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Features San Francisco Bay Area Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, and Stay in the City by the Bay
 
TRAVEL ARCHIVE

San Francisco Bay Area Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, and Stay in the City by the Bay

June 2010

From the Peninsula to Oakland, and from haute cuisine to rustic pizza, the San Francisco Bay Area is a classic food town bursting with fresh energy. There is a group of young chefs who aren’t afraid to go beyond farm to table, and we applaud the people who are taking risks. The Bay Area has come a long way and these young chefs are bringing excitement to the San Francisco dining scene. There’s even a core group of pastry chefs who are making a difference in the San Francisco sweets scene and who are playing with texture, spices, cheese, and having fun with their food.

The focus is, as it always has been, on sourcing the best local ingredients and letting them shine. From the farms and gardens of Alice Waters and David Kinch to foraging and hunting young guns like Thomas McNaughton and Louis Maldonado, San Francisco chefs aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to get closer to the land and their ingredients.

San Francisco has a brilliant spectrum of interpretive fine and casual dining, all with a similar premium on local, top-quality ingredients. And like any self-respecting culinary hub, San Francisco boasts its fair share of comfort food, innards, off-cuts, and generally the kind of satisfying food chefs love.

Perhaps the most impressive shift in San Francisco dining in the last few years has been the move away from the core seven square miles of San Francisco proper into the East Bay and Peninsula. Down in Menlo Park, Saratoga, Mountain View, and even as far as Los Gatos, chefs are cooking some of the best food, not just in the Bay Area, but in the country. And chefs wanting to get closer to nature and away from higher rents are setting up shop in casual, neighborhoody Oakland.

San Francisco is also one of the cities that is leading the way in the explosion of the country’s cocktail culture with the help of a group of gifted and tight-knit mixologists. And unlike the food culture in San Francisco, it’s not all about farm-fresh cocktails. Mixologists are deeply rooted in the classics (many of them are committed to finding the most obscure, pre-pre-Prohibition cocktails for their menus) and are marking menus with their riffs on these archetypes.

San Francisco
    Oakland & Berkeley
À Côté
Bellanico
Camino
Commis
Meritage
Wood Tavern

Peninsula

Chez TJ
Madera
Manresa
Marché
The Plumed Horse

Sausalito
Cibo Café
Fish
Murray Circle
A16
Absinthe Brasserie
Alembic
Aziza
Barbacco
Bar Jules
Bar Tartine
Beretta
Bin 38
Chez Papa Resto
Coco 500
Coi
Contigo
The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton
Elixir
Fifth Floor
flour + water
Gary Danko
Gialina
Gitane
Heaven’s Dog
Humphry Slocombe
il Cane Rosso
Jardinière
Masa’s
Michael Mina
The Moss Room
Orson

Pizzeria Delfina
Range
Rickhouse
RN74
Saison
Scala’s Bistro
Seasons at the Four Seasons
Serpentine
The Slanted Door
Spruce
SPQR
Star Belly
Town Hall
 
San Francisco
  Oakland & Berkeley Peninsula
Campton Place
The Fairmont Heritage Place Ghiradelli Square
The Fairmont Luxury Hotel & Resort
Galleria Park Hotel
Hotel Vertigo
Westin St. Francis
The Claremont Hotel
Club & Spa

Hotel Shattuck Plaza
Rosewood Sand Hill Resort

Sausalito

Cavallo Point

 
 


A16 camera icon
2355 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 771-2216
www.a16sf.com
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5:30pm-10pm; Fri 5:30pm-11pm; Sat 5pm-11pm; Sun 5pm-10pm; Wed-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm


Since it opened in February 2004, A16’s tightly packed tables have been perpetually full. Although it’s set up as a cozy, neighborhood restaurant, Shelley Lindgren’s A16 is a name nearly every US chef knows—even if they haven’t eaten there. And chances are that the A16 Food + Wine cookbook is also on their shelf. Guests can sit at the bar and enjoy a quartino and pizza, snatch a coveted table and linger, or snag a spot at the dining room counter to watch Chef Liza Shaw work her magic with a wood-fired oven. Pastry Chef Lori Rich is a new addition to the restaurant with tremendous potential. Her Farro Custard with Candied Orange, Bitter Chocolates, and Blood Orange Yogurt Sorbet is creative and unusual with great textures and a harmonious flavor combination.

