Where to Eat Now in the Bay Area

Where to Eat Now in the Bay Area

East Bay

There’s a reason culinary goddess Alice Waters started her career in the East Bay. From Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and beyond the east bay boasts trend setting eateries that reflect the diverse population. Looking for your next meal in the East Bay, look no further, we’ve done the research for breakfast, lunch, dinner, burgers, pizza, sushi.     

Parche Restaurant
Photo: 5 Tacos & Beers

Oakland Restaurant Week returns from March 14-24. From neighborhood gems and food trucks to Michelin star restaurants, participating restaurants will offer specially-created lunch and dinner menus to showcase the best their restaurant has to offer. 

With multiple locations throughout the East Bay (Albany, Berkeley and Walnut Creek) you are never far from 5 Tacos & Beers. Created by chef Lito Saldaña — founder of Los Moles restaurants in Emeryville, San Rafael and El Cerrito (he knows his stuff!) — the menu changes monthly.  

Don’t Miss:

In November the tacos will be short rib, pollo al mole poblano, pork belly and cauliflower con elote.

Point is, Point Richmond is HOT!

We gave into the hype to check out Sailing Goat Restaurant — and we’re glad we did. Chez Panisse alum Arnon Oren recently took over this waterfront spot and put chef Ross Kaplan at the helm to serve up inventive fare such as lamb shawarma pie. Make it a destination with live music and sweeping bay views.  

Don’t Miss:

One of the hearty potjie pot stews for cooling nights. 

Roots, as in REAL roots

Tis the season to celebrate indigenous cultures and there is no better place to not only taste learn more about the Ohlone people and their history as you taste the modern version of Ohlone culinary treats at Cafe Ohlone, Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley

Don’t Miss:

Rawwnikma — chia seed flour brownies made with unsweetened chocolate and black walnuts taste even sweeter once you’ve heard the origin story. 

The SPICE is real

San Francisco’s Michelin-starred chef Kin Khao Kasem Saengsawang has two East Bay locals, Daughter Thai in Montclair, but Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine in Jack London Square is our focus for this month. The views, the vibe and share plate noods make for a perfect date night.

Don’t Miss:

Take advantage of the great weather and bay views with their outdoor dining at Jack London Squareluctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

San Francisco

The City by the Bay has been a foodie beacon for over a century. Whether it’s white tablecloth dining Tadich Grill, celeb-fueled glory days of Stars, or Julia Child’s endorsement (and face) on the Tenderloin’s Tu Lan menu, this town sets the pace for food trends around the country. This keeps our editors busy updating our guides featuring where to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner pizza, burger, sushi and steakhouses in San Francisco.

collage showing cake, building facade and croissant from Butter and Crumble in San Francisco
Photo: Butter & Crumble

North Beach’s newest bakery brings French finesse to the Italian neighborhood with the first brick and mortar storefront of this beloved Marina pop-up. Owner and pastry chef Sophie Smith put serious research into her creations, traveling around Europe and perfecting the art of laminated pastry in France. The menu offers creative sweet pastry delights in limited quantities, sending patrons snaking out the door ever since its opening. This tucked-away gem is only open from 9 a.m. Thursday-Sunday and usually sells out by noon, so get there early.

Check out our interview with Sophie Smith here.

Don’t miss:

While the menu regularly changes, delicacies such as the bacon, egg and cheese croissants, pistachio and cardamom sugar croissants are favorites. Other tasty treats include danishes, cookies and muffins, gluten-free options and a series of delicate buttercream sponge cakes such as chocolate ganache toffee cake and lemon ricotta pistachio.

 

It’s a pop-up bonanza on Taraval and 46th in the former Hotline space. Presently, the much-lauded Automat has risen from the ashes and is serving their delectable dishes Thursday–Saturday 10:30ish–7:00ish (or until they sell out.) Kiri — aka Brian Jackson Lee and Brian Ishii of Rintaro — are currenly holding court on Sundays.

Don’t miss:

The next offerings! Also, if you’re looking for a space to host your own pop-up, this is your chance.

It’s almost as much fun watching people question if the left door they are about to enter is the ‘right’ left door, as it is sliding into one of the plush settees and sipping on a bourbon in a fancy glass. Perfect timing for the city’s bounce back, Left Door, perched above the infamous (beloved) Bus Stop bar at the corner of Union and Laguna, is a great spot for intimate bite or drinks with friends, there’s a conversation zone for all.

