Zuni Cafe

4.7
5728 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 5728 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
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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KM
San Diego
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

The food was amazing! Deep fried squash blossoms so good and pork chops too! Wanted to have their chicken but takes an hour to get. When the place is full, you’d think they would get them cooking, cause customers want to eat them. When we left after dinner, 5 chickens under the warmers waiting. Ready to go? But not served..... hmmmm. Guess the ploy is serving all the other foods like appetizers and multiple drinks. Not an inexpensive place, but nothing is in SF. Bill for 4 .... LARGE. Also SOOOO loud in there by 7 pm on a Wed. Night had to literally yell across the table to talk or just not talk. Friday nights must be crazy! Maybe a lunch would have been better for us old 50 year olds.

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CM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfection! My favorites are the cesear salad, shoestring fries with a martini. Looking forward to my next visit!!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Anniversary

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SL
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

It has been a while since we'd gone. Almost 9 years, I think. The food was excellent back then, so we figured we'd take our visiting old friends to a quality restaurant. Honestly, I was disappointed. The food, for the expected quality, wasn't bad, but it certainly didn't measure up to the old reputation. The menu was very limited across the board from entrees, sides, wines, desserts. We had to continuously flag down the servers for water. At the end of the day, nothing blows you away. Maybe I'm being too harsh because of expectations. I don't know. But for what you spend, I would go elsewhere.

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

Delicious as always

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ED
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

I ordered the tagliatelle with chanterelles as a starter, and received a dish with small black button-type mushrooms, not the large fleshy yellow chanterelles I expected. I was told it was a "different variety of chanterelle", but a quick internet search did not reveal this particular variety! The dish was comped, but not what I expect of a high-end restaurant. I am providing a photo of the so-called chanterelles. If anyone knows of this variety, please educate me!
We shared the signature Zuni chicken for main course. The chicken was moist, although the legs a bit overcooked. What was surprising was the lack of seasoning, it appeared to be only salt, leading to a somewhat bland overall taste.

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GM
Philadelphia
8 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Zuni remains my place to visit whenever I am in SF. It’s like that friend at home that you need to see.

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C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

We've been to Zuni many times over the years and it's still a favorite. The service was a little off this most recent visit. Our waiter often absent and some courses were not served together, leaving those at the table either with hot plates getting cold, or salivating over the courses that had arrived and wondering where theirs was, depending on your point of view. And they didn't bring one of the desserts ordered without explanation. But the food was good, cocktails excellent, and all around a good time.

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PH
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Thank you! Always great service, knowledgeable servers, and outstanding food! A perfect dining experience every time we’re in the City.

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E
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 5ambience 5

While the service was lovely, the food was somewhat disappointing. One dish, the deep fried squash blossom, was excellent. Caesar salad is always generous and delicious. Pasta was sub-par and salad greens with heirloom tomato and cucumber overdressed. I wish we had had time to enjoy a roast chicken, the house specialty and always delicious.

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OT
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The restaurant is visually really nice with exposed old bricks, lots of character. The service was great with a nice personable staff across the board.

We had appetizers of stuffed figs and some littleneck clams. The fresh figs were pleasantly sweet stuffed with a nice tangy and slightly salty goat cheese with a few pine nuts. It was excellent with a nice balance of sweet and savory. The clams were really good with the fresh brineness you want in clams but a little bit small and a bit pricey.

For mains we had two of their "signature" dishes, the burger and the Caesar salad. The burger was excellent with a really flavorful and juicy patty and nice focaccia bun with a great aioli and some pickled onions and other veggies. I can see why it's a signature dishe. The Caesar had great flavor but was seriously overdressed. I probably should have sent it back but I hate doing that. Had it been properly dressed it would have been excellent so mine might have been a glitch. Overall it was a very good lunch and I'd recommend this for a more upscale experience.

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SW
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 1

Zuni was recommended by San Fran residents, and online reviews...our conclusion after dining there was that Zuni’s success has made experiencing it very disappointing! The food was good, but Zuni is too big now...little, very noisy rooms, so NO ambiance...10 strangers were packed into a very small, hard surface room that became very noisy, especially since 6 of those folks were guys at one table! The main floor looked very inviting and the service was very prompt and attentive.

