is knowledgeable about the seafood on the menu and can make recommendations for customers who are unsure what to order. The chefs are also skilled at shucking oysters and preparing dishes quickly and efficiently, despite the busy atmosphere of the restaurant.

Main Menu Items:

1. Fresh Oysters – Swan Oyster Depot is famous for their fresh oysters, which come in a variety of types depending on what’s fresh and available. Customers can choose to have their oysters raw or cooked, and they come with a variety of toppings like cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon wedges.

2. Dungeness Crab – This Pacific Northwest delicacy is a popular menu item at Swan Oyster Depot. The crab is served either cold or hot, and comes with a side of melted butter for dipping.

3. Clam Chowder – The creamy clam chowder at Swan Oyster Depot is a customer favorite. The clams are fresh and tender, and the chowder is rich and flavorful.

4. Shrimp Cocktail – The shrimp cocktail at Swan Oyster Depot is a classic seafood dish. The shrimp are fresh and plump, and the cocktail sauce has a nice kick to it.

5. Crab Louie Salad – This salad is made with fresh Dungeness crab meat, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and lettuce. It’s served with a side of Louie dressing, which is a tangy and slightly sweet dressing made with mayo, ketchup, and other spices.

Customer Reviews:

“I had the raw oysters and they were some of the best I’ve ever had. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere was lively and fun. I would definitely recommend Swan Oyster Depot to anyone looking for fresh seafood in San Francisco.”

“I had the crab cocktail and it was delicious. The crab was fresh and sweet, and the cocktail sauce had a nice kick to it. The wait was a bit long, but it was worth it for the quality of the food.”

“I tried the clam chowder and it was amazing. The clams were fresh and tender, and the chowder was creamy and flavorful. The atmosphere of the restaurant was also really unique and fun. I would definitely go back again.”

In summary, Swan Oyster Depot is a must-visit restaurant for seafood lovers in San Francisco. Their fresh oysters and seafood dishes are some of the best in the city, and their lively atmosphere and excellent service add to the overall experience. While the restaurant may be small and busy, it’s worth the wait for the delicious food and unique dining experience. They rank amid the top 5 hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco for good reasons.


2. Tartine Bakery - Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

Tartine Bakery

Address: 600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Hours: Monday-Sunday 8am-7pm
Phone Number: (415) 487-2600

Tartine Bakery, among the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a popular bakery and cafe located in San Francisco’s Mission District. The bakery is known for its high-quality baked goods and pastries, as well as its cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The interior of the bakery is rustic and charming, with wooden tables and chairs and an open kitchen where customers can watch the bakers at work.

The signature food item on the menu at Tartine Bakery is their famous croissant. The croissants are made with high-quality butter and are flaky and buttery, with a light and airy texture. Other popular items on the menu include their morning buns, which are like cinnamon rolls but with a slightly tart and tangy flavor from the addition of orange zest, and their bread pudding, which is made with their famous country bread.

One unique aspect of Tartine Bakery is their commitment to using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients in their baked goods. They also use traditional European baking techniques, which sets them apart from other bakeries in the area.

The service at Tartine Bakery is friendly and efficient. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and can make recommendations for customers who are unsure what to order. The bakery can get busy, especially on weekends, but the staff works hard to keep the lines moving and customers happy.

Main Menu Items:

1. Croissant – Tartine Bakery is famous for their croissants, which are made with high-quality butter and have a flaky, buttery texture. They offer both plain croissants and almond croissants.

2. Morning Bun – This pastry is like a cinnamon roll but with a slightly tangy and tart flavor from the addition of orange zest. It’s topped with a sweet glaze and is a popular breakfast item at the bakery.

3. Country Bread – Tartine Bakery’s country bread is made with a sourdough starter and has a thick, crispy crust and a chewy, flavorful interior. It’s perfect for sandwiches or for dipping in soup.

4. Bread Pudding – This dessert is made with Tartine Bakery’s famous country bread, which is soaked in a custard mixture and baked until golden brown. It’s rich, creamy, and decadent.

5. Lemon Tart – Tartine Bakery’s lemon tart is a tangy and sweet dessert that’s perfect for citrus lovers. It has a buttery crust and a creamy lemon filling that’s topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Customer Reviews:

“I had the croissant and it was the best croissant I’ve ever had. It was flaky and buttery, with a light and airy texture. The coffee was also excellent. I would definitely recommend Tartine Bakery to anyone looking for high-quality baked goods in San Francisco.”

“The morning buns were amazing. They had a slightly tart and tangy flavor from the orange zest, which was a nice twist on the traditional cinnamon roll. The bakery was busy but the staff was friendly and efficient.”

