Photo courtesy of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses

7 exceptional neighborhood markets in San Francisco

By Virginia Miller

San Francisco is lined with neighborhood markets, from charming corner grocers selling an array of gourmet goods to family-run, mom-and-pop shops that have been around for decades. The best shops make good use of small spaces with thoughtfully curated selections of the best cooking ingredients, condiments, breads, wine, craft beer, seasonal produce, imported products, coffee and the like. Here are seven of our favorites.

Dolores Outpost
With its hip signage, Dolores Outpost is not only the ultimate Dolores Park picnic supply stop, it’s also just a cool neighborhood market offering fun, thoughtful options to create a meal. In addition to Highwire nitro coffee on draft and small production wines, there are Japanese beers and canned sakes, canned gin and tonics and house made snacks and patés. For dessert, stock up on Hawaiian candies and chewy-crispy mochi muffins from Third Culture Bakery.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

The Epicurean Trader
Having launched its original Bernal Heights location in 2015, The Epicurean Trader opened a second Cow Hollow shop in 2017, bringing their killer artisanal spirits selection—everything from vermouths and amari to cocktail recipe books—to both neighborhoods. Both stores offer highly curated “bests” in everything: chocolates, cheeses, jams, sauces, olive oils, and fresh loaves of bread from Tartine Bakery. In a city full of excellent neighborhood markets, Epicurean’s stores offer some of the finest selections of all things edible and drinkable in SF.
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights MAP Cow Hollow MAP

Merchant Roots
Opening May 2018 on Lower Fillmore Street, Merchant Roots is that ideal kind of neighborhood shop and café, serving daily changing pastas, sandwiches, and pastries alongside house-made jams, soaps, sauces, and a thoughtfully curated wine selection. Their delicious hand-made pastas and sauces are conveniently packaged fresh to take home and cook yourself. A chef’s table features intimate, after-hours tasting menus in the café covering literary, historic or culture themes.
Neighborhood: Lower Fillmore MAP

Lucca Ravioli Co.
A slice of Italy and an old school American-Italian market, Lucca Ravioli Co. has been an SF institution since 1925. Grab a number, then browse under a ceiling map of Italy for Italian goods like sauces, peppers, olives, cookies, breads, sardines and anchovies, olive oil, and vinegars. And don’t miss the extensive meat and cheese counter. Best of all, they sell their house-made pastas, sauces, and ravioli in five styles (traditional meat, spinach, cheese, pumpkin, and a rotating special) served in the same classic flat box for nearly a century.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Say Cheese
A neighborhood staple in cozy Cole Valley since 1976, Say Cheese is your OG European-style cheese shop and gourmet grocer. International wines, cheeses, and charcuterie dominate the tiny shop, but you’ll also find olives, chips, jams (think Calvados apple brandy jam from France) and chocolates, both local and European. There’s an array of options to bring to a picnic in nearby Golden Gate Park or for a take-home spread—and their generous sandwich menu and catered cheese and charcuterie boards expand your party options.
Neighborhood: Upper Haight MAP

Rockridge Market Hall
The ultimate food hall, Oakland’s historic Rockridge Market Hall celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. A shining example for gourmet markets everywhere, the European-style marketplace consists of many different individual shops–a deep wine selection, fish and meat counters, cheese section, a bakery, and handmade pastas from The Pasta Shop. You’ll also find everything from gourmet peanut butters and popcorns to honey and ice cream. An extensive takeout foods counter and foods to cook at home make it easy to plan a gourmand’s meal with little effort.
Neighborhood: Oakland MAP

Bi-Rite Market
The original, the great—Bi-Rite Market set the standard for all neighborhood markets with its highly curated picks of the best in everything, from chocolate to pastas, cheese to produce, crackers to pickles. It’s been an iconic, family-run shop since 1940—still with its original neon sign—and the Mogannam family has owned it since 1964, with brothers Sam and Raph taking over the store from their father and uncle in 1997. It’s as famed for the Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream as for the staff wine experts curating superb bottle selections, and no inch of space is wasted in the ever bustling original market—or its Nopa sister, which opened in 2013.
Neighborhood: Western Addition/NoPa MAP Mission: MAP

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