You know the drill—once a year the intensity of San Francisco decreases, and peace and quiet wrap the streets (sort of). And the restaurants? Humanely half-empty. Dolores Park? You can actually see the grass. While a huge chunk of the Bay Area heads to Burning Man, August 26 – September 3, the City is yours to rediscover.

In a recurring move (read about our 2016 picks here and 2017 picks here), we give you a game plan; a list of restaurants with impossible wait lists, busy weekends and hectic brunches, to sample and enjoy while others are exchanging vegan hot dogs for wine in a can on the Playa.

 

Che Fico

From the very beginning, Che Fico has been deservingly acting as the City’s it-spot, at capacity months ahead and with perpetual lines at the door. Take this opportunity seriously, and go see what Gwyneth Paltrow and Andreson Copper were raving about. Try the pizza. Sample the house-made salumi and don’t forget to take note of the wildly joyful interior design.

838 Divisadero St

 

Pearl 

You should’ve seen it coming—once the Richmond got itself a beautiful all-day spot, it’s become perpetually full, and for a good reason. While dinner at Pearl is a pleasure, use the Burning Man hiatus to get in here for brunch. When seated in a stylish booth, order some colorful dishes like the “Eggs in Purgatory” (lamb sausage, spicy San Marzano tomatoes, and rosemary polenta wrapped in a pita); and a sweet Dutch baby, sometimes called a German pancake, complete with Kumquat preserve, almonds, and whipped crème fraiche. Accompany them with cocktails and relax. Then, gossip away. No one will hear you.

6101 California Street

 

Katsu #sandwich and #matcha latte #foodporn

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Stonemill Matcha

Stonemill Matcha is the perfect example of being in the right place, at the right time. It opened a few months ago amidst the nationwide matcha craze, on busy Valencia street, and, of course, has been extremely popular from its first weeks in business. Matcha, however, works best in tranquil settings. Want to peacefully enjoy the best katsu sandwich in town, while sipping on a refreshing matcha drink? Use the week of Burning Man to do just that.

561 Valencia Street

 

Marufuku Ramen

Be it San Francisco or its new Oakland location, Marufuku has lines out the door—well beyond the appropriate ramen-consuming hours. The Oakland branch is especially hard to get into these days, due to its busy Temescal location, but the Japantown ramen has its devoted fans as well. While the regular customers replace their favorite broth with ramen packets for a week, you can slurp the real deal uninterrupted.

4828 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland and 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco

 

Boba Guys

Wouldn’t it be lovely to step into one of the Boba Guys and walk out with a refreshing drink in hand, without having to face all the crowds? Now you can. Without lines, commotion and other typical sites at all the Boba spots, that milk tea will taste even sweeter.

8 Octavia Street and other locations