January 2023 Yan Peninsula replaces Old school dim sum Zen Peninsula is a Cantonese Chinese restaurant in Millbrae. This name almost sounds like a half baked effort to change the name. Long time stalwart Hong Kong Flower Lounge recently closed, making this a great time to sweep up business. Zen had previously been one of the goto places for banquets, weddings and the like. Millbrae is ground zero for some of the most popular Chinese food in the SF Bay area with spots like:
Lava Lava Beach Club
Several years delayed because of the Pandemic (2021 was the last one), The New 2022 Michelin Guide California was released on 12/5/2022. It now covers all of California, not just San Francisco.
Why did we dine here? – Osmanthus is a Chinese dim sum restaurant in the heart of North Beach, on Broadway, where Enricos used to be. Several family members have been there and they liked it, and we also saw it on the SF Chronicle’s List of top Dim Sum, so we finally ate there.
Moody’s Bistro & Bar is a high end Mountain comfort food restaurant in downtown Truckee. Local, organic, seasonal focus or as they tell it – Moody’s food philosophy is “fresh, local, seasonal and simple”. Chef de Cuisine is Guy Frenette. The Restaurant opened in 2006. Moody’s has live music on some nights, call ahead. Our last visit was during a trip to the mountains in 2022.
Cheung Hing replaces China Village Seafood Restaurant in Belmont, California just off the Highway 101 Ralston Exit. The former have been around since 1996, serving dim sum during both lunch and dinner, as well as standard Cantonese Chinese cuisine but changed hands in 2022. It appears that they may have a similar menu and chef from before. The interior and exterior are still the same too, so is the phone number.
Sofitel Hotel – Moorea, French Polynesia
Youngs Lobster Pond, Belfast, Maine
Greens Restaurant has been serving vegetarian fare since 1979. Their Marin based Green Gulch Farm provides much of the produce. Greens was a pioneer in the early days, nowadays we have many more plant centric restaurants like Wildseed, Baia, Shizen, etc. Today almost every fancy restaurant accommodates vegetarians to some degree. The menu changes all the time.
Sorella is an anxiously awaited casual sister restaurant to Michelin starred Acquerello. In fact it means sister in Italian! It is located where 1760 once was. Having this pedigree, we quickly added it to our must visit list. We’ve dined here twice, the last time at the end of 2022.
We bought an Ooni Koda 12 Gas Powered Pizza Oven and took months to be able to reliably shape, stretch and cook a pizza.
Here are 3 videos to help your turbocharge your pizza making!
Why did we dine here? – Dumpling Home was featured in the SF Chronicle for Xiao Long Bao or Soup Dumplings making us really want to try it. We are big fans of these delicate little steamed dumplings and have eaten them all over the world including Shanghai. The two best spots have been Din Tai Fung in Santa Clara and Yank Sing, SF. We have dined here several times. Our last visit was during the start of 2023.
Why here? – Good Good Culture Club is a hot restaurant from the folks behind Liholiho Yacht Club. They serve Lao, Filipino fusion cuisine and has a party atmosphere. This restaurant is located in the heart of the Mission District, where Farina once stood.
Why Here? A Mano or by hand in Italian, is a California Italian restaurant from Adriano Paganini’s group that runs many local restaurants including Super Duper, Delarosa, and Belga. A nice neighborhood joint in the trendy Hayes Valley area. We are big fans of pasta and pizza, so we had to give it a try.
Kauai Restaurant Reviews from our visit to the Garden isle in May 2022
Lots of local food trucks and Hawaiian favorites. We did not dine in once! None of these requires reservations.
Checkout reviews of the other Hawaiian Islands
Why did we dine here? – San Ho Won is a super popular Korean Restaurant which opened in the fall of 2021 and is a collaboration between Corey Lee and Jeong-In Hwang. They use tock for their reservation system, in which you have a pre-pay
a $25/person deposit. It was very hard getting a reservation here.
Why did we dine here? – Din Tai Fung is a popular Xiao Long Bao (It means small bamboo steamer bun in Chinese) – Shanghai Steamed Soup dumpling restaurant with locations in Bellevue, Seattle, Southern California, Taiwan, Japan, China, Indonesia, Macau, Singapore, and several other countries. Few Chinese dishes generate so much obsession. Think of it like a quest to find the best burger or pizza. We have been to this location several times.