Recommended Dishes:
  • Roasted Beets and Full Belly Farm Farro Salad with Roasted Cippollini and Mint
  • Roasted Sardines and Minted Pea Bruschetta with Pickled Onions
  • Farro Custard with Candied Orange, Bitter Chocolates, and Blood Orange Yogurt Sorbet and Amorina Cherry
  • Sicilian Almond Crostada with Meyer Lemon Gelato and Candied Almonds
  • Roasted Beets and Full Belly Farm Farro Salad with Roasted Cippollini and Mint
    + Click image to enlarge


    Absinthe Brasserie camera icon
    398 Hayes Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 551-1590
    www.absinthe.com
    Hours: Tues-Fri 11:30am-12am; Sat 11am-12am; Sun 11am-10pm


    As the name suggests, Absinthe has the atmosphere of a classic brasserie with red leather banquettes and a long, dark wood bar. 2007 Rising Star Mixologist Jonny Raglin is still mixing drinks and setting the bar for cocktails in San Francisco. Chef Jamie Lauren draws on her New York upbringing to create comfort food dishes that are close to home, like Green Garlic and Potato Pierogies. Pastry Chef Luis Villavelazquez is one of the youngest executive pastry chefs in San Francisco and is definitely someone to watch. His desserts are out of the box with creative preparations and flavor profiles. Meat isn’t usually integrated into sweets, but Villavelazquez’s Beef Brisket Mincemeat is a gutsy, well executed end to the meal.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Slow-Cooked Pork Confit with Anson Mills Cheese Grits, House Made Bacon, Collard Greens, and Pork Jus
  • Green Garlic and Potato Pierogies with Fried Cabbage, Mustard Oil, and Chive Crème Fraiche
  • Green Tea Biscuits with Elderflower-Wrapped Kabosu Lime Parfait, Tobacco Meringue, and Black Pepper Grapefruit Reduction
  • Beef Brisket Mincemeat with Chocolate, Dried Fruits, Cocoa Powder, Vanilla Chocolate Swirl Sorbet, Cocoa Nib Struesel, and Chocolate Sauce
  • Slow-Cooked Pork Confit with Anson Mills Cheese Grits, House Made Bacon, Collard Greens, and Pork Jus
    + Click image to enlarge


    À Côté camera icon
    5478 College Avenue
    Oakland, CA 94618
    (510) 655-6469
    www.acoterestaurant.com
    Hours: Sun-Tues 5:30pm-10pm; Wed-Thurs 5:30pm-11pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am

    This dark, romantic neighborhood restaurant is what Oakland is all about. À Côté’s Chef Matthew Colgan cooks rustic, farm-fresh Mediterranean cuisine that keeps locals coming back. He uses the wood burning oven the restaurant inherited to cook a variety of dishes from flatbreads to coq au vin. Simple and satisfying dishes like Chicken Tortelloni with Chanterelles and Swiss Chard hit the spot and signify Colgan’s time spent working and travelling in Italy.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Seared Grouper with Grilled Asparagus, Red Spring Onions, and Myer Lemon-Blood Orange Relish
  • Chicken Tortelloni with Chanterelles and Swiss Chard
  • Seared Grouper with Grilled  Asparagus, Red Spring Onions, and Myer Lemon-Blood Orange Relish
    + Click image to enlarge


    Alembic camera icon
    1725 Haight Street
    San Francisco, CA 94117
    (415) 666-0822
    www.alembicbar.com
    Hours: Daily 12pm-2am


    Industry hang out Alembic draws cocktail-savvy crowds seven nights a week to the Haight. Mixologist Daniel Hyatt heads up the classically-driven bar program that puts his own stamp on archetypal drinks. “I think a cocktail without inspiration or a story is just booze in a glass,” he says. For Hyatt, the inspiration usually lies in some combination of a classic cocktail and a personal experience. The refreshing Southern Exposure, for example, came about one afternoon when Hyatt was drinking celery juice and decided to put it into a cocktail; he used the South Side as a starting place and ended up with one of the most popular beverages at Alembic.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Southern Exposure
  • Gilded Lily
  • Gilded Lily
    + Click image to enlarge


    Aziza camera icon
    5800 Geary Boulevard
    San Francisco, CA 94121
    (415) 752-2222
    www.aziza-sf.com
    Hours: Wed-Mon 5:30pm-10pm


