There are two words that come to mind when describing the food scene in the city’s bustling Union Square: tourist traps. Amidst the plethora of seemingly promising restaurants that line Market and Powell streets, there are scant food treasures in need of weeding out; worthy of tourists as well as locals.
San Francisco Baking Company
106 Powell St.
Unlike most bakeries that sell all types of sweets, this baking company specializes only in what they’re good at: cookies. These all-natural cookies will hit the sweet spot, particularly the white chocolate cranberry and cookies ‘n’ cream. When shopping on Powell, don’t hesitate when a lady in red offers you a sample of warm shortbread.
Theatre Too Cafe
539 Sutter St.
This is no ordinary delicatessen; it has a Middle Eastern twist that gives a ridiculous amount of value for your buck. The girthy, zesty falafel wraps drenched with cooling tzatziki sauce are simply made to be eaten with their spicy red pepper hummus and toothy whole wheat lavash.
Biscuits & Blues
401 Mason St.
Watch out gravy, biscuits have found a new soulmate in this quaint jazz lounge and restaurant. Enjoy their buttery, flaky biscuits complimentary while listening to live bands performing covers of jazz greats. Be sure to try their highlight: the chicken and andouille sausage jambalaya with Creole-style seasoned rice.
Punjab Kabab House
101 Eddy St.
This may seem like another hole-in-the-wall Indian food eatery, but what sets this place from the likes of Naan & Curry or Shalimar is that the food isn’t tamed down for a milder palate. The mutter paneer will challenge anyone’s heat tolerance with its fusion of coriander, cumin and turmeric. Cool this down with the chicken tikka masala, which has a refreshing cooling effect from the coconut cream-based sauce.