We recently visited Hong Kong and dined on excellent Cantonese Chinese food and much more. Hong Kong is a modern city like New York, that is progressive, packed with energy, and filled with top-notch restaurants.
Burger Joint is another trendy high end burger place that uses high quality Niman ranch organic beef and Double Rainbow ice cream. They have 5 locations in the San Francisco area and have been around since 1994. We house dined at the Burlingame location several times, which is located in the Burlingame Avenue shopping district with our latest meal at the San Francisco Airport International terminal location. Burger Joint’ s quality has improved over the years.
One of the better Chinese restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area… 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 face some of the best in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Richmond Asian Pearl has also served up very good Chinese food. This place stays open till 1am. Our visit was for dim sum lunch. Asian Pearl Peninsula has a separate Asian Pearl Peninsula dinner review. Our last visit was at the beginning of 2011.
Rosamunde Sausage Grill is a small Sausage restaurant in the colorful lower Haight district of San Francisco with an additional larger location in the Mission district. This Place has a cult like following. Sort of like Vancouver’s Japadog. They serve grilled sausages on french rolls. You can select 2 free condiments from sauerkraut, grilled onions, peppers, or spicy beef chili. They also sell uncooked sausages, which we took advantage of one time.
Z&Y Restaurant is a Sichuan restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown that focuses on spicy dishes. Chinatown is a Cantonese community, so finding a good Sichuan restaurant here is an unlikely proposition. The place was full so we decided to give it a try.
Murracci’s is a casual Japanese restaurant that focuses on Curry dishes and grilled items. While they have 4 sushi items on the menu, stick to the Japanese-style curry. They have locations in both San Francisco and Los Altos. Last visit was in April 2012.
Another trendy fancy burger place… The Counter opened in 2006 and is another fancy casual restaurant located in the Palo Alto, California Avenue shopping district. They have locations in CA, CO, GA, NC, and TX with many more coming soon. We revisited in March 2011 at the brand-new San Mateo location, click next door to Trader Joes. Loud music greeted us as we entered the place along with some flat screen TVs at the counter.
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.
Mack’s Smoked Barbecue – BBQ opened in 2008 and is located in suburban San Carlos. This barbecue restaurant moved to the other end of Laurel Street in 2010. Mack’s specializes in North Carolina style BBQ sandwiches and Ribs. Meat is cooked in a smoker for 12-14 hours. Our last visit was in September 2011.
Downtown San Mateo has a very high concentration of Japanese restaurants with one on almost every block. Hotaru is one of the best and most economical. No surprise, there is a line out front most of the time. We’ve tried pretty much all the nearby Japanese restaurants. Sushi Sam and Kisaku are also good but more expensive. Nearby Yuzu and Sakae are also very good Japanese Restaurants. Our last visit was in 2016.
Hong Kong Lounge is a popular Chinese Restaurant located in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond district that opened in late 2008. They serve dim sum at lunch time and are quite busy. We were nearby, had never tried them, and were looking for decent Chinese food at lunch time. Their second location opened in 2011, and is also on Geary Street, closer to Laurel Heights.
Since 1932 Toto’s has been serving ‘authentic’ Neapolitan pizza. They have restaurant locations in San Bruno and Belmont. The Belmont location is an order and sit type restaurant with no table service. They have a to-go only facility in San Mateo that we also dined at. Toto’s uses Baker’s Pride pizza ovens.
The Firehouse is a fine restaurant in touristy Old Sacramento. This restaurant opened nearly 50 years ago and is located in an old firehouse. We were passing by the area and stumbled upon this restaurant after doing a little research. This area is filled with tourist traps, something we definitely wanted to avoid.
étoile Restaurant is the restaurant located at the Domain Chandon Winery in foodie capital Yountville, just to the left of Highway 29. (Etoile is French for “star”) They received one Michelin star in 2010 and serve French food that is the focus with “daily collaboration between the culinary team and Domaine Chandon’s winemakers, resulting in innovative, wine-inspired cuisine.” Chef Perry Hoffman was named a 2010 Rising Star Chef in the San Francisco Chronicle. We haven’t been to Domain Chandon in a long time and decided to give them a try as recent reviews have been positive.
