Zuni Cafe

4.7
5614 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Modern European
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Good for a Date
  • Special Occasion
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 5614 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
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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C
3.0Dined 3 days ago

We waited an hour for the Emperor’s New Chicken. Too many people think the chicken is great because they were told and read it is great. But it is not! It’s just average.

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G
5.0Dined 3 days ago

Zuni is a classic and one of our favorite places to eat. Cocktails were perfect as always. The pavlova was summer perfection with raspberries and peaches. The piccolo fritto was perfect with halibut, onion rings and artichoke. The risotto was a taste of summer heaven: zucchini blossoms, grape tomatoes and corn.

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AR
5.0Dined 4 days ago

Service was amazing! Attentive but not invasive. A classic SF dining spot that I would recommend for a business dinner, or when having family in town.

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LM
5.0Dined 4 days ago

I always love this place and have always had great meals here - outstanding ones really! This past visit, while good, was not as unique as I feel their menu is more generally. Still will go back for sure as it is a great place and favorite of mine to go to before a show.

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TD
5.0Dined 4 days ago

Teddy wonderful as always

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J
4.0Dined 5 days ago

We arrived 15 minutes early for our reservation, which had been made several weeks earlier. Although a large number of empty tables were clearly available, we were told we could not be seated until the specific time of our reservation, and we were told, not asked, to go to the bar to wait. A large bar it is, but no seats! A little too arrogant for my taste. But the drinks were quite good and liberal in size, and all of the food was quite good. The gnocchi was light as a cloud and tasty...the best I’ve ever eaten. Slow service getting the check, but very competent and pleasant waiters throughout the meal.

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GF
5.0Dined 6 days ago

The quality and taste of the food was outstanding. Our server, Stephen, was excellent.

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j
5.0Dined 6 days ago

Outstanding in every way!!
Delicious chicken, fries and Caesar salad👍👍👍👍👍👍impeccable service!!!
Outstanding venue!!!
Kind, accommodating at front desk and management!!!
Most appreciated 😘😘😘

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NY
5.0Dined 6 days ago

Newbie + multiple repeat diners. Both well pleased by the quality of the service, food and ambience. Chicken par excellence, fries perfection. Only negative: Restrooms are worn around the edges, clean but could stand refreshing.

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g
4.0Dined 6 days ago

Fun Vibe, Good Grub, Chicken Takes Forever
Zuni Cafe is a fun place for dinner. Neat ambiance, good service, great bar, good food. My two complaints would be that the chicken takes an hour--seriously--and that there aren't many entree selections on the menu. We ordered at 6:05 and the chicken came at 7:07. They advertise 60 minutes on the menu. It was very good, but not life changing, and it's hard to understand why it takes an hour. The restaurant could also benefit from a few more entree choices. But all in all, a fun place and a solid dining experience.

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JP
5.0Dined on July 12, 2018

Still making people happy after almost 40 years, including me. Still one of the best dining venues in the City.

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SG
5.0Dined on July 11, 2018

I have been eating at Zuni for twenty-plus years and its food never disappoints. The food is delicious, made with best seasonal specimens. It is pricey, and can be quite loud, but I prefer the space at lunchtime (the light filled space is beautiful) which helps with most the cost and noise. The wine list in the past few years has continued to climb in price, and the kitchen seems a bit less creative and careful post-Judi with many standards repeating, and some sloppy kitchen technique. Ex: The grade-manger (salad) station seems to be a bit haphazard with their classic caesar in particular - perhaps a danger of churning out so many. Two out of the last three times it has been served to our table it was wildly overdressed. We love the long-term servers and host-staff who remember us and our preferences. Service with the newer staff member is not be as informed, ingredients, flavor profiles etc. but always gracious.

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R
2.0Dined on July 11, 2018

We were seated next to 4 men who were swearing and loud. We had my friends 13 year old daughter. It was very unpleasant. They were so loud that we had to yell ourselves across the table to be heard.
We have always enjoyed this spot for many years but were very disappointed in this visit.

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BM
1.0Dined on July 10, 2018

Every single staff person was so nice and made us feel very welcome. The Caesar Salad is delicious. The pizza ... not recommended. Lovely lunch setting. It’s a favorite place of ours.

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MG
3.0Dined on July 8, 2018

It was the most horrible and disgusting experience I have ever had. I came to this place because my friend recommended it to me, and I decided to bring my girlfriend to celebrate our third anniversary, for wanting to be good to her everything went wrong. We ordered wine and anchovies, it was very good, we waited an hour for the main course she wanted to try, finally, they brought the roasted chicken, as soon as I arrived we chose a piece each and soon I put on my plate the greens was the best
Disgusting that I have seen worms walking on my plate in a plate of food. He gave me such a big shame with my girlfriend that I wanted to disappear from the place of that place, his look was as if he had said for this you brought me to whom. It was so unpleasant that I will never recommend this place to any of my friends.
simple disgusting mind

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GG
4.0Dined on July 8, 2018

The food was very good and the service was incredible. We had the chicken for two in the wood oven... It was outstanding!

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OT
5.0Dined on July 8, 2018

good place for celebration and good service. They are well educated.

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n
5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

amazing!!!

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OT
5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Overall I had a fantastic experience at Zuni. The service was incredible and the food was amazing. Definitely a must stop if you are in San Francisco.

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OT
3.0Dined on July 4, 2018

Lovely server. But very hard to hear her. The best items we had were everything BUT the famed roast chicken. That was, well, chicken. It was fine. But we immediately regretted not getting the far more interesting mains on the menu. So worth a visit, but don’t bother with the chicken.

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OT
5.0Dined on July 4, 2018

A real treat. Recommended by WPost food critic Tom Suetsema.