Why did we dine here? – Lily is a Modern Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco is inner Richmond District. Sort of a neighborhood joint kicked up a notch. The Chef Rob Lam used to run restaurant Butterfly on the waterfront. There are a ton of VERY good restaurant options nearby including Burma superstar, Chapeau!, Wako, and Mamahuhu. Traditional Vietnamese restaurants are a block away. We have been here twice for lunch during the Pandemic.
Why did we dine here? – Sultana is a long established Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Menlo Park. This is a nicer place with a outdoor patio in the back, perfect during the Pandemic. This spot is definitely a step above all the casual Mediterranean restaurants you find around. (We like Hummus Mediterranean in San Mateo) A friend recommended it, so we decided to give it a go.
Why did we dine here? – Routier is a Hot Frenchish restaurant from the folks at nearby B patisserie. A friend recommended this restaurant, so we waited unit Omicron variant started to recede. Highly rated at 4.5 stars on yelp.
Why did we dine here? – We love dumplings and this one WOW’d us! I-Shanghai Delight is a Shanghainese Chinese restaurant in San Ramon. They also have locations in Fremont and Sacramento. We were dining here with friends who highly recommended this Chinese restaurant. Note: Only 3.5 stars on Yelp probably due to bad service.
Hot Spot in the City. Why did we dine here? – Che Fico (Kay-Feeco) means what a fig – is a new Jewish Italian restaurant in San Francisco that has garnered a lot of hype. There is a long line queuing up for unreserved tables everyday. It has fallen to 3.5 Yelp stars, but we still wanted to try it out. Prices have appreciated significantly during the pandemic.
Flour + Water is a wildly popular Italian restaurant in the Mission district of San Francisco. They focus on hand rolled pastas, house cured meats, and an Italian pizza oven. The chef, Thomas McNaughton is a veteran of La Folie, Gary Danko, Quince. They take reservations on rezy and reserve space for walk ins (Communal table), causing a line to form 20 min. before the place even opens. Yelp rating has faded to 3.5 stars.
Village Pub is a fine dining establishment in the small town of Woodside. We have passed by many times, on our way back from hiking or biking, and felt it was time to try it. They have received One Michelin star starting from 2009. They use lots of seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. They have a sister restaurant Spruce, in San Francisco.
Why did we dine here? – Flour & Water Pizza is the pizza only specialty restaurant from the folks at famous Flour and Water. We’ve eaten there a couple times and gotten to go. During the pandemic, they have a large outside Parklet seating area.
Why did we dine here? – Estiatorio Ornos is Michael Minas Flagship restaurant’s latest reboot, this time to Greek cuisine. The decor is more warm and modern, with contrasting whites and oranges, and a lot less fine dining edge. There was definitely a buzz in the year, after two months of opening, the audience was well dressed and ready for some revenge dining.
How does this new eatery stack up to long time long time stall worth Kokkari?
Last Update: 12/31/2021
Why did we dine here? – Ernest is a hot restaurant in the Potrero Hill area not far from KQED. We had to set multiple alerts on Resy to get a reservation. They have outdoor seating in their courtyard, complete with heat lamps. We dine here twice, once inside and once outside.
Absinthe is a popular French restaurant in Hayes Valley, right near the symphony and War Memorial Theater. It has long been a favorite of art patrons before performances.
Cutting Edge Cal-Indian in Palo Alto.
Why did we dine here? – Ettan, Palo Alto open one month before the Pandemic. Talk about bad timing. Open/close – Open close syndrome. Things were opening up again, so we decided to give them a try. This was one of our first high end sit down meals in quite a while. They are tucked away in a small alley in Downtown Palo Alto. Beautiful restaurant, inside and out. Great spot to eat outside in their large patio. East Asians have discovered the spot, helping to validate the cuisine in our book.
BAIA is a vegan restaurant in the old Jardinière space of San Francisco’s Hayes Valley Neighborhood. Any SF Foodie remembers this classic location. This restaurant opened in the middle of the Pandemic, talk about great timing!
