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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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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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China Village Restaurant, Albany

China Village Albany Exterior Decor

China Village is a Chinese restaurant featured on the KQED public television program Check Please back in 2008. They specialize in Szechuan (Sichuan) Chinese food but serve other styles of Chinese Food. China Village is in the 2010 Michelin Guide as a listed restaurant. We were nearby and finally had an excuse to visit. Our last visit was in the summer of 2018, after they re-opened in July 2013 and remodeled the restaurant after a fire.

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Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, Oakland – Berkeley

Zacharys Pizza Oakland 2

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza is a popular pizza restaurant in the San Francisco East Bay that serves Chicago style pizza. They have been packing them in for over thirty years. They serve select individual slices (Sausage, Pepperoni, Vegetarian) and whole pizzas, both thin and stuffed (thick) crust. The thick crust has filling between the layers. They also have half-baked pies and gluten free pies for sale. Our last visit was in Fall 2018.

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Parada, Walnut Creek

Parada Walnut Creek Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – Parada is a Peruvian restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek, just a block from the BART station.
Carlos Altamirano, best known for La Costanera in Half Moon Bay, is the chef. His track record made selecting this place, a no brainer. They also run Piqueos, Mochica, and Sanguchon.

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Bull Valley Roadhouse, Port Costa

Bull Valley Roadhouse Port Costa Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – An oasis in the middle of nowhere. We’ve read about this place for many a year and finally got a chance to dine here, on the way home from Tahoe. Bull Valley Roadhouse serves farm fresh American Fare & Pre-Prohibition Cocktails.  This restaurant is located on the South side of the Carquinez Bridge, at the end of a windy road.

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Eden Silk Road Cuisine, Fremont

Eden Silk Road Cuisine Fremont Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Eden Silk Road Cuisine is a new Chinese Uyghur Halal Style restaurant in Fremont. There are very few restaurants serving authentic Uyghur food from the Xinjiang region of China, unfortunately best known for ethnic violence. Uyghur Taamliri in San Francisco is located in a bar. This restaurant is part of a large catering firm from China. Interesting decor that is clearly from China. They promise to open more Uyghur resturants in the US soon.

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Hopscotch, Oakland

Hopscotch Oakland exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Hopscotch Oakland is an upscale restaurant in Oakland’s Uptown area. We were attending a concert at the Fox Theater and ate here beforehand. This restaurant is located 2 blocks from the Fox.

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Ippuku, Berkeley

Ippuku Berkeley interior decor

Why did we dine here? – Ippuku is a Japanese Izakaya style restaurant in downtown Berkeley focused on serving yakitori skewers cooked on robata charcoal grill, soba, ramen, and other dishes in an interesting but narrow dining hall. They have a good selection of sake, shouchu, beer and other spirits. They are located on Center street in a long row of restaurants, a block from UC Berkeley.

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Chez Panisse Cafe Review, Berkeley

Chez Panisse Cafe Berkeley Exterior Decor

Chez Panisse Cafe is the lower cost, more casual, a la carte menu restaurant upstairs from famous Chez Panisse. We dined at the main restaurant Chez Panisse previously. Alice Waters started a food revolution here, way back in 1971. She strives to serve only the highest quality products, and only when they are in season. All produce, meat, poultry, and fish come from farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by principles of sustainability. This restaurant has produced many famous chefs that have gone on to start their own restaurants. Our last visit was in February 2014.

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Fentons Creamery, Oakland and Vacaville

Fentons Creamery Oakland Exterior decor

Fenton’s Creamery has been around since 1922 in Oakland. They produce their own ice cream and toppings batch by batch on site. They serve breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, salads, but the main draw is of course, ice cream. Their creations are simply huge. Even the kid’s ice creams are huge. Our last visit was to the Nut Tree Vacaville location in the spring of 2015.

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Everett and Jones BBQ Restaurant Review

Everett and Jones Exterior

Everett and Jones is a Barbecue restaurant with locations in Berkeley, Hayward, Sacramento, and Oakland’s Jack London Square. We ate at their Berkeley location, which is much more informal than their flagship Oakland one, which has live music. Our last visit was to the Berkeley location in 2013.

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Brown Sugar Kitchen Restaurant Review, Oakland

Brown Sugar Kitchen Oakland Exterior decor

Why did we dine here? – Brown Sugar Kitchen is run by Tanya Holland, who draws upon her African-American heritage and her formal culinary training from France. This restaurant is located in an industrial part of Oakland, not far from Emeryville. We happened to be in the area and had this legendary place on our hit list. Our meal was for lunch on a weekday, so the wait was short. This place is packed during the weekends for breakfast.

