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Eater SF Journal: Bars and Restaurants to Try This Weekend

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Eater SF answers the question "Where should I eat and drink this weekend?"

Lone Palm

A few new places to check out this weekend, fresh from the mouths of Eater editors and contributors.

August 5

For unpretentious drinks: Lone Palm

Sure, you can get more inventive, modern drinks at ABV or Wildhawk nearby. But when you want an excellent, no-frills Manhattan in a 1970s Miami-esque space, Lone Palm is your spot. 3394 22nd St., San Francisco — Stefanie Tuder

Image credit: Lone Palm/Facebook

For some soul-warming: Ly's Vietnamese

ly's vietnamese cuisine Stefanie Tuder

It may be summer, but I'm freezing, and the chicken pho and Ly's Vietnamese warms me right up. It's a clean, slightly sweet but salty broth with tender chicken pieces and chewy noodles. The bowl is huge for just $9, making it an ideal meal. 1779 Lombard St., SF — Stefanie Tuder

For a kick-ass meatball sub: Stay Gold Deli

I went to Stay Gold Deli in Oakland this week, and that place is as great as Luke Tsai's review said. The meatball sub is ridiculous, and other meatball subs should feel embarrassed that they even exist. Plus the beer garden is huge. 2635 San Pablo Ave., Oakland — Andrew Dalton

For a chill summertime beer: Drake's Dealership

Drakes Drakes

While I thought it would be overrun, this brewery's space is huge, giving it a more mellow vibe. I'm not usually a huge fan of their beers, but they had a pretty good summer lineup that was nice for a Sunday beer session, paired with a burger. 2325 Broadway, Oakland — Andrew Dalton

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For a casual Napa Valley dining option: Redd Wood

Everyone in Napa is down in SF for Outside Lands, so reverse commute your way up to Redd Wood, where you can munch on crispy pizzas and salads with excellent cocktails in charming downtown Yountville. 6755 Washington St., Yountville — Stefanie Tuder

July 29

For Z&Y Sichuan lovers: Chong Qing Xiao Mian

Chong Qing Xiao Mian Stefanie Tuder

Opened by ex-employees of Sichuan favorite Z&Y, Chong Qing Xiao Mian focuses more on noodles, but still Sichuan-style. Here, you can get springy, spaghetti-like noodles dressed up in tingly sauces with a variety of meats. My favorites were the house cold noodles spiced with Sichuan peppercorn and hot oil, the won tons in spicy chili oil, and spicy numbing beef tendon. 915 Kearny St., SF — Stefanie Tuder

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For a plentiful, tasty lunch: Azalina's

Azalina's Stefanie Tuder

When's the last time you went to The Market, the food hall style space in the Twitter building? Chances are it hasn't been since the space has been transformed into a Ferry Building-style hall with vendor stalls. Poke, pizza, and taco stands have long lines, but snake your way to the back corner for Azalina's, the more overlooked Malaysian restaurant from a La Cocina alum. The food is flavor-forward, with lots of spice, acid, and herbs, so each bite makes you crave the next. 1355 Market St., SF — Stefanie Tuder

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For fried thighs and greens: Miss Ollie's

Miss Ollie's

Miss Ollie's is a bright, pink Caribbean wonderland of fried chicken. However, don't go here hangry because you might end up waiting — as I did — an unseemly amount of time for your fried thigh. However, when I got my perfectly fried, seasoned thigh, it was moist, crispy, and incredibly delicious. Go here, eat the fried chicken, get some sweet tea, and don't make a fuss. 901 Washington St., Oakland — Ellen Fort

Image credit: Navin K./Yelp

For SF's new Mediterranean: Tawla

Tawla recently opened in the Mission with what owner Azhar Hashem calls Mediterranean 2.0. That means no hummus, falafel or other street foods that the cuisine is known for, instead focusing on dishes like a trio of labneh, leg of lamb, or whole-roasted fish filled with onions, walnuts, and spices. I loved the bold flavors on almost everything I tasted, including the plentiful amounts of high-quality olive oil and lemon juice. The bread is hands down the best of its kind I've tasted in San Francisco — oiled, salted, and simultaneously crisp and pillowy. 206 Valencia St., SF — Ellen Fort

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For a new take on a meeting spot: Boba Guys

This week I did myself a favor and scheduled a work meeting at the new Boba Guys flagship on Octavia. I highly recommend you do the same. The drink I had — iced jasmine tea, almond milk, tapioca balls, zero percent sweetness — was absolutely what I was hoping for from the place that claims to make "next level" bubble tea. While mine was simple, refreshing, and just delightful, hardcore Instagrammers might want to go for the strawberry matcha almond latte and its #colorblocking. There are bonus points to be distributed, too: for having non-dairy milks on offer, horchata, Wifi, and a clean bathroom. 8 Octavia St., SF — Hillary Dixler

