Looking for unique dining experiences in San Francisco? The city is filled with great food and the restaurants who serve them. And while many of these places are delicious, some dining experiences are more unique than others. Here are five unique places to eat at that offer plenty of atmospheres, from the funky to the fantastic.
Forbes Island (Pier 39)
It’s true, this restaurant is on an island (a manmade one, but still, it’s an island in San Francisco Bay). You’ll even be picked up on a little boat for a quick jaunt to the island (say hello to the sea lions) and be sure to climb the lighthouse for a great view. The main dining room is underwater (there are a few portholes where you can see the water). The set menu is Continental/American, with options including a tasty mushroom ragout and lamb lollipops.
Farallon (450 Post St.)
Walking into this Union Square restaurant is like entering an underwater fantasy, with aquatic elements throughout. The Jellyfish Lounge is a playfully designed place to come by for happy hour and oysters from the raw bar, while the dining room is high on drama, but still elegant. As you’d expect, the menu highlights seafood, but here it’s also sustainable and top of the line, featuring the best of what’s in season.
AsiaSF (201 Ninth St.)
Things are not quite what they appear to be here. The female performers at this SoMa club are actually transgender (and absolutely, utterly gorgeous)—the ladies perform a few shows on a runway while guests dine on Cal-Asian dishes and drink cocktails. This place is bachelorette and birthday party central, but small parties are welcomed too.
Lazy Bear (3416 19th St.)
In a city where chefs are likened to rock stars, Lazy Bear sells tickets to their dinner, much like a concert. Each month, tickets for two seated dinners per night go on sale and are usually scooped up quickly. The dinners include communal seating and a 14-plus-course tasting menu with prices varying by day and time. Diners don’t know what they’ll be eating until they arrive as the menu changes by meal. The chefs come out and describe each dish to the diners as they all are served and eat together. It’s like a dinner party, but with new friends instead of established ones.
Opaque (689 McAllister St.)
Dining in the dark is literal at Opaque. Diners eat in the pitch black, totally abandoning one of their five senses so they can focus more on the sounds, smells, tastes and feels of the experience. Servers at Opaque are visually impaired or blind and have been trained to serve these meals in complete darkness. Before entering the dark room, diners are able to view a menu to choose their meal, which is created by a sighted chef. Opaque is a unique place to experience food while using your other senses to create a complete picture.