The regular – San Francisco

5 Jul 2016
by Jordana Rothman • In partnership with FOOD & WINE

Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food and Mission Cantina keeps these San Francisco spots on heavy rotation.


Bi-Rite Market

A Mission fixture since the forties and run by the same family since the sixties, Bi-Rite survived because it evolved to match the shifting food values of the city it calls home. The shelves are stocked with produce harvested from Bi-Rite’s own organic farms; the ice cream is sweetened with honey from their rooftop hives; their 18 Reasons community center offers educational programming. “Every time I go there’s something new, like nougat made by some girl in her garage in Berkley,” says Danny. “No matter what time of year it is, they always have amazing fruit. I would always buy my wife flowers there, and get some kind of probiotic drink from the amazing drinks section in the back.”

3639 18th St, San Francisco; 415-241-9760;


Rainbow Grocery

Danny rents an apartment near this long-standing cooperative food market, so he has spent a lot of time exploring it. “Rainbow has the best bulk section I’ve seen anywhere; I would spend time on my days off just wandering around, checking out stuff like whole bean miso,” he says. “It’s the kind of place where you could bring your empty shampoo bottle and fill it up with grapeseed oil from a small producer.”

Rainbow Grocery: 1745 Folsom St, San Francisco; 415-863-0620;


Pizzeria Delfina

Husband-and-wife team Annie and Craig Stoll are behind this Neapolitan pizzeria, an offshoot of their Mission mainstay, Delfina. Their bubbly pies are legendary in San Francisco, but Danny really comes here for the vegetables. “I get the tricolore salad. It’s the simplest thing in the world—endive, radicchio, wild arugula and lemon vinaigrette with shaved parmigiano reggiano. But it’s so clean and perfect,” says Danny, who so admires Delfina’s greens, sourced from Salinas Valley farmer Martin Bournhonesque, that he has them shipped to his New York restaurants as well. “Delfina has always been a really amazing and memorable spot for me,” he says.

Pizzeria Delfina: 3611 18th St, San Francisco; 415-437-6800;

Una Pizza Napoletana

For pizza obsessives, Neapolitan master Anthony Mangieri is a god among men. “The first time I saw him I was afraid to talk to him; the second time I went up to him and said ‘this place is incredible,’” says Danny, who once gifted Mangieri an advance copy of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Mangieri’s story is the inverse of Danny’s—he left New York for San Francisco, shuttering his beloved East Village pizzeria in 2009. “He made that change for the quality of his life, but the truth is he could crush it no matter where he is,” Danny says. “It still completely blows my mind that you can walk into this place and get a table.”

Una Pizza Napoletana: 210 11th St, San Francisco; 415-861-3444;


Duc Loi Supermarket

Howard and Amanda Ngo arrived in San Francisco as Vietnamese refugees, opening their first market in the Mission in the late eighties. Over the years, they’ve expanded and adapted, tailoring their inventory to customer requests—an organic produce section grew out of neighborhood demand. Danny’s relationship with Duc Loi, which is down the street from Mission Chinese SF, runs deep. The Ngos have supplied MCF with a lot of produce through the years, and even invited the short-lived Mission Burger to operate out of the Duc Loi kitchen. “There’s just a goodness about Amanda,” says Danny. “She’ll see me getting out of a taxi and she’ll run out with a bahn mi or some spring rolls. She’ll also tell me when something is slipping at MCF. She’ll say ‘don’t get mad, but the other day I had the mapo tofu and it wasn't quite right.’”

Duc Loi Supermarket: 2200 Mission St, San Francisco; 415-551-1772;

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