June 24

For a non-brunch Saturday activity: Sequoia Sake

Founders Jake Myrick, Noriko Kamei, and Warren Pfahl are all about making fresh, live, unpasteruized sake at the highest of Japanese standards — even convincing a farmer here to grow sake rice for the endeavor. Bars, restaurants, and shops like Liholiho Yacht Club, Izakaya Rintaro, Birite, and Umami Mart have started to pay attention, carrying this handmde in SF sake. For the full-on experience, though, the crew opens the production up to the public on Saturdays for tours and tastings. 50 Apparel Way, SF — ST

For some no-frills dim sum: City View

City View Stefanie Tuder

Everyone knows about Yank Sing, but City View is just as good and easier to get into. The food is fresh, the staff is reasonably friendly, and the bill is cheap. 662 Commercial St., SF — ST

For a Sausalito lunch, minus the tourists: Fish

Sausalito is always crawling with tourists on the weekend, but the pro move is to head away from downtown just a bit for Fish, a counter-service, outdoor seafood spot that has some seriously fresh fish. You'll still have to wait in line, but it's worth it. 350 Harbor Dr., SF — ST

For a seriously good sausage: Vientian Cafe

It's located in a deeply residential East Oakland neighborhood, offering up excellent excellent Laotian food. Curries are flavorful and complex, but the real must-eat is the sai oo, a fermented Laotian sausage with ginger and lemongrass. It's scored and baked, revealing a multitude of crispy surfaces. Make sure everyone orders their own, you won't want to share. 3801 Allendale Ave., Oakland — EF

For the best on-the-go sushi: Kirala 2

This satellite location of Berkeley's Kirala restaurant is lurking in the Epicurious Garden, a food court in the Ghourmet Ghetto. They've got fresh sushi and bentos packaged and ready to go, or it can be made to order. Either way, the fish is fresh, beautiful and fast. 1511 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley — EF

June 3

For non-douchey wine drinking: Bay Grape

Bay Grape is the bottle shop and wine drinking oasis of your dreams. It's the brainchild of uber charming married couple Stevie Stacionis and Josiah Baldivino, both pedigreed somms who are dedicated to making wine "less douchey." Stop by and buy a bottle to drink in the shop, or for by-the-glass tasting Thursday through Saturday. They also offer tasting classes for wine lovers of all levels; on Monday, go before 6 p.m. for the blind flight that they designed with industry friends studying for their sommelier examinations in mind, then stay for a class on the featured wines at 7 p.m. 376 Grand Ave, Oakland — EF

Image credit: Bay Grape

For efficient, flavorful pho: Monster Pho

This little pho spot delivers steaming, flavorful bowls of pho and vermicelli lickety split. Lunchtime is filled with workers from nearby Kaiser, who flock there for the affordable price and quick turnaround, but it's also open for dinner. Go hungry. 3905 Broadway, Oakland —EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For good beers and late night sandwiches: Tommy's Joynt

What the napkins here say is true: there's really no place quite like Tommy's Joynt. A selection of good craft beers on tap, plus an enormous bottle selection back up Tommy's hearty food. A late night oasis for sandwiches, buffalo stew and mashed potatoes, Tommy's is a true SF original. Here's hoping that it's not torn down for condos after all. 1101 Geary Blvd. — EF

Image credit: Tommy's Joynt

For free plums: Stable Cafe

Go to Stable Café for an easy cafe brunch. The garden patio is unparalleled and the plum trees are currently in bloom, so you get a free snack to take with you for later. 2128 Folsom St — Andrew Dalton

Image credit: Stable Cafe/Instagram

For wings of all spice levels: Hot Sauce and Panko

The new hotness in Nob Hill is Hot Sauce and Panko (formerly in the Richmond), a family-run no frills hot sauce store that doubles as a place to buy cheap and delicious wings. You can also get chicken and waffle sandwiches. It's cramped and only has two standing tables, so it's best to plan to order to go and enjoy your food elsewhere (I recommend the nearby Hyde and Vallejo Mini Park). 1468 Hyde St. — Sally Kuchar, Curbed

Image credit: Hot Sauce and Panko

May 27

For a feel-good fast food experience: LocoL

Chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi have brought their revolutionary brand of fast food to the Bay Area, offering healthier versions of burgers and chicken nuggets for affordable prices. Their plan is to expand rapidly, which, after tasting their flavorful dishes, is welcome addition to the dining scene. 2214 Broadway, Oakland —EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For a quick trip to Tokyo: Itani Ramen

stefanie tuder

Chef Kyle Itani has channeled his extensive travels in Japan into a fun, easy ramen spot in Uptown Oakland. Rotating specials highlight the cuisines of different prefectures, while the steadies like shio ramen bring pork chashu and toothsome noodles home every time. Must order: the crispy pig ears.

