Love this unique spot!
Love this unique spot!
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.
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.
Pyeong Chang is a Korean restaurant located in the Temescal district of Oakland, where a cluster Korean restaurants are situated. Burma Superstar is a couple doors down, while Bakesale Betty and Pizzaiolo are a block or two away. We were looking for some higher-quality Korean food than is present in San Francisco. Last visit was in March 2018.
We review the San Francisco Master Foodie’s Michael Bauer’s Top 100 2018 list. This is probably his last..
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.
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.
We review the San Francisco Master Foodie’s Michael Bauers Top 100 2017 list.
Aina’s Spam Musubi
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why did we dine here? – Pho Ao Sen is renowned to be one of the best Vietnamese Noodle houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. We finally got a chance to visit them as we were passing through the East Bay. Last visit was in summer 2014.
Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe is a diner in Emeryville, near the Home Depot shopping center, serving American food till 1am. Big breakfasts, salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Breakfast is served all day. It is owned by Billie Joe from rock band Green Day.
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.
Prather Ranch Meat Company is a boutique firm that raises grass fed and pastured cattle in North California’s Mt. Shasta area. Their focus is on high quality, sustainable, humanely raised meats in support of a whole-animal sales model. Founded in 2003, they made a name for themselves as one of the first merchants in the Ferry Building.
Why did we dine here? – B-Side BBQ is the sister restaurant to the every popular Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland. We liked that restaurant and are big BBQ fans.
New 2013 Foodie bible Michelin San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country Restaurants 2013 was just released. Less than $12 at Amazon.
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.
Why did we dine here? – Hawker Fare is run by the owner of top rated Commis Restaurant, making this casual eatery a must visit foodies spot. They focus on Asian street food or more every day cuisine with everything from Chinese to Thai dishes. No reservations, loud music, loud vibe.
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.
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.
Why did we dine here? – Casserole House is a Korean restaurant in Oakland’s Korea town area. We have been slowly sampling different restaurants in this area.
Why did we dine here? – Great China is a popular Chinese restaurant in Berkeley right near UC Berkeley. A friend recommended this restaurant to us and Great China has been rated highly in Zagat’s.
We had dined at Chez Panisse Cafe almost 3 years ago.. Our last visit to the Main restaurant was decades ago. Tons of restaurants have come and gone since they opened over 30 years ago. It was time to see how Chez Panisse has stood the test of time.
The Foodie bible Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants 2011 is available starting today at $10 from Amazon. $14.95 list. Data comes from people like ourselves, voting.
Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant is located in Emeryville, right by the Bay. It has excellent views of San Francisco. The restaurant is popular for dim sum and for large banquets, especially on the weekends. Our last visit was in the middle of 2011.
Sura closed in 2013 and is reopening as another Korean restaurant, Copan, under the ownership of long time restaurant Ohgane.
Sahn Maru is a popular Korean restaurant in Oakland, located on Telegraph, home to many Korean restaurants. We decided to give it a try, having seen many reviews on the restaurant and slowly trying each highly regarded Korean restaurant.
Plum Restaurant by Daniel Patterson, of Coi and Il Cane Rosso fame, has opened a more casual restaurant in Oakland’s revived Uptown district. This restaurant is situated right next door to Bakesale Betty’s, and kitty corner from Ozumo and Pican. The focus is on organic, local, seasonal, and pastured meats. They serve lunch and dinner, our review was for lunch.
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.
Marzano is a casual neighborhood Italian trattoria restaurant in Oakland with two locations. Their specialty is woodfired oven neapolitan pizza. We dined at the location on Park for brunch. Their sister restaurant is Garibaldis.
Sichuan Fusion is a new Chinese Restaurant located in way in the back of Richmond’s Pacific East Mall that opened in 2009. We came here because it was new, busy, and had people waiting. The focus here is on SPICY Sichuan Chinese food. Our normal goto place in this mall is Asian Pearl.
Bucci’s serves ‘Italian Soul Food’ in the industrial area of Emeryville. Since 1988 they have been serving as a gathering place for unpretentious comfort food. Their parking lot has tiny spots.
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.
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 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.
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.
Shan Dong Mandarin Restaurant is a family run Chinese Restaurant in Oakland’s Chinatown focusing on Shan Dong regional Cuisine. The focus is on noodles and dumplings. It was top rated on Yelp and has been mentioned in newspapers, so we decided to try it.
Asian Pearl in Richmond, California’s Pacific East Mall (Right off I-80) is part of a group of Chinese restaurants in Northern California. We’ve been to this location many time and have found it to offer very good Cantonese Chinese cuisine. We went for dinner. Here is our review of the Asian Pearl Peninsula, Millbrae location.
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.
Flora was listed as a 2008 Best new restaurant by the newspaper, so were in the area and tried it.
It is located in uptown Oakland near the Fox Theater, in an area that is being revitalized. It’s not a war zone but pretty gritty right now. They serve American food with a decidedly local flare.
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.
Pizzaiolo opened in 2005 and has been packing them in for pizza since. The Chef-Owner used to work at Chez Panisse.