These SF Lunch Spots Are So Good You’ll Never Return to Work

Although the three-martini lunch is no longer a regular practice among the working class, there are plenty of ladies who lunch in San Francisco. There is also a fair share of business professionals who do their wheeling and dealing during a meal at an upscale restaurant. Where will you find these well-heeled women and dapper gentlemen? At one of the following restaurants. Here’s the best places to enjoy lunch and then blow off the afternoon by not returning to the office.

Neiman-Marcus-Rotunda-Credit-Charlie-MayerPhoto Credit: Charlie Mayer

The Rotunda

The circular shaped restaurant on the 4th floor of Neiman Marcus is, arguably, San Francisco’s most popular restaurant for the ladies who lunch set. Stylish men, like Dior-clad Aubrey Brewster, can be found at the bar on any given day, spooning caviar on to little blinis while sipping Champagne. The Rotunda is the sort of place where you will run into some one that you know, so dress to impress.



Nancy Oakes’s restaurant has been a home to power lunchers since 1993. The Embarcadero Street eatery has a wide variety of seating options, from private rooms downstairs to cozy two-tops with views of the Bay. The lunch menu changes with the season, but the food is always perfectly executed and delicious. Think Maine lobster corn risotto and wood-oven roasted wagyu bavette steak. Finish the meal in the traditional French-style by selecting an assortment of cheese from Boulevard’s superb cheese list.   



When PR maven Allison Speer has to plan an important lunch for a visiting international fashion designer, she almost always hosts it at Cotogna. This rustic chic Italian eatery from star chef Michael Tusk does not disappoint. Who doesn’t love artisanal handmade pasta and pizza pulled just out of the wood-fired oven?



For a more informal atmosphere—someplace where you might want to catch an important sporting event that’s taking place in the middle of the day—head to Schroeder’s. This Barvarian-inspired beer hall has been serving San Francisco’s working class for the past 120 years. It’s a masculine place with hearty fare like wiener schnitzel, bratwurst with mashed potatoes, and classic Rueben sandwiches.


Bluestem Brasserie

When you need a break from shopping at the Westfield Center, Bluestem Brasserie, on Yerba Buena Lane just off of Market Street, is the ideal place. The elegant lunch offerings are scrumptious and varied, so there is something for every appetite. In the mood for oysters on the half shell? Bluestem has them—along with tomato bisque, duck confit salad, and a smoked brisket sandwich.


Scala’s Bistro

Located in the St. Francis Hotel, Scala’s Bistro is an old-school eatery with a thoughtful wine list and modern twists on classic French and Italian favorites. The bar serves icy cold cocktails, so why not order that gin martini with blue cheese olives? Scala’s is also a celebratory place that is cozy and warm on a chilly afternoon.