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For mixing it up during BottleRock: Miminashi

While there will be a slew of amazing options for food at BottleRock itself, you might need a break from the festivities. In that case, head to Miminashi for some refined izakaya fare in a relaxed atmosphere. 821 Coombs St., Napa

Image credit: Bob McClenahan

For a brand-new FiDi lunch option: Sababa

Lunch in the Financial District can get real old real fast. Luckily Sababa has just opened, adding a new fast casual Mediterranean option into the mix that is quick, healthy, and delicious. 329 Kearny St., SF

Image credit: Patricia Chang

May 13

For takeout Thai: Farmhouse Kitchen

Farm House Kitchen's food is so much better than any other Thai takeout spot. The fried chicken is supposed to be amazing, but I always get the special 24-hour beef noodle soup that comes with — no joke — a dinosaur sized short rib in veal broth. Pro-tip: just sit at the bar and have a nice beer while you wait for takeout. 710 Florida St., SF — AD

Image credit: Farmhouse Kitchen

For a quick, cheap meal before a night out: Panchita's #2

Panchita's #2

Panchita's #2 is my go-to spot for pupusas before going out to drink. It's cheap and quick, and you can have a beer before you go meet your friends at whatever Mission bar. 3091 16th St., SF — AD

Image credit: Stacie S./Yelp

To start your weekend right: The Mill

The Mill Hillary Dixler

A perfect weekend for me starts with waking up early and walking to The Mill before the crowds arrive. Order any coffee that appeals to you (I am not ashamed of almond milk lattes) and dive head first into the toast. Get the always-available country toast with cinnamon sugar as well as a wild-card option. I particularly like when they have a honey-topped option and I always keep an eye out for the ever-changing jams. 736 Divisadero St., SF — HD

Image credit: Hillary Dixler/Instagram

For a trip back in time: The Ice Cream Bar

The Ice Cream Bar

Satisfy your inner child with a 1950s ice cream bar visit that's even better than what 10-year-old you could have imagined back then, since here there's booze involved. 815 Cole St., SF — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For solid soup dumplings: Dragon Beaux

Dumplings at Dragon Beaux Dragon Beaux

I wasn't in love with the rest of the extensive menu of dim sum and hot pots, but the soup dumplings here are delicate, brothy, porky, and irresistible. Get multiple orders and call it a day. 5700 Geary Blvd., SF — ST

Image credit: YueStudio Y./Yelp

April 29

For a better burger: TrueBurger

Oakland's answer to Shake Shack, TrueBurger offers up better-than-average burger. The burgers are simple, consisting of 5 ounces of ground beef cooked medium, with tomato, lettuce and garlic mayo, with options of cheese and/or bacon. (Pro tip: add grilled onions.) Milkshakes and garlic fries are also a must. 4101 Broadway Oakland — EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For the OG tiki experience: Trader Vic's

It's an integral part of tiki culture, nestled deep in Emeryville. Trader Vic's is where the mai tai hit the big time, and they're still pumping out 300 a night. High octane drinks, kitschy decor and fun for the whole family (seriously, there were kids in there at 10 p.m.) is found in this tropical oasis. The drinks are great, without the super craft cocktail aspect of a 2016 tiki bar. 9 Anchor Dr, Emeryville — EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For date-night: The Alembic

Alembic

The Alembic is always on point and never obnoxiously crowded. New cocktails are always in rotation, and I think they might have the best cocktail descriptions in town — slightly pretentious, but self-aware ("We infused Pisco with whatever we found when we looked up 'fresh.' I mean, you're on Haight Street,'" one reads). 1725 Haight St. — AD

Image credit: Chloe List

For an under-the-radar gem in the Tenderloin: Rusty's Southern

The Southern classics are good at Rusty's, but the restaurant's true finesse shines through in its vegetable melange with farro, a poached egg and Parmesan. Sure, it can feel embarrassing to order a vegetable dish when a country-fried steak or a barbecue plate are your other options, but trust. 750 Ellis St. — ST

For a bonkers burger: Scotland Yard

Scotland Yard Stefanie Tuder

Just look at this hulking, drippy mess of a badass burger. Eat it on the patio out back and win the weekend. 3232 Scott St. — ST

April 22

For late night food heaven: Tosca Cafe

Tosca is always good, but the time it really shines is post-midnight, when things get a little rowdy as the dining room trickles home and the bar crowd starts to swell. And the best part is its brand-new late night bar special, when pasta and a beer clocks in at $20. 242 Columbus Ave. — ST

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For a change of pace in FiDi: Bini's Kitchen