“The bread pudding was incredible. It was made with their famous country bread, which added a nice depth of flavor. The service was excellent and the atmosphere of the bakery was cozy and welcoming.”

In summary, Tartine Bakery is a must-visit bakery and cafe in San Francisco. Their croissants, morning buns, and bread pudding are some of the best in the city, and their commitment to using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients sets them apart from other bakeries. The cozy and welcoming atmosphere of the bakery, along with the friendly and efficient service, make for a delightful dining experience. They deserve to be ranked among the top 5 hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco.


3. Burma Superstar - Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

Burma Superstar

Address: 309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-9:30pm
Phone Number: (415) 387-2147

Burma Superstar, one of the most popular hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a Burmese restaurant located in San Francisco’s Richmond District. The restaurant has a cozy and welcoming interior, with bright colors, decorative umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, and traditional Burmese artwork on the walls.

The signature dish on the menu at Burma Superstar is the tea leaf salad. This dish is made with fermented tea leaves, mixed with a variety of nuts, seeds, and spices, and served with crispy fried garlic and dried shrimp. It’s a refreshing and flavorful dish that’s unlike anything else you’ll find in San Francisco.

One unique aspect of Burma Superstar is their commitment to using fresh, high-quality ingredients in their dishes. They also offer a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options, which makes it a great spot for groups with different dietary needs.

The service at Burma Superstar is friendly and attentive. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and can make recommendations for customers who are unsure what to order. The restaurant can get busy, especially on weekends, but the staff works hard to keep the lines moving and customers happy.

Main Menu Items:

1. Tea Leaf Salad – This is Burma Superstar’s most famous dish and consists of fermented tea leaves mixed with nuts, seeds, and spices. It is served with crispy fried garlic and dried shrimp and is a refreshing and flavorful salad.

2. Rainbow Salad – This salad is a colorful mix of fresh veggies and fruits, topped with a tangy and spicy dressing. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a lighter, refreshing dish.

3. Samosas – Burma Superstar’s samosas are filled with potatoes and peas and have a crispy, flaky crust. They are vegetarian-friendly and make for a great appetizer or snack.

4. Pumpkin Curry – This curry is spicy and flavorful, with tender chunks of pumpkin and a rich coconut milk-based sauce. It’s a vegetarian option that is hearty and satisfying.

5. Mohinga – This is a popular Burmese noodle soup made with a fish-based broth and rice noodles. It’s topped with crispy fried lentil fritters, hard-boiled eggs, and cilantro. It’s a delicious and comforting dish that’s perfect for a cold day.

Customer Reviews:

“I had the tea leaf salad and it was incredible. The mix of flavors and textures was really unique and I loved the crunch from the nuts and seeds. The service was great too – our server was really helpful in explaining the different dishes on the menu.”

“The vegetarian samosas were amazing. They were filled with potatoes and peas and had a crispy, flaky crust. I also loved the pumpkin curry – it was spicy and flavorful without being too heavy.”

“The rainbow salad was so colorful and flavorful. It had a mix of different veggies and fruits, all topped with a tangy and spicy dressing. I also tried the chicken biryani and it was some of the best I’ve ever had. The service was really friendly and welcoming.”

In summary, Burma Superstar is a fantastic restaurant that’s perfect for anyone looking to try something new and flavorful. Their tea leaf salad is a must-try dish, but everything on the menu is fresh, delicious, and full of flavor. The restaurant’s commitment to using high-quality ingredients, along with their friendly service and cozy atmosphere, make for a wonderful dining experience. They stand out among the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco.


4. El Metate - Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

El Metate

Address: 2406 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11:00am-9:00pm, Sunday: 10:00am-9:00pm
Phone Number: (415) 641-7209

El Metate, another of the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a popular Mexican restaurant located in San Francisco’s Mission district. The restaurant has a colorful and lively interior with murals on the walls and bright, festive decor. They specialize in traditional Mexican cuisine and offer a variety of dishes on their menu.

One of their signature dishes is the Al Pastor tacos, which are made with marinated pork that is cooked on a spit and then sliced and served with grilled pineapple, cilantro, onions, and salsa. The meat is tender and flavorful, and the combination of sweet and savory flavors is delicious.

One unique aspect of El Metate is that they offer a salsa bar where customers can choose from a variety of homemade salsas to add to their food. This allows customers to customize their meals to their liking and try different flavor combinations.

The service at El Metate is friendly and efficient. Customers order at the counter and then the food is brought to their table. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and can make recommendations based on customers’ preferences.

Main Menu Items:

1. Al Pastor Tacos – Marinated pork cooked on a spit and sliced, served with grilled pineapple, cilantro, onions, and salsa on corn tortillas.

