Mediterranean eats: 4 new spots to try in San Francisco

If you've got Mediterranean fare on the brain, you're in luck: we've found the freshest San Francisco eateries to quell your cravings. Here are the newest places to check out the next time you're in the mood for Mediterranean food.

Video: Hoodline

Van Ness Cafe & Gyros

826 Van Ness Ave., Tenderloin

Photo: daana k./Yelp

Van Ness Cafe & Gyros is a cafe that offers Mediterranean and Greek cuisine, paired with a full coffee bar serving up espresso drinks.

Early birds should check out the cafe's breakfast menu, which includes classics like eggs Benedict, pancakes, steak and eggs, veggie scrambles, yogurt and granola and more. An array of pastries, including muffins, chocolate croissants and blueberry scones, are also available.

Later visitors can check out options like lamb and beef gyros, chicken shish kebob and falafel plates. Finish your meal with traditional desserts like baklava or rice pudding. 

Van Ness Cafe & Gyros currently holds 4.5 stars out of 31 reviews on Yelp, indicating good reviews.

Yelper Jack L., who reviewed Van Ness Cafe & Gyros on August 5, wrote, "Affordable and tasty! I had the lamb beef wrap gyro and it was very well done. The hummus aioli sauce went well with it."

Joshua L. noted, "It's cute, and the prices are pretty good and comparable to other Mediterranean places located in more central areas of San Francisco. They have lamb and beef gyro platters with salad and rice, chicken, shish kebabs, vegetarian options, tons of mezze appetizers and also desserts. They also serve breakfast and coffee!"

Van Ness Cafe & Gyros is open from 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

Sajj Mediterranean

485 Pine St., Financial District

Photo: Sajj Mediterranean/Yelp

Sajj Mediterranean is a fast-casual spot that allows visitors to build their own Mediterranean bowl, salad or wrap, Chipotle-style. This is the chain's seventh brick-and-mortar location.

Visitors can expect a fully customized experience. Start with a choice of pita bread, Sajj wrap, salad or turmeric rice bowl, then fill it with chicken or steak shawarma, pomegranate chicken, shawafel (falafel and shawarma) or falafel. Unlimited toppings and sauces, including hummus, cilantro mint chutney, tahini, tzatziki and peri peri sauce, are also available.

All entrees are served with complimentary lentil soup, while fries, pita chips, hummus, falafel, and baklava can be purchased as additional sides. Wash it all down with a traditional Middle Eastern beverage, like mint and strawberry lemonade or a mint yogurt drink.

With a 4.5-star rating out of nine reviews on Yelp, Sajj Mediterranean has been getting positive attention.

Yelper Hareem M. noted, "This is like a Chipotle of Mediterranean food — it's most comparable to Cava, if you've ever been to the East Coast, with build-your-own dishes. They have ample seating, and it felt like something between a fast-food place and a restaurant. Pro tip: order the chocolate hummus with the cinnamon pita chips."

Yelper Sarah F. wrote, "Had the chicken shawarma salad with lots of delicious toppings. Good food, generous portions, good value for the price, friendly counter staff. I liked that they had a spicy option for the tahini."

Sajj Mediterranean is open from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. on weekdays. (It's closed on weekends.)


6101 California St., Outer Richmond

Photo: pearl/Yelp

Pearl is a window-walled corner cafe in the Richmond, serving all-day Mediterranean food. Drop by at happy hour for the "snack" menu of dishes like oysters with fermented hot sauce, horseradish and lemon, and wood-oven-baked ricotta with spinach, herbs, chili and crostini.

Ready for more? Large plates include berbere-spiced carrot soup served with mint yogurt, pepitas and urfa chili, or seared local albacore with butter beans, roasted gypsy peppers, remoulade and arugula.

With a four-star Yelp rating out of 68 reviews on Yelp, Pearl has been getting positive attention.

Yelper Mckenna H., who was one of the first users to visit Pearl on August 13, wrote, "The waitstaff/bartenders were very knowledgeable and patient. The décor, ambience and tableware made me want to stay all day. We opted to share several starters rather than getting a pasta or entree, and every dish (halibut crudo, baked ricotta, cod fritters) was excellent. Both the cocktail list and beer/wine menus are impressive."

Yelper Natalie M. wrote, "The eggs in purgatory was so good! The portion was a bit small though! I wanted more bread to dip in the sauce and perhaps more sausage to enjoy. The flavor was so yummy!"

Pearl is open from 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. on Monday, 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Friday, and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5 p.m.–10 p.m. on weekends.

Sultan's Kebab

3915 24th St., Noe Valley

Photo: Didier P./Yelp

Sultan's Kebab is a Mediterranean spot offering dishes like chicken shawarma, lamb shish and adana kebab plates, served with rice, salad, hummus and pita bread; salmon and prawn salad; and a falafel wrap with roasted eggplant. 

Rounding things out are desserts like baklava and kunefe (sweet cheese pastries), as well as appetizers like falafel, baba ghannouj, dolma and more. (You can check out the full menu here.)

With a four-star rating out of 36 reviews on Yelp, Sultan's Kebab has been getting positive attention.

Yelper David C., who reviewed Sultan's Kebab on August 14, wrote, "I love everything about this place. The couple that own and run it are awesome. The food is fresh and delicious, and the sauces they provide with all the meals are incredible. I personally love the lamb dishes. It comes with a great salad and homemade dressing, hummus and rice, along with the lamb carved fresh."

Yelper Courtney Y. wrote, "The best attribute of this place is that they don't use cilantro in any of their food. All the food is made on the premises and the meat was tasty."

Sultan's Kebab is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily.

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