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Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review

Lily, San Francisco

Lily, San Francisco

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.

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Sultana, Menlo Park

Sultana, Menlo Park

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.

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I-Shanghai Delight, San Ramon

I-Shanghai Delight, San Ramon

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.

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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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Estiatorio Ornos, San Francisco

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?

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Ernest, San Francisco

Ernest, San Francisco

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.

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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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Star Noodle, Lahaina, Maui

Star Noodle, Lahaina, MauiWhy 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!

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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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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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Square Pie Guys, San Francisco

Square Pie Guys, San Francisco

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.

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Nari, San Francisco

Nari, 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.

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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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Dough Zone, San Mateo

The Pandemic has brought Soup Dumpling or Xiao Long Bao quality to new heights!

Dough Zone, San Mateo

Why did we dine here? – Dough Zone dumpling house is a regional small chain of restaurants that started in the Seattle area (2014) and has now expanded into Northern California, at Cupertino and San Mateo. They specialize in dumplings and have a menu that is very similar to that of popular Din Tai Fung.

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BAIA, San Francisco

BAIA, San Francisco

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 2022 and found the place was a hard to book reservation!

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Hong Kong Flower Lounge, Millbrae Dim Sum Review

Hong Kong Flower Lounge – Mayflower Dim Sum Restaurant Review

Hong Kong Flower Lounge is synonymous with Chinese food on the SF Peninsula. They are part of the Mayflower restaurant group that has 2 Chinese Cantonese restaurants locations in the San Francisco Bay area; Millbrae  and Milpitas. Several others have closed. We have eaten at their location in Millbrae many times.

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Godfather’s Burger Lounge Review, Belmont

Godfather’s Burger Lounge Review, Belmont

Godfather’s Burger Lounge opened in Belmont, December 2009 right on busy El Camino Real just south of the Ralston Ave. They focus on ½lb. fresh, all-natural “Certified Angus Beef” humanely raised burgers. No added hormones or antibiotics in their meat. Our last visit was in during the pandemic in July 2021, after indoor dining reopened. They still do take out and have some seats outside.

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Dumpling Home, San Francisco

Dumpling Home, San Francisco

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 summer of 2021.

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Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant Review, San Francisco

Why did we dine here? – Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant is a Chinese Mandarin cuisine restaurant located in the foggy Outer Sunset District of San Francisco. They have been serving up pretty authentic Mandarin dishes for many years. Old Mandarin is an Islamic restaurant that does not serve pork and sticks to Halal certified meats.
Our last visit was about seven years ago, so we were eager to rekindle our fond memories during the summer of 2021 during the Pandemic for Take out.

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Covid Vaccine FAQ

Last Update: 4/12/21

We all can’t wait to dine inside of our favorite restaurants!

  • I put together a list of questions I needed to answer along with links to authoritative sites.
  • Found that friends wanted this information too!
  • If you have a better resource or another question, please leave it in the comments below.

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Pho Hanoi, San Jose

Pho Hanoi, San Jose

Why did we dine here? – Pho Ha Noi is a Vietnamese restaurant located in an outdoor mall Vietnam Town Plaza in San Jose. The area is full of high quality Asian restaurants and shops. Their pho is some of the best in the SF Bay Area. This restaurant also has a location in Cupertino.

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Alexander’s Steakhouse, Cupertino

Alexander’s Steakhouse, Cupertino

Alexander’s Steakhouse is a high end steak restaurant located in an outdoor mall, situated in Cupertino, just off highway 280. They moved in 2016 to this new outdoor mall.  Parking is surprisingly difficult! It was recently featured on Check Please and feature 28-day aged prime steaks. They opened a San Francisco outpost in Bacar’s former digs, in mid September 2010. We hadn’t been there in many years, so it was time for a revisit.

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4505 Burgers and BBQ, San Francisco

4505 Meats Food Stand Review, San Francisco

4505 Burgers and BBQ is run by chef and artisan butcher Ryan Farr. Ryan formerly was executive chef at Fifth Floor. He teaches butcher classes and serves up food at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. We saw them at the Eat Real festival in Oakland and on other occasions the Ferry building. They create homemade relishes, multi-national ’Zilla sauce, and even bacon-dressed chocolate desserts. They have since setup on Divisadero in SF’s Nopa neighborhood.

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