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Koi Palace Dim Sum Daly City Review

Koi Palace Daly City interior decor

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.

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Noosh, San Francisco

Noosh San Francisco exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Noosh is highly anticipated Eastern Mediterranenan restaurant in San Francisco.
‘Noosh-e jaan’ is the phrase that means cheers / salud in Farsi. It can also mean the joy you derive from good company and good food. Eastern Mediterranean inspired and California made is their motto.

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Al’s Place, San Francisco

Als Place San Francisco exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Its hot hot hot! Al’s Place is a small 54 seat, one Michelin Star Restaurant from Aaron London (Ubuntu). We had previous dined at Ubuntu in Napa, so we were familiar with his cooking. He focuses on veggies but has several meat dishes on the menu for carnivores. Seating is definitely on the cramped side. The music is Very loud and features their special playlist. You can easily see what your neighbors are getting though!

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Neptune Oyster, Boston

Neptune Oyster Boston exterior outside decor

Why did we dine here? – Neptune Oyster is a popular seafood restaurant in Boston’s North End. There is a wait there everyday, and a super long one during holidays and weekends. We finally got up the courage to give it a try. We had a 2 hour wait on the weekend.

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SPQR Restaurant Review, San Francisco

SPQR Restaurant Review, San Francisco

SPQR is an Italian osteria, located in Pacific Heights, that serves wine and more casual food than their popular sister restaurant A16 in the Marina district. According to Wikipedia, “SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus (“The Senate and the People of Rome” or “The Senate and Roman People”), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic”. Executive Chef, Matthew Accarrino, prepares “sophisticated, yet soulful, Italian cuisine using the best local ingredients, traditional and modern cooking techniques delivered in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.” Our last visit for take-out

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Gooyi Gooyi Restaurant, Santa Clara

Gooyi Gooyi Restaurant Review, Santa Clara

Why did we dine here? – Gooyi Gooyi is an authentic Korean restaurant in Santa Clara’s Koreatown. We’ve found some of the best Korean joints down here plus our neighbor recommends this restaurant, so we had to give it a try.  We got take out from them in 2020 during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

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Bellota, San Francisco

Bellota San Francisco exterior decor

Great Spanish Seafood. Why did we dine here? – Bellota (Acorn in Spanish), a new Spanish restaurant, is part of The Absinthe Group. This is a beautiful restaurant in the building that houses Air BnB. Be sure to visit the bathroom, you will see the impressive atrium.  We have eaten both lunch and dinner here.

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Gotham Bar & Grill, New York City

Gotham Bar and Grill NYC Exterior

Why did we dine here? – Gotham Bar & Grill has been around since 1984 and is considered an institution of fine dining. One Michelin Star, 4.5 stars on Yelp. We decided to see if it lives up to the hype. The older set in the 40’s to 60’s were dining.

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Tamarine Restaurant Review, Palo Alto

Elegant Vietnamese in Palo Alto.

Tamarine Restaurant Review, Palo Alto

Tamarine is a popular Vietnamese contemporary restaurant in downtown Palo Alto on busy University Avenue. They focus on small plates and serve food family style. Tamarine features light, but flavor-intensive culinary delicacies of Vietnam. This place is similar to Slanted Door or Xanh in Mountain View. We find the food pretty accessible with many items for mainstream palates. The owners family runs the more traditional Vietnamese restaurant Vung Tau in San Jose and a more casual spot Tam Tam in Palo Alto. Our last visit was in 2020.

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Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco

Tonys Pizza Napoletana San Francisco exterior decor

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is a popular San Francisco North Beach restaurant from Tony Gemignani, 9 time Champion Pizza Tosser, certified pizziaolo. It first opened in 2009. He also runs a the International School of Pizza next door. He is well qualified to make a great authentic pizza! Also part of his empire, the “to go” oriented Tony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Slice House next door, Slice house at Oracle Park, and Italian Restaurant Capo.

