Now let’s be real with each other: going out to eat is fun. Maybe you’re celebrating a birth, an anniversary, or a new job–or maybe your fridge is empty and you lack all motivation to shop, cook and clean (we’ve all been there). I’m hoping you can use this guide to go to good restaurants around the Bay Area that tailor their menus to the sustainivores. Local and/or organic meats, vegetables, and ice cream make this list, as well as restaurants with menus that change with the seasons, or stay low on the food chain.
Green Chile Kitchen, 1801 McAllister St (Cross: Baker)
New Mexican fare with local ingredients is a kicker for the hungry by USF, Haight, or Divis. I always tend to get a chicken burrito (with Mary’s Free Range chicken) or a chile relleno burrito. Breakfast is phenomenal with GREAT coffee (and natural sugar cubes!) and spicy dishes, such as the breakfast enchilada. $2 Pacificos, $5 Sangria, and Kombucha on tap with shots of fruit juice make this spot a crowdpleaser. Looking to party New Mexican style? Large table fits 15+ people, but they don’t take reservations.
Little Chihuahua, 292 Divisadero St. (Cross: Page St.)
The Chicken Fajita burrito was good, but nothing compared to Green Chile’s. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a good vegetarian burrito. The Black Bean and Plantain burrito made 7×7’s Top 100 Vegetarian Items in SF list, and it’s not hard to see why. Get the works (avo, cheese, sour cream) and I bet you’ll be able to finish this in one sitting. They also have a nice selection of salsa’s at the Salsa Bar (something GCK lacks).
Thirsty Bear, 661 Howard (Cross: Hawthorne St.)
When I found out there was a Brewery/Restaurant with Spanish tapas I was texting Bobby about when his next free night was. Since then I’ve been 4-5 times, taking my grandparents and my aunt & uncle when they were in town. The restaurant sits on the main floor, looking down on the Brewery beneath fermenting 11 beers served (on tap, of course) in the restaurant. The menu is sure to showcase authentic Spanish cuisine to you in a fun atmosphere. Studying Spanish I had always heard of Patatas Bravas, which I have finally been able to try thanks to Thirst Bear–and are they amazing! My Spanish-native grandmother was also excited to see Albondigas and Croquetas on the menu, both of which remind her of her grandmother. The menu changes around throughout the year, so be sure to try it again and again. And of course, you have to do the beer taster at least once!
Farmer Brown, 25 Mason St. (Cross: Market St.)
Fried chicken, mac cheese, cornbread, collards, and a whiskey sour…now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. It’s hard for a sustainivore to find fried chicken, but here is a great place to try. Their menu features locally raised meat, but there are vegetarian options as well. Honestly, the best thing on my plate were the greens…and I kinda like that about it.
Burgers & Cheesesteaks
Acme Burgerhaus, 559 Divisadero Street (Cross: Hayes)
The price on the Specialty burgers just dropped from $12 to $9, making Acme a much more reasonable place to grab a burger made from Niman Ranch meat products. I always go plain cheeseburger with avocado on top, but some specialties sound damn good. They also have crazy meat options, like ostrich and buffalo. Their garlic fries and sweet potato fries are delicious, but honestly it’s the $2 Sierra Nevada and Speakeasy beers that make me a regular. Includes a toppings bar, too.
Metro Caffe, 247 Fillmore St. (Cross: Haight St.)
Guaranteed to fill your gut if you pay the extra dollar for the side of french fries. The burger itself is pretty large and well-topped. The cheddar cheeseburger with avocado and onion rings are my favorite. I highly recommend this spot, but there’s not much seating so have a back-up place to take it to go. Caution: the Niman Ranch meat only counts for the burgers, the cheesesteaks are not from a local source.
Jay’s Cheesesteaks, 553 Divisadero St. (Cross: Hayes St.)
The new best thing about Jay’s is that they deliver, so when you’re not really feeling like cooking or moving they’ll bring you a Niman Ranch cheesesteak to your door. Who can complain? The best thing they have are the garlic & cheese fries. Not a date item–you’ll reek of garlic for a while, but it’s still an amazing delight for your taste buds. The cheesesteaks are good, but don’t expect it to remind you of home if you’re a Philly native.
Greens, Fort Mason Building A
I received a giftcard as a parting gift at my last job, and Bobby and I went out for a February night dinner. This Buddhist restaurant is vegetarian only–but offers a range of delicious dishes to choose from. Bobby and I shared the Winter Sampler for our first course, and dined on Warm Italian Butter Beans (topped with all types of veggies) and Winter Sambar. The seasonal menu rotates, based off the local farms’ production, but I’m sure everything is wonderful. Their bar is expanding, too, but currently offers 9 decadent cocktails and a collections of beers, wines, and non-alcoholic beverages. When making reservations, request a table by the window so you can enjoy a view of the Golden Gate bridge–maybe even book it in time to watch the sunset!
Green Chile Pies, 601 Baker St. (Cross: Fulton)
If you just finished your Green Chile Burrito and that sweet tooth craving is starting to hit, don’t panic–I’ve got you covered! Just take a short stroll downhill to Fulton and grab a pie, ice cream, or float at Green Chile’s new dessert spot. For my birthday, which happened to fall on Thanksgiving last year, Bobby surprised me with the Green Chile Apple Pie with cheddar cheese crust and green chilies in the pie, but that was no competition for the Vegan Chai Apple Pie. Yum! Update: A second location opened in the Castro, near Market street. Look for the large neon ‘Pie’ sign.
Three Twins Icecream, 254 Fillmore Street (Cross: Haight St.)
This ice cream spot is by far my favorite. All the ice cream is organic, and there are vegan and non-vegan varieties. Vegan rice milk horchata is to die for, but so is Lemon Cookie, Mint Confetti, Banana Cream Pie, Strawberry Je Ne Sais Quoi…okay, they’re all amazing! Pints can be found around San Francisco, but the Ice Cream Pies and Vegan Waffle Cones (omg!) are only offered in the store. They’re both equally as phenomenal. I recently wrote them an email expressing my love for their company–I’m obsessed.
Currently the Oak & Fillmore location is closed due to a fire nearby. It’s tragic, and I will let you know when it’s open again.
Bi-Rite Icecream, 3692 18th Street (Cross: Dolores St.)
There’s a reason this place has a long line visible from Dolores Park–it’s damn good. Their website claims that they use Straus Organic milk in their cream, and they now have soft serve?! What?? I might have to venture back down to the Mission for a follow-up with this creamery! Fun and fancy flavors like Honey Lavender or Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl await you, but be sure to give yourself plenty of samples to decide on a flavor.
Mission Pie, 2901 Mission Street (Cross: 25th Street)
Having been to Pie Ranch with the USF Garden Project’s female freshman [founding] farmers, I’m incredibly partial towards this amazing pie shop. Not to mention their pie is f-ing amazing–and I’m probably the biggest pie fan you’ll meet. Last time we went I got the Walnut Pie (a la mode) and Bobby got the Pear Raspberry (a la mode) with a pot of tea. It was exceptional and worth every penny–although a slice of pie is around 3,500 pennies.
PLEASE NOTE: NONE OF THE ABOVE RESTAURANTS HAVE ENDORSED SUSTAINIVORE. THIS GUIDE IS PURELY A RESOURCE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN EATING IN A SUSTAINABILITY WAY. THUS, YOU ARE HEARING MY HONEST OPINION ABOUT EACH RESTAURANT FEATURED.