South Park Cafe: French bistro in San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood

The South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood in San Francisco has been undergoing a dramatic revival in the past few years and like the Mission, Potrero and Dogpatch (other trendy neighborhoods), it is a popular location for entrepreneurs to start restaurants and wine bars.

Still, there are a few reliable good places to eat that have been around for years, long before SOMA became hip. One of them is the South Park Cafe, a fabulous French bistro that even serves a home-made boudin aux pommes (blood sausage with sauteed apples).

I had dinner at South Park Cafe recently with Mary Hodder, founder of Dabble, and Sarah Austin, founder of Pop 17. We sat for hours, savoring our food and wine (Chateau Belles-Graves, a very good red wine). We ended up being the last ones to leave.

  • Vibe: Unpretentious French bistro on a quiet leafy park in the middle of SOMA, not far from the baseball stadium. The tables are spaced apart in a civilized manner so the noise levels are low and you can talk to your dinner companions.
  • Pros: Delicious French food, much better than expensive, snobby places in the city; excellent wine list, good service. The crowd is low-key and comes here for the food. Does not matter what you order: fish, meat, vegetables, dessert. The fish is fresh and cooked to perfection, the desserts are scrumptious.
  • Cons: Parking situation in South Park is grim, but you can always find a nearby parking lot. You can also walk or bike. Check if there is a ball game on the evening you are going to the restaurant because the traffic jams in the area are horrendous.

South Park Cafe
108 South Park
San Francisco, CA 94107
+1 415 495 7275

Reserve online via Open Table

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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.