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Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston

Last Updated: 4/15/2019

Island Creek Oyster Bar Boston exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Island Creek Oyster Bar is one of the top seafood restaurants in Boston. Several foodies recommend this spot and it gets a high 4.5 Yelp rating with over 1800 reviews. A classic spot near Fenway park. They also run the popular Row 34 restaurant in Boston that we like. Our last visit was in 2019.

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Iyasare, Berkeley Review

Iyasare Berkeley Exterior

Iyasare is a Japanese Restaurant in the posh Berkeley 4th Street corridor. We were passing by and decided to finally give it a try. Without reservations, we dined at the bar. Pacing was way off, but the food was fabulous. Definitely want to try more next time!  We came back for lunch in Spring 2019 and found the food just as good.

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Che Fico, San Francisco

Chez Fico San Francisco Exterior decor

Great Eats 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. On our last visit in Winter 2019, there were still lines before it opened!

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Best Pho in San Francisco

Last Update: November 2019

We are big fans of Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup. Slowly but surely, we have eaten at many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best Pho restaurants. Here’s our constantly evolving list of the top 10 in search of the Best Pho San Francisco and beyond. Please leave comments with suggestions for other places we should try.

  • Hit List: More San Jose Pho Places – Do you have favorites we should try?

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Napoletana Pizzeria, Mountain View

Napoletana pizzeria Mountain View exterior decor

Napoletana Pizzeria is a new Naples style pizzeria in Mountain View. This unlikely strip mall location (Next to Cost Plus World Market), houses a low key, authentic thin crust Neapolitan pizza place. We first learned about this place from a thread on Chowhound. As the waitress put it, these authentic pizzas cook for about 90 seconds in their 900° wood burning oven. Our last visit was Summer 2019.

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République, Los Angeles

Republique Los Angeles exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – République is similar to Tartine in San Francisco, but they kick it up a notch. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We went for breakfast. There was a short line on a Saturday at 9am, but by 10am, the line was way out the door. Beautiful restaurant full of beautiful people.

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Pho Filet, Rosemead

Pho Fillet Rosemead Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Far better Pho than San Francisco! The SGV (San Gabriel Valley) is home to some fine Asian cuisine. We passed by Pho Filet on our last trip and ate there in 2018. Only 3.5 stars on Yelp, but way up there in our books.

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Top 5 Chicken Rice Dishes in Singapore

Last Update: December 2019

Chicken Rice is a legendary dish at Singapore’s food hawker centers. It consists of chicken cooked in pork and chicken stock, rice with chicken stock, and some vegetables. Dipping sauce is usually a hot chili dip or soy sauce with ginger. Occasionally they throw in a bowl of soup. We read several articles that state that this is the number 1 thing many people miss when they leave Singapore. Chicken Rice is a National dish for Singapore.

We arrive skeptics, but left believers.

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Little Star Pizza – Blue Line Pizza, San Francisco

Little Star Pizza is a popular pizza place with 2 locations in San Francisco and 1 in Albany. We visited the Divisadero location and ordered deep dish pizza. It took about 30 minutes to get our pizza. They have gone on to open several locations in the Bay Area.

Blue Line Pizza is their name for sister locations from Burlingame southwards. We have tried their Burlingame location in the Summer of 2020. The menu is very similar.

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Delfina Review, San Francisco

Delfina San Francisco Exterior Decor

Since 1998, Delfina, a bustling neighborhood Italian trattoria has been packing them in. The menu changes daily and they use organic produce and sustain-ably raised meats and fish whenever possible. It is a popular place that requires advanced booking for a reservation or showing up at 530pm for a table at the counter or bar. Our last visit was in the summer of 2019 where we found it as busy as ever.

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China Village, Belmont

China Village, Belmont

China Village Seafood Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant in Belmont, California just off the Highway 101 Ralston Exit. They have been around since 1996, serving dim sum during both lunch and dinner, as well as standard Cantonese Chinese cuisine.

