These days, a cookbook is one of those can’t-fail holiday gifts. As everyone’s stepping further and further away from the basics and going full-on foodie, a cookbook isn’t considered a ‘you can’t cook’ insult anymore, but rather an attempt to expand on one’s experience and already rich knowledge.

An even better gift would be a local cookbook – one from a neighborhood restaurant, or by a local star blogger or perhaps about the city’s historic appeal. Luckily, this year in cookbooks was especially kind to San Francisco. Here’s our top five.


Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste

Brand new and breathtakingly pretty, this is the first book by Atelier Crenn‘s chef Dominique Crenn, who notoriously presents his elaborate menus in poem form. As one of the city’s most lucrative spots, expect to see two-page recipes and a sophisticated presentation. A perfect gift for gourmet foodies and folks who can’t afford Crenn’s dinner.


This is Camino

Some Oakland pride, in case you got friends across the bridge. The ambitious, beautiful tome by Russell Moore, Allison Hopelain and Chris Colin explores the unique techniques of Camino, the rustic Oakland establishment. The extensive chapters explore all meats imaginable, plus curious appetizer and desserts. Are the recipes tricky? Yes. Is it worth it to learn to cook on an open fire, especially for this book? Also yes.


Near and Far

Despite being more cosmopolitan than San Francisco-centric, this new book is as local as can be. Written by a renowned San Francisco food blogger and photographer Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks, it gracefully explores homey, cozy dishes of Californian appeal (near) and exotic global flavors (far).


Mission Chinese Food Cookbook

As straightforward as the name can be, this book is anything but simple. The long awaited, Anthony Bourdain-endorsed book presents Danny Bowien’s cooking in its deserved glory, including all the Mission Chinese classics. The cool graphic cover doesn’t hurt either.


Drinking the Devil’s Acre

And one for the nostalgic drinkers. This inspirational ‘love affair with San Francisco and her cocktails’ publication is, perhaps, the most San Franciscan of the bunch – part memoir and part cocktail recipe book by Duggan McDonnell, a legendary former bartender who reminisces about the famous saloon-abundant block of good old San Fran.