    Aziza is a warm, lantern-lit Moroccan restaurant in Outer Richmond owned by soulful Chef Mourad Lahlou, who has made a name for himself fusing the traditional techniques he learned from his mother in Marrakech with West Coast philosophy and local produce. In the hands of 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef de Cuisine Louis Maldonado the menu has a worldly feel, accented by the blossoms and wild lettuces he personally forages. 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Pastry Chef Melissa Chou eloquently slips nuances of Moroccan flavors (rose water, honey, and mint) into her desserts that are natural finales to the subtle dishes that precede them.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Marinated Striped Bass with Compressed Green Strawberries, California Caviar, and Brown Rice
  • Braised Radishes, Pickled Pearl Onions, Compressed Cucumber, and Crispy Chicken Skins
  • Goat Yogurt Panna Cotta with Rose Gelee, Strwaberry Merengue, Compressed Green Strawberries, Mint, Hibiscus Soup
  • Chocolate Sorbet, Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich with Ginger Snap, Almond Granita, and Gingered Cherries
  • Braised Radishes, Pickled Pearl Onions, Compressed Cucumber, and Crispy 
Chicken Skins
    + Click image to enlarge


    Barbacco camera icon
    220 California Street
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    (415) 955-1919
    www.barbaccosf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm; Sat 5pm-10pm


    The little sibling to next door Perbacco, Staffan Terje’s smaller wine bar Barbacco is sleek with warm touches like brick walls and communal tables. Chef de Cuisine Sarah Burchard came up through the ranks as Terje’s protégée at Perbacco before taking the reigns at his latest venture. In this role, Burchard confidently prepares regional Italian dishes with soul and pizzazz. Rolled Pasta Filled with Chard and Ricotta with Sage-Brown Butter, which has been on the menu since day one, is made with love in the classic Piedmontese style with thick, house-made pasta that stands up to the heavy, cheesy, comforting filling.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Rotolo: Rolled Pasta Filled with Chard and Ricotta with Sage-Brown Butter
  • Polpette: Sicilian Meatballs with Raisins, Pine Nuts, Braised Chard, and Tomato Sugo
  • Rotolo: Rolled Pasta Filled with Chard and Ricotta with Sage-Brown Butter
    + Click image to enlarge


    Bar Jules camera icon
    609 Hayes Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 621-5482
    www.barjules.com
    Hours: Tues-Sat 6pm-10pm; Wed-Sat 11:30am-3pm; Sun 11am-3pm

    A neighborhood restaurant above all else, Bar Jules is a bright, airy bistro that places an emphasis on seasonal, organic, and local. Chef Jessica Boncutter prepares simple, unadorned food with ingredients that come from within 100 miles. From eggs to burgers, much of the food is cooked on a wood-fired broiler over almond wood that infuses each dish with its flavor. Stop by Bar Jules for brunch, when hearty items like Baked Eggs with Pulled Pork and Radish Salsa are available.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Baked Eggs with Pulled Pork and Radish Salsa
  • Baked Eggs with Pulled Pork and Radish Salsa
    + Click image to enlarge


    Bar Tartine camera icon
    561 Valencia Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 487-1600
    www.bartartine.com
    Hours: Tues-Thurs, Sun 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 6pm-11pm; Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm


    Bar Tartine, owned by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine bakery fame, is a comfortable neighborhood bistro with simple wood tables, an antler chandelier, and art on the walls. Chef Chris Kronner has grown up as a chef within the Tartine family and has been waiting to grow into the chef position for years. Kronner offers solid bistro cuisine like steak, bone marrow, and chicken liver pâté. The devil is in the details in Kronner’s Devil's Gulch Rabbit Leg with Twice-Cooked Potatoes and Parsnips, Fried Rabbit Foreleg, Rocket Salad, and Prosciutto; the heavenly potatoes made the meal.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Devil's Gulch Rabbit Leg with Twice-Cooked Potatoes and Parsnips, Fried Rabbit Foreleg, Rocket Salad, and Prosciutto
  • Chicken Liver Pâté with Pickled Shallots, Poached Quince, and House Brioche
  • Devil's Gulch Rabbit Leg with Twice-Cooked Potatoes and Parsnips, Fried Rabbit Foreleg, Rocket Salad, and Prosciutto
    + Click image to enlarge


