Zuni Cafe

4.7
5981 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Modern European
This James Beard Award winning restaurant with a clientele as diverse as San Francisco opened in 1979. A vibrant Parisian-style standing-only copper bar greets you as you enter on Rose Alley. Zuni's menu changes daily with dishes inspired by traditional Italian and French recipes. Nearly all of the produce, meat, and fish served at Zuni is farmed and harvested in a sustainable manner.

Even without a reservation, bar tables are available on a first come, first served basis and the full menu is available. The bar also serves traditional cocktails made with top-shelf ingredients; refreshments at its best in an environment of effortless hospitality. Whether you dine early or prefer to dine after theater, Zuni is a welcoming haven.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
9.5

Zuni Cafe in the Civic Center is still an icon, and it sits firmly at the top of our list of favorite restaurants in this town.

Ratings 9.0-9.8:If the 8.5-9.0s are the restaurants you’ll frequent for more than just special occasions, the 9.0-9.8s are the all time great restaurants of their city. Restaurants that will be around 20 years from now, assuming the Earth is still around.
What 5981 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

after a handful of visits over the last 12 years our lastest will enough last. The food is simply not that special.

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C
New England
16 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Simple, but simply superb.

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d
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I've been patronizing Zuni since 1981. So much history, Judy, Vince, Gail, even Gilbert though he probably doesn't know it. In face of its age, the current crew is holding the standard. The food and service has never been better. Thank you so much for honoring this fine tradition.

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NS
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

The only thing to get here is the Chicken for 2, otherwise the rest of the food was good, but not worth the cost.

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E
Central Coast
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Met friends there for the usual roasted chicken & Caesar salad. Polenta & Expresso Granata. What could be better? I left my umbrella & was called before I got a block. Thanks & marvelous as always. Until next time.

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OT
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni Cafe has been one of my favorite restaurants for years and I can safely say it still is. The food is always wonderful. Our waiter was so amazing and accommodating. When we told him we had to make a show at 7:00 and we the earliest they sit people is 6:00. I’ll be back in no time.

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MW
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ambiance, food and service were amazing. The chicken for two is the best!

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EB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We’ve been going to Zuni Cafe, on and off, for the past 24 years. This time, although we had a reservation and the restaurant wasn’t particularly full, it took almost half an hour for us to be seated. The overall service was fine, however with a few minor mistakes, like bringing the bottle of water but not the glasses. This time, the food, which is normally very good, wasn’t up to the restaurant standards. For example, in my main course, the quail was a bit raw inside. All things considered, this time we didn’t enjoy our experience as much as we normally did in the past. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that we won’t be going back to the restaurant as we like it very much, and we’d like to think that what happened was episodic.

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DW
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I usually associate Zuni with street view, but we were put into a small space up and in the back, it was charming and less noisy there. The food was particularly good, we had the swordfish and it was moist inside and browned on the outside- just right. Service was attentive but not bothersome. Prices are a bit stiff, around $50 PP plus wine or beer. Great place for out of town visitors.

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DL
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Zuni is seriously overrated and overpriced. I honestly didn’t like anything about this restaurant. The seating is cramped and uncomfortable, the food is uninspired, and the service is mediocre. We spent nearly $200 for 3 people without drinks or dessert. We had one salad, 2 appetizers, and 3 main courses. The portion size is minuscule. If you live the odor of chicken so much that you want it to permeate your hair and clothing, then this is the place for you. By the way, I don’t eat chicken but it looked very dry.

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G
Chicago
41 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Very good service and cocktails/wine. Chicken is worth the wait. Very fun dining experience.

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S
Western NC
72 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Very interesting building in a location that reminded me of a European Street when looking at it from the restaurant.

The tables are very close. If the couple next to is talking the least bit loud you will be part of their conversation.

The menu changes daily and, this is probably in the website and I didn’t see it - no pizza at night.

The Cesar Salad is very good. I had the clams for my main - it was ok. Nothing special. My spouse had the seared tuna which he said was good. The shoestring fries were good.

We shared the mandarin sherbet which had s good flavor but was not sherbet - more like ice milk.

