Food & Wine Best New Chef 1995 Traci Des Jardins gives an insider guide to San Francisco, from the best brunch spots to the top bars.

By Kate Krader
Updated: April 18, 2016

On San Francisco

San Francisco food is firmly routed in the school of Alice Waters-there’s a huge Cal-Med influence with a strong leaning toward seasonality and sustainability. Jardinière is more French-California. Upstairs there’s an elegant menu; downstairs is the lounge with bar food, cocktails and lots of Champagne (300 Grove St.; 415-861-5555 or

Favorite Cultural Activity

I’m a big outdoors person. I especially love Sunston Beach (I have a dog and it’s dog-friendly) and Stinson Beach, which is just an hour from San Francisco but feels like a million miles away.

Favorite Brunch Spot

My new favorite place is Bar Jules in Hayes Valley. The chef, Jessica Boncutter, is there all the time; when she’s not cooking, she’s the hostess. Just recently, I had fantastic scrambled eggs with asparagus, grilled toast and prosciutto (609 Hayes St.; 415-621-5482 or

Favorite Nightlife Spot

If I’m out late, I go to Zuni Café. The hamburger is always delicious and it’s only available after 10PM (1658 Market St.; 415-552-2522 or

Restaurant Recommendations

Coco 500, where Loretta Keller has been doing fried green beans since before anyone else. I’m also a big fan of her truffle mushroom flatbread (500 Brannan St.; 415-543-2222 or

Sebo. The fish is always impeccable at this Japanese restaurant in Hayes Valley, and the sake list is great, too (517 Hayes St.; 415-864-2122).

Slanted Door. The Jicama salad in particular is amazing (1 Ferry Building #3; 415-861-8032 or

Fish, in Sausalito, for very simply prepared dishes like fish and chips (350 Harbor Dr.; 415-331-3474).

El Balazo. This is my funky choice: it’s a taqueria in a carwash in the Mission. They have the best carnitas (2560 Marin St.; 415-282-7130).