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E
Central Coast
6 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as always. We usually get the roasted chicken, Caesar Salad (best in San Francisco) and "crack fries". We decided to try the pizza & the burger plus the Caesar & fries. These were great too. We'll be back soonee to the Zuni.

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DJ
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food lived up to the hype and the service was impeccable as well.

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EW
London
2 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Without a doubt the very best chicken we have ever eaten. This, coupled with good wine and great service makes cafe Zuni a must visit.

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OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love the chicken! Service was excellent!

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great all around

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

First time at Zuni, party of 4, reservations for 6:30 and we arrived close to 6:00, waited 10 mins.
Made Open Table reservation precisely one month ahead just after midnight.
Sat upstairs in the small room facing Rose St., quite a breeze drafting through and only a view of the apartments across the street but OK. We had the room to ourselves for about 30 mins.
Ruben was our server. Excellent service from all. So courteous and smiling - when passing other servers on the stairs or on the first level.
Curious? No small bread plates? Oh well, bread and butter were gobbled up.
Appetizers - olives, watermelon:shishito peppers/feta, polenta- all good.
Caesar salad for all - croutons soaked w dressing were especially good.
Iced tea - strong but I had 3 glasses and they kept refills of water frequently without prompting.
Entrees- two orders of roasted chicken (we had leftovers to take home). Worth the wait and worthy of their reputation and $59 each!
Salmon w grilled veggies - such a small portion, wouldn’t choose it again. Go for the chicken alone!
Practically each table had it.
No dessert for us.
We’ll return but not immediately.
Parking: on Brady Street. Note: one homeless person sprawled on sidewalk, later a tent propped up. No troubles.

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EG
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the different kinds of oysters for appetizers, rest of my family enjoyed them as well. Cocktails were outstanding...ordered bloody mary twice and they both were wonderful. My husband ordered twilight cocktail--strawberry syrup with tonic and a hint of ginger, I tasted it--absolutely delish. Our lunch and desserts were deliciously unforgettable...long may you stay around Zuni Cafe! We love you.

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g
San Francisco
64 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Limited menu. My husband ordered Cesar salad (which he said was excellent) because there was nothing on the menu that looked good to him. I had halibut (Ok ).

This is our second and final time to say that we will not return.

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p
San Francisco
49 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We love Zuni, but were a bit disappointed this time with their signature wood fired chicken dish. Wasn't as flavorful as usual and was a bit dry. Our friends had the hamburger which was excellent. Corkage fee pretty high!

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RS
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Kind of disappointed this visit. Caesar salad was great but the plate it was on was so small it was difficult to eat without littering the table with lettuce. Friend had figs appetizer that he loved. We both had hand ground hamburgers, which I had been wanting to try (only on lunch menu). They were OK but not outstanding. Hated pickled vegetables strewn around the plate. Shoestring potatoes were nothing to write home about. I've had great meals here before so I think I should have ordered something different. Over $115 for lunch for two is kind of pricey. But I'd go back. And the best service ever!

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GN
San Francisco
105 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

Overall the food was palatable (dry salmon) except for the ricotta gnocchi, which was terrible. Two of us got it. Neither of us ate it. In another restaurant they would have offered to take at least one of them off the bill. Not here. That’s $38 of inedible food ($19 per). I still left a 20% tip, but I will stop going here. A restaurant of Zuni’s caliber should ask itself, do we want to lose customers who tip well? Is it fair to serve low-quality food and still expect top dollar? My daughter and I ordered the ricotta gnocchi because we have loved it in the past at another restaurant. That restaurant’s gnocchi was incredible. Zuni’s is inedible. Zuni should be ashamed for passing off this dish as acceptable when it is not.

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f
San Francisco
110 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my San Francisco favorites that never disappoints!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Awful presentation, and honestly one of the worst restaurants in the city.

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T
Los Angeles
11 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a wonderful meal at Zuni. Attentive service and delicious seasonal food along with old standbys that you want on every visit.

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OT
Nashville
4 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

had the worst table in the restaurant, an inattentive waiter and didn't realize there was a piano bar until we left. Would never go back!

