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Where to Eat: East Bay and San Francisco



 

It’s ambitious to attempt to fit the east bay and San Francisco into a nutshell, but we’ll give it a try. Suffice it to say that the Bay area has no shortage of phenomenal dining options, from street food, diners, ethnic eateries, family-style, celebrity chef and Michelin starred restaurants. The biggest challenge is finding the time, budget, and amenable waistline to check it all out.

 

August 1 Five | Benu | Black Cat | Boulettes Larder + Boulibar | Bun Mee | Capo's Chicago | Cliff House | Commonwealth | Contrada | Craftsman and Wolves | Dabba | Epic Steak | Espetus Churrascaria | Frances | GatherHakkasan | Hopscotch | Hotel Mac Restaurant | Kin Khao | La Folie | Lolo | Lord Stanley | Maybeck's | Meritage | Mersea | Michael Mina | Namu Gaji | Nopa | Perry's | Pikanhas Brazilian Steakhouse | PizzaioloThe Pressed Cafe | Rich Table | Salt House | Serpentine | Sessions at the Presidio | State Bird ProvisionsThe ProgressTown Hall

 


 

August 1 Five 

Indian, $$ Lunch and Dinner

 

A seasonal menu inspired by the regional cooking of northern and central India breaks away from staples like curry. The interior makes an inviting atmosphere for modern interpretations of Indian cuisine. 

524 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco
415.771.5900, august1five.com

 

 

Benu

Asian, $$$ Dinner

 

Plan on a formal and sophisticated evening. The compositions on the tasting menu provide a full experience of this restaurant’s unique Asian fusion cuisine. 

22 Hawthorne St, San Francsico
415.685.4860, benusf.com

 

 

Black Cat

American, $$ Dinner

 

Grit meets glam at this jazzy Tenderloin supper club. Executive Chef Tu David Phu and Chef de Cuisine Robert Hurtado have designed a unique menu fusing American and international classics. Saigon bouillabaisse, California curry and Mayan ceviche tostada are some of the choices, along with timeless cocktails and live music in the downstairs lounge. Happy hour 5:30 to 7 p.m. 

400 Eddy St, San Franisco
415.358.1999, blackcatsf.com

 

 

Boulettes Larder + Boulibar

Mediterranean, $$$ Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

 

Head to the Embarcadero for savory flavors of lamb, feta and mint or the bittersweetness of barberry, bulgur and pomegranate salad. By day, have a cozy breakfast or lunch on the patio or by the open kitchen; days and evenings, the wood-oven dining room is also open and can be booked for small private parties. Bay Bridge views punctuate an unmistakably San Francisco setting.

1 Ferry Building, San Francisco
415.399.1155, bouletteslarder.com

 

 

Bun Mee

Vietnamese, $$ Lunch and Dinner

 

A fun and casual lunch spot that puts a flavorful twist on classic Vietnamese. Sit back in this playful space with a salad, bowl or sandwich and enjoy the stylish San Francisco vibes. 

2015 Fillmore St, San Francisco
415.800.7696, bunmee.com

 

 

Capo’s Chicago

Italian, $$$ Dinner

 

If you’re craving classic Chicago-style Italian and a venue to match, the endless pizza choices and flavorful pasta and meat selections here will more than satisfy your appetite and take you back in time to the mobster days of the 1920s.

641 Vallejo St, San Francisco
415.986.8998, sfcapos.com

 

 

Cliff House

California, $$ Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Great food, beautiful view and lots of history — what else could you want? An award-winning wine list? They have that too. Besides the popular Sunday buffet brunch, Cliff House features local, organic, sustainable ingredients and seafood on its everyday menu.

1090 Point Lobos, San Francisco
415.386.3330, cliffhouse.com

 

 

Commonwealth

American, $$$ Dinner

 

This progressive American restaurant is touted as one of the most creative dining experiences in the Bay Area. Chef Jason Fox's concepts are always evolving, and he aims to give guests something they don’t expect, taking a common ingredient and changing it to give the dish an element of surprise that’s rooted in familiarity.

2224 Mission St, San Francisco
415.355.1500, commonwealthsf.com

 

 

Contrada

Italian, $$$ Brunch, Dinner

 

Chef Jason Tuley (formerly of Picco in Larkspur) brings his own creativity to classic Cal-Ital cuisine. The restaurant boasts a 22-seat patio and a vast selection of wine. Expect dishes like crispy fingerling potatoes, beef brisket and pork shoulder meatballs, made complete with a decadent dessert selection.

2136 Union St, San Francisco
415.926.8916, contradasf.com

 

 

Craftsman and Wolves

American, $$ Breakfast, Lunch

 

At this contemporary pâtisserie in the Mission District, pastry whiz William Werner serves egg-filled muffins known as the Rebel Within, bonbons, coffee and many other sweet and savory baked goods.

746 Valencia St, San Francisco
415.913.7713, craftsman-wolves.com

 

 

Dabba

Indian, $$ Brunch, Lunch

Inspired by the Indian-Mexican restaurant Avatar’s in Sausalito, this concept comes from tech entrepreneur Andy Mercy and former French Laundry and Spruce chef Walter Abrams. Applying Abrams’ precision, palate and creativity to global culinary traditions, Dabba offers worldly flavors “wrapped in a California state of mind.” Marina location serves dinner.