Stefanie Tuder

In the land of overpriced salads and mediocre sandwiches, Bini's Kitchen is a solid lunch alternative. Get the Gorkha chicken curry combo, which comes with rice and four turkey momo dumplings for just $10. And feel good knowing you're supporting a business that got its start at La Cocina, the non-profit that helps low-income, often minority women start food businesses. 2948 Folsom St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For a buttery, off-beat burger: Garaje

During the weekdays, Garaje is saturated with tech bros taking up all the tables with their incessant shouting about Crossfit and babes. But on Saturday (closed Sunday), this cash-only spot on SoMa turns quieter, making it ideal for catching a Giants game (on one of their many screens) and wolfing down their butter burger. It's just what it sounds like: chips of butter mixed into the patty prior to frying. Failing that, order the fried chicken sandwich. 475 3rd St. — BK

Image credit: Garaje

For a flavorful taste of Southern India: Juhu Beach Club

Bold flavors and textures make every dish at Juhu exciting, from the bhel salad with puffed rice to the curryleaf coriander shrimp. Dinner or weekend brunch are both ideal times to visit, with weekend offerings like dosa waffles a draw for those in need of a hangover cure. 5179 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland— EF

Image credit: Nathan Ziebell

For a not-so-casual place to try: Benu

Brimming with cash, time, and not sure where to dine? Hit Benu. Why not? Out of the four three-star Michelin sparklers in the Bay Area, Cory Lee's Hawthorne Lane joint ranks as the best of the bunch. From the famous "thousand year old quail egg" to "eel porridge," Lee's 17-course fixed-price menu, that transforms classic Asian ingredients into tiny bite-size miracles, is worth your money and a couple of hours. 22 Hawthorne St — BK

Image credit: Nick Solares


April 15

For some authentic Sichuan: Z & Y Restaurant

For my first proper dinner in San Francisco's Chinatown, I headed to Z & Y Restaurant where living legend Cecilia Chiang took the wheel and ordered for a table of friends from San Francisco and New York City. Some standouts from our order, which I never would have found on my own: The couple's delight, a chilled dish of beef tendon and other bits (ask for sauce on the side like Cecilia, who likes to manage spice levels herself), ribbons of bitter melon served with a side of honey for your drizzling pleasure, and the stunning, perfectly cooked whole fish with hand-pulled noodles. Go hungry, and go with good company. 655 Jackson St. — HD

For no-frills Mexican: Pancho Villa Taqueria

Brusque service, smoky air, fluorescent lights and long(ish) waits are all worth it at this fast-paced taqueria where no matter what you order — nachos, burritos or tacos — you can't go wrong. Be sure to load up at the salsa bar. 3071 16th St. — ST

For a no-rush meal: La Nebbia

This relaxed, neighborhood Italian trattoria is the ideal place for a chill night of catching up with friends over wine and pizza. 1781 Church St. — ST

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For peaceful lunch or dinner: Iyasare

Iyasare Ellen Fort

Iyasare is unreasonably pleasant for a light lunch in Berkeley, especially if you're eating the kaki-age tempura, a beautifully fried nest of burdock root, onion, sweet potato, and shiitaki mushrooms, served with a light broth for dipping; add the black tiger shrimp and it becomes almost a full meal. Sit on the zen-like patio that looks out onto Fourth Street for a relaxed, tree-lined dining experience. Add sake, repeat. 1830 Fourth St., Berkeley — EF

For a laid-back lunch: Southie

You may have heard of "The Balls," Southie's massive meatball sandwich that puts others to shame. Well, the rumors are true: it's a saucy, meaty lunch that gives you bang for your buck. If not feeling the sauce-factor, check out the fried chicken salad, or the "Spicy Hog" sandwich with pulled pork, slaw, jalapeño, and lime aioli on an Acme bun. It's close quarters in this small spot, but it's a great spot to people watch if you can snag the window seat. 6311 College Ave., Oakland — EF

April 8

For a selection of Chinese pastries: Fancy Wheat Field Bakery

This Chinatown bakery is gleaming white and filled with sneeze-guards galore. The a Chinese chain (there's also one in Portola), offering warm savory pastries like pork buns, alongside egg custard tarts, breads and all kinds of interesting pastries and desserts. Waltz in, grab a tray and some tongs, and start choosing your own adventure. 1362 Stockton St. —EF

Image credit: Jennifer C./Yelp

For a subway-tiled dream lunch: Foundation Cafe

This isn't your typical grab-and-go, FiDi Soylent equivalent (as in, it's just sustenance and nothing more). They've got breakfast and lunch that would make any hipster proud, including a garlicky kale caesar with the option of fried chicken. Veg options are also great, including a tofu and eggplant sandwich that even a carnivore can love. 335 Kearny St. —EF

