Be sure to check out the Zuni Cafe Book
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.
Old school dim sum charm. Zen Peninsula is a Cantonese Chinese restaurant in Millbrae. Millbrae is ground zero for some of the best Chinese food in the SF Bay area with spots like:
Solid Chinese Food in Millbrae.
Asian Pearl Peninsula in Millbrae was at one time, part of the same Culinary Wonderland group that owned the highly rated The Kitchen in Millbrae, hence the same menu. We’ve been to this location a couple times and have found it to offer very good Cantonese Chinese cuisine, in fact some of the better ones the San Francisco Bay Area. In recent years, upstarts HL Peninsula, Grand Harbour, and Dragon Beaux have stole its thunder.
Best cornbread in town! House of Prime Rib opened in 1949 and concentrates on one dish, Prime rib. We have been coming here for many decades, whenever we have a desire for beef. They use corn-fed Prime beef Midwestern beef that is aged for 21 days and cooked in coarse rock salt.
3 Star Hong Kong Restaurant with no wait. T’ang Court is a 3 Michelin star restaurant in the ritzy Langham Hotel in Hong Kong’s touristy Tsim Sha Tsui district. It got upgraded from 2 to 3 stars in 2016. Our last visit was in 2020 for dim sum lunch when we stayed upstairs and could just walk right in. (Protests worried visitors.) We previously ate there in 2011.
Better soup dumplings than Din Tai Fung?
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.
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)
Santa Ramen has a new owner in 2020.
Santa Ramen is a very popular Japanese noodle Ramen restaurant in San Mateo. Mr. Kazunori Kobayashi sold this location in 2020 but continues to be the proprietor of nearby Ramen Dojo and Parlor. Located in a small shopping mall with a Diddams Ninja Japanese supermarket, Party Supply and JoAnn’s Fabric, the restaurant has achieved a legendary cult following and has long lines at both dinner and lunch times. We have eaten here many times with our last visit in 2020.
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.
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
Elegant Vietnamese in 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.
Foodnut returns to Gary Danko!
Restaurant Gary Danko is one of the top restaurants in San Francisco, they serve contemporary American cuisine. Open in 1999 and located near Ghiradelli Square, it has been at the top of the Zagat Guide and Yelp for years.
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.
Joy, aka 5 Joy Restaurant is a small restaurant in the Beach Park plaza strip mall bordering the San Francisco Bay in Foster City, just south of the Highway 92 San Mateo Bridge. A hidden gem in the middle of no where.
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.
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.
Moonstar is a higher end Asian Buffet in Daly City, a short distance from the Serramonte shopping center, and almost next door to Chinese food Mecca, Koi Palace. They used to have a location in San Francisco, but it closed years ago.
Foodnut has a thing for high end buffets.. The Forest Buffet at Harrahs Lake Tahoe has been in existence for decades and is practically a Lake Tahoe institution. We remember coming here as kids and have returned to see how this buffet compares to the best around, especially after a long day of biking. Our last visit was in the summer of 2018.
One of our favorite San Francisco restaurants.. Chapeau! is a French Bistro located in the San Francisco Richmond district in the middle of the Clement Street shopping district. At one time, they had two locations, but later wisely consolidated into this one location. Chapeau! SF opened in 1996 and means hat or wow in French.
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.
Delicious Italian around the Bay. Pizzeria Delfina is the lower cost more casual eatery next to top rated Delfina. They do not take reservations and focus on ‘Neapolitan inspired’, thin crust pizzas and Antipasti. Delfina does not serve pizza. They use local, seasonal ingredients and have a lots of wines by the glass. There are 2 location in San Francisco – Mission and Pacific Heights. In 2018 we dined several times at the Burlingame location.
They are moving back to NYC and closing 12/30/2017! They will be missed. Long lines before they even opened.
One of our favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco. Perbacco is a popular Italian restaurant in San Francisco’s financial district that opened in 2006. We had been to their sister restaurant next door Barbacco recently, and felt it was high time that we came back to Perbacco. Chef Staffan Terje focuses on Piemontese, Ligurian, and Venetian regional Italian dishes. “Perbacco” translated is an Italian word to accentuate positive comments. Our last visit was at the end of 2018.
Classic French done right. Bouchon is a French bistro that is part of the Thomas Keller French Laundry empire. They have locations in Yountville and Las Vegas, we have been to both and finally had a chance to return to the Napa Valley location after 8 years.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is a hot pot restaurant in downtown San Mateo, right across from Walgreen’s. Their soup base options have recently become more acceptable for mainstream Americans. This company has a couple locations in the USA and many more in Asia. Yum Asia (KFC, Taco Bell) actually owns this company.
Koi Palace is a popular Cantonese Chinese restaurant in Daly City, California. (Just south of San Francisco) The Peninsula is ground zero for some of the best Chinese food in the SF Bay area. It has been around since 1997 and specializes in wide selection of Dim Sum for lunch and special dishes for dinner.
This restaurant also has locations in Dublin and at Thunder Valley Casino. We came for dinner and have previously reviewed Koi Palace dim sum lunch. Our return trips included the latest in 2018. Yelp reviews emphasize lunch and do not factor in where this place falls in the Chinese restaurant pecking order.
Mission Hipster heaven. Modern Fusion Chinese.
Mission Chinese Food is a restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District that used to be a popup in the Lung Shan restaurant. Mission Chinese Food has basically taken over the place with its success!