Don’t miss:

The martini, and just ordering Boujee Totchos will make you smile.

Yes! Especially when it’s from the team at Flour + Water. Originally in the Mission, the beloved group has opened a more casual spot in the heart of San Francisco’s pizza scene. While co-chefs Thomas McNaughton (left) and Ryan Pollnow (right) came into the city with a campaign of making “pasta not predictable,” their pizza, mozzarella sticks and soft serve are sure to be anything but predictable.  

Don’t miss:

The glass-encased Dough Room — a perfect gathering spot for larger groups of 10–12!

Well if the foodies at the New York Times tell us Little Shuckers in one of the top 25 Restaurants in San Francisco, we’re gonna have to agree. Great location on Fillmore, indoor and outdoor seating and we appreciate that they build the tip into the bill, via a 20% service charge. If you don’t agree with the amount, you don’t have to go back. 

Don’t miss:

The Latest Wine From the Family Coppola

Cafe Zoetrope just got even better. The Family Coppola portfolio has grown with the addition of Niebaum Pennino, which are sustainably cultivated and sourced from organically farmed vineyards.

Don’t miss:

Some of the best pizza in town paired with the new wine.

The Empire is Expanding

Michelin-starred chef Ho Chee Boon of Empress by Boon and team have opened Blue Whale Restaurant & Lounge at 2033 Union Street. Bringing the best of Asian cuisines made with seasonal ingredients to a garden setting in the heart of the Marina.

Don’t miss:

The crispy pumpkin puffs are delightfully tangy, the grilled wagyu beef melts in your mouth and the Iberico Ham Shanghai Xiao Long Bao is a delectable twist on a classic dim sum.

Ciao, Chow!

Exceptional service, great value and ideal setting in the Castro? It’s true! After a years-long vacancy, The Rustic just opened in the old Chow spot at 215 Church Street, steps away from the Muni Metro station. Owner Zoti Ali Turap, a Master Sommelier, managed the front-of-house at Chez Panisse and the attention to detail here reflects his experience.

Don’t miss:

The truffle steak tartare. Hockey puck-sized and $18, it’s perhaps the best deal in town.

Hello, Heat Seekers

Sick of the same old Tabasco? Tired of chasing down sriracha? Well, have we got news for you. A hot sauce haven exists in the Richmond District, and it boasts dozens upon dozens of top-tier tongue scorchers. Wood Goods and Hot Sauce is only open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends — and by chance Monday through Friday — at 1821 Balboa Street.

Don’t miss:

The hot sauce bar, replete with tortilla chips and dozens and dozens of sauces to try.

Homage to the OG

Kudos to John’s Grill at 63 Ellis Street — near Union Square — for recently packing the entire block to celebrate 115 years of serving San Francisco’s glitterati and movers and shakers. 

Don’t miss:

Combo seafood salad, created for fitness guru, Jack Lalanne and still on the menu!

Equator Coffee’s Vote for SF!

Need a nosh in SoMA? Bay Area’s favorite ethical coffee source has just reopened their SoMA location in the LinkedIn building, serving up the yoozh, as well as favorites from Rustic Bakery etc. Double karma points for being part of the SF solution!

Don’t miss:

Apple Cider Cinnamon Cream hot apple cider topped with heavy cream shaken with vanilla and cinnamon … ‘tis the season.

Wine Country

You know what makes some of the world’s best wine taste even better? Amazing food. Napa and Sonoma Wine Country offer what we think are the perfect pairings. Here’s our favorite places to eat in Napa Valley and Sonoma County right now.

Sonoma County

Photo: Lo and Behold courtesy of Kim Carroll

Launched by Flambeaux Wine and The Harris Gallery Art & Wine Collection, the new TOWN wine dinner series is getting rave reviews from locals and visitors alike. Themed dinners are being held every month through March. On January 25, the “Dinner of Dreams” will take place at Hotel Healdsburg, and on February 21, a “Raising the Bar” dinner will be held at Lo & Behold in Healdsburg.

Don’t miss:

The opportunity to enjoy wines from three Sonoma County wineries: Flambeaux Wine, The Harris Gallery Art & Wine Collection, and guest winery Gary Farrell.

Healdsburg’s newest steakhouse, Goodnight’s is offering a three-course Local’s Pre-fixe Winter Menu for just $65 per person.