71 Stevenson St, San Francisco
2240 Chestnut St, San Francisco
415.236.3984, dabba.com

 

 

Epic Steak

American, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

An upscale meat lover’s mecca with a sophisticated atmosphere, Epic Steak’s bayside eatery delivers on all fronts. Professional service, choice cuts of prime rib and bittersweet chocolate fudge cake are among the things that keep patrons coming back. An upstairs bar is also a happy hour favorite.

369 Embarcadero, San Francisco
415.369.9955, epicsteak.com

 

 

Espetus Churrascaria

Brazilian, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

This steakhouse boasts a tasting menu of 14 meat courses grilled with the traditional Brazilian method. Patrons control the pace of the prix fixe experience with colored signal cards. 

1686 Market St, San Francisco
415.552.8792, espetus.com

 

 

Frances

California, $$$ Dinner

 

San Francisco elegance meets comfort food. The local, seasonal menu complements any trip to the city. Bar is reserved for walk-ins, but reservations are recommended. 

3870 17th St, San Francisco
415.621.3870, frances-sf.com

 

 

Gather

American, $$ Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

 

Nicknamed the “omnivore’s solution,” this gem gets its menu inspiration from local farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers, but executive chef Anthony Lee’s micro-seasonal fare attracts vegans too. Brunch here is a weekend favorite (Berkeley).

2200 Oxford St, San Francisco
510.809.0400, gatherrestaurant.com

 

 

Hakkasan

Chinese, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

The rich-flavored slow-braised lamb and the crispy duck salad are popular at this San Francisco destination. Private dining rooms are offered: the Jade Room complete with lazy Susan and the larger Dragon Room for cocktail parties or dinners.

1 Kearny St, San Francisco
415.829.8148, hakkasan.com

 

 

Hopscotch

California, $$ Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

 

An upscale diner in Oakland serving regional American food with a Japanese influence. Popular items include yonsei oyster with sea urchin, salmon roe and citrus, and the First Base burger with grilled beef tongue. No time to dine in? The to-go menu features an eight-piece bucket of fried chicken. Happy hour 3 to 5 p.m. daily (Oakland).

1915 San Pablo Ave, Oakland
510.788.6217, hopscotchoakland.com

 

 

Hotel MacRestaurant

American, $$ Lunch and Dinner

 

Filled with old-world charm, this establishment has been serving American classics since 1911. Executive chef Jaime Molina’s seasonal menu features freshly prepared fish and favorites like Chicken Cordon Bleu. Weekly specials including Friday’s half-off bottles of wine keep patrons loyal, as does the live music featured nightly (Richmond). 

50 Washington Ave, Point Richmond
510.233.0576, hotelmacrestaurant.com

 

 

Kin Khao 

Thai, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

From spicy curries to pad kee mao (drunken noodles) and off-the-wall cocktails, the full-flavored Thai here is sure to impress. 

55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco
415.362.7456, kinkhao.com

 

 

La Folie

French, $$$ Dinner

 

Chef Roland Passot serves critically acclaimed fare in this intimate, family-run restaurant. It’s located in Russian Hill, but the menu highlights ingredients from farms in Marin and Sonoma and all along the Pacific Coast and the greater Northwest. 

2316 Polk St, San Francisco
415.776.5577, lafolie.com

 

 

Loló

Mexican, $$$ Brunch, Dinner

 

San Francisco-style Mexican cuisine fuses market-fresh ingredients with traditional dishes. The whole atmosphere is bright, colorful and festive, a reflection of Loló’s flavor-blasted menu.

974 Valencia St, San Francisco
415.643.5656, lolosf.com

 

 

Lord Stanley

American, $$$ Dinner

 

In the short time it’s been open, this eatery by husband-and-wife team Rupert and Carrie Blease has earned a Michelin star two years in a row and three-and-a-half stars from San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer. The onion petals with sherry vinegar is a favorite and not to be missed. 

2065 Polk St, San Francisco
415.872.5512, lordstanleysf.com

 

 

Maybeck's

American, $$ Dinner

 

Erik Lowe and Aaron Toensing serve inventive American standards, including fried chicken and bubbly on Tuesday and resurrection of Beef Wellington on Wednesdays. The chefs explore regional culinary traditions and translate them into a Northern California lexicon, as evidenced by their playful menu and a Negroni-centered bar.

3213 Scott St, San Francisco
415.939.2726, maybecks.com

 

 

Meritage

American, $$$ Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

The sweeping views and refined American cuisine are two reasons to visit this special-occasion hot spot nestled in the Claremont Hotel and Spa. Partnerships with local purveyors ensure that dishes highlight fresh seafood and produce. Start with lobster cocktail and finish with Death By Chocolate Cake for a decadent experience (Berkeley).

