The 8 Best Women-Owned Restaurants in San Francisco
Two Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn may be famous for her French cuisine, but she has a bigger message she’s hoping to spread to her fans: Support women, especially creatives. To a crowd of 200+ members of The Wing in San Francisco in mid November, Crenn encouraged the group to “stay curious” and explore the city for art exhibits and independently owned restaurants, preferably run by women. If she’s not making a Gruyere or chevre grilled cheese at home, Crenn is dining out. “I try to eat out to support other people’s businesses,” she says. A huge advocate for women entrepreneurs, Crenn is making it easy for SF natives and tourists by providing this list of eight female-owned restaurants, developed in partnership with The Wing and American Express for Small Business Saturday (on November 24 this year), a campaign to support shopping at independently owned stores.
1. Garden Creamery: This organic scoop shop, owned by Erin Lang, features small-batch ice creams and sorbets made with local ingredients. Lang grew up in Hawaii so many of the flavors are tropical-inspired with Japanese influence. Butter mochi toasted sesame will send your tastebuds over the edge.
2. 20th Century Cafe: Dominique Crenn confessed that the one thing she could eat every day is a bagel! This Hayes Valley outpost, owned by Michelle Polzine, will help you get your fix. Order it like Crenn — toasted, slathered with butter, followed by cream cheese, topped with sliced tomato, and garnished with salt and pepper.
3. Foreign Cinema: If there’s a place to get rosé Champagne and oysters (another food that Crenn can’t get enough of) on the half shell, it’s this Mission spot, owned by chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark.
4. B. Patisserie: Many French transplants to the city will agree that this little shop, owned by Belinda Leong Michel Suas, is the best French bakery in the city. The crisp baguettes and flaky croissants will transport you to Paris, but if you’re hoping to reach nirvana, order the kouign-amann, a crinkled cup of laminated dough filled with sweet syrup.
5. Jane The Bakery: Chef Crenn says she regularly eats chocolate croissants from Jane The Bakery, owned by Amanda Michael. We’re partial to the Nutty Bird Bread that’s slathered with almond butter and raspberry preserves, but honestly, you can’t go wrong with any order at this SF breakfast joint.
6. Frances: If you’re curious what Nor Cal cuisine really looks like, turn to Melissa Perello’s quaint spot for a taste of Little Gem lettuces, squash soups garnished with miso-glazed chanterelle mushrooms, and more.
7. Kin Khao: We think this is honestly the best Thai food in the whole city, and we have chef/owner Pim Techamuanvivit to thank. The curries and overall spiciness of the food will knock the breath out of you (in a good way), so be prepared to shock your palate. You can always cool it down later with the Thai tea soft serve for dessert.
8. Boulevard: Entering this restaurant is like stepping into 1920s Paris. Nancy Oakes’ beloved old-school spot has one of the best burgers in the city (during lunch), but its local seafood selection is also top-notch.
If you’re inspired to eat at an independently owned restaurant today, Instagram your meal, and tag @BritandCo as well as #DineSmall.
(Illustration via AMEX / The Wing)