Zuni Cafe

4.7
5863 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.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Modern European
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Hours of operation
Brunch:
Sunday, 11:00am - 2:30pm
Lunch:
Tuesday - Saturday, 11:30am - 5:45pm
Sunday, 2:30pm - 4:45pm
Dinner:
Tuesday - Thursday, 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Friday - Saturday, 6:00pm - 12:00am
Sunday, 5:00pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(415) 552-2522
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Rebecca Boice
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Cross street
Between Franklin & Gough
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Entertainment
Piano
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Outdoor dining, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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 5863 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
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, service and ambiance.

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SS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have always loved the roast chicken at Zuni..more an experience you should have on your bucket list.

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j
Central Coast
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

I was a little disappointed that I called specifically about the lunch being for my friends birthday and asked what I could special. The hostess said a dessert with a candle that I agreed was a really nice plan. I assumed a house dessert with a candle would come out which I of course expected to pay for (our bill was $175 so didn’t care to know about the dessert charge) but then it got weird when our server gave us dessert menus but I looked at him with a wink like “birthday dessert” and my friend passed on dessert and so did I expecting the birthday candle and cake to come out but it didn’t. So I walked in the back to ask if they could do the candle and a small plate with a spoonful of whipped cream with a candle cake out and the server said “since you declined dessert, we gave you a plate of whipped cream.” Felt embarrassing and tacky. Especially after an almost $200 lunch. Would have been happy to pay for the dessert.

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z
New Mexico
9 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Our table was upstairs in the back—not such a great experience.

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MM
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 4

Zuni is an icon BUT...it used to be wonderful and now it is not that at all. Our food was average. Appetizer was weird with a bitter burnt garlic infusion of not welcome flavor. The shoestring potatoes were cold and entrees OK but nothing special. I am very sorry to see the decline of food quality and creativity.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The service was great! The waiter has a nice smile and the busboy was able to refill our water without asking. The food is awesome. The chicken for 2 is a must get.

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MM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

30th November 2018

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M
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Will be back. Everything on menu looked delicious and our chicken and Caesar salad was fantastic

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s
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

Zuni Cafe might be one of the most overrated restaurants in San Francisco. We had an early reservation at 6pm which initially was great because the area where we were seated was relatively quiet with the correct amount of attention from the staff. However, as soon as the other 3 tables in our immediate filled up, we were essentially ignored the rest of the time we were there. Upon delivering our entrees (after finishing our appetizers over 30 minutes before with no check in during that entire time from our waiter), he then didn't stick around to see if we needed anything else (I had been wanting to order another beverage for the entire 30+ minutes we were being ignored), and after the first bite, we realized both of our entrees were cold. Even if we had wanted to send either of the dishes back, our waiter didn't return to check on us for another 20 minutes and we had somewhere else to be (again, this was after waiting at least 30 minutes between our appetizers and terrible entrees; we weren't necessarily in a rush to leave). This place is so well known and always packed but unfortunately seems to rest on their laurels and does nothing to make customers feel welcome or taken care of. I had one other experience at Zuni a few years ago and while I actually did have a good meal that time, I also remember the staff seeming distracted and uninterested in making sure we felt welcome and taken care of. Probably won't give it a third chance, really disappointed in this recent visit.

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S
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

This is one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants and I will continue to go there. However, today was rather disappointing in two ways: 1) The person who answered the phone when I called to confirm my reservation was very kurt and unfriendly sounding. 2) The wait staff definitely came down on the side of surly. Guess nobody was having a good day at Zuni today!

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a
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous food fabulous people. If you visit San Francisco do not miss Zuni. The chicken is famous but any bite is fabulous......

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PB
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni is arguably the best restaurant in San Francisco. It never disappoints. The ones that say otherwise simply don’t understand it. Beauty in simplicity. The finest ingredients. Made by people that love food.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Everything from the appetizers to the famous roast chicken was on point, the chicken was seasoned really well and super juicy.

However, the service was a bit slow as our server had to cover more than 5 tables in his area. This is understandable given the restaurant is fully booked and no empty seats around us, but would like to see better and more efficient service.

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JW
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

Way too expensive for what you get. Paper thin persimmons, dry pork, ho-hum mahi-mahi. Roast chicken good but not great. Lovely cocktails and tasty soup. Maybe it was an off night but it certainly wasn’t the culinary experience it used to be. Won’t be going back anytime soon.

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OT
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This was my first time for brunch, and there were a few standouts that I’d definitely recommend, and other parts of the meal that were disappointing. Food wise, the French toast is a must try, as was the balsamic Bloody Mary. 3 of the 4 of us had the steak and eggs, and the egg was over cooked twice. This was massively disappointing in a place like Zuni where I’d expect them to nail this detail. Moreover, I would have expected the waitstaff to see and acknowledge that 2 of us left well done egg yolks on our plates- this sadly didn’t happen.

