Zuni Cafe

4.7
6078 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Modern European
This James Beard Award winning restaurant with a clientele as diverse as San Francisco opened in 1979. A vibrant Parisian-style standing-only copper bar greets you as you enter on Rose Alley. Zuni's menu changes daily with dishes inspired by traditional Italian and French recipes. Nearly all of the produce, meat, and fish served at Zuni is farmed and harvested in a sustainable manner.

Even without a reservation, bar tables are available on a first come, first served basis and the full menu is available. The bar also serves traditional cocktails made with top-shelf ingredients; refreshments at its best in an environment of effortless hospitality. Whether you dine early or prefer to dine after theater, Zuni is a welcoming haven.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
9.5

Zuni Cafe in the Civic Center is still an icon, and it sits firmly at the top of our list of favorite restaurants in this town.

Ratings 9.0-9.8:If the 8.5-9.0s are the restaurants you’ll frequent for more than just special occasions, the 9.0-9.8s are the all time great restaurants of their city. Restaurants that will be around 20 years from now, assuming the Earth is still around.
What 6078 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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FH
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 5

It kills me to write this review as I'm as big a fan as anyone. I've been here many times over the course of the last 20 years. The Ceasar Salad is still the best in San Francisco. After that, our experience was pretty awful. We were brought vodka martinis when we ordered gin martinis. We waited a good 45 minutes between salad and entree, with no explanation, and not a lot of attention by the waitstaff. And the entree, grilled swordfish, felt like something served from the '80s. Zero creativity, marginal flavor, swimming in butter and oil. Either it was just a one-off bad night at Zuni, or they are on cruise control. I'd still recommend Zuni in hopes that I experienced the former and not the latter. Get the Ceasar and hope for the best on the rest of the menu. Zuni Cafe you are a SF treasure...live up to your hard earned good reputation.

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m
Tampa
39 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Lovely wait staff. fine food. Interesting view of the alley behind - truly interesting!

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JR
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I hadn't been to Zuni's in many years and the food and dining experience was just as spectacular as I remembered it to be. It's such a special place and the food is still excellent. The staff is top notch and our waiter was a total doll! Everything from our cocktails and wine to sharing small plates while we waited for our chicken was perfect. I was a bit nervous about the timing of the chicken (not to be skipped) as we had a 7pm show to make however everything went so smoothly and we couldn't have asked for a better evening.

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JB
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni is such a dining pleasure - one of the few constants I can count on. The ambiance is light and clean, open and inviting. The service is friendly and helpful and the food delightful.

Saturday lunch started with regional chilled oysters on the half shell and the Zuni’s Classic Caesar. I followed with thinly sliced duck with a hazelnut pesto and the house-made Meyer lemon gelato with candied citrus provided a refreshing end to our meal.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Warm welcome. Tasty cocktails. Famous roast chicken was succulently delicious.

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DS
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding; the atmosphere lovely; and the wait staff some of the most attentive and friendly of all time. We were there to celebrate our wedding that afternoon and they made us both feel like kings. We look forward to celebrating anniversaries and events of all kinds at our new favorites restaurant.

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J
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 1

Food was ok but not as good as we were told it was. The place was extremely noisy. It was expensive. So we're quite disapointed. Note that our waiter was perfect and very kind.

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MS
Sacramento
1 review
Dined on April 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We arrived at opening as we were going to see a matinee of Hamilton. We were warmly greeted and the wait staff was excellent. The food was delicious. A special thank you to all at Zuni Cafe for making this experience wonderful!

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BL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

To be able to deliver at the high level Zuni does for such an extended period of time is a remarkable achievement. To seemingly not miss a beat after the passing of Judy Rogers is a testament to her enormous talent as a chef and restaurateur, as well as to the team.

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OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Aside from trouble finding parking for lunch, everything was fantastic. Delicious assortment of oysters, top notch olives, amazing roasted cauliflower and potato soup. And the roast chicken with bread salad is a classic. Excellent service as always.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

It was a nice meal! Beautiful building and very central. Attractive crowd.

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C
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Always good, never a disappointment. Crowded but took us right on time.

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DM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food overall. Worlds best Cesar Salad, Bloody Mary. Roast Chicken. Great waitstaff.

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DR
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my very favorite restaurants where I chose to have my 70th birthday. I am a huge oyster fan and they have the very best. They even made sure I was able to add an extra person at the last minute to our reservation. Two of us flew in more than 1000 miles just to be together at Zuni Cafe!

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s
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've been coming to Zuni for decades! The quality has not gone down despite the demise of the owner/chef.

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J
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

I have lived in SF for 38 years and have enjoyed the signature roasted chicken/bread salad many times. However, I have not visited for several years. Has the recipe for the "bread salad" been changed? I remember it as being composed of "hunks of bread with pine nuts and currants. However, at my recent visit, it appeared to be "slices of bread" -- not nearly as enjoyable as I remember. (The chicken continued to superlative.)