    Bellanico camera icon
    4238 Park Boulevard
    Oakland, CA 94602
    (510) 336-1180

    www.bellanico.net
    Hours: Sat-Sun 10:30am-2:30pm; Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Mon-Thurs 5:30-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm; Sun 5pm-9pm

    When husband and wife team Elizabeth Frumusa and Chris Shepherd decided to turn a former florist shop into a restaurant, they named it after their two children, Bella and Nico. Bellanico’s charming dining room features a granite wine bar, dark wood tables, and photos of bicycles. Chef Jonathan Luce’s rustic preparations draw inspiration from throughout Italy, like his rich, creamy rendition of casunziei ravioli filled with beets and ricotta and dotted with poppy seeds.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Casunzei Ravioli, Red Beet and Ricotta Filling, Poppy Seeds, Butter, Grana Padano
  • Braised Organic Pork Belly with Grilled Romaine Hearts, Red Grapefruit, and Citrus
  • Casunzei Ravioli, Red Beet and Ricotta Filling, Poppy Seeds, Butter, Grana Padano
    + Click image to enlarge


    Beretta camera icon
    1199 Valencia Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 695-1199

    www.berettasf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 5:30pm-1am; Sat-Sun 11am-1am

    There are few better places in San Francisco to wile away a sunny weekend afternoon than Beretta. Whether sitting at the bar, at a communal table, or outside, natural light streams into the warm, lofty space and invites guests to linger. Mixologist Ryan Fitzgerald is deeply involved in the local cocktail scene and incorporates fresh produce and herbs into his classically-inspired libations. The clean and refreshing Pamplemousse was designed as a low alcohol drink for afternoon sipping with a restrained portion of gin, fresh lemon juice, grapefruit, basil, and St. Germain.

    Recommended Drinks:
  • Pamplemousse
  • Algonquin East
  • Pamplemousse
    + Click image to enlarge


    Bin 38 camera icon
    3232 Scott Street
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    (415) 567-3838

    www.bin38.com
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 5pm-12am; Fri 4pm-1:30am; Sat 2pm-1:30am; Sun 2pm-12am

    Locals come to this cute neighborhood wine bar for its outdoor patio, its welcoming atmosphere, and of course the extensive, recession-friendly wine list, with over 55 wines by the glass. But the good tipple doesn’t stop with wine. Owner and sommelier Don Davis maintains a roster of 26 beers from around the world. And while even a few locals assume Bin38 is simply a “wine bar,” the kitchen sends out everything from upscale snacks like Truffled Popcorn to sophisticated plates like Foie Gras Torchon with Pickled Cherries. And while both the snacks and dinner menus feature some of Chef Matt Brimer’s more ambitious takes on modern technique, where he really shines is with simple, soulful, well-executed plates like his wagyu beef and Butternut Squash Agnolotti.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Grilled Wagyu Short Rib with Parsnip, Cipollini Onion, Fried Pickled Marrow, Pumpkinseed, and Gremolata
  • Butternut Squash Agnolotti
  • Grilled Wagyu Short Rib with Parsnip, Cipollini Onion, Fried Pickled Marrow, Pumpkinseed, and Gremolata
    + Click image to enlarge


    Camino camera icon
    3917 Grand Avenue
    Oakland, CA 94610
    (510) 547-5035

    www.caminorestaurant.com
    Hours: Wed-Mon 5:30pm-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am-2pm

    Chef Russell Moore worked at Chez Panisse for 20 years before finally opening the restaurant of his dreams with partner Allison Hopelain. At Camino Moore cooks everything over an open fire pit and custom-made wood-burning oven crafted by French stone masons. What’s more, he buys only whole animals, which he uses head to tail. While cooking like this presents some limitations, for Moore it has only made him more creative. He cooks whole animals on a spit and puts all the parts to good use; one pig dish on his often-changing menu include almost every part of pig from trotters to ear.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Grilled Local Squid with Puntarelle, Chilies, and Herb Salad
  • Boudin Blanc, Pig's Head and Trotter Fritter and Grilled Pork Loin with Homemade Sauerkraut and Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat
  • Grilled Local Squid with Puntarelle, Chiles, and Herb Salad
    + Click image to enlarge


    Chez Papa Resto camera icon
    4 Mint Plaza
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 546-4134
    www.chezpapasf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Sat 11:30am-3pm; Mon-Thur