Image credit: Jeff M./Yelp

Dragon Beaux

Of all the food I got here, the only thing I enjoyed were the soup dumplings. That being said, they were extremely good soup dumplings that I would return for and solely order. 5700 Geary Blvd. — ST

Image credit: YueStudio Y./Yelp

Terzo

Terzo

This ten-year-old Cow Hollow Mediterranean is a favorite for a reason: friendly service, cozy atmosphere and —most importantly — delicious food. It's a true neighborhood spot. 3011 Steiner St. — ST

Image credit: Terzo

Lucca's Delicatessen

Stepping into Lucca's is like stepping back in time; the 80-year-old Italian shop has salami hanging from the ceiling and people shouting out orders from every which way. The obvious order is the #1 Italian combo (salame, ham, mortadella, provolone, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, mild Italian pepper). There are a ton of other sandwiches, plus heaping salads, antipasti, meats and cheeses to satisfy your Italian-American cravings. Plus, it's family owned, which is always feel-good.

Image credit: Sasha H./Yelp

March 25

For seasonal Japanese fare in Marin: Village Sake

Village Sake

Bring a group for a parade of small plates. Must orders include the takoyaki, grilled shiitake and kimchi Brussels sprouts. Just don't order dessert — instead, read below. 19 Bolinas Rd. — ST

Image credit: Darrin S./Yelp

For inventive, hippie ice cream: Fairfax Scoop

Fairfax Scoop

Once you've had your fill at Village Sake, head around the corner to Fairfax Scoop for locally-sourced and creative flavors like vanilla honey lavender, bittersweet chocolate and olive oil. Of course get the homemade waffle bowl or cone. A serious plus is the low prices. 63 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax — ST

Image credit: Kymberli C./Yelp

For Cow Hollow's most mature people-watching: Belga

Belga

It's just plain pleasant to sit in Belga's light-drenched front room (avoid the back room at all costs) while sipping drinks, munching on food (the falafel plate is very underrated) and people-watching through the open front windows. 2000 Union St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For super fresh dim sum: Yank Sing

Yank Sing

Yank Sing ain't no secret in this town. This is just your reminder to go. 101 Spear St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For a legit spot on the Embarcadero: Hard Water

Hard Water

Order a whiskey flight and some fried chicken and call it a day. Pier 3 — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

March 18

For a super casual neighborhood bar: Ho's Bootleg Tavern

Ho's Bootleg Tavern

I've been to Ho's twice now, and both visits have been quite enjoyable. May I recommend the late-night doctored Top Ramen (served daily after midnight) or the 25-cent wings before 7 p.m. every day? 2360 Van Ness Ave. — ST

Image credit: Ho's Bootleg Tavern

For a bohemian respite with great food: Starline Social Club

The menu is small and ecclectic, but it is mighty. A soft-boiled farm egg on fried naan, with achar butter and cilantro left a lasting impression, and craving for more. Plus, the cocktails are top notch and the scene is way, way cooler than anything in San Francisco. 2236 Martin Luther King Blvd, Oakland —EF

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For a welcoming cocktail: Honor Kitchen and Cocktails

Ellen Fort

It's an unassuming gem, in the midst of Emeryville's highways and byways— so unassuming that it doesn't even have a sign. Inside, however, is a welcoming oasis of craft cocktails and menu items like bourbon chicken lollipops and housemade pretzels. 1411 Powell St., Emeryville— EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For a still-kept-secret in a city where there aren't many: Butterfly Lounge in the Majestic Hotel

Butterfly Lounge

It's quiet, comfortable and the bartender (and thusly, drinks) are a total delight. Head here for a solid cocktail (there's no menu, so just tell them what you like) with someone you want to really catch up with. 1500 Sutter St. — ST

Image credit: Vik P./Yelp

For drinks that will knock you out: Prizefighter

Ellen Fort

Every East Bay bartender will tell you that Prizefighter is the place they go on their day off, and the chill, dog-friendly scene with exceptional cocktails is the reason why. Try a bowl of punch with pals, or go for a cocktail from the "frosty" section of the menu, which includes pre-batched cocktails kept in the freezer and served in a frozen, double-walled glass. 6702 Hollis St, Emeryville — EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

March 11

For a quick and tasty ramen stop: Shiba Ramen

Emeryville lucked out with the addition of Shiba Ramen, the recently opened kiosk in the Public Market. Choose from a variety of broths, dry ramen and appetizers like gyoza and some exceedingly crispy chicken wings. 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville —EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For an authentic experience: Izakaya Rintaro

