Food & Wine

Eleven of San Francisco’s Best Takeout Restaurants During Coronavirus

By Katie Sweeney

You can help keep your favorite eateries in business by ordering food for delivery.

Dumplings from China Live, one of the San Francisco restaurants offering takeout during the coronavirus pandemic. (China Live)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The San Francisco restaurant industry has shown remarkable grit in uncertain times, when coronavirus has shuttered eateries throughout the country, leaving thousands of people without jobs. On March 17, the looming pandemic forced Mayor London Breed to put the City on lockdown. Restaurants closed their doors to patrons. But chefs weren’t ready to stop cooking. Instead, many of San Francisco’s top cooks, including those with Michelin stars, have mobilized — turning their kitchens into factories for takeout and delivery. Some places are even going above and beyond by establishing charities for laid-off employees, providing meals for those in need and feeding overworked medical professionals. It should be noted that the majority of these restaurants are operating with bare-bones staff. The profits are meager in comparison to a busy Friday night, but every bit counts. The best way to support local restaurants? Order takeout. Here’s a comprehensive guide to dining in during shelter in place.

At Che Fico Alimentari, chef David Nayfeld and co-owner Matt Brewer are making meals for families in need — next time you order one for yourself, consider donating $50 to feed a hungry neighbor. (Che Fico Alimentari)

Che Fico Alimentari

The Divisadero hot spot is closed, but downstairs at Che Fico Alimentari, the team is working hard to feed the hungry. Every night, chef David Nayfeld and co-owner Matt Brewer give away roughly 250 family meals. Each dinner serves two to three people, and the menu changes daily and includes vegetarian options. Nayfeld and Brewer are requesting donations, at $50 per meal, so that meals can be given to families in need, free of charge. (One week, a single donor funded 120 meals.) If you’re craving Nayfeld’s delicious cuisine, you can order a meal for $50  — but why not buy one for yourself and fund a needy neighbor’s dinner? A recent menu consisted of house-baked bread, mozzarella with arugula and tomatoes, green salad, roasted chicken with polenta and a dessert of the day. For more information, visit cheficofamilymeal.com/free-meal.

Atelier Crenn

Chef Dominique Crenn is producing Crenn Kits, a comforting meal for up to six people. She offers two options: one for $38 per person that includes vegetable soup, vegetable gratin, sliced brioche, and dessert and another for $55 per person with mushroom broth, vegetable couscous, sliced brioche, a cheese course with sliced baguette, and dessert. Order up to a week in advance; wine packages are available as add ons. A quarter of the proceeds from the kits goes to Crenn’s restaurant group’s employee relief fund. ateliercrenn.com

Spruce

Many Gazette readers are regular diners at this Sacramento Street institution. If you are one of them, you’ll be happy to know that the restaurant is serving ready-to-heat, take-home meals from 4 to 8 pm. Each day is a different three-course dinner (think comfort foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes), with 100 percent of sales being used to help Spruce employees. You can pick up as many meals as you want or order through DoorDash. Also available? Spruce’s beloved burger, Caesar salad, French fries and giant chocolate chip cookies. sprucesf.com

China Live

Known for its exceptional dumplings and delectable Peking duck, China Live serves takeout and delivery from 4 to 8 pm weeknights and 12 to 8 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Order from a limited menu of Chinese favorites like minced chicken lettuce cups, Dungeness crab handrolls, sheng jian bao and baked char sui pork buns. chinalivesf.com

SPQR

The Fillmore Street favorite has a variety of tasty takeaway offers. First, there are pizza slices for walk-by pickups starting at 2 pm daily until they run out. Then, there is a changing menu, dubbed Accarrino’s (after chef Matthew Accarrino), filled with classic Italian eats. Think salumi, arancini, eggplant parmesan, gnocchi with roasted mushrooms and tomato braised beef meatballs with baked ziti. Each order includes the restaurant’s sensational house-made focaccia. Call between 2 and 7:30 p.m. to place orders and pick up your food between 3 and 8 p.m. SPQR has an excellent wine list, and bottles are available at a variety of price points. spqrsf.com

Le Marais

Although the Castro and Larkin destinations are closed, the Marina Street location of this superb French bakery is open for business. Pop by and pick up pastries and coffee from 8 to 10 a.m. and enjoy its entire menu from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Caviar, Uber Eats and Postmates are the delivery options; meanwhile, Le Marais offers boxed brunch and lunches, and chicken dinners. Of course, their beloved favorites — croque madame, French onion soup and croissants — are also on the menu. lemaraisbakery.com

Mina Family Kitchen

Although all of Michael Mina’s restaurants are closed, his team has launched Mina Family Kitchen to serve the community for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. The globally inspired menu features appetizers, sushi, soups and salads, entrees, sides and desserts. Out of all the restaurants on this list, it boasts the most extensive pickup and delivery menu, offering something for everyone — from Italian wedding soup to spicy tuna rolls to lamb kebab skewers to rib tip macaroni and cheese. Entire themed meals (plant-based, Mediterranean, Pacific) are also available in addition to sake, wine, beer and Bloody Mary mixers. Mina Family Kitchen is open for lunch from noon to 4 p.m. and dinner from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. All take away orders should be picked up at Pabu, at 101 California Street. michaelmina.net/delivery

The pizza box says it all. (Tony’s Pizza Napoletana)

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

In a time of crisis, I crave pizza, and luckily, the North Beach hotspot remains open for delivery. Order a 20” New York-style pizza or a 12” classic Italian pie, pasta Genovese, spaghetti and meatballs or bucatini with creamy pork ragu. Sister restaurants Capo’s, Haight Street Slice House and Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza are also open for delivery and pizza valet. They’ll bring the pizza, and you can pay over the phone to ensure social distancing practices. tonyspizzanapoletana.com

Aziza

Chef Mourad Lahlou has completely shut down his namesake restaurant, Mourad, but his other eatery, Aziza, is open for delivery and takeout. From 4 to 8 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, diners can look forward to Lahlou’s innovative Moroccan cuisine. Enjoy carrot salad, roasted beets, basteeya, beef cheek tagine, couscous with preserved lemon and crispy potatoes with red charmoula. Wine and pantry items are also on hand, and if you’re feeling generous, visit Mourad and Aziza’s Go Fund Me page, where Lahlou is raising money to support its employees. gofundme.com/f/mourad-and-aziza-employee-relief-found

Cultivar

The urban tasting room and wine bar in the Marina District on Chestnut Street is offering takeout and delivery Wednesday through Friday, 4 to 8 p.m., and on weekends from noon to 8 p.m. If you desire a bottle of refreshing rose and a cheese and charcuterie board to enjoy with it, Cultivar has you covered. They’ve also sandwiches (pork belly banh mi), salads (white truffle caesar) and entrees (salmon risotto). For $25, diners can also purchase a meal for employees at California Pacific Medical Center. Cultivar aims to ensure that all the health care providers are fed with top-notch starters and entrees. cultivarwine.com

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