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Gioia Pizzeria Review, Berkeley and San Francisco

Gioia Pizzeria Berkeley Exterior

Gioia is a top rated Pizza place in North Berkeley.  It has been there since 2004. As they put it: “Gioia Pizzeria takes the best of pizza traditions from the old world and the new. Classic flavors and ingredients such as artisanally made sausage, fresh mozzarella cheese and arugula come together in inspired traditional ways, seasoned with the influence of Bay Area kitchens such as Zuni Café, Chez Panisse and Oliveto” Gioia is a small hole in the wall with minimal counter seating. The place specializes in thin crust pizza and is known for local, organic ingredients. It was rated as a top pizza place by Michael Bauer. Our last visit was in late 2011 and we noticed prices had gone up. Their San Francisco location opened in 2012, we dined here in May 2012. It is located right next door to burger heaven, Polkers.

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Koi Garden – Koi Palace at Dublin Restaurant Review, Dublin

Koi Garden Dublin Exterior Decor

Why did we dine here? – Koi Garden also known as Koi Palace at Dublin is the East Bay outpost for Koi Palace, arguably the best Chinese restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were in the area and had to give this Chinese restaurant a try. This restaurant is located in an Asian-focused strip mall. They also run Just Koi downstairs, a casual Chinese noodle restaurant.

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Cheeseboard Pizza Collective Review, Berkeley

Cheeseboard Berkeley exterior decor

Cheeseboard Pizza Collective is a worker owned collective of 12 people who served a different pizza each day. It is located in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. They also serve a single type of salad. Cash or check only. There can be a line around the block at peak times. It is located next door to the Cheese Board Collective, which sells excellent cheese, bread, cookies, muffins, etc. Our last visit was at the end of 2010.

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In-N-Out Burger Restaurant Review, Mountain View

In N Out Burger exterior decor

In-N-Out Burger opened way back in 1948 in Baldwin Park, California focusing as a drive through hamburger stand. Their motto is “Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.” They have locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

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Commis Restaurant Review, Oakland

Commis Oakland Exterior Decor

Commis is a hot restaurant in Oakland run by James Syhabout. He has cooked at several superstar restaurant; Manresa, The Fat Duck, el Bulli, Mugaritz, and Alkimia. Commis focuses on Contemporary California cuisine with a focus on local, sustainable, and eco friendly practices. The restaurant is located in the Piedmont Avenue area of Oakland, home to hot spots like Bay Wolf, Dopo, and Fentons. Commis received one Michelin star in 2010.

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Emilia’s Pizzeria Restaurant, Berkeley

Emilias Pizzeria Berkeley Exterior Decor

Emilia’s Pizzeria is a new small pizza place in Berkeley, located about a block from Berkeley Bowl supermarket. Keith Freilich, the owner, has worked at Pizza Hut, Grimaldi’s Hoboken, Pizzaiolo, and Flour + Water in San Francisco and serves up ‘New York style’ pizza. Emilia’s sells pizza by the slice and pie. Regular and sausage and onion were the pizzas available today. They often sell out, so go early and check their Twitter feed. The place was recently on serious eats.
Decor, Vibe – Tiny pizzeria with two small tables run by one person. Most people got pizza to go. Pizza foodies and locals were the main ones eating.

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Dopo Restaurant Review, Oakland

Dopo Oakland Exterior

Dopo is a small Italian neighborhood restaurant in Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue shopping district. The chefs used to work at Oliveto. It is located almost across the street from Fenton’s and opened in 2004. They recently opened a sister restaurant Adesso a block away. They do not take reservation unless you have a party of 5+, so wait times can be long. We went at 5:45pm and just barely got a table. We saw them offer wine to some people waiting.

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Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant Review, Oakland

Ohgane Oakland exterior

Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant is a popular restaurant in North Oakland’s. They specialize in Soot-bool BBQ or Mesquite wood BBQ. Most Korean BBQ places use plain gas. They serve an all your can eat Lunch buffet for $9.99, and have an all you can eat dinner special Monday through Wednesday for $19.99. Their normal dinner menu has entrees around a high $25.
The Korean tradition is to cook the meat on a charcoal grill at the center of the table. The cooked meat is wrapped with rice, a thin slice of garlic, soybean paste or red chili paste, with a fresh lettuce leaf.

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Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers Restaurant Review

Barneys Gourmet Hamburgers Exterior

Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers has been serving up burgers since 1978. They have 7 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and 3 in Southern California. We visited the Steiner St location in San Francisco.
They use humanely raised Niman Ranch all natural ground chuck that is free of antibiotics or hormones. They serve beef, chicken, turkey, and veggie burgers along with salads.

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