Late-Night Dining Spots in SF from People Who Really Know

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Pupusas from Los Panchos. Yelp photo by Jose U.

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The retro fabulous counter at Orphan Andy’s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Just try saying no to this pork chop at Vietnam Restaurant after a night on the town. Yelp photo by Debbie L.

Last week, one of my posts for Refinery 29 (The Best Late-Night Spots—Courtesy of Bay Area Night Owls) went live, but unfortunately the editors had to cut some content from my original piece. I am including the people and pieces that got cut here, because there were too many great contributors and fab ideas for late-night eats for me to let them stay on the cutting room floor!

As you (hopefully) know, I have a late-night dining app, with 95 places open past 11pm in SF! While I am trying to get a new app developer so I can update it with all the very latest and greatest spots, there are still a bunch of classic and tasty places on there, so check it out!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your favorite spots with me! Thanks for doing your part to support our late-night dining scene. See you on the town!

Name: Sonya Molodetskaya
Profession: Fashion advocate, writer for Haute Living magazine, eats out every night
Late-Night Spot: Gem in the Financial District—Louie’s Bar (55 Stevenson St. at 1st St.)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Hidden in the alley, which makes this place intimate, especially in a late hour. Open till 2am and food is served till 1am. Brick interior with great photographs on the walls make this place charming with a twist. Classic bar food, famous for potato skins, fries, and burgers. Great choice of beers. Superchill bartenders and friendly crowd. Did I mention it’s next door to where I live?!

Name: Jeffrey Paradise
Profession: Record Player, half of daytime disco group Poolside
Late-Night Spot: Los Panchos (3206 Mission St. at Fair)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
For me, this is hands down my favorite late-night food spot; as far as I can tell there isn’t any competition (though I wish there was). I order two cheese pupusas with rice and beans. The pupusas are good, the curtido is great, the superspicy watery salsa is somehow perfect when you’re drunk, the ladies who work there are awesome and don’t give a fuck about you unless you speak a little Spanish, the music is typically blasting, the decor is very festive, etc. It seems like a lot of service industry people who work at Latin bars and clubs and mariachi guys come here after work. I’ve been there when the whole restaurant erupts in song to the banda-type music blasting.

Name: Dottie Lux
Profession: Burlesque performer and producer
Late-Night Spot: King of Thai Noodle (multiple locations)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
After a night of telling dirty jokes and watching tassels swing I work up quite a hunger. Red Hots Burlesque has four shows a week all over SF and we are always near enough to a King of Thai Noodle. I love that the food here is always fresh and delicious—the hardest part is deciding what to order. I’m a Pisces, so decisions are hard in general, luckily this SF restaurant chain accommodates my ever-changing moods. Noodle, rice, beef, vegetarian; they’ve got it all. The portions are large and sharing dishes is easy. Large and easy; yep, this is the place for me.

Name: Melissa Perfit
Profession: Executive Chef, Bar Crudo
Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
I love this spot because it stays open till 3am and serves solid Vietnamese food to ease a drunken hungry stomach. A big bowl of pho and some spring rolls are my favorites. You might have to wait 30 minutes for your food, but there’s no shortage of drunken characters to keep you entertained while you wait. The owners of this hole in the wall take no shit while they dish out food into the wee hours.

Name: Mika Takeuchi
Profession: Creator of Food Fashionista + Digital Media Marketing Consultant
Late-Night Spot: Nopa (560 Divisadero at Hayes) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Nopa is an obvious late-night choice because it’s consistent, solid, and always satisfies. In the wee hours when your dining choices usually consist of greasy mystery meals, I like that Nopa offers high-quality local ingredients and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. The wood-baked giant white beans dish is a favorite, along with the smoked trout and grass-fed cheeseburger. And I’m guilty of never leaving without ordering a dessert…or two. The chocolate pot de crème with a touch of sea salt and olive oil is always a sweet way to end the evening.

Name: Marke Bieschke Profession: Publisher, 48hills.org
Late-Night Spot: Orphan Andy’s (3991 17th St. at Castro)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Despite an insane party schedule, I hardly ever go out in the Castro. But the cheap diner is a dying breed in SF. And a 24-hour one, staffed by men in kilts, frying up a juicy double cheeseburger with a fried egg on top, served by itself on a little plate? Pretty much extinct. So I’ll make the trek. (Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night and go.)

Name: Donovan Unks (or The Dapper Diner)
Profession: Cancer Research or Semi-Professional Eater and Professional Liver Abuser
Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
I like drinking in North Beach, and late night usually means 2:30am, so lucky for me, Vietnam is open until 3am. While most people go for a burger at the packed Sam’s next door, I duck into Vietnam to watch the old grandma cooking on the grill, because she has to know what she’s doing, right? It doesn’t matter, because I’m too drunk to care. I’ll go with the grilled pork over rice (com thit nuong), crispy imperial rolls (cha gio), barbecued pork banh mi, or beef ball pho, and pray I have money since it’s cash only.