The 9 Best Tasting Menus in San Francisco

It's not all $215 indulgences. (But yes, those are included too.)

April 30, 2024 7:37 am
small plates of food at Abacá in San Francisco

In San Francisco, tasting menus come in all shapes and sizes, from entry-level five-course options in a casual setting to extravagant, sky-is-the-limit culinary experiences that deliver edible works of art. Here are the city’s best options, running the gamut of budgets, occasions and cuisines.

plates of food, two wine glasses, green wallpaper


Between the swanky Ken Fulk design, the ultra-flattering lighting and Chef Nancy Oakes’s skills, Boulevard, a San Francisco mainstay that recently underwent a refresh, is hard to beat. While a la carte ordering is still available in some spaces (bar, lounge and chef’s counter), the restaurant has otherwise replaced it with a generous multi-course menu starting at $119. Options include reimagined California hits, like Dungeness crab, sea bass and the most decadent strawberry sundae you’ll ever taste.

1 Mission St

Air: Cardamom Poached Pear, Pistachio Gelato and Crumble, Baklava Nest, and Rose
Merchant Roots
Kim Van Liefferinge

Merchant Roots

At this compact restaurant, Chef Ryan Shelton dreams up one playful, whimsical tasting menu at a time. Themes range from the ingredient-driven, like the currently offered mushroom-focused Into the Forest, to technical, like the upcoming Pasta & Stories menu, featuring 16 courses of pasta in 19 different shapes, priced around $165 per person. No matter the theme, Shelton steps into the limelight nightly to describe his highly inventive dishes, so prepare for a deliciously theatrical time with a side of storytelling. 

1365 Fillmore St

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plates of food, dumpling container
Empress by Boon
Empress by Boon

Empress by Boon

Enjoying one of the best views in the city, this impressive Chinatown stunner also happens to have one of the more compelling tasting menus in town. The $108 set menu is a succession of elevated Chinese classics infused with luxury ingredients; the pork belly is adorned with black truffles, the dumplings are stuffed with shrimp and squid, and a tempting caviar and scallop roll is also in the mix. 

838 Grant Ave


Located on a standout corner of North Beach, Cassava offers not one, but two tasting menus: a three-course option, priced at $52, and a five-course, at $118. What makes this restaurant stand out, aside from its bright murals, is the fact both menus manage to be hearty and sophisticated at the same time. No dish is tiny — even the very first item on the five-course extravaganza, a salmon belly and buttermilk crepe appetizer, is plenty satisfying — and the flavors are comforting. 

401 Columbus Ave

scallop carpaccio
Aphotic scallop carpaccio
kelly puleio photo


Sometimes you really want to go all out. That’s where Aphotic, Chef Peter Hemsley’s sexy, dark, Michelin-starred fine-dining establishment comes in. At $195 per person, you’ll get to sit in a comfortable booth and enjoy a tasting menu of 11 creative, sophisticated seafood-centric dishes like scallop carpaccio and squid risotto with parmesan foam. For dessert, expect the unexpected: oyster ice cream, and beyond. 

816 Folsom St


Colorful, tasty Filipino fare is at the center of pretty and inviting Abacá, and the four-course “Paubaya” menu, for $85 per person, is an excellent way to eat through the restaurant’s biggest hits. Dishes like pork lumpia with mango pear ketchup, Manila clams with chorizo toast and short ribs “adobo” are best enjoyed by a group, family-style. To make the party even more festive, there’s a compelling beverage pairing for an additional $55. 

2700 Jones St

salmon on a plate with yellow sauce, two side plates, glass of wine
7 Adams
7 Adams

7 Adams

Less is more in the case of 7 Adams, which is the epitome of reserved chic. For the $87, five-course set menu, diners need only make three choices when it comes to the pasta course, the main and the dessert — two appetizers arrive at the very beginning to help them decide. All the dishes on the seasonally changing menu are light, nuanced and artfully plated, which, combined with the reasonable price tag, makes this place a great midweek date option. 

1963 Sutter St


One of the coolest restaurants in the city — think open kitchen, plants aplenty and music provided via a record player — is worth going to for the a la carte plates, but connoisseurs should opt for the adventurous tasting menu crafted by Chef Seth Stowaway, priced at $215 per person. On it, dishes cooked on an open fire — such as smoked New York strip with fermented mole — intermingle with fresh seafood, and the chef’s interpretation of Midwestern comfort food. 

2875 18th St


This new restaurant has cozy, neighborhood appeal, and accordingly, the tasting menu here is reasonably priced and considerate of many tastes. For $75 per person, diners can calmly sail through the four-course offering, selecting French-Californian dishes like black cod with yuzu Béarnaise and charred Brokaw avocado. Adding the “butter service” — code name for delicious homemade bread served with jamon — would be the pro move. 

300 Precita Ave


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