Plouf: French seafood bistro serves up great mussels in an outdoor setting

The weather is getting better and San Franciscans are looking to dine outdoors again after a rainy winter. But where does one find a restaurant with outdoor seating shielded from the chilly evening winds AND good food plus a great dining atmosphere?

Plouf is one place I frequently visit when I want to eat a large steaming bowl of mussels and frites (made the French way, very delicious). You can order mussels with different types of broth. My favorite is the very piquant coconut broth which has lime juice, garlic, cilantro, chili and coconut milk. Second to that is mussels in pastis broth with shallots, garlic, cream, and parsley. They have other seafood dishes, but people come here for the mussels.

Plouf is located on Belden Place, an alley between Bush and Pine Streets in the Financial District. It has become THE outdoor dining location in downtown SF. There are many other restaurants on this alley — B44 and Cafe Bastille to name but two – which makes for a lively al fresco dining atmosphere. Plouf is owned by the same people who run Garçon, another favorite of mine.

  • Vibe: lively French bistro with outdoor dining which makes you feel like you’re in the south of France;
  • Pros: very delicious mussels in different kinds of broth and the best frites in San Francisco;
  • Cons: gets very crowded so the wait can be long during warm evenings, but it’s worth every minute.

40 Belden Place
San Francisco, CA 94104
+1 415 986 6491

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.