A big-name grocery store may provide a certain sense of familiarity and comfort, but we’ll let you in on a little secret: the family-run shops in the area are like no other. Here in San Francisco, there are plenty of small local markets to support. The variety of boutique stores in the area transforms grocery shopping into a full-on weekend experience. You can count on these charming gems to provide the freshest produce, high-quality meats and dairy and tasty organic products. Adventure through their aisles to discover a new craft beer or wine, explore seasonal greens and colorful fruits or sample new mouthwatering offerings. Whether you’re looking for a delicious vegan dessert, a plethora of locally-sourced green veggies to add into your latest recipe or a hearty steak for grilling—there’s something for everyone at these special Californian markets. To help you out, we’ve rounded up a list of the best local grocery stores in San Francisco.
If you’re wondering where San Francisco’s local grocery culture began, look no further than Rainbow Grocery. Rainbow opened up shop in 1975 and has provided our city with the largest selection of organic produce that is not only locally-sourced but also decently affordable. Located between SOMA and the Mission, this quaint store has only grown, thrived and evolved ever since. You’ll be greeted by a beautiful array of green plants and herbs outside the front door before walking into produce and product haven (no meat products here, but check out their truly cruelty-free eggs and cheese selection). The coolest thing about Rainbow Grocery? It’s a worker-owned co-op where business is democratic; employees are the stakeholders and decision-makers. This lends to a beloved environment with happy employees and a super positive atmosphere and experience for customers. It’s also the perfect place to buy in bulk and stock up on all of your necessities. All hail the monarchy of modern San Francisco grocery shopping.
Location: 1745 Folsom Street, Mission, San Francisco, CA
Gus’s Haight Street Market
If a grocery shop could be voted “best all-around,” Haight Street Market might take the cake. This small, friendly grocery is known for its fresh produce, yummy sandwiches and overall laid-back vibe. Gus Vardakastanis and his father Demetri Vardakastanis founded this adored neighborhood market after they emigrated from Greece in 1974 and also have other store locations in Mission Bay, Mission and Noreiga. Shoppers come for great products but come back again and again for the friendly family staff. Everything is affordable and delicious and in the store, you’ll find nearly everything your heart desires: produce, dairy, meats, poultry, sushi, health and beauty products, cheese, beer, spirits, wine, flowers and more. Don’t leave without trying something from their deli or café! Their motto is “Everything we make, we pretend we are cooking for our own family.”
Location: 1530 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA
Bi-Rite Market has been around since 1940 but came under new and amazing ownership in 1997 by chef Sam Mogannam and his brother, Raphael. Ever since, the shelves have been brimming and stocked with local organic produce and products from farmers in and around the area. Bi-Rite is quite the magical anomaly; it has transformed and expanded into many innovative offshoots, including a farm in Sonoma and a famous creamery in Mission (right across the street from the market). A second store has opened up in NOPA and, incredibly enough, has a rooftop garden. They are big believers in sustainable farming practices and walk their own talk.
Location(s): 3639 18th Street, San Francisco, CA and 550 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA
Richmond New May Wah Supermarket
This Asian market is one of the best and highly-regarded in all of San Francisco; it’s a must-shop. At Richmond New May Wah Supermarket, you’ll find everything you need to make your own dumplings or ramen at home and incredible delicacies such as Thai basil, birds-eye chili, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, grass jelly, wasabi peas and more. They have a large meat, produce and seafood section (live crabs and fresh fish) that is popular and a go-to for all of your necessary international cravings. Their selection of hot sauces is also impressive. It tends to get crowded because of their unbeatable food and products; make sure to get there early!
Location: 707-719 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA
Mollie Stone’s Markets
Looking for a local one-stop shop similar to all of your favorite big-name stores? Mollie Stone’s Markets is truly the best of both worlds, offering both high-end and low-end fare. People have compared its selections to all the things you would find at Whole Foods Market, but better and smaller. You’ll find many gluten-free products such as bread and desserts, as well as organic meats and cheeses that are perfect for an afternoon or evening charcuterie board. The real kicker is that at Mollie Stone’s, you’ll also be able to pick up name brands you love, such as Goldfish cheddar snacks and Oscar Meyer deli cuts. You can grab a gorgeous and delectable sandwich (they are rumored to be the best) at the deli right in-house or check out their celebrated and well-known selection of beer and liquor (it’s fantastic). There are over ten stores in the Bay Area, so you’re sure to find a market wherever you call home. The staff is kind and helpful, which makes for a pleasurable atmosphere. They even deliver groceries right to your door!
Location(s): There are a number of Mollie Stone’s Markets across San Francisco. Check here to find your closest local store.
Luke’s Local is the cool, hip new kid on the block that opened its doors in 2016. Nestled in the heart of Colley Valley, it’s a popular destination that hasn’t slowed down since—and for a very good reason. Variety is the spice of life, especially here at Luke’s. Each week their fresh produce varies depending on what’s in-season because all of it is locally-sourced from Northern California. The fabulous meat counter offers all-organic cuts and tasty meals, but our absolute favorite is the walk-up coffee counter that serves Sightglass coffee. If you’re a lover of beautiful flower arrangements, you definitely don’t want to miss the opportunity to get your weekly bouquet from the market. Even during its short tenure, Luke’s has evolved and grown. What started out as a delivery service has become an in-person grocery store experience because the demand and love for all Luke’s has to offer became so high.
Location: 960 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA
The local hot spot, The Market, might be the closest thing to heaven on earth San Francisco residents will ever get. The very definition of “something for everyone,” this half-market, half-cafeteria oasis of dynamic counters and eateries has everything from a café and wine shop to a hot bar and salad bar. Pick up a fresh cut at the Meat and Seafood Counter or grab a warm, prepared meal from The Grill. You’ll discover the cheesiest and juiciest slices (or sandwiches) at Tony’s Slice House and, of course, you’ll shop for everything you need at home in the grocery section. Don’t let the mod factory-esque setting fool you; The Market’s artisanal and organic food offerings are authentic and worth every single penny. Hang out and try a few specialty samples or spend the afternoon sipping on wine or coffee at the café. Partner venues include Blue Bottle Coffee, Project Juice, The Organic Coup, Azalina’s, Poke Bar and Manila Bowl.
Location: 1355 Market Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA
Want to Do As the Locals Do?
Looking for more information about living in San Francisco? Check out our other blog posts. If you’re thinking about making the move to San Francisco, contact us today. We would love to assist you in finding San Francisco real estate and Bay Area homes for sale.