2. Carnitas Burrito – Juicy, slow-cooked pork with rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole wrapped in a flour tortilla.

3. Chile Relleno – Roasted poblano pepper stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried, served with rice, beans, and salsa.

4. Tostada de Ceviche – Crispy tortilla topped with marinated fish, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and avocado.

5. Vegetarian Burrito – Black beans, rice, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, and salsa wrapped in a flour tortilla.

Customer Reviews:

“I had the Al Pastor tacos and they were amazing. The meat was so tender and flavorful, and the grilled pineapple added a nice sweetness. The salsa bar was a great touch and allowed me to try different salsas with my tacos.”

“El Metate has become my go-to spot for Mexican food in San Francisco. The service is always friendly and the food is consistently delicious. I highly recommend the Carnitas burrito – it’s packed with tender, juicy pork and all the toppings you could want.”

“The Chiles Rellenos at El Metate are out of this world. The batter is light and crispy and the cheese filling is gooey and delicious. It’s a must-try if you’re a fan of Mexican food.”

Overall, El Metate is a great spot for traditional Mexican food in a fun and lively atmosphere. With friendly service, delicious food, and a salsa bar to customize your meals, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular spot in the Mission district. They have earned the rank of the top 5 hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco.


5. Tony's Pizza Napoletana - Hole-in-the-wall Restaurants in San Francisco

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

Address: 1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 11:30am-9pm, Friday-Saturday: 11:30am-10pm, Sunday: 11:30am-9pm
Phone Number: (415) 835-9888

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, amid the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco, is a popular pizzeria located in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. The restaurant features a cozy, casual interior with an open kitchen, wood-fired oven, and rustic decor. The menu is centered around Neapolitan-style pizzas made with imported Italian flour and San Marzano tomatoes, along with a variety of antipasti, salads, and pasta dishes.

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is known for its award-winning Margherita pizza, made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. Another standout item on the menu is the Cal Italia pizza, which features asiago, mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, fig preserve, gorgonzola, and balsamic reduction.

One unique aspect of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is its menu of regional pizza styles, which includes everything from classic Neapolitan to New York-style, Detroit-style, and even St. Louis-style. The restaurant also offers a selection of gluten-free and vegan pizza options.

The service at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is known for being friendly and efficient. The staff is knowledgeable about the menu and happy to make recommendations. The restaurant can get busy during peak hours, so be prepared for a wait.

Main Menu Items:

1. Margherita Pizza – This classic Neapolitan pizza features San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s a simple but delicious option that lets the high-quality ingredients shine.

2. Cal Italia Pizza – This unique pizza is a Tony’s original and features asiago, mozzarella, imported gorgonzola, sweet fig preserve, prosciutto di parma, and a balsamic reduction. The combination of sweet and salty flavors is a crowd-pleaser.

3. Classic Caesar Salad – This salad is made with fresh romaine lettuce, house-made croutons, parmesan cheese, and a classic Caesar dressing. It’s a great option for those who want something lighter to balance out the heavier pizza.

4. Spaghetti & Meatballs – This classic Italian dish features house-made spaghetti, meatballs made with grass-fed beef, and a San Marzano tomato sauce. It’s a comforting and filling option that’s perfect for colder days.

5. Classic Lasagna – This classic Italian dish is made with fresh pasta sheets, a hearty meat sauce, and béchamel and ricotta cheeses. It’s a great option for those who want to try something other than pizza.

Customer Reviews:

“I had the Margherita pizza and it was hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had. The crust was perfectly chewy and crispy, and the toppings were fresh and flavorful. The service was great too, our server was really friendly and helpful.”

“I tried the Cal Italia pizza and it was amazing. The combination of sweet fig preserve and salty prosciutto was perfect. The crust was also really good – crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Definitely worth the wait.”

“I appreciated the variety of pizza styles on the menu, and was really impressed with the gluten-free crust. It tasted just like regular pizza! The staff was also really accommodating and made sure to avoid cross-contamination.”

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is a must-visit for pizza lovers in San Francisco. With a variety of regional styles and high-quality ingredients, the restaurant offers something for everyone. While the wait can be long, the friendly service and delicious food make it well worth it. They can definitely be counted among the top hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco. Don’t miss the Margherita or Cal Italia pizzas!


Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, decadent pastries, flavorful Burmese dishes, authentic Mexican fare, or award-winning pizza, these restaurants have something for everyone. This is why they are the best restaurants in San Francisco for you to discover. So the next time you find yourself in this area, be sure to seek out one (or all!) of these beloved hole-in-the-wall restaurants in San Francisco and prepare to be wowed by the food and atmosphere.



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