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
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.
The dinner we had was good and we enjoyed our evening in this great restaurant.
Wonderful Meal, as usual. We make Zuni our special dinner/drinks out place ......and have been doing this for years. It never disappoints ! We had the roasted chicken which is a classic. We will be back......!
The chicken was the best!!!
Service was just so-so, really pushing us to drink and order more.... food adequate, burger over cooked and not very flavorful.
Simple farmhouse style food done amazingly well. Ambiance is relaxed and cozy.
Great food, service and ambiance. Will definitely recommend Zuni Café to friends and family.
I came here as a kid with my mom, and decided to finally come back. My friend and I celebrated our birthday together here, and we had a gracious server who was probably the only highlight of our night. She was so kind. I wish I remembered her name, but I know she had blonde hair. We arrived 15 minutes late for our reservation (our fault), but we were seated soon no problem. We ordered the porcini appetizer, the chicken for two, and shoestring fries. Upon sitting down, someone else came by to tell us to be careful, because our table was wobbly.
We soon recognized that the tables around us had the same problem, and someone had their bottle of wine fall to the floor. I hope you guys can fix the table issue.. I definitely felt some splatter on me but I didn’t want to stress our waitress out, that wasn’t such a huge deal for me.
The food was honestly, really disappointing. The porcini was decent. The chicken was cold in the middle for some reason and extremely salty. The fries were also cold and not crispy. We waited an hour though, and it’s my fault because I should’ve said something. As an sf native and a line cook, I really value Zuni and other establishments like this close to my heart, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back.
I loved their burgers! Best in town!
Super attentive staff, great vibes and excellent food
We came for the world-famous roast chicken, and it did not disappoint. We also had a delicious squid salad. and some fantastic cocktails. The ambiance is fun, but elegant, and we had a great long, slow dinner catching up with friends.
Fantastic food (the roasted chicken for 2 was amazing) and great ambiance!
Scott was our server and was simply amazing! Provided great recommendations and made sure we made our symphony reservations. He was the best!
Probably the most frequently visited restaurant while I was in the city for many years. The roast chicken salad was great as it always had been. Shortcake with peach leaf cream and panna cotta with brandied cherries were both delightful with seasonable flavors.
The King Salmon was a small portion for the cost, but the worse fate that it was overcooked.
Do NOT wear dark clothing to dine at this place. When we finished our meal and looked down, our clothes were covered in white specks. They actually give diners little sticky rollers at checkout so you can clean your clothes. They say that everyone complains about all the dust in the restaurant. Wow, what?
Post hamilton stop! That CEASAR SALAD IS EVERYTHING!!! Me & my friend was like ohhh this split salad is a lot, after we tasted it we both agreed we can finish an order each and would not hesitate to come back just for that, craving now! They have good selections of oysters as well! Need to come back for that chicken though! Great service by staff, was not rushed considering we got there after 10:30pm already.
Zuni was recommended by friends and many reviews. I had the opportunity to dine with my son and we were lucky enough to score front row seats by the open kitchen. Watching this well-oiled machine was so enjoyable. A busy but harmonious kitchen is like watching a ballet. Attention to detail was everywhere and the service was both friendly and professional. A bucket list experience, loved every minute of it.
Zuni never disappoints. Hands down, this is my favorite restaurant in the Bay Area, because of the top notch service, ambience, low noise, wine list, and the exquisite food. Great for just about every occasion, and I couldn't be happier.
We enjoyed a mother-daughter birthday dinner at Zuni and were very pleased with cocktails, wine selection, and food. A little disappointed to be put upstairs when down appeared more pleasant and open, but in the end, it didn't make a difference. Very please with the wait staff - just attentive enough. Food was delicious.
$300 for a Mediocre Chicken Dinner for Two
I read the Zuni Cafe cookbook by Judy Rodgers and was inspired by her story of going to live with a chef and his family in France in the 70s when she was 16. They prepared simple but delicious foods like a ham sandwich on day old bread with spicy mustard and tarragon infused cornichons, or a dinner omelette with a salad. They would skip the fancy, trendy restaurants and go for an excellent steak frites at the place a few doors down.
Fast forward to Zuni Cafe in San Francisco in 2019. This has become the type of place that French chef despised. Mediocre, trendy, and horribly overpriced with overly formal service.
