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Greens Restaurant, San Francisco

Greens Restaurant Review, San Francisco

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.

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Che Fico, San Francisco

Chez Fico, San Francisco

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.

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Flour + water Restaurant Review, San Francisco

flour + water Restaurant Review, San Francisco

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.

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Ettan, Palo Alto

Cutting Edge Cal-Indian in Palo Alto.

Ettan, 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.

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Shizen, San Francisco

Must goto for vegetarians. Plant based cuisine satisfying even Carnivores.

Shizen, San Francisco

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

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HL Peninsula, South San Francisco

Original Hi-End Dimsum
HL Peninsula, South San Francisco
Our goto Chinese Restaurant in San Francisco Area..

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.

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Cotogna, San Francisco

Cotogna, San Francisco

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.

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Terzo, San Francisco

Terzo, San Francisco

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.

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State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

Did you know the California state bird is a quail?

State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

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.

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Yauatcha Soho, London

Yauatcha, London

Why did we dine here? – Yauatcha is a fancy Chinese restaurant chain with several locations in London. They are the more inexpensive sister of Hakkasan. We came for dinner and found it packed, with a loud clubby atmosphere. There are locations in India and Saudi Arabia.

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Buckeye Roadhouse Review, Mill Valley

Buckeye Roadhouse Restaurant Review, Mill Valley

Buckeye Roadhouse has been serving up American comfort food In Mill Valley since 1937. Robert Price (Rumpus, The Capital Hotel in London) is currently the chef. This restaurant is located right on the side of 101 and is quite popular. Our last meal was in the Spring of 2020 after they reopened the patio.

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Celebrity Cuisine, Hong Kong

Celebrity Cuisine, Hong Kong

Celebrity Cuisine is a One Michelin star Cantonese Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. It has ping ponged between one and two stars for years. Michelin 1 Starred Restaurant (2010, 2017-20), Michelin 2 Starred Restaurant (2011-2016) We were looking an easy same day online lunch reservation after a disappointing meal at Maxim’s Palace. This spot fit the bill, Perfectly. It is located in Central, across the street from the old school Lin Heung tea house.

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NOPA Restaurant Review, San Francisco

NOPA Restaurant Review, San Francisco

NOPA is a “neighborhood based restaurant designed to attract and comfort those from all over the Bay Area.” They serve “simple, rustic food created with seasonal ingredients sourced from local purveyors.” The restaurant has redefined the north of panhandle (NOPA) area since 2006 and has been packing them in. We did not have reservations, so we can in early and put our name on the list, otherwise you can eat at the bar or communal table.

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Izakaya Mai Restaurant Review, San Mateo

Izakaya Mai Restaurant Review, San Mateo

Izakaya Mai is a Japanese Izakaya or Japanese drinking establishment that also serves food. They are more small plate oriented restaurants. This restaurant has an extensive drink menu. They’ve been here for years. Several similar restaurants have opened over the years, but this still packs them in.. (Izakaya Ginji, Kokko)

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Protege, Palo Alto

Protege, Palo Alto

Best Restaurant on the SF Peninsula!
Why did we dine here? – Protege Palo Alto is a New American restaurant from French Laundry Alum Chef Anthony Secviar and Alum Dennis Kelly, Wine Master. This anxiously awaited restaurant was sure to amp up the fairly mundane local dining scene on the Peninsula. They received one Michelin Star in 2019. Our last visit was in the summer of 2020 after they reopened the patio.

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Bistro Na’s, Tample City

Bistro Na Temple City exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Bistro Na’s is the first Michelin Starred Chinese restaurant in the Los Angeles area. It is located in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV), about 20 minutes from Downtown LA. This spot is the first outpost of a chain with several locations in China. This is a beautiful restaurant, definitely worth dining at.

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Rasa, Burlingame

Rasa Burlingame exterior png

Why did we dine here? – Rasa is a One Michelin Star Indian restaurant in Burlingame, California, just south of the San Francisco airport. We have dined here many years ago, so it was time to try it again.
The owner also runs Saffron Indian Bistro in San Carlos, serving traditional North Indian food.

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Otium, Los Angeles

Otium Los Angeles Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – Otium is a modern American restaurant in downtown LA, right next to The Broad museum (Free admission! reserve online) We finish up at the museum and came to Otium for weekend brunch.

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Sorrel, San Francisco

Sorrel San Francisco outside exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Sorrel occupies the space that once housed Nico. Alexader Hong (Quince, Jean Georges) started doing popups in 2015 and moved to this spot in 2018. James Beard Rising Star Finalist. They received One Michelin Star in 2019.

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Balthazar, New York City

Balthazar NYC Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Balthazar is a classic French bistro in New York’s SOHO district. It has been packing them in for over 20 years. We have eaten here for breakfast in the past and decided to try their weekend brunch on our latest trip to the big Apple.

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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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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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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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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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Redbird, Los Angeles

Redbird Los Angeles exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Redbird is a trendy restaurant in downtown Los Angeles that was on our short list to try. This is Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant is a follow up to popular Grace and BLD. Historic
former rectory building of Vibiana – the cathedral-turned-event-venue.

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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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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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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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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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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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