41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley
510.549.8510, fairmont.com

 

 

Mersea

American, $$ Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Executive chef and co-founder, Parke Ulrich — formerly of Lark Creek Inn, Epic Steak and Waterbar — started this exciting venture on Treasure Island. Mersea, which means “island oasis” in Old English, serves standard American comfort food like burgers, fish and chips and the like with a local-focused Bay Area twist. Also not to be missed are the curated cocktail menu and unbeatable views (Treasure Island). 

699 Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island, San Francisco
714.350.3889, mersea.restaurant

 

 

Michael Mina

California, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

Michael Mina has clearly mastered the fine line between award-winning art and Alaskan halibut. Each brilliantly crafted dish has a delicate blend of flavors that add up to a distinctive, luxurious dining experience. 

252 California St, San Francisco
415.397.9222, michaelmina.net

 

 

Namu Gaji

Korean, $$ Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

 

In a clean and natural interior with views of Dolores Park, shiitake mushroom dumplings and dishes made with produce from Namu’s private farm are among the many treats to discover. 

499 Dolores St, San Francisco
415.431.6268, namusf.com

 

 

Nopa

California, $$$ Dinner

 

The easy California menu shows off roasted chicken and pork chops, with a bouquet of appetizers to set the mood. Although this San Francisco destination is busy almost every night (a good sign), the wait at the legendary bar is half the fun.

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco
415.864.8643, nopasf.com

 

 

Perry’s

American, $$ Dinner

 

This Union Street institution with an Embarcadero location is famous for classic American food, personable service and a bustling bar. Signature dishes include Cobb salad, prime steaks, Eggs Blackstone and of course, the burger. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch weekends and holidays.

1944 Union St, San Francisco
415.922.9022, perryssf.com

 

 

Pikanhas Brazilian Steakhouse

Brazilian, $$ Lunch and Dinner

 

This all-you-can-eat steakhouse in Point Richmond offers different cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken that are slowly cooked with special grills to preserve all the natural juices and flavors (Point Richmond).

25 W Richmond Ave, Point Richmond
510.237.7585, pikanhassteakhouse.com

 

 

Pizzaiolo

Italian, $$ Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

 

An Italian gem opened in 2005 with a focus on topping his handmade pizzas with locally sourced meats and produce. The menu changes daily and includes house favorites like wild nettles and pecorino pizza and braised Marin Sun Farms pork with Tokyo turnips and apples. Breakfast is served Monday though Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon (Oakland). 

5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
510.652.4888, pizzaiolooakland.com

 

 

The Pressed Cafe

Italian, $$ Breakfast, Lunch

 

Tucked in the lobby of 3 Embarcadero Center, this Italian spot has a wide selection of paninis and artisanal coffee for breakfast and lunch. 

3 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco
415.781.0302

 

 

Rich Table

California, $$$

 

A bright, relaxed S.F. environment for dishes made from farmers’ market ingredients,,with creatively quirky cocktails and a comprehensive wine list.

199 Gough St, San Francsico
415.355.9085, richtablesf.com

 

 

Salt House

American, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

Owned by Mill Valley brothers Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal and Doug Washington, Salt House's chef Evan Gotanda's menu highlights a Japanese influence and includes seasonal dishes like roasted cauliflower with cashews, kabocha squash and furikake, as well as housemade pastas. 

545 Mission St, San Francisco
415.543.8900, salthousesf.com

 

 

Serpentine

American, $$ Brunch, Dinner

 

Owner/chef Tommy Halvorson, formerly of Chez Panisse, Bix and Gary Danko, puts his own Southern spin on the menu here. Honey fried chicken is a standout for brunch and dinner, as is a reimagined cocktail selection. 

2495 Third St, San Francisco
415.252.2000, serpentinesf.com

 

 

Sessions at the Presidio

American, $$ Lunch and Dinner

 

Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge, this restaurant has serious ties to Marin. The fruits, vegetables, herbs and olive oil hail from our county thanks in part to the restaurant’s partnership with Skywalker Ranch. Additionally, the 100 craft beer offerings, including 24 draft options, will keep beer lovers more than satisfied. 

1 Letterman Drive, San Francisco
415.655.9413, sessionssf.com

 

 

State Bird Provisions

American, $$ Dinner

 

From local seafood and seasonal vegetables to savory pancakes, not to mention the California state bird, this uncommon dim sum–style setup has a bit of everything. 

1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco
415.795.1272, statebirdsf.com

 

 

The Progress

California, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

The second venture from State Bird Provisions chef-proprietors Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski is as innovative as the first. Along with seasonal variations on favorites like roti, pierogis and meat-centric platters meant for sharing, sip on a craft cocktail or a pick from general manager and wine director Jason Alexander’s expansive wine list. 

1525 Fillmore St, San Francisco
415.673.1294, theprogress-sf.com

 

 

Town Hall

American, $$$ Lunch and Dinner

 

The exposed brick and warm, unconventional lighting turn Town Hall’s large space into an intimate yet elegant environment. With a more-than-adequate wine list and savory American classics like fried chicken with rosemary crushed marble potatoes, a visit here should be on everyone’s list. 

342 Howard St, San Francisco
415.908.3900, townhallsf.com

 

 

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