• The World's 50 Best Restaurants
No.27

Saison

San Francisco, USA

No.27

Casual luxury with a daily changing menu showcasing imagination and skill

Tell us a story: What started as a weekly pop-up in the back of a café seven years ago has evolved into one of the most exclusive restaurants in the world. No expense is spared at Saison, where chef Joshua Skenes’ immaculate attention to detail permeates all aspects of the operation.

On the menu: The nightly changing tasting menu of up to 18 courses not only showcases the highest-quality produce but is guided by what is best on that very day, giving a whole new meaning to seasonality. Dishes may feature Skenes’ infamous ‘Liquid Toast,’ a glazed sea urchin served on crusty bread soaked in a rich sauce of grilled bread and dusted with a powder of river vegetables; or barbecued celeriac, which is slow-cooked in the fireplace for three days.

The design: The impressive open-plan restaurant combines stark industrial elements with soft organic furnishings in a room where exposed brick meets Scandinavian faux fur. At the centre is a barrier-free kitchen where chefs busy themselves in between visiting every table to present and explain each dish. 

What’s the vibe? Casual luxury. There’s no dress code at Saison, where a soundtrack of 1980s or 1990s rock classics plays in the background. Waiters effortlessly perfect relaxed-yet-faultless service to make guests feel at home.

Worth knowing: Saison made its debut on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014 as the One To Watch. 

On the pass

  • Joshua Skenes (pictured) with Scott Clark

Pastry chef

Style of food

  • Contemporary American

Standout dish

  • Saison reserve caviar

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