Zuni Cafe

4.7
6179 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 6179 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
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.6
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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R
Cleveland
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The dinner we had was good and we enjoyed our evening in this great restaurant.

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BJ
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful Meal, as usual. We make Zuni our special dinner/drinks out place ......and have been doing this for years. It never disappoints ! We had the roasted chicken which is a classic. We will be back......!

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OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

EXCEPTIONAL!!!!
The chicken was the best!!!

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l
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Service was just so-so, really pushing us to drink and order more.... food adequate, burger over cooked and not very flavorful.

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KT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Simple farmhouse style food done amazingly well. Ambiance is relaxed and cozy.

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JC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, service and ambiance. Will definitely recommend Zuni Café to friends and family.

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D
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 2

I came here as a kid with my mom, and decided to finally come back. My friend and I celebrated our birthday together here, and we had a gracious server who was probably the only highlight of our night. She was so kind. I wish I remembered her name, but I know she had blonde hair. We arrived 15 minutes late for our reservation (our fault), but we were seated soon no problem. We ordered the porcini appetizer, the chicken for two, and shoestring fries. Upon sitting down, someone else came by to tell us to be careful, because our table was wobbly.

We soon recognized that the tables around us had the same problem, and someone had their bottle of wine fall to the floor. I hope you guys can fix the table issue.. I definitely felt some splatter on me but I didn’t want to stress our waitress out, that wasn’t such a huge deal for me.

The food was honestly, really disappointing. The porcini was decent. The chicken was cold in the middle for some reason and extremely salty. The fries were also cold and not crispy. We waited an hour though, and it’s my fault because I should’ve said something. As an sf native and a line cook, I really value Zuni and other establishments like this close to my heart, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back.

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w
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Birthday party

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

I loved their burgers! Best in town!

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Berlin
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Super attentive staff, great vibes and excellent food

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AA
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We came for the world-famous roast chicken, and it did not disappoint. We also had a delicious squid salad. and some fantastic cocktails. The ambiance is fun, but elegant, and we had a great long, slow dinner catching up with friends.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food (the roasted chicken for 2 was amazing) and great ambiance!

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AJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Scott was our server and was simply amazing! Provided great recommendations and made sure we made our symphony reservations. He was the best!

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IH
Tokyo
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Probably the most frequently visited restaurant while I was in the city for many years. The roast chicken salad was great as it always had been. Shortcake with peach leaf cream and panna cotta with brandied cherries were both delightful with seasonable flavors.

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P
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

The King Salmon was a small portion for the cost, but the worse fate that it was overcooked.

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c
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 1

Do NOT wear dark clothing to dine at this place. When we finished our meal and looked down, our clothes were covered in white specks. They actually give diners little sticky rollers at checkout so you can clean your clothes. They say that everyone complains about all the dust in the restaurant. Wow, what?

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Post hamilton stop! That CEASAR SALAD IS EVERYTHING!!! Me & my friend was like ohhh this split salad is a lot, after we tasted it we both agreed we can finish an order each and would not hesitate to come back just for that, craving now! They have good selections of oysters as well! Need to come back for that chicken though! Great service by staff, was not rushed considering we got there after 10:30pm already.

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MJ
Toronto
5 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Zuni was recommended by friends and many reviews. I had the opportunity to dine with my son and we were lucky enough to score front row seats by the open kitchen. Watching this well-oiled machine was so enjoyable. A busy but harmonious kitchen is like watching a ballet. Attention to detail was everywhere and the service was both friendly and professional. A bucket list experience, loved every minute of it.

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T
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni never disappoints. Hands down, this is my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area, because of the top notch service, ambience, low noise, wine list, and the exquisite food. Great for just about every occasion, and I couldn't be happier.

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HP
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We enjoyed a mother-daughter birthday dinner at Zuni and were very pleased with cocktails, wine selection, and food. A little disappointed to be put upstairs when down appeared more pleasant and open, but in the end, it didn't make a difference. Very please with the wait staff - just attentive enough. Food was delicious.

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GE
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 4

$300 for a Mediocre Chicken Dinner for Two

I read the Zuni Cafe cookbook by Judy Rodgers and was inspired by her story of going to live with a chef and his family in France in the 70s when she was 16. They prepared simple but delicious foods like a ham sandwich on day old bread with spicy mustard and tarragon infused cornichons, or a dinner omelette with a salad. They would skip the fancy, trendy restaurants and go for an excellent steak frites at the place a few doors down.

Fast forward to Zuni Cafe in San Francisco in 2019. This has become the type of place that French chef despised. Mediocre, trendy, and horribly overpriced with overly formal service.

