San Francisco Food experiences you have to try this year!
In San Francisco, there are so many great places to eat (just check out our guide to the best wings in San Francisco and the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco! Yes, we have it all). While sitting down to a meal in a nice restaurant can fill our cravings, sometimes we’re left wanting something more, an experience, perhaps?
Imagine getting a great meal and a great show, or diving into a sprinkle pool after getting a scoop of ice cream. Foraging for seaweed on the California coast or tasting classic pasta dishes at an authentic Italian restaurant. San Francisco doesn’t just have great food, we have great food experiences. Here are some of our favorite San Francisco food experiences – which have you tried and what will you add to your next weekend list?
The Museum of Ice Cream’s mission is to unite and inspire the world through imagination. How do they do it? Through sprinkle pools and unicorns at their immersive (and now permanent) San Francisco location. CEO and Founder Maryellis Bunn says, “It’s always been the intention, to bring people together under a universal love or experience. Ice cream doesn’t have a religion, race, gender, or borderline. It’s happiness, it’s creativity, it’s imagination, it’s nostalgia, it’s memory, and it’s relationships.” If you’re looking to get your team united with the love of ice cream, this is your next food experience to try.
Photo Courtesy of Museum of Ice Cream
Photo Courtesy of Flour + Water
In 2009 flour + water opened their doors in the Mission. They remain dedicated to a menu that showcases regional Italian traditions and Northern Californian inspirations. While their regular menu is delicious, they really shine with their speciality, pasta. For $79 per person you can enjoy a 6-course pasta tasting menu (with an optional $55 wine pairing). Yelp reviewer Ted M from San Francisco says it’s, “off the hook” and “Delicious, comforting, and unique at the same time.” We trust Ted, yes? If you have a smaller group looking for a lowkey evening centered around carb-loading in the best way, pasta tasting is just the ticket.
Inside San Francisco’s iconic Fairmont hotel lives the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar. Since 1945 they’ve been wowing tourists and locals alike with tropical decor, Polynesian-fusion food and The Island Groove Band that plays atop a thatch-covered barge on the “lagoon.” You’ll be immersed in thunder and rain between courses (but don’t worry, you won’t get wet). Order a classic Mai Tai made with Jamaican Rum, Trinidadian Rum, Orange Curacao, Orgeat, Lime, Simple. Private event menus include samplings of fried vegetable dumplings, kalua pork tacos, ahi tuna poke tostadas and more. A night dining at the Tonga Room isn’t cheap, but this food experience is certainly worth it so dust off your tropical best.
Photo Courtesy of David Sherwin
Photo Courtesy of Asia SF
In 1998, Asia SF brought transgender cabaret as a celebration of diversity and multiculturalism to the Bay Area. They’re still running some of the best shows in San Francisco while serving up some delicious Asian cuisine. While you dine on dishes like the spicy Korean fried chicken slider or baby bok choy and shiitakes you’ll be wowed by the show put on by the ladies of Asia SF. They’ll perform choreographed dance routines, lip sync numbers, live singing, comedy, and more. You may have seen some of the performers on their award-nominated docu-series Transcendent. This is one longtime San Francisco food experience you do not want to miss.
- Location: Meeting spots vary
- Hours: Varies
- Group rate: $50 per person
Join local Captain Kirk Lombard, author of the acclaimed book, Sea Forager’s Guide to the Northern California Coast. His intimately sized classes give you the best experience to learn how to “poke pole” for monkeyface eel, catch rock crabs, discover local mollusks, find edible seaweeds, and more! Classes are for groups ages 9+ and take place rain or shine, so bring layers for warmth. One Yelp reviewer says, “I’m not going to say much about Kirk’s fantastic, #1 best of the best amaze-balls coastal foraging tour. I’m just going to tell you that if you haven’t yet partaken you’re really missing out on something great: Fascinating. Informative. Funny. Interactive. Useful. Funny. Fun. Practical. Entertaining.” Look at all those adjectives! It’s a great time for you to take this useful, funny, fun, practical tour with Kirk and learn from a Bay Area local about your next SF food experience.
Photo Courtesy of Urban Putt
6. Urban Putt
- Location: 1096 South Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94110
- Hours: Mon – Thurs: 4 p.m.-midnight, Fri: 4 pm-1 am, Sat: 11 am-1 am, Sun: 11 a.m.-midnight
- Group rate: Varies, see parties page
- Private events: Available for groups of 16 to 150 guests
Have you ever wished for indoor mini golf that features drink tables by every hole and a full restaurant to keep you satisfied? Then Urban Putt is the answer. We can’t say enough about their killer (we mean strong) margaritas, empanadas, pizzas and more from Chef Dane Boryta. Their imaginative California comfort cuisine is served in a sit-down restaurant upstairs, or you can get a wide range of bar bites on the main floor. Their high-tech golf course is nothing short of amazing as well. From a simulated earthquake hole to a marble maze and more, you’ll have just as much fun looking at the impressive design as you will playing out the game and keeping score. Take your next date on this SF food experience for a night they will remember.
So, what is kava? It’s the ground root and basal stems of the piper mithisticum (intoxicating pepper) plant. Tasty? Yes, yes it is. Eating kava brings on some altering effects, similar to alcohol in some ways. Kava Lounge SF explains, “When you first try Kava you’ll probably notice a slight numbness on the tongue and mouth. You may notice a lowering of inhibitions, followed by muscle relaxation and a sense of well-being. The Kavalactones act directly limbic system, leading to relaxation without clouding mental acuity. Kava is known as the miracle cure for anxiety. For some first time consumers, the effects can be rather mild.” Try kava with friends in a big bowl for sharing, mixed with coconut juice. They have monthly events like sitar music, open mic, and dj Tha Spyryt for some jams.
Photo Courtesy of Airbnb User Cinthya
Join host Aaron, a self-taught, local wine, cider and all around the master fermenter. When not producing boutique quantities of Tag + Jug cider and wine, under the Conduit Wine label, at a co-op winemaking facility in an urban setting in SF, on Treasure Island, he’s leading classes to pass on his knowledge. With some snacks on the side, you’ll taste wine and cider “out of barrel” while learning the basics of production, blending and aging. You’ll get to blend, bottle and cork your own wine “shiner” bottle to take with you after this unique San Francisco food experience. If you’ve never been to Treasure Island, you’re in for a treat of some of the best views of the city and the bay, so make a day of it.
Okay, we know Alamo Drafthouse is a chain, but it’s such a fun experience we had to include it. Kick back and relax watching new movies and some old classics while delicious food is delivered right to your seat. It doesn’t get much better than that. You can get elevated classic movie snacks like churro popcorn, full meals (they even have the Beyond Meat burger) and a full beer, wine, and cocktail list. Want to get a dessert and drink together? Try one of their adult shakes like the San Francisco “Grasshopper” made with fernet branca, creme de menthe, and chocolate dust.
Photo Courtesy of Yelp
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Stretchy Pants on a list of SF food experiences you have to try this year. One of our most popular tours, Tea & Dim Sum takes you on a 2.5 hour, 1-mile tour with 7 amazing stops in Chinatown. You’ll try three different types of dim sum, both hot and cold (local!) tea, visit the oldest temple in America and the very first fortune cookie factory, all while winding your way through the vibrant alleys of Chinatown. Tour-taker Tasha says, “The Stretchy Pants tour of Chinatown was great. Even though I’ve lived in SF for years, I learned a lot about what part Chinatown played in important events like the Gold Rush. The food was great and I’m always down to get boba, so that was a fun treat. Great way to spend a couple of hours!”
STRETCHY PANTS EXPERIENCES
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