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PH
5.0Dined on July 4, 2018

Dining at Zuni was incredible experience. We had the tomatoes and sardines for a starter as well as a few oysters. Chicken for two for dinner and some wine. Oh yeah, you gotta go!

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JK
5.0Dined on July 3, 2018

My husband and I chose Zuni as a lunch spot following our daytime City Hall wedding. It was perfect as it's close to City Hall, and it is an upscale restaurant that actually serves lunch, which is tough to find in SF. The food was fabulous, as was the service. The atmosphere was just right - it felt special yet still relaxed enough for a daytime event. They were also accommodating of our requests such as bringing our photographer in, getting a specific table, and rapid-fire champagne delivery.

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OT
5.0Dined on July 3, 2018

My husband's birthday. I have been going to Zuni Cafe since it first opened in a small store front and the go tos were guacamole and hummus. The waitress wore a western square dancing skirt and flats. Wow! Also attended the party for the expansion.

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OT
3.0Dined on July 1, 2018

Classic, service is good

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R
5.0Dined on July 1, 2018

I have been going to Zuni since it first opened. Continues to be my favorite restaurant in S.F. One slight criticism, the famous delicious roast chicken is not as good ,as when Judy Rogers was there. Management needs to taste it and remember how it was. It is now too dry. Especially the dressing. It is no longer moist with oil and lacks the many pine nuts and raisins or cranberries. My suggestion is in good faith. Zuni must live up to the outstanding reputation made by Judy Rogers! Fellow dinners have also mentioned that the chicken is not what it was.

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HL
5.0Dined on June 30, 2018

Great place for Mom's Birthday Lunch. Service was excellent

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B
3.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Famous roast chicken I have had chicken for 20 years probably. Very over cooked. Legs petrified could not cut, rest just dry. Salad drenched in dressing.
Oysters over priced and a couple bad/ funky.
Service fair

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G
5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

Classic-as it always has been!

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LL
5.0Dined on June 29, 2018

I love Zuni! Went there with my two sons just because it is a rarity to have them home at the same time. It's such a fun place. The food is wonderful - chicken and shoelace potatoes. My cocktail was good and strong. But the service is the best. Very attentive staff. Thanks you, Zuni❤️

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RK
2.0Dined on June 28, 2018

My husband and I have been going to this restaurant since it first opened almost 40 years ago. Sadly, the original chef-owner died and it is now in a new phase. It had been enlarged many years ago, but the service has become impersonal and sloppy now. The restaurant is divided into two parts: the downstairs where the tables are a good distance from each other and get light from the street side windows and the upper mezzanine, which is closed, cramped and dark with little light and hard surfaces for sound to bounce around. We made our reservations several weeks in advance with OpenTable as we were visiting from out of town. We arrived about 5 minutes early and the hostess seated us immediately upstairs in the mezzanine at the farthest table in the corner (near the window). The area was completely filled and next to us was a party of 10 who were partying down with multiple margaritas. It looked like a company retreat and they were loud talkers and only got worse with more drinks. About the time I finished my first course, I just wanted to leave. But the food is good, which is why we came. We sat there very miserable for the whole meal. It was torture. From the mezzanine, I could then see there were empty tables down below on the QUIET part of the restaurant. When we left, I asked the hostess how do you get to sit on the first floor where it is QUIET and she said "It is random." The bill for this meal was about $150 per person for the two of us. This is where I began to ponder the oft stated remark these days: San Francisco has changed, it is now ruined. I disagree. We had some great meals and experiences, but not here.

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SI
5.0Dined on June 25, 2018

We arrived early for a late night reservation. They were very accommodating and we were grateful as we were seated early. Service was excellent. The waiter was not only informed about everything on the menu, but when the food was delivered, he de-boned the sand dabs like a pro. This was greatly appreciated. The food was over the top tasty and authentic, just like I expected. We would travel to this restaurant over and over again. Thx!

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K
3.0Dined on June 25, 2018

I was a little disappointed. My husband and I went here 24 years ago on our honeymoon and 4 years ago on vacation. I called for a reservation (Open Table had no availability when I wanted to go) asking for an exception so we could go back again, only this time with our son who is in San Fran for the summer. Was told "no" but they do walk-ins. I didn't want to chance that so went with what Open Table had: 8:45 on a Sunday night. When we arrived, there were many empty tables -- huh, yet no exceptions for a repeat visitor from Maine... Service was great. Our meals were "okay" -- salads, beef and dabs. Even though it wasn't all wonderful, I will go back again when in town.

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RM
5.0Dined on June 25, 2018

A special place. Another awesome meal with outstanding service. Thanks.

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PW
5.0Dined on June 25, 2018

What a great place to eat on a Sunday Night while staying at Hotel Whitcomb. A quick UBER away. Food and wine were delicious. Only wished we had an appetite big enough for the chicken. Aroma at the next table knocked our socks off.

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OT
5.0Dined on June 24, 2018

Excellent sand dabs. Great Caesar salad. Very good gateaux victoire. Service was friendly and professional. Nice California cuisine ambiance with exposed brick and wood. A classic San Francisco restaurant that has maintained a high level of dining for decades.

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MS
5.0Dined on June 24, 2018

We were in San Francisco for the weekend and wanted a special dinner. Everything we had was delicious. Unfortunately we were too full for dessert.

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J
5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

Fabulous. What can you say about Zuni except they haven’t lost a beat! Had the mesquite grilled sea bass, which was perfect. Lovely dishes and presentation.

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E
5.0Dined on June 23, 2018

As usual excellent roasted chicken , caesar salad (best in SF), "crack" fries, desert & service. Serendipitied during Pride week. Not fun trying to park, but great atmosphere to & from car. Staff very supportive driver being late, trying to park. All was marvelous as usual.

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MB
3.0Dined on June 23, 2018

The famous chicken was overcooked! So disappointing.

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