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S
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Once again, excellent bistro food. Service was excellent. The Caesar salad was excellent with a beautiful side of anchovies and the signature chicken roasted in the brick oven was delightful with the bread salad hidden underneath. The only negative was the table. We were placed in the upstairs on bench seats with a wall for the back. It was quite uncomfortable. I placed my bag between my back and the wall which did the trick, but I would avoid this table in the future. I think they should place pillows for diner’s comfort.

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OT
Phoenix
18 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

We had The Chicken: enough said.

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I
New England
2 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

After many fine dining experiences at Zuni, this visit was disappointing. The Caesar salad was over
-dressed and the cheese was grated rather than shaved as it used to be. Our fries were never served...simply forgotten. A second aperitif took way too long to arrive at the table.

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l
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Service was slow. Forgot two things I ordered. Portion was small. Therefore; pricey for lunch.

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OT
1 review
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Chicken is a mainstay here, but note it takes an hour after ordering and don’t try to pre-order /pre-pay, that is not possible. Menu seems a bit limited (check menu online). Overall a great experience.

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s
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni is always fantastic. Been enjoying it for years and it’s always a total pleasure. Love all the people there, so wonderful

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s
1 review
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 1

I didn't get the charm of Zuni Cafe.
I think the chicken is overrated

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EV
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Lina was our waitress and she was simply excellent! My wife and I had an amazing dinner sharing oysters, salad, pasta and petrale sole...………..extraordinary. Service was terrific in every way possible...….from keeping water in our water glasses to new place settings with each item. [I have been raving about Zuni Café every day since!!!].

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N
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I have been eating at Zuni since it's opening. I always recommend the chicken to anyone I bring for the first time. Unfortunately, the last couple of times I have been disappointed. The chicken was good, however, the frisbee and radicchio placed on the top was underwhelming!

The server was completely devoid of any emotion!!

PS the caesar salad was great..

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t
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A go-to place whenever family is visiting from out of town.

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J
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Very mediocre meal. Disappointed in Zuni the first time ever. Service so so and the food was very ho hum.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Yes, the Zuni Cafe is a bit on the louder side. However, that can not detract from the wonderful cuisine and professional mixologist creations. The staff was first class. This is the place! A complete and must restaurant to visit and enjoy when in the city.

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H
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We go to Zuni's a few times a year as a girls night out getting oysters, the signature chicken, and a bottle of wine. It has always been spot on and delicious and I look forward to it every few months.

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c
San Francisco
111 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have been coming to Zuni since it opened. My fav place for lunch in city. You feel like you are outside (all the Windows) and it is fun with excellent food

The oysters are divine, Caesar salad perfect, the best hamburger in city and if you have time, the chicken is just delicious.
From your experience with the checkin crew, having a divine glass of wine at bar (standing up) to the waiters , clean up staff it is so fun. A great team

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely place, great food, nice staff

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IA
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

40 years and counting. It’s so hard to believe, and yet Zuni remains one of the few truly iconic San Francisco restaurants offering seasonal, locally sourced and always deliciously prepared food. Without question, the service is some of the best in The City. The wine list is not overblown, but always offers an excellent choice of both domestic and foreign bottles as well as a wonderful selection of craft cocktails. Likewise, the menu is never more than one page in length, yet never disappoints or leaves one wanting for more choices. And simply said, there is only one “best roast chicken and warm bread salad” in San Francisco, or practically anywhere, and that prize has always belonged to Zuni Cafe. Thank you Zuni for establishing and maintaining such a high standard for excellence! We always look forward to our next visit...

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EM
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Some in my group have been going to Zuni for 20 years and one for 33 years! Zuni never disappoints! We love that it feels like dozens of private spaces. The oyster selection is always a treat, the salads fresh and beautiful and the chicken and swordfish were wonderfully seasoned and moist. The house Chardonnay was terrific(wish I could buy it at retail). The service was attentive, friendly, and helpful. Can’t wait to go back!

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NA
1 review
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love Zuni. Consistently great food/service that makes me glad I went. Not cheap but at the same time a good value, and that’s hard to do, though they make it look easy. I’m a fan.

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LR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had another wonderful dinner at Zuni. The request was made for a table for 2 in front of the window, and we were given the Best Seat in the House, which is the table for 2 upstairs in front of the giant windows. Thank you for accommodating this! Our server (Jacob) took the best care of us and was attentive without checking in too much.
Zuni continues to remain my favorite restaurant in the city and I can't wait to return!

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SR
Nashville
6 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were celebrating our honeymoon and chose Zuni! Our server, Julie, made the experience even more special! Food amazing as always.

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j
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 4ambience 4

I hate to write bad things about Zuni because i have eaten there for 20 years but the last three visits have not been worth the effort . I will not return. The ceasar salad is good ! but the hamburgers are not as ample or tasty as the old days. Previous visit the chicken was dry- which would have been unheard of a few years ago. I feel very bad about this!

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BF
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We had a fun experience, for sure, and the service was superb. The food, however, was way overpriced. Everything tasted good, but not great. I think we paid for the table and the ability to sit and eat in a upbeat, SF atmosphere.

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h
San Francisco
121 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Good, not great -- dishes competent, nothing special. Service was excellent and helpful.

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BO
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Everyone there was super friendly, service was awesome and we had a great time!!!

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