Don’t miss:

The craft cocktail offerings. The eatery’s selection of bourbon and whiskey is topnotch.

Don’t be misled — there’s no pool or water view at Valley Swim Club — but the menu will make you feel like you could be seaside. The new seafood hotspot, sister restaurant to Sonoma’s Valley Bar + Bottle, is getting the thumbs-up from visitors and locals alike. 

Don’t miss:

Along with New England seafood shack favorites like fried whole belly clams, and a fried oyster roll, there’s soft serve ice cream!

Benicia’s Kitchen is now serving brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 2pm. Located at The Lodge at Sonoma, menu possibilities range from a grilled artichoke Benedict to an açaí parfait.

Don’t miss:

Bottomless mimosas. Enough said.

January 27th is the day! Chowder Day ticket holders can taste their way around Bodega Bay, one hearty chowder at a time. A commemorative spoon is supplied.

Don’t miss:

Any of the chowders. Have each restaurant stamp your tasting map and you’ll be eligible to win prizes.

Every Wednesday, Ari Weiswasser, chef-owner of the Glen Ellen Star, is serving up a two-course dinner for $45 per person. Menus are released on Sundays for the upcoming week.

Don’t miss:

Complimentary corkage — cheers!

Engineered Dining Experience

For the holiday season, the Cantilevered Table celebration in the Bubbles Lounge at Cyrus includes a Cyrus martini or craft cocktail followed by small bites and three courses — served family-style — of chef Douglas Keane’s favorite dishes served alongside Champagne. A minimum of six guests is required.

Don’t miss:

The sweet treats from the pastry kitchen. They’re the perfect finish to the evening. Besides, calories don’t count during the holidays, right?

A Steakhouse for All

Inspired by Charles Goodnight, a celebrated Texas ranger, Goodnight’s Prime Steak + Spirits overlooks Healdsburg Plaza and offers a steakhouse dining experience complete with wine, cocktails and oodles of bourbon and whiskey.

Don’t miss:

Yes, it’s a steakhouse, but there are veggie lovers who will appreciate gorgeous salads, the whole roasted cauliflower muhammara and house-made linguini with ricotta, eggplant and blistered cherry tomatoes.

Meal Deal Alert

Mediterranean cuisine with Petaluma River views. Plus, Luma’s recently revamped menu boasts a Stemple Creek burger and burrata with heirloom cucumbers and Calabrian chili vinaigrette.

Don’t miss:

Tuesday Date Night. Enjoy a three-course menu for two for $55.

Bonjour, Augie!

Augie’s French, named for Auguste Escoffier, the father of modern French cuisine, the newly opened bistro in downtown Santa Rosa is the eight restaurant by husband and wife restaurateurs Mark and Terri Stark.

Don’t miss:

Classics like French onion soup, escargot, beef cheek bourguignon and steak frites.

He's Back!

After spending two years on the East Coast, Chef Shane McAnelly is the new Executive Chef of Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. A favorite in the wine country culinary world, McAnelly is well-known for his success at Healdsburg’s Brass Rabbit and Chalkboard restaurants, as well as once leading the culinary program at Bricoleur Vineyards in Windsor.

Don’t miss:

McAnelly recently unveiled a new menu at Dry Creek Kitchen; dishes include Liberty Duck with charred eggplant and figs, Matsutake Mushrooms with finger lime, mitsuba, and umami broth, and Street Corn Agnolotti with calabrian hot pepper, shishito pepper, cotija, and lime.

When You're Here, You're Family

Chef-Owner Dustin Valette from The Matheson in Healdsburg is serving up family style dinners every Wednesday. Menus change every two weeks and include a lineup of family recipes including prime rib and fried chicken.

Don’t miss:

Save room for desserts the likes of peach and blackberry cobbler.

Napa Valley

A yurt set up for dinner
Photo: Charter Oak courtesy of Kelly Puleio

The Yurts at Charter Oak are back! Set among rows of mature mulberry trees, the smile inducing yurts are open for dinner Thursday and Friday, and for all-day dining Saturday + Sunday through March. The multi-course menu is curated by chef Christopher Kostow of the Michelin three-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood. Dishes are subject to change, but past offerings have included a kombu poached prawn, chicken croquettes and braised beef cheek. 

