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Hot Ham sandwich from Lucinda’s Deli and More.
Lauren Saria

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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Where to find a hefty ham sandwich, top-notch Nepalese food, and over-the-top nigiri in the Bay Area right now

There’s certainly no shortage of excellent food to be found in San Francisco and the Bay Area — but there’s plenty worth skipping, too. Luckily for you, Eater editors dine out several times a week (or more) and we’re happy to share the standout dishes we encounter as we go. Here’s the best of everything the Eater SF team has eaten recently. Check back weekly for more don’t-miss dishes.


August 12

Hot Ham sandwich at Lucinda’s Deli and More

Lauren Saria

With apologies to everyone if I jinx it for us, I can’t help but note this San Francisco Fogust has been decidedly un-foggy. And since a sunny day in this city is truly something to cherish, this week I made time to soak up some vitamin D at Alamo Square Park during lunch. If you, too, would like to enjoy a perfect al fresco midday meal with views of those famous Painted Ladies, I highly suggest placing an online order and stopping first at Lucinda’s Deli and More, literally kitty-corner from the southwest corner of the green. The Italian American is a popular choice while others favor the tuna melt — but, hey, why not buck the trend and go for a hefty Hot Ham sandwich? With a high wind threatening to snatch napkins and discarded brown paper wrapping, hold tight to this enormous sub, which balances an inch-high stack of Boar’s Head ham with nose-clearing grated horseradish, thick slices of tomato, arugula, garlic mayo, and gently pickled carrots and cucumbers. A slab of crusty ciabatta makes a sturdy base, softening only slightly if you find you need to save your second half for later. Lucinda’s Deli & More, 535 Scott Street, San Francisco.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor

Aloo gobi at Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House

Paolo Bicchieri

On the side of the road, next to a vape shop and behind houseplants set loose upon a concrete patio to grow high like hay in summer, a squat office building plays host to Nepalese food as good or better than any I’ve found in San Francisco. The entrees at Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House in Sebastopol, including a well-spiced aloo gobi and a subtle and sumptuous vegetable biryani, were accompanied by steaming aloo tiki and pakora vegetables crisped into ball-like bites. Rather than feeling stiffed with small portions, I couldn’t believe how much food came with each item: aloo tiki arrived stacked in a pyramid of 10 or so chewy and flavorful patties, and the cilantro in the sauce, most likely dhaniya ko achaar, rang bright. The price point, too, was a relief: $7 for the pakora, $14 for the aloo gobi, and $19 for the hardy biryani. While Dancing Yak remains a favorite in the Mission and my girlfriend cherishes Himalayan Pizza and Momo in the Tenderloin, if anyone should find themselves in need of an escape from the city and heading north, give yourself the treasure of a stop at this quick-serviced, unsung restaurant. Himalayan Tandoori and Curry House, 969 Gravenstein Highway South, Sebastopol.

Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter

Big Mac nirigi at Chome

Lauren Saria

Stepping off the crowded sidewalk on Mission near 18th Street and into the itty bitty dining room at Chome truly does feel like being instantly transported to another world. No more than half a dozen tables congest the tiny space, which is chaotically decorated with strings of flags, twinkling lights, flowers spurting out of recycled wine bottles, and a number of cheeky signs — “there’s no place like here,” one rightfully proclaims. The menu is similarly and pleasantly all over the place, forcing diners to compile a meal from options including sashimi, a range of charcoal-grilled skewers, crispy brussels sprouts, ramen, udon carbonara, and so incredibly much more. Considering all that, the existence of the Big Mac nigiri kind of only makes sense: an over-the-top piece of sushi stacking A5 wagyu under a thick slice of fatty tuna belly under a gob of creamy uni all capped with a spot of inky black tobiko and some truffle sauce, just for good measure. It’s not likely you’ll need more than one order, and splitting the pair with a dining companion might be the recommended move. But you can’t deny the pleasure of indulging in a bite that’s at once too much and, in a way, just enough. Chome, 2193 Mission Street, San Francisco.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor


August 5

Uni creme brulee at Third Cousin

Paolo Bicchieri

Legend goes that chef Greg Lutes of Bernal Heights’ Third Cousin tried to impress an old flame with uni flan and failed so hard he needed a parachute before serving the dish — so he opted for caramelizing sugar on top of the not-flan. The result is, as my girlfriend describes it, like ocean butter. This savory and sweet ode to umami is exquisite and executed, conceptually and flavorfully, just as it should be. If there’s something special about shelling out big money for dinner (though, to be fair, Third Cousin falls on the affordable side of fine dining) it’s for food that one could never even imagine, like this dish. The bread (or gluten-free crackers) stand in as crunchy portkeys for the caviar, roe, and tobiko, all perched atop the whipped eel. The entire meal, a smorgasbord ranging from octopus with nectarine and lobster risotto, provided a hearth on the otherwise blustery hill Cortland Avenue arcs over; duck confit was tender and chewy, and lime mango panna cotta provided the ultimate zing. Like a startling exclamation point, though, our conversation returned again and again to Lutes’ signature dish. Third Cousin, 919 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco.

Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter

Sea scallop tartare at Monsieur Benjamin

Dianne de Guzman

I don’t know whether to blame the pandemic or my lack of skill at making anything related to seafood, but after being seafood deficient since 2020, I’ve spent this entire summer of venturing out for as much crudo, ceviche, tartare, and sushi as I can get my greedy hands on. Case in point: this scallop dish from Monsieur Benjamin. Sure, one could argue that these scallops, seated on a bed of ice, were meant as a shared appetizer among two civilized humans. But, I could also argue that I don’t care. I felt a twinge of guilt as the huge tray of ice and scallops slid in front of my solo seat at the bar, but honestly, I tried a piece and knew in my goblin heart it was probably best I didn’t share. The scallops are chunked into bite-sized pieces and tossed with chives, minced Fresno chili, yellow Chartreuse, and a smidge of lemon zest. Each spoonful gave creamy, umami, seafood-y bites of scallop, with light heat and crunch from the chilis, and brightness from the lemon. I didn’t stick around for dinner, unfortunately, but here’s a secondary shout-out to the oeuf mayonnaise — Monsieur Benjamin’s take on the deviled egg — which thankfully you can order individually by the half-egg and go as gluttonous or restrained as you’d like. Monsieur Benjamin, 451 Gough Street, San Francisco.

— Dianne de Guzman, Eater SF deputy editor

Beignet at Just For You Cafe

A powdered sugar-dusted beignet on a white plate. Lauren Saria

On a sunny afternoon, I stopped into this Dogpatch cafe for a late solo lunch, planning to scarf a shrimp po’boy and beignet while digging out of a deep email backlog. Then the friendly server asked if I’d like to start my meal or end it with the sugar-dusted doughnut and, after taking a brief pause, I realized, why not start a meal with dessert? So I did. The single, side plate-sized pillow of dough arrived almost immediately and in my excitement, I ripped in right away — a silly beginner’s mistake. A ripping hot puff of air assaulted me as soon as I bit in, followed by a torrent of dusty sugar falling all over the table and my shirt. But I kind of didn’t care. A little burn and a lot of mess was honestly a small price to pay for the simple pleasure of hot, fresh, and perfectly puffy beignet enjoyed at a sun-soaked window-side table on a weekday afternoon. Just For You Cafe, 732 22nd Street, San Francisco.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor


July 29

Ankimo and ikura handroll at Handroll Project

A handroll made with rice, ikura, and grated front monkfish liver held in a wooden U-shaped stand on a counter. Lauren Saria

If you’ve ever wondered, “Could I really eat 11 handrolls in just over an hour?” Let me confirm: Yes, you can. Or at least, I can and easily did because the handrolls at Handroll Project are so incredibly diverse that inhaling fistfuls of sushi rice, wrapped in thick sheets of nori and gilt with fresh fish, somehow just leaves you wanting more. Chef Geoffrey Lee, also the culinary talent behind Michelin-starred Ju-Ni and Hina Yakitori, works magic on the temaki form, turning each bite into a marvel of contradictions — through the juxtaposition of sweet, creamy scallops and fresh avocado against the delicate crush of amber tobiko and with the contrast of finely chopped tuna layered over a brightly medicinal shiso leaf and dusted a scattering of shallots. But the most perfect example of these beguiling contrasts comes in the form of the ankimo and ikura handroll, a riff on one of Ju-Ni’s most-famous plates. Lee sinks creamy monkfish liver pate to sub-Arctic temperatures before dropping a thick mantle over house-smoked ikura. The cold shavings of fatty ankimo blanket a trove of crimson orbs of caviar, each bursting with oceanic flavor. Handroll Project, 598 Guerrero Street, San Francisco.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor

Cucumber salad at Slug

Dianne de Guzman

I stopped into Slug with a friend this week, excited to try a handful of dishes alongside some glasses of wine as we caught up. While everything we ate was impressive — and so pretty — the dish that stood out most was the cucumber salad. I already wrote about it after chef Spencer Horovitz really dug into the details, but what I will say in this space is that I was really impressed with the textures and how they played against the umami flavors. There’s the crunchiness of the cucumbers, but also the different-crunchiness of the crispy chickpea crumble, and the other-other crunchiness of thinly sliced radishes. On the umami side, the kombu-poached potatoes give diners exactly that, but also serve as a softer texture; the roe then gives some nice tiny pops of salt. To be quite honest, I can’t even really begin to tell you what the base is, but my friend and I dragged every bit of vegetable we could through that sauce. And as a secondary dish alert: Get the scallop crudo. If you like crudo. Oh, and anything on the menu that includes a side of butter. Trust. Slug, 102 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland

— Dianne de Guzman, Eater SF deputy editor

Verdura di mercato at Che Fico

Paolo Bicchieri

After three to four hours incinerating in an oven at 200 degrees, the tomatoes lacked any semblance of firmness through the glacially slow transformation. Corn is served beneath the jammy discs in two ways: the whole kernel, offering a necessary textural balance, and as almost a sauce, distilled through a sieve. My dad and I — Pops as he’s known — were stunned at Che Fico’s newest item: can tomatoes really taste like this? Isn’t there something else hidden in this dish? How have we, two Italian Americans, not tried such fine food from our culture before? We couldn’t contain our glee. This recent vegan addition to the menu came after an order of melone, also vegan, another simple and dense plate accompanied by smoky olive oil, basil, and mint. We devoured an order of fresh mozzarella which, allegedly, goes from curd to table in about eight minutes. The eggplant comes caramelized and adorned with chunks of ricotta like tiny, creamy cotton balls. The polenta, an item I have massive affection for writ large, had echo chambers of flavor and depth in its parmigiano-laden bowl. For all of the hubbub about Che Fico’s “controversial fee,” the bottom line is my meal far exceeded any expectations I had going up those stairs. Kyle, our server, was knowledgeable, gregarious, and, at least in my books, an honorary paisano. Che Fico, 838 Divisadero Street, San Francisco

Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter


July 22

Wedge salad at Ashes & Diamonds

Dishes of food including a wedge salad, steak, and roasted chicken. Lauren Saria

For the most part, Napa Valley visitors probably aren’t planning their wine tasting itineraries around food — which is kind of shame because that means a lot of people are probably missing out on the excellent but still-approachable lunch at Ashes & Diamonds. The gorgeous mid-century modern tasting room and the lineup of lively wines make A&D a logical destination for any wine country vacationer, but, if I’m being honest, it’s chef Ethan Speizer’s menu I’m still stuck on several days later. The full wine and food experience ($165) includes a tasting and family-style lunch that might start with sous chef Madison Gabor’s addictively thick and crispy fermented potato bread with tangy labneh and culminate with a whole roasted chicken, sporting suntanned skin and floating on a bed of sturdy black chickpeas. Twice now I’ve enjoyed an excellent iceberg wedge salad, drowned in herby green goddess dressing and showered with a made-in-house furikake blend featuring crispy garlic and crunchy quinoa. It’s the kind of salad that’s eminently satisfying in its simplicity, the type of dish you want to imagine you could recreate at home — but know you’ll probably never attempt and probably couldn’t even come close to approximating well. Which, I guess, is probably fine since it gives me a good excuse to get back to A&D again soon. Ashes & Diamonds, 4130 Howard Lane, Napa.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor

Seed loaf with yummy spread at Firefly

Paolo Bicchieri

Let me begin by saying I have an affectionate place in my heart for loaves of all kinds. Growing up on every birthday I begged for meatloaf, polenta pasticciata, and asparagus; but once I was diagnosed with celiac and started to eat less meat, meatloaf was not so doable. Eating this appetizer at Noe Valley’s Firefly, in a small way, brought me back to the sweetness of eating what I want with zero fuss or hassle. The seed-filled, thick partitions of loaf fill in for bruschetta or garlic bread, and the white bean dip is worthy enough to apply to the other dishes at the table. Such other important orders include: Japanese sweet potato tostones with spicy citrus–ginger glaze (crunchy, chewy, subtly sweet), heirloom tomatoes and nectarines served on top of vegan cream cheese and vegan feta (ultra tangy and oily, a major highlight), and quinoa and pine nut-stuffed round squash (I much preferred the starters to this entree, though the hardiness warmed my soul like stew on a cold foggy night). The entire menu is gluten-free, and moreover, almost all of it can be made vegan. The seed loaf is also only $10, a rarer and rarer price point these days. Throughout the whole meal, I kept wishing for more slices of seed loaf with more yummy spread — for the record, that’s the dish’s official name. Maybe it’s my nostalgia goggles, but I could go for a starter of seed loaf any night of the week. Firefly Restaurant, 4288 24th Street, San Francisco

Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter

Salted egg yolk milk tea at U :Dessert

Dianne de Guzman

Somehow, I’ve never stepped into a U :Dessert Story before — a tragedy, yes — yet I’ve certainly seen its confections on social media, photo-ready Asian American desserts such as many-layered crepe cakes or bingsu loaded with chunks of fruit over shaved ice. This week I ventured in and was lured into trying the salted egg yolk milk tea. As a disclaimer, I’m not well-versed in this savory ingredient as a drink flavor, but, as background, for the last two years I’ve just about tried every salted egg yolk chip or snack I could get my hands on in the Bay Area. When my drink arrived, it came with a thick cheese cream top and crumbles of egg yolk sprinkled over, while the glass itself had a thin layer of a salted egg yolk spread at the top. Rather than the funky, hit-you-in-your-face punch that salted egg yolk chips have — and I mean this in the best way! — the drink was a nice, not-too-sweet milk tea that had a pleasantly subtle savory undertone to it. This was well-balanced and pleasant for an afternoon break. U :Dessert Story, 1849 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

— Dianne de Guzman, Eater SF deputy editor


July 15

Kimchi pancake at the Crew

Paolo Bicchieri

I was much younger and working as a supervisor at a Korean restaurant in my hometown when I first tried kimchi, but until last week, I’d never tried it in its pancake modality. I was initially convinced gooey cheddar cheese strung between onion and cabbage held together this crispy circle — at least until my pal popped that balloon, muttering between bites, “egg.” The richness achieved in this simple dish, topped with green onion and (for the bold) hot sauce, is pretty wild. The pancake ($18.95) eats more like a vegetarian pizza, cut into tremendous slices and served with a paddle, though I manhandled the triangles until my fingers were oily. It doubled as a chance to reflect on the joy of saddling into a restaurant I’ve never tried, in this case the Crew on Noriega, rather than hitting my staple places. I learned from Eater NY food critics Ryan Sutton and Robert Sietsema to walk a neighborhood and see where people are eating right around the corner from the place you’ve been told is so great, to pay attention to who’s eating what and where. As I whipped through the last slice of kimchi pancake, a few soccer jersey-wearing teenagers and somebody’s parent came in and sat down. Young people, old people, newbies, seasoned pros — some food stands the test of time, no matter when you come to it. The Crew, 1330 Noriega Street, San Francisco.

Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter

Black curry and A5 wagyu at Nisei

A piece of A5 wagyu beef with a black pool of curry and local morel mushrooms. Lauren Saria

I’ll cut right to the chase: It’s been almost a full year since Nisei, chef David Yoshimura’s fine dining Japanese restaurant debuted in Russian Hill, and if you’ve been waiting for the restaurant to get settled before heading in for the 10-course tasting menu, now is officially the time. There was not a single miss during my recent dinner, starting with a Salazar oyster luxuriating in a bed of English pea and wasabi foam and culminating with an exquisite cup of miso soup fortified with lamb bone and served with seasonal tsukemono, lamb fat infused Rue & Forsman Ranch rice, and an incredibly tender rack of lamb. From Day One, Yoshimura’s black curry — an obsidian wonder, luxurious and all-at-once mild, sweet, and rich — has been a stunner, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that the supplemental course starring it earned a spot as my favorite of the night. It might sound like heresy, but the kitchen served that inky substance with a ribbon of deep-fried — yes, deep-fried — A5 wagyu wrapped in a thin milk bread crust. It was a wonder of textural contradictions with that delicately crunchy bark encasing buttery soft beef. Pure genius. Nisei, 2316 Polk Street, San Francisco.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor

Halo-halo lumpia at the Lumpia Company

Pieces of banana are wrapped in a fried, crispy lumpia wrapper with small sauce containers of ube dipping sauce and Rice Krispies cereal. Dianne de Guzman