Why did we dine here? – mourad is a One Michelin star restaurant from Mourad Lahlou and Aziza. Their description is:
“Mourad is a modern interpretation of a cuisine deeply rooted in the past. Our food pays homage to those roots, showcasing the rich and vibrant flavors of Morocco in new ways that harmonize with the fresh, local, artisanal ingredients, and the spirit of innovation of Northern California.”
Shanghai Dumpling Shop is a popular Shanghainese Chinese restaurant in Millbrae’s Broadway shopping district. While they have all the ‘standard’ Chinese restaurant dishes, they are specifically known for dishes from Shanghai, including dumplings even though the staff can be heard belting out Cantonese Chinese. Our last visit was in the Spring 2017.
Best Authentic Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown. R & G Lounge is a popular Hong Kong style Cantonese Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Since 1985 they have been serving top notch Chinese food in Chinatown.
Il Fornaio (The Baker in Italian) is an Italian restaurant serving “creatively prepared, premium-quality Italian cuisine based on authentic regional Italian recipes.” They have 21 locations, many in California. They have been around since 1972, initially starting as a baking school. Now they are owned by a Private Equity group, no doubt trying to squeeze out profits.
Moody’s Bistro & Bar is a high end Mountain comfort food restaurant in downtown Truckee. Local, organic, seasonal focus or as they tell it – Moody’s food philosophy is “fresh, local, seasonal and simple”. Chef de Cuisine is Guy Frenette. The Restaurant opened in 2006 and is owned by the same folks who used own the now closed Baxter’s restaurant in Northstar at Tahoe. Moody’s has live music occasionally. Our last visit was during a trip to the mountains in 2018.
ABC Cafe is a casual Chinese eatery with two locations in San Francisco and a new one in downtown San Mateo. The parent company also owns ABC Seafood restaurants. We went to the new location about a week after it opened. They serve Hong Kong style Chinese American food. ABC Cafe is open into the wee hours of the morning. We have been here multiple times with our last visit in 2018. They have fallen to a lousy 2.5 stars on Yelp.
Marnee Thai has been serving up Thai food since 1986 in San Francisco. They have 2 locations in San Francisco’s Sunset District. We were in the neighborhood and having not eaten here in a long time, decided to give them a try. Our last visit was in October 2017.
Gnocchi and Salmon to die for. Stella Alpina Osteria is a small Italian restaurant located a block from the main Burlingame Avenue shopping area. Located below ground level, most people would never know it was here. The restaurant opened in May 2005, and was featured on PBS’ Check Please TV show. This was our 3rd time dining here.
San Tung and San Tung #2 are a popular Chinese restaurant in the inner Sunset of San Francisco. They serve northern Chinese food that has some Korean influence, as the San Tung region of China is near Korea, hence the free Kim Chee. We have eaten here many, many times, back to when it was located west of here. Our latest visit occurred at the end of Summer 2017 to San Tung #2, when we noticed prices up a bit.
Steak on the Peninsula. Town Restaurant is a steakhouse serving American comfort food in downtown San Carlos. It opened in 2006 and has gotten positive press, so we figured we would see how it stacks up. Over the years, this restaurant has been consistently busy. Town is definitely a hit with the locals, many of which can just walk over for a meal. Our last visit was in December 2015. It is so busy, we had to make a reservation over a week in advance.
Why did we dine here? – Locanda Positano is the sister restaurant to now closed Acqua Pazza in San Mateo and has received some high accolades on Yelp. We were in the area, love Italian food, and decided to give them a try.
Locanda means inn, in Italian. Positano is a scenic town hugging the Amalfi coast of Southern Italy. We’ve visited there but did not have a meal. Our last visit was in Spring 2017, where we found service had fallen.
Hakka Restaurant SF is a family run Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond District that opened in early 2010. It has garnered some foodie attention on chowhound. While they serve a wide variety of Chinese dishes including Americanized standbys, they are known for their regional Chinese specialties. We returned for to go in late 2015.
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. Our last visit was in the Summer of 2016.
Village Pub is a fine dining establishment in the small town of Woodside. We have passed by many times, on our way back from hiking or biking, and felt it was time to try it. They have received One Michelin star starting from 2009. Dmitry Elperin is the chef and identifies his cuisine as “Contemporary American yet is rooted in the culinary traditions of France and the Mediterranean.” They use lots of seasonal, local, and organic ingredients. The chef has a sister restaurant, The Saratoga, and Spruce, in San Francisco.
Espetus Churrascaria is a Brazilian steakhouse serving Rodizio style food. They focus on meats straight from the fire brought to your table, continuously through the meal! You can stop the meat parade by flipping the table card to red. They have a salad and hot plate bar with lots of different options including asparagus, bean salad, eggplant, rice, beans, cod, and much more. Do not eat too much of this stuff otherwise you wonder have room for all the meat. Vegetarians should stay away.
Espetus Churrascaria has locations in San Francisco and San Mateo. We tried the brand new San Mateo location for dinner. It is all you can eat, with lunch going for $25.95 with 7 meat options, $37.95 on weekends. Dinner is $54.95 with 14 meat options. Kids are 50% off. Our last visit was in the Summer of 2014.
Marlowe is a market driven neighborhood bistro near SF’s ATT park, they moved to the old Coco 500 location in 2014. Chef du Cuisine: Jennifer Puccio was formerly of restaurant Cortez. The focus here is on American comfort food. We decided to try this place because Michael Bauer raved about its burger. Our last visit was in February 2015. Marlowe’s sister restaurant is Park Tavern SF.