We ate during the Pandemic, when outdoor dining was allowed. We returned in early 2023 and found the place was a hard to book reservation and slightly less fantastic.
Must goto for vegetarians. Plant based cuisine satisfying even Carnivores.
Why did we dine here? – Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya has remarkable 4.5 stars on Yelp. With the plant based revolution booming, we just had to try this spot. We’ve returned a couple times.. They started offering takeout during the pandemic. If you like this spot, be sure to try BAIA
Last Update: 12/22/2022
Big Ass Pork Chop – Moody’s Truckee
Koi Palace has been the #1 Chinese Dim Sum restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Peninsula is ground zero for some of the best Chinese food in the San Francisco Bay Area. Around 2018, new upcomers with opulent interiors and modern menu have challenged them.
Greasy, Cheesy and satisfying! Square Pie Guys serves great Detroit Style Pizza. “A crispy, crackly caramelized cheese crust that comes from baking in rectangular blue steel pans originally used to ferry auto parts around Detroit automotive factories.” We’ve seen a lot written about them, so we finally gave it a try. Definitely have been back too. Great stuff. No dine in or outdoor dining, all take out.
Why did we dine here? – HL Peninsula opened near Costco Business center of South San Francisco. This is a large and opulent restaurant that is typical of ones in China. High ceilings, huge TV screens, and many private rooms. (Reminds us of J Zhou in Tustin) There is no other place like this nearby. They are part of a restaurant group that has several locations in Vancouver and China. Yes, China money is flowing in and we are benefiting from better restaurants.
Why did we dine here? – Star Noodle is a popular Asian restaurant on Maui focusing on a variety of noodle dishes that originate from Japan through other Asian countries. We have been here on all our recent Maui visits.
They moved to downtown Lahaina in November 2020, and are known as Star Noodle v2. Star Noodle also does takeout but you need to call it in early. Parking lot is part of the new location!
Where does a food blogger go to celebrate a birthday?
Cotogna (meaning ‘quince’ in Italian), offers a seasonally-changing menu featuring spit-roasted or grilled meats and game birds, wood-oven pizzas, house-made pastas, fresh local fish and seafood, salads, salami and cheeses in the warm atmosphere of the restaurant’s refined urban design. This is the sister restaurant to Quince, which is located next door.
Several years delayed because of the Pandemic (2019 was the last one), The New 2021 Michelin Guide California was released on 9/28/2021. It now covers all of California, not just San Francisco.
Why did we dine here? – Nari (Women in Thai) is a contemporary Thai restaurant from the folks at Kin Khao. (Means “to eat” or “let’s eat” in Thai.) It is run by the famous food blogger of Chez Pim – Pim Techamuanvivit, girlfriend of Manresa’s chef David Kinch.
Why did we dine here? – Terzo Is a Mediterranean restaurant in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood. They been around for over 15 years, we haven’t been there in a while, so we visited it and dined outside during the pandemic. Easy availability spot on Opentable was the main reason we came! Nothing hot about this spot. The restaurant appears to cater to the neighborhood crowd, which mirrors the diners.
With French Laundry it’s more than just a meal, it’s the whole experience. Beautiful atmosphere in the middle of the wine country, superb service, and of course great food. You could argue that this restaurant or that restaurant has a better beef course or appetizer, but few have the exquisite combination of everything.
Why did we dine here? – Gao Viet Kitchen is a Vietnamese restaurant in downtown San Mateo. The same folks run several, casual Ben Tre restaurants in San Mateo and Millbrae.
(Which we like for casual fare.)
We visited Oahu, Hawaii and chronicled our eating journey throughout the island including downtown Honolulu. It was her first time back in decades and we found the food much improved. Our May 2020 trip was during the pandemic, so many spots only offered takeout.
Did you know the California state bird is a quail?
Why did we dine here? – State Bird Provisions has generated lots of positive buzz from reviewers to fellow food bloggers, with its excellent food and unique dim sum cart like serving system. 4.5 stars on Yelp, One Michelin star starting in 2014, James Beard award winning, you get it. Their sister restaurant next door is also fabulous, The Progress.