My friend and I both wanted the same things, so we ordered cocktails, a caesar salad, their famous roasted chicken, and a pluot crisp for dessert. The caesar salad was particularly good. It wasn’t fishy, but it was spicy and vinegary with big, dressing soaked croutons. The roasted chicken was okay, but nothing special. It was moist and salty all the way though, I think they must have brined it before roasting it in the wood oven, but the skin wasn’t crispy and there was no gravy. Instead it was piled with a frisee salad that wasn’t acidic or dressed enough. It made me miss Stovetop stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We each had four drinks, three cocktails and a rose, and neither of us got a strong buzz! The espresso martini was the best and most unique drink and the pluot crisp was tart but sweet with a particularly good, buttery crumble.
And then we got the bill. For two people who got four drinks each and split everything else: a caesar salad, a roasted chicken, and a pluot crisp, it cost 270 dollars, two or three times what I would pay at most fancy restaurants.
I don’t even care normally, as long as I enjoy myself, but the food was just good to mediocre. If you’re going to present simple cooking, then the prices have to match that simplicity. Otherwise, it’s a bad joke.
This is a good place if you want to see the difference between good service and professional service. Zuni Cafe has professional service. They definitely focus on taking care of their customers!
Zuni never disappoints. I dream about the caesar salad. Soooo good.
Best date restaurant: share everything! Start with oysters, split the Caesar, have the chicken and a bottle of wine, perfection.
First time back to the Zuni Cafe in several years and the evening exceeded my expectations. A glorious wine list certainly opens the night well. And for the first time in ages, the halibut was soft and undercooked to perfection, meriting Nathaniel a half bottle of Chassagne-Montrachet in thanks. Jules' service delivered a 30% tip and well worth it. We definitely will be back - and soon! Thank you.
Zuni never disappoints! Oysters, oven roasted pizza, caesar salad, and a perfect wine recommendation. Excellent service, from a friendly, patient staff who will not hurry you. A perfect post theater meal. Thank you Zuni!
It was great tp return to Zuni Cafe after many years away. I chose it for my birthday and it didn't disappoint. The Caesar salad was delicious and large enough to split, and the halibut with clams was also delicious; as was the rhubarb crostada! It was busy with lots of chatter and people having a good time which only added to the celebratory evening. I shall return.
Delicious food. The service was good but they are rushed with all the people. Too bad one needs to wait 63 minutes for their chicken. We would have loved to try it but were on a time constraint due to a symphony concert. Perhaps you could call them 1/2 hour before arriving & ask them to start your chicken? No ice but worth a try.
We enjoyed the chicken for two. We also ordered a couple appetizers and a side but we really didn’t need them. The chicken comes with a bread salad and frisée and was delicious! We sat near the kitchen so we were able to watch the action all night.
I found the appetizer of deep fried halibut with deep fried fava bans and deep friend something else to be not worth the expense. The halibut was delicious...not because of anything the chef did to it but because halibut is delicious no matter how it is cooked. My wife loved the chicken but I would not order it again. The meat...even the white meat was too salty and frankly it was just too much. The bread soaked in chicken fat and juice again my wife liked but it was too much fat for me. Service was acceptable but not over the top. Quite noisy but we expected that.
Lovely exquisite dinner with first time Zuni friends. He said he was "on a magic carpet ride."
Thank you for remaining true to the original vision and mission. Sincere fan, Esther-Marie
The BEST as always .
A classic, but always great. It has been a decade and it will now be much more often. In a town where new bars and restaurants crop up seemingly every five minutes, it's nice to know that not only are there some strong staples, but that quality of service is still a focal point for fine establishments like Zuni. Easy to sing that from the rooftops. The off-menu burger is still a favorite.
The chicken was amazing and we had a really nice time. Our waiter was so nice!
Had lunch with three others before a 1:00 PM show. We explained our timing situation. They accommodated us fully without our feeling rushed. 2 of us had hamburgers, perfect medium rare and delicious. 2 chose halibut and clam dish and gave rave reviews. Complimentary bread, crusty and chewy, was nearly as great as the main dishes.
Service was good but not exceptional
Expensive but worth it
Worth a San Francisco visit once
great service, amazing food.
It's always a pleasure to dine at Zuni. Service, food, drink, and ambiance have yet to disappoint. Thank you once again.
Food is fresh and good. Value is poor as dishes are fairy small portioned. We had chickpea stew - I think 18 dollars for a small dish of garbanzo beans. Beet salad was 15 dollars for a few bites. This was our second time here and still not impressed for the price for what you get.
Few places have the consistently outstanding food and service.