Psst! 11 Secret-Menu Dishes In S.F.

We'll admit it: We’re not very good at keeping secrets — but it seems San Francisco's eateries are. Rumor has it they've been harboring some seriously delectable bites on the down low, which filled us with all kinds of curiosity. What? And, where? Just how delicious? So, to get the inside scoop, we played hungry detective, stepping out in search of those sneaky eats. And, after much hunting (and tasting), we can confidently say: mystery solved.
Since we can't keep anything from our readers, we're clueing you in to all of the clandestine creations, too. Ahead, we rounded up 11 covert dishes and sips that you’ll be tempted to keep all to yourself once you’ve had a taste. (Though, we highly suggest you spread the love.) From a sweet cocktail that comes with a smoky surprise to a burger smothered in a special Caesar sauce, here’s all the hush-hush we can’t help but blab about. Click through to see all the goodness — and tell ’em R29 sent you.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Eggs McMahon, $8.70, at Farmerbrown’s The Little Skillet
When you order the Eggs McMahon at Farmer Brown’s The Little Skillet, expect to get an inquisitive glance from the cashier. Seriously. We were asked how we knew about this delicious little secret. Order it up, and you’ll get a waffle smothered in sausage gravy (there’s also a veggie-friendly option), sprinkled with scallions and cheddar cheese, and crowned with a fried egg. It’s pretty much a recipe for a food coma. Even though the counter is essentially located in an alley, you can take the comforting meal into its adjacent bar and dig in. Just try not to fall asleep there.

Farmerbrown’s The Little Skillet, 360 Ritch Street (between Townsend and Brannan streets); 415-777-2777.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Grumpy Old Uncle, $12, at Burritt Room + Tavern
Despite the name, this cocktail is bound to put you in a good mood, especially when you learn its backstory. The Grumpy Old Uncle is a former bartender’s signature libation, and to honor his legacy at the Burritt Room, the bar’s mixologists continue to serve it to those in the know — and with a cheeky name, at that. Served in a whiskey tumbler and composed of rye, Fernet, Cherry Heering, and Pedro Ximénez sherry, the cocktail is smooth and slightly sweet, evoking the flavor of a chocolate-covered raisin. The only way we’d be grumpy is if we went too long without one.

Burritt Room + Tavern, 417 Stockton Street (between Sutter and Bush streets); 415-400-0561.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
La Capriciosa Pizza, $20, at A16
We like pizza any way you slice it, but that's doubly true when the pie is slung in secrecy. A16 is known for its Naples-style pizza that comes out of the wood-fired oven before it hits your table. The Capriciosa is whipped up on the sly exclusively for those trusted few (which now includes you!). Once you whisper the order, the pizzaiolo will combine garlic, chili flakes, Grana Padano, mozzarella, pancetta, fennel sausages, and Calabrian chiles for a spicy, cheesy, and creamy pie. We recommend munching it down in the covered back patio so you feel like you’re on a Euro vacay. And, in true form, you’ll have to eat the un-sliced pizza with a knife and fork or cut it with the shears, but it’s worth the effort.

A16, 2355 Chestnut Street (between Divisadero and Scott streets); 415-771-2216.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Francisco Reyes, $11, at Loló
Don’t let this coral-hued drink trick you into thinking it’s innocent. Even though it looks citrusy sweet, this is actually one smoldering sipper, which makes the already-secretive libation even more surprising. It gets its smoky bite from the combination of mezcal and Ancho Reyes liqueur, while the Aperol provides the tropical tone. You’ll most likely be the only one sucking down this pretty drink, so be prepared to turn heads with it.

Loló, 974 Valencia Street (between Liberty and 21st streets); 415-643-5656.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Caesar Burger, $6.50 for a Single & $8.50 for a Double, at Super Duper Burger
Just when we thought the patties at Super Duper Burger couldn’t possibly get any more savory and irresistible, the eatery hit us with this clandestine version of its classic — but with a twist. Order the Caesar Burger at either its Castro, Metreon, Chestnut, or Mill Valley locations, and here's what you'll get: a Niman Ranch beef patty loaded with all the normal fixins, plus — wait for it — house-made Caesar dressing (sans anchovies) and six-month-aged white cheddar. So, good luck not ordering one of those the next time you stroll in. (Insider tip: Word on the street is there’s a trio of other burgers on its hidden menu, too.)