Over all I was not impressed.

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LS
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Very cold temperature wise. Didn’t like ambiance. Food was just ok.

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A
Los Angeles
80 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

We love the Zuni Cafe and any trip to San Francisco usually includes dining at Zuni. The food was wonderful however I’ll try to book a more intimate table for two.

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MP
1 review
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 5

Atmosphere and staff were amazing. We arrived a little early for our reservation so we had a drink at the bar. Food arrived within a reasonable amount of time and was well presented. I ordered the pork chop and it was very fatty, it was served with fingerling potatoes and sauerkraut. Overall I would recommend this restaurant to my friends and family.

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AR
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Can't miss favorite. Admittedly addicted to the Zuni caesar and Burger so I rarely venture off but the seafood and desserts were too tempting. Service was almost perfect. Had to flag down the waiter (any waiter) to bring a n extra dish for my husband and I to share the entree but that was the only hiccup. Where you are seated can make a world of difference in ambience and noise level.

A classic!

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OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A delicious time at Zuni Cafe. Excellent view from our table for two upstairs.

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A
Central Coast
14 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

famous place but haven't ever been. Was great, met up to expectations

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TK
New Orleans
8 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 4

I eagerly anticipated celebrating my 40th at this establishment with my brother and sister. Things started off well enough, ordered a drink at the before our reservation, and then were led to what was a perfectly sighted table. We looked over the wine list, and before long, a nice bottle of bubbles was poured.

I had attempted to convey the importance of firing the chicken dish ASAP when we were greeted at the host stand, and understood that would be conveyed to the kitchen; if seaux, this was lost on what proved to be our inattentive server. That said, we got that under control, and ordered the Pommes Frites to enjoy while we awaited the arrival of the much heralded chicken.

Well, while surrounding tables received their orders of finely sliced fried potatoes, we were left to continue sipping through our bubbles, and enjoy the sighting of a celebrated chef seated at the next table.

Our server touched up our flute a time or two, and then was not seen from for an extended period, preventing an inquiry about our appetizer. Seaux long was his absence, I left the table at one point to pour our remaining wine for the table.

After more than an HOUR, my siblings expressed excitement at the arrival of something to our table; it was the CHICKEN, soon followed by the now seemingly fabled fries. A unique scenario, to be sure.

Thankfully, both dishes were delicious, and kept us occupied for some time. Thankfully, we had water at the table, as no one ever inquired as to if we’d like another bottle, or something else to drink.

As we neared the end of our plates, a tepid offer to see the dessert menu was offered, and after scanning the options, declined. This yielded the bill, and a casually delivered mention of my birthday.

This was not my first visit to one of San Francisco’s most adored spots, though after this experience, I will certainly think twice before returning again on my next trip.

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BK
1 review
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was wonderful, Service very good, but noise was a problem--could hardly hear each other talk. Otherwise, Zuni is great.

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LC
Seattle
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I loved everything about this restaurant except for the noise level. It was pretty loud and I had a hard time hearing members of our four-person party at times. The roasted chicken lived up to the hype that the members of our party had given it prior to our reservation. Definitely a must try! I was also really impressed with the bar tender who was so thoughtful in her explanation of the wines to my girlfriend and me when we met up prior to our reservation for a pre-dinner drink.

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EC
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I’m an experienced cook, traveler, and food lover from NYC, had always wanted to get to Zuni, and so happy that I finally did! GREAT! Loved the chicken, Caesar salad, anchovies, wine... perfect meal. We we there on a Sunday evening, seated earlier than reservation, warm and cozy environment....best meal we had in San Francisco.