Yan Toh Heen – 欣圖軒 is located on the water at the InterContinental Hong Kong. The name means ‘breathtaking view elegant dining establishment’. They received One Michelin Star in the 2010 Michelin Guide.
Fu1039 is a classic Shanghai restaurant that is mentioned in many tour books, making us cautious. It is located in the Hongqiao area of Shanghai not far from the subway. The restaurant is located down an alley from the 1039 address marker.
Din Tai Fung is a popular Shanghai dumpling restaurant with locations in Los Angeles, Taipei, Japan, China, Singapore, and several other countries. We dined at the location in Shanghai’s touristy Xintiandi. The Los Angeles location is in Arcadia with Yelp reviews unfortunately indicating it is a step down from the ones abroad.
This restaurant started in Taipei City and has expanded over the years based on the popularity of their Shanghai steamed dumplings. We decided not to visit the USA, Beijing, Tokyo or Hong Kong branch and eat at one in the heart of Xiao Long Bao dumpling territory, Shanghai, China. We were hoping that this would be the star location for dumplings.
Alice’s Restaurant is located in the San Francisco coastal mountain range at the intersection on Highway 35 Skyline Blvd, and Highway 84. They are “Home to the best specialty burgers in the world”, as they put it. Lots of motorcyclists stop here on the weekend as well as hikers, bikers, and those touring the area. We have eaten here several times, the last time in June 2010.
Roam Artisan Burgers is a new Burger joint on Union Street in the Marina district. They focus on humanely raised, grass feed meats, sustainable produce, organic ice cream salted caramel milkshakes, wine on-tap, and agave-sweetened sodas. Even their menu is printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper or using green energy. All their packaging is hundred percent compostable.
Paradise Kabab House is a family run Persian restaurant in downtown Redwood City. They emphasis is on healthy home style cooking on an open fire. As they put it: “No deep frying, no artificial flavoring, no precooked foods and no canned products!”
Gourmet Village is a Chinese restaurant that opened in April 2010 on Millbrae’s Broadway Street. The chef used to work at the well-respected The Kitchen restaurant. We came once for lunch and once for dinner.
Decor, Vibe – Gourmet Village has bare-bones Chinese restaurant decor with just a couple artifacts on the walls and some seafood tanks in the back. Mostly locals were having lunch when we were dining. Dinner was another story, with the place jam packed. Asians seem to like trying new places.
Ramen Santouka is a legendary noodle shop located inside the Mitswa supermarket in San Jose just off Highway 280’s Saratoga exit. They have locations in many different cities around the world including Los Angeles.
Kirin Mandarin is a well-respected Chinese restaurant in downtown Vancouver, which is named after a mythical dragon like monster. They have five locations in the greater Vancouver area. This particular location focuses on Northern Chinese cuisine and opened in 1987. Sherman recommended we visit this restaurant. We came for dinner in a previous review.
Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant is a popular Chinese restaurant in Vancouver. This restaurant is mentioned and most tour books and best of articles. It is located about 2 miles south of Vancouver’s Chinatown and it opened in the 1980s.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant is a non descript Chinese restaurant in Richmond, BC, a suburb of Vancouver. It took a 20 minute Canada line subway ride to get here from downtown Vancouver. This place was highly recommended by food God Sherman. This restaurant has two locations in Southern California.
We recently visited the greater Vancouver area. This week we feature reviews from our neighbor to the north.
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.
Il Cane Rosso is a casual rotisserie and sandwich shop inside the Ferry building. It is run by Daniel Patterson who also runs the well-respected Coi restaurant. Our last visit was in the summer of 2011.
Super Duper is a new hamburger restaurant in the Castro. It was opened by the folks behind Delarosa, Beretta and Starbelly. They use Niman Ranch meats. This restaurant opened in mid-April 2010. They have grown to several location in San Francisco as well as North and South Bay. We returned to this location in 2016.