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Bestia, Los Angeles

Bestia Los Angeles Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – A big LA scene with impressive Italian food. Bestia (Italian for Beast) bubbled to the top of the possibilities when planning our LA must hit list. 4.5 stars on Yelp, recommended on the annual Jonathan Gold List, what more could you ask? We knew going into this that Bestia would be loud and exhibit a major LA scene. Last visit in Summer 2019.

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Begoni Bistro, San Francisco

Begoni Bistro San Francisco Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – Begoni Bistro is a modern, good looking Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It is not old and dingy like some of its neighbors. We were tipped off about this spot a while ago and finally got a chance in 2018.

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Honu Seafood & Pizza, Lahaina

Honu Lahaina Maui exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Honu Seafood & Pizza one of those waterfront restaurants that has a killer view of the sunset. Prices are no doubt inflated, but it was our last day in paradise, so we decided to splurge. Be sure to ask what is local.

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Chicago Restaurant Guide for Visitors


Foodie research and reviews from our first visit to Chicago in the Summer of 2018.  We are based in San Francisco, so our base reference for dining is fairly high.  This page has links to reviews of spots we heartily recommend, quick reviews of casual restaurants, and a list of research material we will use for future trips to the Windy City.

Our goal was to find:

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avec, Chicago

avec Chicago Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – avec is a rustic mediterranean shared plate restaurant in Chicago. Originally conceived as a wine bar, the kitchen’s offerings quickly steered the space in another direction. Wine, however, remains at avec’s core.

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Girl & the Goat, Chicago

Girl and the Goat Chicago Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – Girl & the Goat is Top Chef Winner Stephanie Izard’s top rated and very popular restaurant. It was our first time in Chicago, so had to try all the hot spots and compare them to SF! You need to book 2 months in advance to get in here. We did not have reservations and walked in right when the place opened (4:30pm) and sat at the bar. The waiter said it was harder to walk in during the winter because outdoor seating is not present.

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Smoque BBQ, Chicago

Smoque BBQ Chicago exterior

Why did we dine here? – Smoque BBQ is a highly rated BBQ restaurant in the Northern part of Chicago. We heard good things about it and decided to give it a try while on our trip to the Windy City. Many in Chicago are proud of their BBQ, so we wanted to see if it is a lot better than San Francisco’s. This restaurant is about 20 minutes from the Loop. They have a location in the Revival Food Hall in the Loop that serves a subset of this spot.

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GT Fish and Oyster, Chicago

GT Fish and Oyster Chicago exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – GT Fish and Oyster is a seafood restaurant in Chicago’s River North area. We were looking for an informal spot on our Chicago trip and their menu looked good. Bib Gourmand rating on the Michelin Guide.

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Barbuzzo, Philadelphia


Barbuzzo is a listed as a Mediterranean, Pizza restaurant on Yelp but seems to have an Italian slant too. We would call it a high quality pizza and pasta place and more. We were visiting Philadelphia and stayed a block away in the City Center area. We chose this 4.5 star restaurant based on proximity, reviews, and prices. Prices would be 50% higher in San Francisco.

Menu

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Porfirio’s, Cancun

Porfinos Cancun Exterior Decor

An amazing find in Cancun! Porfirio’s is a Mexican restaurant in Cancun, right at tourist area Zona Hotelera, just north of the Hard Rock Hotel. We wanted to get some Mexican food and luckily this place was a short 7 minute walk from our hotel. (What is the point of eating sushi in Mexico?) Reviews were good. Porfirio is more than a restaurant, with on going dj’d music videos, live mariachi’s, it was the whole package.

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Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia

Since 1892, this has been America’s oldest and largest public market. A perfect place for breakfast, lunch or a snack. Get exposed to Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch. A must visit for anyone into food and history! Some vendors close early, so beware. A lot more history to this food market than our Ferry Building.

Our Favorites stores:

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Zahav, Philadelphia

Zahav Philadelphia Exterior decor

Forget about the cheese-steak! When you ask foodies in Philadelphia, Zahav often comes up as the must visit restaurant. We had to dine at this 4.5 Yelp rated stop. They serve Middle Eastern Israeli cuisine. We have nothing like this in the San Francisco Area.

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