Bay Area Recommendations

Bakeries

San Francisco

Oakland + Berkeley

  • Firebrand Bakery - for their French Batard or the blackberry cream cheese danish. Other pastries were only okay. Their oat milk tumeric latte is great.

Restaurants

San Francisco

  • El Farolito - our favourite Mexican joint for tacos in the Mission. The

  • Hard Knox Cafe - two locations, fried chicken & corn bread. Need I say more?

  • Liholiho - tuna poke on seaweed cracker, beef tongue bao, roasted cauliflower, fried chicken / game hen.

  • Tselogs - Fillipino silog dishes. Near a lot of bars, good late-night stop. Where else are you gonna find food at 2AM in SF?

  • Nabe (2 locations) - Japanese nabe, they make a porridge with your soup at the end. Get the Kimchi + Kurobuta Pork set and order it with the pork shoulder. Amazing.

  • Mid-range sushi - Oma, Tsubasa, Sushi Zone, Eiji (their homemade tofu is great too!)

  • Seafood

  • European

    • Bellota - Spanish tapas, a bit pricey. Patatas bravas and the Brussels and the cauliflower. Skip the paella.

    • Italian Homemade - multiple locations, but I recommend the linked original. Down-to-earth delicious homemade pasta

    • Pizza Delfina - multiple locations, great pizzas, get the tripe appetizer

    • Montesacro Pinseria-Enoteca - Roman style pizza called “pinsa”. Lighter and just as yummy as pizza. Delicious appetizers too

  • Chinese

  • Ramen

    • Hinodeya - recommend the clam broth

    • Marafuku SF location - deluxe chicken is really good

Oakland + Berkeley

Rest of Bay Area

  • Din Ding (Union City and Fremont) - Excellent XLB soup dumplings and beef noodle soup

  • Bing’s Dumpling (Fremont) - Excellent XLB, prefer the

  • Mama Chef (Santa Clara) - Casual Taiwanese, excellent beef noodle soup and other Taiwanese snacks

  • Red Hot Wok (Cupertino) - Taiwanese

  • China Bee (San Mateo) - Taiwanese

  • Sumika (Los Altos) - Excellent yakitori in Los Altos

  • Ad Hoc (Yountville) - TK’s casual restaurant that serves fantastic buttermilk fried chicken. Up in Yountville. Worth a visit if you’re up in Napa

Coffee / Cafe

San Francisco

These are places that either have good coffee or are good for chilling in (or both)

  • Blue Bottle (many locations in SF) - get a waffle

  • The Interval At Long Now - cool space, near Marina, also a bar with yummy drinks

  • Red Door Coffee - great coffee spot to meet someone, located inside art gallery!

  • The Mill - beautiful space to hangout in and get coffee. They’re famous for the fancy toasts.

  • Trouble Coffee - good coffee, good toast

  • Other SF Third Wave Coffee Shops - 4B, Reville, Sight Glass (beautiful SOMA location for hanging out)

  • i-Tea (many locations, but I like the one on Kearny best) - get the mango pomelo sago

  • Asha Tea house - good tea-based boba drinks

Oakland + Berkeley

Desserts

San Francisco

  • Ice Cream - Smitten (many locations, get the Tcho 60% choco), Bi-rite (2 locations), Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous, Humphry Solocombe (‘Secret Breakfast’ flavor - bourbon and corn flakes)

  • Kowloon Tong - HK style dessert cafe

Bars

Most of these are cocktail bars. Some are restaurants with really good bars.

San Francisco

Fancy ($100+ per person)

San Francisco

  • Kokkari - Greek. So delicious. Get the lamb chops and grilled fish.

  • Californios - modern fancy Mexican. 2 Michelin stars. It’s just really delicious and a much better experience than all the other 2 + 3 stars I’ve been to. Great for special occasion.

  • Fancy Omakase Sushi - Kusakabe (less traditional), Wako (more traditional), Hinata (less traditional), Ju-ni (less traditional), Robin (less traditional)

    • I don’t super recommend eating (paying for) omakase in SF, but these are delicious if you want to. Just not terribly great bang for buck versus Japan

    • I don’t recommend Kinjo anymore. Changed chefs, blah. However, a sushi chef recently encouraged me to try it again.

    • I don’t recommend Hashiri. Very pricey for not amazing sushi.

    • Have heard good things about Ijji and Omakase, but have not tried them myself yet.

  • In Situ - Restaurant inside SFMoMA. Really interesting concept. Presents famous dishes from all over the world.

East Bay

  • Fancy Omakase Sushi - Utzutzu (Alameda)

    • I don’t recommend the much-lauded Yoshizumi (San Mateo). It’s pricey and not very consistent. Service is also oddly Chinese.

  • CDP - the little sister “bar lounge” of 2 Michelin Star Commis. Highly recommend getting the house levain bread with chicken skin butter, and the cured egg yolk and allium puree. The latter is a Commis signature and super good with the warm bread. CDP also has great cocktails

    • Honestly, skip Commis.