Don’t miss:

Feeling good about dining out. A portion of the proceeds from The Yurts at Charter Oak go directly to the Cameron Thompson Legacy Scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America. The scholarship was created to honor the memory of a restaurant team member.

Mothers Tacos serves Mexico City-style tacos on handmade tortillas. For something different than the norm, order waffle fries loaded with options ranging from Sinaloan style braised pork, to grilled steak and marinated chicken.

Don’t miss:

The housemade horchata sweetened with coconut cream.

Solage’s chef Gustavo Rios collaborated with the Caviar Kaspia team to create a caviar-centric menu. Think Avocado Toast, Chips & Dip, and Tuna & Hamachi Tartare. If you spend the night, the hotel’s Caviar Concierge will deliver all of the deliciousness straight to your cottage.

Don’t miss:

The Pretzel & Caviar duo with an ounce of Kaspia Royal Oscietra Caviar, crispy sourdough pretzel, Bellwether Farms crème fraîche, eggs mimosa, red onions, and chives.

The wait is finally over. The Kitchen at Priest Ranch restaurant is now open next to the Priest Ranch tasting room in Yountville. Open daily from 10am to 6pm, KPR offers both indoor and outdoor dining, including the only rooftop seating area in Yountville.

Don’t miss:

The steak frites paired with Cabernet Sauvignon. The restaurant menu is designed to complement Priest Ranch’s portfolio of wines.

FARM, the onsite restaurant at Carneros Resort and Spa, is sporting an all-new look and new Italian-inspired menu, created by award-winning chef Chris Bianco. A two-time James Beard Award winner, FARM is Bianco’s first partnership and outpost in Napa Valley.

Don’t miss:

The pasta obviously, but if you find yourself there for brunch the housemade beignets with caramel and hot chocolate sauce are delish!

Brunch Goals

Offering everything from bourbon deviled eggs to ahi tacos, and superfood salad with kale, roasted beets and more, The Lincoln, an American gastropub in Napa, boasts river views and it’s open late.

Don’t miss:

Brunch! Donut holes, fried chicken and waffles, lobster and chips. We could go on and on.

South Bay

Known for innovation, the South Bay aka Silicon Valley was at one time covered in orchards and fields, The rich culinary history abounds here with some of the best ethnic offerings. For this list we are considering the South Bay to cover the coastal area from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz as well as the techy towns (Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Los Gatos and San Jose).  Looking for your next breakfast, lunch, dinner, pizza, sushi , burgers and happy hour near you — we’ve got you covered. 

Collage showing chefs and building at Ritual
Photo: Courtesy of Manresa

Starting on January 17, Ritual at Manresa will bring chefs from international Michelin-starred restaurants to Los Gatos for three-week residencies each month with Chef David Kinch joining as culinary ambassador.

Don’t Miss:

This stacked roster!

  • Aponiente, Chef Ángel León (Spain, 3 Michelin Stars)
  • Atomix, Chef Junghyun Park (New York, 2 Michelin Stars; World’s Best Top 10)
  • D.O.M. Chef Alex Atala (São Paulo, 2 Michelin Stars)
  • The Clove Club, Chef Isaac McHale (London, 2 Michelin Stars)
  • Odette, Chef Julien Royer (Singapore, 3 Michelin Stars)
  • Ikoyi, Chef Jeremy Chan (London, 2 Michelin Stars)
  • The Jane Antwerp, Chef Nick Bril (Antwerp, 2 Michelin Stars)
  • Lasarte, Chef Paolo Casagrande (Japan, 3 Michelin Stars)
  • Chef Paul Liebrandt (New York, Chef of Previous Michelin Starred Restaurants)
  • Château de la Chèvre D’Or, Chef Arnaud Faye (Paris, 2 Michelin Stars)

For fans of the sweet and tiny Sausalito taqueria — brainchild of Joanne Weir and Larry Mindel — this new location at Willow Glen will be a welcome experience. The new space is 6,300 square feet, two floors, entrees and large plates on the first floor and smaller plates are served on the rooftop terrace.

Don’t Miss:

Gluten-free? No problem. The entire menu of Mexican dishes including tacos, ceviches, and enchiladas, is too!

Please DO pick these Flowers!

Sit back and enjoy the show at Flowers Saratoga. Their tagline — Beautiful Food Meant to be Shared — says it all. A sensory treat from the decor to dish, your instagram feed will thank you.