Decor, Vibe – Brand-new Burger restaurant with some retro decor and stainless steel seats. The place had a couple younger folks stop by for a quick bite.
Barbacco Eno Trattoria is an Italian restaurant in San Francisco’s financial district that opened in early 2010. It is a lower-cost sister restaurant to next-door and well-regarded restaurant Perbacco. The focus is on food from all regions of Italy unlike Perbacco, which is focus on northern Italian. Michael Bauer initially gave Barbacco three stars or an excellent rating. Our last visit was in early 2015.
Jack’s Prime Burgers is a burger place in San Mateo that opened in 2008 on El Camino Real just south of Hillsdale mall. They serve burgers, salads, and have a fair amount of beer and wine selections. They serve Meyer Ranch Beef patties and Diesel Ranch free range turkey patties. All beef is humane certified raised and handled. They have to go, patio dining, and sit down dining. Our last visit was in the middle of 2012.
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.
Sumika is a small low key Japanese restaurant in downtown Los Altos, hidden away on a sidestreet. You really need to seek out this two year old restaurant. The focus on home style comfort foods with rice bowls during lunch and Kushiyaki or Charcoal Yakitori grill for dinner. They use organic chicken and other ingredients.
La Pinata Mexicatesen is a Salvadorean/Mexican restaurant in San Mateo, near the Caltrain station. It is located in an area that is full of Hispanic businesses and opened in early 2008.
Julian Serrano is a new Spanish Tapas (small plates) restaurant in the new Las Vegas City Center Aria Hotel. Open in late December 2009, it is run by celebrity chef Julian Serrano who also runs top rated Picasso in Bellagio. He focuses on his native Spanish fare for lunch and dinner.
Chuen Kee Seafood Restaurant is a seafood restaurant located in Hong Kong’s northern Sai Kung area, about an hour subway and bus ride from tourist central Tsim Tsa Tsui. Take the MTR to Choi Hung (Kwun Tong line), exit through at Exit C2, walk a couple feet forward, and take bus 92 or 96R at the bus stop (arrives every 5 minutes), and get off at the end of the line after a 25 minute bus ride. This restaurant opened in 1988. Chuen Kee Seafood has another location a block farther down the promenade.
Baby Blues BBQ is a new BBQ restaurant in the Bernal Heights area of San Francisco that opened in late 2008. They have locations in Venice, California and West Hollywood. They have hybrid BBQ Memphis style rib and sauces that hail from North Carolina. Their racks are slowly smoked and rubbed with pepper and spices.
Amigos Grill is a Mexican restaurant in Portola Valley’s Ladera shopping center, about 1/4 mile west of Highway 280 on Alpine Road.
Pearl’s Phat Burgers Mill Valley
Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill is a legendary Caribbean American grill restaurant in eastern Menlo Park, right near Highway 101. It is a hole in the wall located next to a lower class area of Menlo Park. The chef Robert Simpson also runs much more upscale Coconuts Caribbean Restaurant & Bar in Downtown Palo Alto. He learned his trade in Jamaica.
Woodside Bakery & Cafe is a combination Bakery and cafe in upscale Woodside, right next door to Buck’s. The bakery has been here since the 1980’s. Our last visit was in October 2011.
El Farolito is a Mexican Restaurant with several locations in San Francisco’s Mission district, Oakland, South San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and Rohnert Park. We visited the 24th street location.
Town Hall has been packing them in since 2003. In a quiet part of Soma, with hi-rises all over the place, they serve classic American regional cuisine.
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.
El Norteno is a Mexican mobile food truck in San Francisco. They won the burritoeater 2008 finals. They are located in a parking lot across the street from the Hall of Justice.
Decor, Vibe – ‘Roach Coach’ mobile dining with tacos, burritos, and Tortas in a variety of meats including tongue, cabeza, tripas. Very high 98 food inspection score.
Kirala is a popular Japanese restaurant in Berkeley. They have 2 locations. The one in North Berkeley is a to go shop. They do no take reservations, so the place fills up rapidly. We came for lunch. They have a separate lunch menu as well as a sushi menu.