The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) and OpenTable have partnered up just to give you several great reasons to bust out the stretchiest pants you own: San Francisco Restaurant Week. From now until January 30, San Francisco chefs invite diners to try special $25 two-course lunches, $40 three-course dinners, and $85 Discovery menus highlighting elevated food and beverage pairings (because sometimes three courses just aren’t enough). Not only can you check off some of those restaurants on your must-try list, but you can also check off your charity work for the month: during this inaugural SFRW, the SF-Marin Food Bank will receive $.25 (per cover) for each reservation booked via OpenTable.
With just 10 days of dining, it can be hard to choose the reservations that are right for you. In that spirit, we’re highlighting five must-try dishes that can be enjoyed over a stolen lunch hour during the work week or during your next candlelit Thursday date night.
#1 Umi Masu Iridashi from Ichi Sushi & Ni Bar: A traditional Japanese dish in which ocean trout is rolled in potato starch, fried, and placed in a tamari, sake, and dashi broth with grated daikon ginger and scallions on top — bonus points for the sake paired with this melt-in-your-mouth buttery fish.
#2 XLB (xio long bao) from Chino: Handmade by Shanghainese Leo Gan (a.k.a. the XLB whisperer), these dumplings are simple and straightforward in taste, thanks to the well-balanced ratio of not-too-dense dumpling wrapper, in-house ground pork from Marin Sun Farms, and housemade chicken stock.
#3 The Marlowe Burger from The Cavalier: Step off the streets of San Francisco into this London-style brasserie at which Chef Jennifer Puccio has created arguably one of the best burgers in the city. This grass-fed Niman Ranch burger is topped with caramelized onion, cheddar, and — you guessed it! — bacon — and is served with a horseradish aioli. The chips on the side are so nice they’ve been cooked thrice.