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t
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

We had an 8pm reservation on a Sunday - the restaurant was quieting down yet they took our party of four to a table as far off in a corner as possible that was half the size of our party and shoved into a corner. It was rediculous.
I made the reservation to thank my cousin and her husband for speaking and helping with my mothers funeral the day before - it was an important evening and we were shoved up against the wall for our 1,000$ dinner.
I asked a question on the wine list asking which 200+$ 1er cru burgundy is drinking better and the server disappeared to fetch “tasting notes”.... as if I am interested in distilling down useless tasting notes. Apparently there’s no sommelier- I don’t know. Our wine not only arrived after our entrees we sat without wine and had to interrupt our conversation to listen to some wine writers tasting notes - I could have just loooked this information up on my phone - which I did during the lengthy delays. I’m sure if we were seated at one of
The MANY empty tables we saw on our way out - closer to the actual restaurant !!! The delays would have been less significant

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PM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food, small portions. Great service. Nice setting. Not too noisy. Too expensive.

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NG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 5

Been to Zuni for dinner and been dying to go for brunch. TL;DR for Brunch: stick with dinner.

The food was fine, nothing mind blowing but everything was good. However, it's very overpriced. $19 for a small salad, some scrambled eggs, and a couple pieces of ham? Nah. The service was also all over the place. I think we had 3 different servers, all of which must've assumed the others had checked on us. Our food took almost an hour to get to us, which is fine if it was mind blowing, but again, fairly standard stuff. All in all, stick with dinner here. Brunch is meh, especially when you factor in value.

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MA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolute favorite restaurant in SFO. Hands down. Don't need 2,000 words here. Keeping the vision and mission alive!!! You're doing a fantastic job.

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SF
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Zuni never disappoints! We had a lovely dinner there Friday night. Excellent wait staff, superb oysters, the best gnocci I have ever had, and the chicken, well, that goes without saying. Worth the hour wait.

We always have a memorable experience and can't wait for the net visit. A true SF experience, coming from a SF native.

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BW
San Francisco
30 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Beet salad and swordfish was excellent!! Service was attentive and friendly. I love Zuni!!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 2ambience 5

It was the waiters first day and he was definitely overwhelmed...forgot half our order, spilled wine and never refilled drink orders. Definitely not the standard we expect here.

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AB
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 3

Underwhelm. Thought the service was focused on turning tables.

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ES
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Swordfish was great, squid/kale salad also great. A bit expensive, and noisy.

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I
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always pleasant and delicious. However the Caesar was drenched in dressing. So ask for it on the side or for very little!

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DL
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

I've always loved Zuni. We were looking forward to ordering the whole chicken - certainly worth the made to order wait! We were disappointed that the waiter told us that he was unable to make a substitution for the bread salad. My guest does not eat gluten for health reasons. I don't eat very much bread. We stuck with the chicken as it is fabulous but I was disappointed that a restaurant with this legacy decided that the bread salad was too important to be left in the kitchen.

I will continue to patronize Zuni but hope you will put some thought into how to manage this situation.

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SB
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Have loved Zuni for years. Chicken is still the best in town, but maybe not quite as great as my memory. Prices are a bit out of whack, particularly for the chicken - after all, it’s still just a chicken....

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AM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sometimes service for a person eating alone will be somewhat less than attentive. Such was not my experience at Zuni Tuesday afternoon. My waiter was friendly, attentive, answered all my questions and, in general, contributed to a wonderful dining experience. It also helps that the food is outstanding!

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b
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

We had a very snippy waiter who thought he was better than us.
The only redeeming thing was the balsamic Bloody Mary. Delicious.

The lamb ragout was too salty. The Caesar salad was boring.

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love Zuni! We’ve been going with our family for 20 years! It’s amazing every time, very consistent, seasonally beautiful and very pleasing staff! Can’t say anything but good words for Zuni! ❤️

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BA
Atlanta
25 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceeded my very high expectations! Have tried to get a res at Zuni for years when in SF. It was worth the wait. Our server at the bar was great and recommended a wonderful selection of oysters while we waited for service to begin. After being seated our server guided us thru the menu and spaced our pre-chicken selections perfectly. The chicken was beyond-words wonderful.

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AT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

The chicken was faboulous worth the wait. Great bartender!

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BR
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

How is it that after 30+ years of dining at Zuni, the restaurant never looks dated, their classic dishes are always perfect, new courses are equally delicious, and the staff couldn't be more friendly and professional (if they could just remodel the restrooms)?

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