Izakaya Rintaro

Everything, from the funky miso to the creamy, silky tofu, is made in house at Izakaya Rintaro, and it really shows in the depth of flavor and quality of the food. Request a seat at the bar, which sits in front of the open kitchen, to watch the chefs at work while you munch on small Japanese plates. 82 14th St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For satisfying Chinese: Sam Wo

Sam Wo

The chicken jook at Sam Wo is Chinese comfort food at its best, especially in this weather. 713 Clay St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For a Jewish deli experience in Berkeley: Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen

House smoked pastrami, matzoh ball soup, bagels and lox, and latkes are just a few of the delicacies served at this cozy North Berkeley deli. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all great times to go, or grab some takeout from their deli counter. 1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley — EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

For a quick meal after a show at the Fox Theater: Xolo

The smaller version of Berkeley's Tacubaya, Xolo brings a quick Mexican experience to uptown Oakland. Plus, it has a chile relleno burrito. Insert a fried, cheese-filled pepper into the framework of a burrito and it's game on. 1916 Telegraph Ave, Oakland — EF

Image credit: Ranni K./Yelp

March 4

For one of the most underrated dining experiences in San Francisco: Californios

Californios

While most tasting menus are centered on technique, Californios' is not only technical, but also very flavorful. Definitely get the wine pairings, and also make a trip to the super trippy bathroom. 3115 22nd. St. — ST

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For getting all San Francisco and waiting in line (with a very good reward at the end): Mensho Tokyo

Mensho Tokyo

ZOMG, Mensho Tokyo is here. And San Franciscans are going nuts — with good reason. This bowl of ramen is fatty and salty in all the best rameny ways. 672 Geary St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For a no-fail bar: ABV

ABV

ABV is there for you when you need it. Superb cocktails, solid food, friendly bartenders, lively crowd. Definitely get the pineapple sherry. 3174 16th St. — ST

Image credit: Erica G./Yelp

For a tasty, hard-to-eat sandwich: Kojo Kitchen

What started out as a food truck is now popping up as brick-and-mortars over the Bay Area. The specialty here is a sandwich called a "koja," which combines Korean and Japanese flavors by plopping fillings like kalbi (Korean bbq short rib) between crispy rice patties. There are also bowls, tacos and salads for a flavorful, quick meal. 2395 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley — EF

For a crispy slice of seasonal pizza: Nabolom Bakery

Ellen Fort

The newly reopened Nabolom Bakery in Berkeley's Elmwood neighborhood now has seasonal pizza by the slice. One of the owners, Julia Elliott, spent years at the Cheese Board Collective, and has brought pizza wisdom to the beloved bakery. Stop by for a slice, or take a whole pie to go. 2708 Russell St, Berkeley — EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

February 19: Breakfast Week edition

For peak brunch vibes: Rose's Cafe

Rose's Cafe

The food at Rose's Cafe isn't going to rock your world, but that's not why you go. It's the atmosphere you're seeking out; those perfect buzzy-but-relaxing daytime brunch vibes everyone craves come Saturday morning. 2298 Union St., San Francisco — ST

Image credit: Nick S./Yelp

For a no-frills breakfast: Eddie's

Get in, get your eggs and hash browns and bacon and GTFO. 800 Divisadero, San Francisco — ST

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For a proper boozy brunch: Beretta

Beretta

Any brunch can be boozy, but few are with as classy of cocktails as Beretta. Get some pizzas and some legit drinks and start your day off right. 1199 Valencia St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For a luscious matcha latte: Craftsman and Wolves

CAW

Craftsman and Wolves is no secret, but its matcha latte is undeservedly under the radar. It's silky, lightly sweet and toasty-tasting. 1643 Pacific Ave. & 746 Valencia St., San Francisco — ST

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For a healthy start to the day: Basik Cafe

Basik Cafe

Frozen acai topped with granola and fruit. It's expensive and you'll have to wait in line, but you can pretend to be basic, just this once. 1958 Polk St., San Francisco — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

February 12

Le Beau Market

Possibly Nob Hill's best kept secret for breakfast foodstuff come weekends. You can't go wrong with their breakfast box with a side of french toast. They also carry numerous cold brew coffees and fresh juices. Nab a table out front or walk a few blocks to Huntington Park to chow down outside. 1263 Leavenworth St.—Sally Kuchar, Curbed

Image credit: adf

The Smokehouse

It's a Berkeley institution, offering char-grilled burgers, hot dogs and big bags of fries. It's been around decades- long enough to know it's a great place to grab a bite without setting your expectations too high. 3115 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley —EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort

Okane

Okane

Formerly Origami Market, this neighborhood izakaya has sushi and fried fish bits galore. The sake lees-cured black cod is a buttery delight, especially when accompanied by some chilled sake. 669 Townsend St. —EF