If my best dish from last week was a reminder of why comfort food is Good, then this week’s is about the nice things that can happen when you try something new. I was ordering some (savory) lumpia from the Lumpia Company window when I spied this halo-halo dessert lumpia special on the board, stuffed with banana, coconut jelly, red bean, and jackfruit. I will admit I was skeptical, but as halo-halo is a longtime childhood favorite, I was also willing to take a gamble. I was delighted to find that while this dish was certainly halo-halo-y, in my mind it played more like turon — a Filipino snack of banana and jackfruit in a fried, caramelized lumpia wrapper — on steroids (and for what it’s worth, it’s billed more as turon on social media). The banana and jackfruit acted as a base, while the beans added a tiny bit of bite and smooth, creamy texture, and the coconut jelly contributed just that tiny bit of extra-ness that I certainly didn’t hate. And rather than a caramelized exterior these were churro-ized with a combination of sugar and cinnamon rolled onto the outside of the wrapper. There were accompanying cups of ube custard sauce and Rice Krispies to complete the halo-halo experience, but honestly the halo-halo lumpia turon was good on its own. The Lumpia Company, 372 24th St, Oakland.

— Dianne de Guzman, Eater SF deputy editor


July 8

Liberty Farm Peking Style Roast Duck at Mister Jiu’s

Liberty Farm Peking Style Roast Duck at Mister Jiu’s. Lauren Saria

With a good reason to celebrate on the calendar, I rounded up a group of friends and demanded (not an exaggeration) we go to Mister Jiu’s to mark the occasion by sharing one of this city’s most iconic dishes. We slid into one of the plush semi-circle booths, with views of Chinatown beyond the open windows, and before our server had the chance to take our drink order I submitted my request: “We’d like to order the duck.” In my defense, it does take a full hour for the glossy bird to arrive at your table, but the time passed in a blink as we ripped apart a fluffy sourdough scallion pancake, dug into a mountain of fried rice topped with shards of crispy chicken skin, and sipped glasses of crisp chenin blanc. Then came the main event: a gorgeous umber platter of duck, sliced to reveal dusty pink meat. It doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say a paper-thin pancake wrapped around a smoky slice of duck, slathered with peanut butter hoisin and a dollop of liver pate, then buried under a flurry of cilantro and thin-sliced green onion is one of the best bites in San Francisco. Mister Jiu’s, 28 Waverly Place, San Francisco.

— Lauren Saria, Eater SF editor

Stuffed squash blossoms and porcini mushrooms at Boulevard

Paolo Bicchieri

For those who follow my dining exploits throughout the city, my affinity for a well-prepared, meaty mushroom will come as no surprise. Boulevard, the waterfront restaurant with a Hearst Mansion-like interior design, prepares the fungus for those looking for a high class meal with zero fleshy bits. My server guided me through the menu with tactful precision: I’d want to start with the heirloom tomatoes, order the squash blossoms and mushrooms for my main, and end with the French and Sebastopol cheese selection (with gluten-free crackers). After the first bite into the oily tomatoes, cut like peaches and topped with coarse salt, I knew my server was a real one. And the main may be the most well-balanced dish I’ve eaten — the delicate texture of the squash blossom totally supported by the crisp crunch of snap peas, with the artichoke heart and mushroom both serving as proper chewy vehicles for fava tabbouleh. This restaurant is a welcome postscript to any vegetarian list — for the vegans, not so much. Those final dabs of Northern California cheese paired with grapes for dessert are high caliber creamy, meaning the animal lovers are best suited to sit this one out. Boulevard, 1 Mission Street, San Francisco

Paolo Bicchieri, Eater SF reporter

Hoi An chicken rice at Bodega SF

Dianne de Guzman

I know as food writers we’re meant to be adventurous eaters, trying the latest things and thinking up creative ways to describe it. But sometimes what I want out of a meal is something comforting, done well, and when that happens, it’ll win me over for the entire week. That’s the case with anything chicken rice-related, which I will oftentimes try to force myself away from ordering, so I can try a New Thing, but when I happen to succumb to my base urges to order something I’ve had many times over, I’m reminded of why it’s a solid go-to. Such is the case of the Hoi An chicken rice at Bodega SF. I dropped in for a lunch and while there were plenty of other delicious looking options, I decided to go with my tried-and-true. It was just a lovely dish of flavorful turmeric chicken rice topped with crispy shallots, poached chicken with slivers of thinly sliced onion and cilantro leaves, and a flavorful broth to sip as I worked my way through lunch. It’s such a comfort food item for me, I am glad I listened to my gut and caved in. (And because it’s turning into my tradition to tack on an extra dish, I have to also shout out the banh cuon rice rolls — worth an order if you have room for it.) Bodega SF, 138 Mason Street, San Francisco.

— Dianne de Guzman, Eater SF deputy editor

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