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LS
San Francisco
90 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything from the welcome by the Maitre'd, to the food and the waitress was exceptional. A must visit in San Francisco. Unusual, delicious dishes for brunch, beautifully presented, and cooked to perfection.

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OT
Kent
5 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Chicken was superb! Good wine list and fantastic service.

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z
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The roast chicken is a knockout dish- serves two people, and it takes an hour but it's worth it. The steak and the fish were also outstanding. And the crispy fries were fabulous too... Lovely warm ambient lighting...

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DW
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very good food and the waiter, cant recall his name but he was a blonde gentleman was the friendliest and most professional waiter I've ever encountered. The hostesses were very pèsonable also.

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F
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Food is great. Wait staff is great. Hostess and managers floating about need to be friendlier smile more...their demeanor doesn’t compliment the professional engaging personalities of the wait staff.

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p
Palm Springs
236 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a late dinner at Zuni on the night before Thanksgiving. The service was awesome. The food was amazing. We had the mahi mahi and pork stew and both were superb. It was a very cozy atmosphere and our waitress was very attentive but she let us enjoy the evening. Can't wait to go back!!

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DO
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Service was slow and one dish had clearly sat in the kitchen too long before it was served.

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S
San Diego
16 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite SF restaurant!

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MM
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

After all these years, happy to report the Zuni still delivers on fine dining, California style. Of course, the favorites still impress: the chicken, the polenta, oysters, the wine and cocktail menu. Happy to report it is still a five-star experience.

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DC
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

I have never received a smaller portion of tuna, served with ordinary butter beans and vegetables, $35. Busser spilled water every time he refilled water, even after cleaning up past spills. Server not polished. Not the Zuni I have known for 35 years.

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KP
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

We have been going to Zuni for over 20 years whenever we visit San Francisco. This time we were very disappointed in the quality of our main courses. The appetizer of house cured anchovies and the arugula salad were tasty, but not exceptional, our main course of Mahi-mahi was very disappointing! The fish verged on being over cooked and was swimming in a pool of oil and the preparation was overly salty. Given the prices Zuni charges, one would expect superior preparations that are exceptional! I doubt we will return here as we have discovered far superior dining opportunities.

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AF
Hawaii
16 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Always one of my favorite restaurant. Great food and atmosphere. Little bit slow service at this time but overall always outstanding.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 5

Sadly food quality is going down

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L
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 4

I’ve been to Zuni many times and love it, but was very turned off by the service this time around — waiter was a bit off and the front of house was rude.

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Y
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni is always a wonderful dining experience.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni is always the best.

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C
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Went after a symphony matinee. 6 pm seating (when they open for dinner). Got there a little early so we had oysters and a bottle of Turnbull Cabernet in the bar. At 6 we were seated in the dining area with a great view of the kitchen. We both love to cook so it was a treat to be able to see everything that was going on. Our food was outstanding. We started with house-cured anchovies. Delicate flavor, excellent. My wife had gnocchi without potatoes, just some cheese and a little flour. They were light and very tasty. I had lamb three ways. A sausage, leg and chop. We finished with a Pavlova.

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NS
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Expensive with limited menu although food is excellent.

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LO
San Antonio
3 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We only ordered the chicken and an order of shoestring potatoes, which they told us would take at least 60 minutes. 50 minutes later the chicken arrived, not the potatoes (server forgot-2 things on the order...) and went quickly to get them.
The chicken flavor wise was delicious, but for it having been pulled out of the oven at 50 minutes, it was not hot at all, just warm. But that chicken had not come out of the oven just then...
Potatoes... for those to be a rush order, weren’t hot either... very good, but again, those fries had not been pulled out of a frier just then.
I am not complaining, but really, for a 63 dollar chicken it should be perfect, right?

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c
Richmond
7 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food- big bill due to mostly wine but a great . A $ 500 check for 4 but ... love the food and cheaper wines are available.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Went for dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Maitre d’ had read my note in our reservation and confirmed the plan for a candled dessert without the birthday girl noticing. Service was exception and food was fresh and good. Zuni is old guard, and that means the food might not be as inventive as some newer standout SF restaurants, but it runs like a well oiled, and delicious, machine.

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BF
1 review
Dined on November 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We love Zuni and have been patrons for years! This visit did not disappoint...food delicious and our server was fabulous!!

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R
Charleston
9 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have always wanted to eat at the Zuni Cafe but had trouble getting reservations. This time I planned 30 days in advance and it was well worth it. The food was amazing. We had the chicken for two and it was fantastic. I highly recommend!

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OT
Dallas
3 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We ordered everything but the chicken. Perhaps the best thing to do is order only the chicken. Decent meal overall.

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JH
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Very nice experience, with excellent food. A little loud, but not a real problem. It seemed everyone in the place was having a really good time, as were we!

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