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f
Sacramento
18 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

It was a leisurely lunch allowing old friends to have a nice visit and celebrate our mutual wedding anniversaries. A late lunch is a good time to be able to hear each other and relax.

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OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this unique spot with all its little nooks and crannies to enjoy. Our food and service was wonderful. Be sure to make this a stop in San Francisco!

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JG
1 review
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 5

Disappointed by food and service. We’ve been here many times. Will stick to the classics next time, but probably not going back anytime soon.

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c
Tokyo
6 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

food was as excellent as ever, but the service speed was not--it took so long (at least 20 to 30 minutes) for our main dishes to come, and for lunch, it was too long. I had expected about an hour of lunch and we ended up staying for 1 hour and 20 minutes, and thus didn't have time for desserts.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Was a great dinner as my family vacations in San Fran from NYC. Love everything about the meal. Was almost as good as the chicken in Paris.

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NC
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always, really good food, great attentive service. Zuni is a classic SF favorite.

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A
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

We celebrated our anniversary here, and ordered the chicken, which was amazing. Service was okay, just not what we expected from a restaurant like this. We were visiting from out of town, and realized that, if we went back to change, we would not have time to take care of something before we left, so we called to ask if we should change out of our walking tourist clothes (we were wearing sneakers and jeans). The host said no, surprised we asked. We were seated in what seemed to be a one of the worst tables in the restaurant, I assume on account of our attire. We didn't mind the table seating so much as the service.

The service was perfunctory--our order was taken and our server asked us how our chicken was, but it lacked any warmth or attentiveness. From a restaurant of this caliber, I expected one or the other, or both. We could see that the server was paying more attention to the table of businessmen, which was to be expected, since they ordered wine, and we only ordered cocktails, but, having been a server myself (in various restaurants, including a Michelin-starred one), we shouldn't have felt as though we were neglected. Our server didn't check to see how our appetizer was or how we were doing in the very vast gap between when we ordered and when we received the chicken (an hour, if you'll remember).

At the end of our meal, we were stuffed, and declined dessert. Our server said, "Happy anniversary...regardless." We were trying to shrug off the perfunctory service, but that last line made that impossible.

The food was good, and I don't regret having gone there, to have experienced the famous chicken, but the service made it such that I would not want to go again.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a lovely experience at Zuni cafe ! The food and service were impeccable. I ordered the tomato soup and the burger - safe to say the burger was the tastiest “fancy” burger I’ve ever had in my life. By far. My boyfriend had the tagliatelle which was also awesome ! We then shared two desserts which were the buttercream ice cream with jam and the chocolate gateau - both were super tasty! Safe to say Zuni cafe is now top of our list of fave lunch spots in SF and we’ll definitely be coming back (next time we visit) and recommending it to our friends. P.s. we really appreciated the artwork spread around the restaurant.

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OT
New England
6 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal chicken dish here. It’s hands down the best chicken I have had in my life. I made special arrangements for work travel to be able to dine here and order the chicken!

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NY
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni is nothing short of being consistently spectacular in every way!

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OT
Atlantic Canada
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

Food was very ordinary , extremely small portions , over seasoned , over priced

Server was excellent however

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LF
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Went expecting AMAZING Roast Chicken and Caesar Salad. The salad was good but the Chicken disappointed. It took 60 mins to arrive (prewarned) and I expected it to be piping hot and like it had just come out of the oven - it was neither. Seemed to have ben sitting around for a while. The service was fine - they were great at splitting our orders on two plates, two glasses (Bloody Mary) etc.

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R
Houston
13 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Have been to the Zuni Cafe multiple times over the years when I have traveled to San Francisco and my experience tonight is why I will always come back! The food was delicious but the service was spectacular! Steve, our waiter, made us feel like we were regulars and went out of his way to make sure we had a great experience. I was in the retail business for years and the difference between a mediocre establishment and a memorable one is the people and Zuni has those people! The food speaks for itself but everyone (and especially Steve) at this establishment understand the customer experience and do their best to make every meal a special one! Thank you Zuni Cafe!!

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