Super Duper Burger, locations vary; find your nearest one here!
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
The No-Name Cocktail, $11, at Rye
You know a drink is a supersecret when it doesn’t have an actual name. And, this off-the-radar concoction at Rye, called The No-Name, is one you'll want to remember. But, while it's little on name, this cocktail is big on flavor. In the mixture, you’ll find Espolón blanco tequila, Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur, muddled green apples, grapefruit, and lime. Finally, it’s topped with crushed iced and grated cinnamon. Did we mention this tart tipple comes in a pretty copper cup? Yeah, we’d take this spiced drink over apple pie any day.

Rye, 688 Geary Street (at Leavenworth Street); 415-474-4448.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Chef’s Secret Sando, $15, at Michael Mina
If you think sandwiches are the most basic lunch staple out there, you clearly haven't met Michael Mina’s clandestine version. Since the eatery specializes in strictly seasonal and local fare, this sammie is constantly switched up on the daily, which only further adds to its mystery. You’ll never know which protein the chef will slap between the slices of buttery, crustless bread, which is like playing flavor Russian Roulette.

Michael Mina, 252 California Street (between Battery and Front streets); 415-397-9222.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Cherry-Blossom Mochi, $3, at Eiji
This intimate, traditional Japanese restaurant nestled discreetly in the Castro already feels like a hidden gem. But, it holds another furtive treat: its cherry-blossom mochi. The off-menu, handmade, and semisweet rice cake is only prepared come springtime, which gives you yet another reason to celebrate winter’s end. In order to get a bite of the ooey-gooey goodness, though, you have to order a main dish, which makes this a special ending to your meal. Another bonus: If you need a place to unwind from your always-buzzing gadget, Eiji doesn’t allow mobile devices (including tablets!), letting you focus on your grub in peace.

Eiji, 317 Sanchez Street (at 16th Street); 415-558-8149.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Flux Cold-Brewed Coffee Ice Cream Float, $7, Three Twins
If you haven’t made it into Three Twins' newly opened Lower Haight locale after its (literal) phoenix-like return, here’s an excuse to high-tail it there: It's secretly pouring Flux cold-brewed coffee over scoops of its Land of Milk & Honey ice cream for the ultimate midday pick-me-up. It’s an icy, sweet treat that will come as a cold comfort to those in the know.

Three Twins Ice Cream, 254 Fillmore Street (at Haight Street); 415-487-8946.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Meatballs, Three for $12, at Tosca
This dish isn’t exactly S.F.’s best kept secret; it leaves the kitchen and lands at tables frequently each night. But, we can totally understand why it’s garnered so much buzz — it’s ridiculously tasty. The chef describes its flavor as "meaty" for a reason: It’s made of cured pork jowl, short rib, and pork shoulder. The meatballs are braised in the tomato sauce, which soaks up all the dissolved fats — yum! Do yourself a favor and order it with a side of focaccia. We promise you won’t regret it.

Tosca, 242 Columbus Avenue (between Broadway Street and Pacific Avenue); 415-986-9651.
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Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Anna Roll, $8.50, at Takara Sushi
Think you’ve tried every fish-less sushi roll out there, vegetarians? Here’s one you definitely haven't taken a bite of — yet. The still-unofficial Anna roll at Castro’s Takara Sushi combines velvety cream cheese with crunchy asparagus, carrots, and inari, with some scallions thrown in for good measure. Delicious? Definitely. Even die-hard meat eaters couldn’t resist a combination as tempting as this. In fact, we wouldn’t blame you if you end up ordering it twice.

Takara Sushi, 4243 18th Street (at Diamond Street); 415-626-7864.
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