Ramen Shop

The Bay Area's ramen options are increasing, but this Oakland spot stays busy. The meyer lemon shoyu ramen is always a favorite (though the pork chashu is a delicious addition); now they have an expanded cocktail bar next door, and they've added a light morning offering on weekends. Coffee, tea and pastries available from 8 a.m.-noon on Friday-Saturday. 5812 College Ave, Oakland —EF

B-Dama

A quick and satisfying meal is always on the menu here, from a katsu curry plate to udon. Specials change daily at this delicious Japanese spot nestled in Old Oakland's Swan Market. 907 Washington Street—EF

February 5

For an after-work oasis: Leo's Oyster Bar

Sometimes you just want to hang with the cool kids, and that's currently at Leo's. Let the glam decor and luxe menu lure you into the weekend as you sip champagne and down oysters. 568 Sacramento St. — ST

Image credit: Patricia Chang

For the city's newest burger contender: Huxley

Huxley

If it is a burger you want though, Huxley is the latest place to go. Brand-new chef Manfred Wrembel is grilling up just four ounces of dry-aged ground chuck and topping it with a bacon wafer, fried onions, frisee lettuce, American cheese, MSG aioli and pickles. It's all on a nicely-toasted housemade onion bun that has a hint of pickle flavor (Wrembel uses pickle brine instead of water in the dough) and holds up well to all the dripping juices. 846 Geary St. — ST

Image credit: Misha Vladimirskiy/FilterlessCo.

For an under-the-radar dining experience to impress that special someone: Sorrel

Sorrel Sorrel

Take anyone (friend, date, boss, parent) to Sorrel, and they'll be impressed. It's hard not to be with the friendly service, good vibes and on-point food that chef Alex Hung and front-of-house Brennan Corbin are currently serving. And you'll get bonus points for being in-the-know on this once-weekly pop-up. Buy tickets here. — ST

Image credit: Sorrel/Facebook

For a place to work with good food and Wifi: Royal Ground on Polk

Royal Ground

Post up here on Saturday or Sunday morning and find no reason to leave. Royal Ground sustains you with coffee, tea, pastries, massive (and cheap!) banh mi sandwiches and free Wifi. 2216 Polk St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For low-key izakaya in a sea of sports bars: Chotto

Chotto

Two words: Bacon. Mochi. It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous, yet also ridiculously good. Not to mention Chotto's tender yakitori and flavorful small plates, there to save you when you just can't have another taco or burger in the Marina. 3317 Steiner St. — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

January 29

For a quick and tasty Mission taco: El Gallo Giro Taco Truck

El Gallo Giro Taco Truck

The sign of truly good carnitas is a mixture of moist meat and crunchy pieces. El Gallo Giro's got that down to a science, so make sure not to miss its overloaded carnitas taco next time you have a craving. Parked at the corner of 23rd Street and Treat Avenue, San Francisco — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For unpretentious food in Yountville: Ciccio

Ciccio

Anywhere you travel, you want to feel like a local. For Yountville, Ciccio is the place to do that. The homey-yet-lively Italian spot is full of good wine, of course, but it's the negroni list (seven kinds!) you should be after. Because sometimes you just need a proper drink (or three), wine country or not. Follow it up with stellar pizzas, handmade pastas and a shot at dive bar Pancha's next door. 6770 Washington St., Yountville — ST

Image credit: Pam M./Yelp

For Japanese comfort chicken: Aburu-Ya

Aburu-Ya

It's a Japanese fried chicken pop-up. What's not to love? Currently hunkering down at The Hatch, they've got wet curry, dry curry and more, plus miso ranch for dipping.  380 15th St., Oakland — EF

Image credit: Ryan M./Yelp

For creative pastries and sandwiches: Firebrand Artisan Breads

Firebrand Artisan Breads

Firebrand is the latest addition to the Hive, the multi-use space in Oakland. A multitude of breads, pastries and savory treats are on hand. And, Pal's Takeaway is there too, offering some seriously delicious lunchtime goods. 2343 Broadway, Oakland — EF

Image credit: Firebrand Artisan Breads

For early (and late-night) doughnut cravings: Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop

Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop Hillary Dixler Canavan

Bob's Donuts is a compelling argument for living in Nob Hill, or at least pretending you do for the morning. The old-timey booths are a perfect setting to enjoy the simple pleasure of fried dough and cheap coffee all served up by a remarkably cheerful staff. And the doughnuts are legit. Classics are the way to go here, whether that means bear claws, simple glazed, or the extra large apple fritters. 1621 Polk St., San Francisco — HD