Don’t Miss:

The cocktails are especially science forward, especially Kiss the Bubble! 

24 + 7 + 12

Even if you aren’t committed to a lifestyle meant to prolong life on our planet, you’ll have a great meal at the stately plant-based Burlingame eatery Twelvemonth. And guess what? By accident you are supporting a business that is committed to the health of the planet. Win-win! 

Don’t Miss:

Get into the fall vibes with  Squashio e pepe as long as it lasts on the menu 

Roll into Rollati!

Seems like the city of San Jose is abuzz with the opening of Rollati Ristorante, just across from City Hall in downtown San Jose. 

Don’t Miss:

All handmade pastas are delicious, but the “Thousand” Layer Lasagne is a bucket lister. 

A Feast for the Eyes

The new kid on St. Helena’s Main Street, NO|MA House Café & Collective was brought to life by Ann Backen, entrepreneur and co-founder/CEO of renowned wine country architecture firm Backen & Backen. 

Don’t miss:

While savoring dishes the likes of lemon ricotta waffles, mushroom tartine, and zucchini noodles with bolognese, you’ll no doubt fall in love with something in the beautiful space. The good news — just about everything you see is for sale.

Newness on the Block

Fresh off a remodel, The Restaurant at North Block is back and better than ever. Along with fresh pastas and stone baked flatbreads and inventive dishes. 

Don’t miss:

The Summer in the Valley — with pickled green strawberries, toy box tomatoes, summer squash, haricot verts, and carrot hummus — remind you to appreciate wine country’s diverse bounty.

North Bay

From Marin to Mendocino, farm-to-table doesn’t get any fresher. The climate has been compared to Italy, creating the foundation for eateries including Tony’s Seafood, Sam’s Anchor Cafe and Farmhouse Inn. For the latest breakfast, lunch, dinner, pizza, burgers and sushi, look no further than Local Getaways. 

Focaccia and olive oil from Madrona Bakery in Mill Valley
Photo: Loveski Deli

Alan Scott’s Legend Continues

If carbs could talk… For a true taste of the North Bay make your way to the hallowed hall of a well-used Alan Scott oven, which has produced fired up award-winning breads and pizzas for decades for beloved restaurants such as SmallShed Flatbread, Molina and Bootjack. The latest interaction, Madrona Bakery!  

Don’t miss:

Caramel croissant half loaf — the holidays are coming you’ll need to get your French toast game on.

Still not quite open, but put it on your list. Chef Christopher Kostow, who earned three Michelin stars at The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, revives his family’s pre-Ellis Island family name Koslovski at a “Jew-ish” deli at Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart. The menu includes flavors from his wife and business partner’s Thai heritage as in, the matzo ball soup is flavored with lemongrass and chiles. Indoor-outdoor seating, grab-n-go fridge, coffee and wine, too.

Don’t miss:

The catering options and large trays and spreads for special occasions, office lunches, corporate events and get-togethers.

Best of the West!

The quintessential West Marin experience just got a boost since Top Chef Masters winner Chris Cosentino donned the coveted Nick’s Cove toque at this coveted waterfront gem. Expect the classics as well some best in West Marin treats like fried oyster on a burger. 

Don’t miss:

If you have the time, make a reservation for sunset, and spend the night in one of the quaint cottages. The bbq’d oysters taste best paired with Champagne on your own private patio.

Tiburon’s Culinary Coast

It’s a thing — the once sleepy town of Tiburon has become a foodie heaven! From newbies like Malibu Farms to classic (best view of the Golden Gate Bridge on the bay) Caprice, best viewed with a smokey Manhattan and branzino. 

Don’t miss:

Dine with the wind! If possible, make it an adventure and opt for the Golden Gate Ferry as your ride to dinner or round trip for lunch. 

Pizza Party in Sausalito

We all know Bar Bocce, Poggio, Angelino, Sandrino and now there’s a new kid in town  — Vicino’s.

Don’t miss:

The pepperoni slice with the complimentary view of San Francisco’s skyline (free with purchase). 

Still Hungry?

Try the food at one of our partner restaurants.

Outdoor patio Alexandrite Deck at Poggio
Dining room filled with people at Pier Market restaurant

For More Places to Eat

Find all the restaurants you’re looking for across Northern California.

Who’s writing these?

Meet our always-hungry team team of foodies who have compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite eat@localgetaways.com.

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