My friend and I both wanted the same things, so we ordered cocktails, a caesar salad, their famous roasted chicken, and a pluot crisp for dessert. The caesar salad was particularly good. It wasn’t fishy, but it was spicy and vinegary with big, dressing soaked croutons. The roasted chicken was okay, but nothing special. It was moist and salty all the way though, I think they must have brined it before roasting it in the wood oven, but the skin wasn’t crispy and there was no gravy. Instead it was piled with a frisee salad that wasn’t acidic or dressed enough. It made me miss Stovetop stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We each had four drinks, three cocktails and a rose, and neither of us got a strong buzz! The espresso martini was the best and most unique drink and the pluot crisp was tart but sweet with a particularly good, buttery crumble.

And then we got the bill. For two people who got four drinks each and split everything else: a caesar salad, a roasted chicken, and a pluot crisp, it cost 270 dollars, two or three times what I would pay at most fancy restaurants.

I don’t even care normally, as long as I enjoy myself, but the food was just good to mediocre. If you’re going to present simple cooking, then the prices have to match that simplicity. Otherwise, it’s a bad joke.

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M
1 review
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

This is a good place if you want to see the difference between good service and professional service. Zuni Cafe has professional service. They definitely focus on taking care of their customers!

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m
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni never disappoints. I dream about the caesar salad. Soooo good.

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x
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best date restaurant: share everything! Start with oysters, split the Caesar, have the chicken and a bottle of wine, perfection.

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RA
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

First time back to the Zuni Cafe in several years and the evening exceeded my expectations. A glorious wine list certainly opens the night well. And for the first time in ages, the halibut was soft and undercooked to perfection, meriting Nathaniel a half bottle of Chassagne-Montrachet in thanks. Jules' service delivered a 30% tip and well worth it. We definitely will be back - and soon! Thank you.

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S
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni never disappoints! Oysters, oven roasted pizza, caesar salad, and a perfect wine recommendation. Excellent service, from a friendly, patient staff who will not hurry you. A perfect post theater meal. Thank you Zuni!

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OT
Sacramento
12 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great tp return to Zuni Cafe after many years away. I chose it for my birthday and it didn't disappoint. The Caesar salad was delicious and large enough to split, and the halibut with clams was also delicious; as was the rhubarb crostada! It was busy with lots of chatter and people having a good time which only added to the celebratory evening. I shall return.

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OT
New Mexico
350 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food. The service was good but they are rushed with all the people. Too bad one needs to wait 63 minutes for their chicken. We would have loved to try it but were on a time constraint due to a symphony concert. Perhaps you could call them 1/2 hour before arriving & ask them to start your chicken? No ice but worth a try.

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OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We enjoyed the chicken for two. We also ordered a couple appetizers and a side but we really didn’t need them. The chicken comes with a bread salad and frisée and was delicious! We sat near the kitchen so we were able to watch the action all night.

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DM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I found the appetizer of deep fried halibut with deep fried fava bans and deep friend something else to be not worth the expense. The halibut was delicious...not because of anything the chef did to it but because halibut is delicious no matter how it is cooked. My wife loved the chicken but I would not order it again. The meat...even the white meat was too salty and frankly it was just too much. The bread soaked in chicken fat and juice again my wife liked but it was too much fat for me. Service was acceptable but not over the top. Quite noisy but we expected that.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely exquisite dinner with first time Zuni friends. He said he was "on a magic carpet ride."
Thank you for remaining true to the original vision and mission. Sincere fan, Esther-Marie

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H
Los Angeles
26 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The BEST as always .

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d
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A classic, but always great. It has been a decade and it will now be much more often. In a town where new bars and restaurants crop up seemingly every five minutes, it's nice to know that not only are there some strong staples, but that quality of service is still a focal point for fine establishments like Zuni. Easy to sing that from the rooftops. The off-menu burger is still a favorite.

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L
Calgary
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The chicken was amazing and we had a really nice time. Our waiter was so nice!

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P
Sacramento
2 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had lunch with three others before a 1:00 PM show. We explained our timing situation. They accommodated us fully without our feeling rushed. 2 of us had hamburgers, perfect medium rare and delicious. 2 chose halibut and clam dish and gave rave reviews. Complimentary bread, crusty and chewy, was nearly as great as the main dishes.

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h
New Mexico
14 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Great food
Service was good but not exceptional
Expensive but worth it
Chicken amazing
Great drinks
Worth a San Francisco visit once

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

great service, amazing food.

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JH
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's always a pleasure to dine at Zuni. Service, food, drink, and ambiance have yet to disappoint. Thank you once again.

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F
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Food is fresh and good. Value is poor as dishes are fairy small portioned. We had chickpea stew - I think 18 dollars for a small dish of garbanzo beans. Beet salad was 15 dollars for a few bites. This was our second time here and still not impressed for the price for what you get.

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MG
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Few places have the consistently outstanding food and service.

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