Image credit: Hillary Dixler

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January 22

For a seriously baller meal: Bourbon Steak

Michael Mina is your man when you want an over-the-top dining experience, and Thomas Griese, Mina's new executive chef at Bourbon Steak, definitely understands that. Seared foie gras with persimmon, shellfish towers, caviar, lobster pot pie and a 50-ounce 30-day dry-aged bone-in Tomahawk can all make up your hugely delicious meal, finished by doughy beignets with 12-year Macallan caramel custard. Bring a credit card. 335 Powell St., San Francisco — ST

Image credit: Stefanie Tuder

For the ultimate in Californian cuisine: Chez Panisse Café

While you probably already know about Chez Panisse, this is a reminder to go. After all these years it easily lives up to all the hype of being essential to the nation's dining scene. The goat cheese salad, which inspired them all, is simple and perfect, the nettle and artichoke pizza is a flavor bomb on springy dough and the persimmon cake, which the kitchen is baking right now, is a homey, comforting expression of the seasonal fruit. Service is often a joy, which seals the deal as a perfect neighborhood spot. 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley — ST

Image credit: Bill Addison

For a refresh on an old favorite: Mission Chinese Food

Eater Archives

Mission Chinese Food opened as a "restaurant within a restaurant" in 2010, following the overwhelming success of its predecessor, Mission Street Food. Since then it's gotten mega-press and the chef Danny Bowien has gone on to open another location in NYC (and partners Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint just opened SF's most eco-friendly restaurant). Recently, the menu got a revamp and, good news: it's got all the goodies that you first loved (kung pao pastrami) and exciting new favorites (vegan dan dan noodles, cumin lamb larb). 2234 Mission St, San Francisco — EF

For a helping of "urban barbecue": Black Bark

Black Bark

This new addition is, according to chef/owner David Lawrence and wife/partner Monetta White, "bringing barbecue back to the Fillmore." Choose from Texas-style brisket, hot links, turkey legs and more; the sides include the likes of spicy collard greens and sweet potato fries. Grab a Mason jar full of beer and it's on. 1325 Fillmore St, San Francisco — EF

Image credit: Patricia Chang


For a hole-in-the-wall: Grocery Café

Grocery Cafe Ellen Fort

The secret is out on this teeny Burmese restaurant located deep in the heart of residential Oakland. It looks like a bodega from the outside (and on the inside, pretty much) and everything about it feels very homegrown. However, the menu includes the best versions of tea leaf salad, pork curry and samusas around. Drop by for neighborhood vibes and a flavorful meal. 2248 10th Ave., Oakland — EF

Image credit: Ellen Fort


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January 15

For soup for the soul: Waraku

Waraku

There has been so much news of upcoming ramen joints coming to the city, but none that have actually opened quite yet. That + the colder weather makes for serious noodle soup cravings, which are great to sate at Waraku. It's one of the longer waits in Japantown, but that's cause it's worth it. Go for the spicy tan tan noodles for a rich, red, hot broth that will clear out your sinuses. 1638 Post St., San Francisco — ST

For a quick, satisfying lunch that's not a sandwich: Rooster & Rice

Rooster & Rice

Khao man gai (Thai chicken and rice) is what you get (actually, it's all you can get) at Rooster & Rice in Cow Hollow, and it comes with chicken or tofu over white or brown rice with steamed vegetables, sauce and chicken broth. The chicken is impossibly moist and tender, a result of having been gently simmered for hours, and the broth is genuinely restorative in that annoying bone-broth-trend way. 2211 Filbert St., San Francisco — ST

For off-the-street tacos: Tacos Sinaloa

Tacos Sinaloa is now open in Berkeley, offering its signature tacos and seafood cocktails in a brick-and-mortar scenario. This is the first permanent location from the popular food truck, originally a staple in Fruitvale. They've got tacos, burritos, agua frescas and a selection of ceviches. However, there's not much seating so be prepared to grab your order and hit the road. 2384 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley —EF

For the most gorgeous toast in the East Bay: Bartavelle

Bartavelle and its menu may be small, but it has a strong following of devotees. The coffee is from Heart Roasters in Portland, and wine comes from Kermit Lynch (whose shop is located in the same building). Their "Persian Breakfast" is one of the freshest lunch options around, offering a beautiful array of labneh, sheepsmilk feta, cucumbers, fresh herbs, za'atar, June Taylor jam and fresh bread from Acme (which is also next door). And the toasts bring some strong competition to the game with fresh ricotta and seasonal toppings.1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley —EF

Image credit: Bunrab

For instant craveability: Burma Love

Burma Love

Burma Love is the slick Burmese restaurant you didn't know you needed in your life. Sort of like the tea leaf salad — a blend of fermented tea leaves, shredded lettuce, nuts, and beans all mixed tableside — that is an instant favorite. Over order coconut rice and curries so you have a great lunch the following day too. 211 Valencia St, San Francisco —HD

Image credit: Patricia Chang


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