    Chez Papa Resto is a funky, super modern restaurant with a hip environment and fine dining food. Chef David Bazirgan reminds us why he was a 2005 San Francisco Rising Star with elegant, innovative dishes. His technique is superb, but his food isn’t showy; the modern applications are simply a means to an end—a way to make expertly prepared food. Bazirgan’s dishes are beautifully presented and his flavor combinations are creative, exciting, and thoughtful. Mixologist Edgar Solis makes fun, potable drinks to match. For his Miami cocktail, Solis wanted to create something that tasted like juice and discovered that Campari and St. Germain combine to imitate something very close to grapefruit juice.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Compressed Persimmon with Radicchio, Hazelnuts, Pomegranate Seeds, Honeycrisp Apple, Heirloom Chicories, and Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
  • Dungeness Crab Salad with Blood Orange Gelée, Black Caraway Seeds, and Blood Orange Salt

  • Recommended Drinks:
  • The Dirty Sanchez
  • Miami Drink
  • Dungeness Crab Salad with Blood Orange Gelée, Black Caraway Seeds, and Blood Orange Salt
    + Click image to enlarge


    Chez TJ camera icon
    938 Villa Street
    Mountain View, CA 94041
    (650) 964-7466
    www.cheztj.com
    Hours: Tues-Thurs 5:30pm-9pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm


    Chez TJ has turned out some incredible chefs in the past, including 2009 Napa Sonoma Rising Star Chef Christopher Kostow. 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef Scott Nishiyama has recently taken the helm of the kitchen and hasn't missed a beat with sophisticated dishes that are a creative and refined expression of Chez TJ’s celebrated legacy of commitment to local produce. The native Hawaiian’s pedigree is impeccable, having worked under the likes of Laurent Tourondel, Daniel Boulud, and Thomas Keller, as so is his technique. Foie gras and sablefish have never been so luxurious as in the deft hands of Nishiyama. His dishes are at once classically French and modern American, and given an ever-appropriate local terroir with the addition of herbs and greens from his restaurant garden.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Moulard Duck Foie Gras “Niege,” Blackberries, and Sunchokes with House-Made Mustard Bread
  • Sablefish with Leeks Fondue, Manila Clams, Perigord Truffle, and Potatoes Salardaise
  • Sablefish with Leeks Fondue, Manila Clams, Perigold Truffle, and Potatoes
    + Click image to enlarge


    Cibo Café
    1201 Bridgeway
    Sausalito, CA 94965
    (415) 331-2426
    www.cibosausalito.com
    Hours: Mon-Sun 7am-5pm


    The façade of this local Sausalito café may be red brick, but when you enter, the modern paintings and streamlined furniture feel contemporary without being hokey. Blue bottle espresso and cappuccinos are the perfect partners for the pecan-topped sticky buns and housemade “pop tarts.” 

    Recommended Dishes:
    Sticky Bun
    Bluebottle espresso


    Coco 500 camera icon
    500 Brannan Street
    San Francisco, CA 94107
    (415) 543-2222
    www.coco500.com
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 5:30pm-11pm


    We’ve long been fans of soulful Chef Loretta Keller’s signature restaurant Coco 500 and the old Bizou space south of Market is going strong. Chef de Cuisine Michael Morrison travels to Italy for inspiration and comes up with rustic dishes like the satisfying Ricotta Ravioli with Tuscan Kale, Black Truffle, and Reggiano. Mixologist Elaine Danoff looks to everything from Chef Morrison’s food to the TV show Mad Men for ideas and often incorporates Italian spirits. The bittersweet Barbieri Blossom is light and uplifting, a fitting cocktail for late spring or early summer.

    Recommended Dish:
  • Ricotta Ravioli with Tuscan Kale, Black Truffle, and Reggiano

  • Recommended Drink:
  • Barbieri Blossom
  • Ricotta Ravioli with Tuscan Kale, Black Truffle, and Reggiano
    + Click image to enlarge


    Coi camera icon
    373 Broadway
    San Francisco, CA 94133
    (415) 393-9000
    www.coirestaurant.com
    Hours: Tues-Sat 6pm-10pm


    We finally had the opportunity to taste Chef Daniel Patterson's cuisine at Coi, where he delivers an experience that is not to be forgotten. Patterson goes out foraging every morning and sources the best, freshest ingredients to create dishes that appear simple, but are technique-intensive. Patterson’s cerebral, patiently composed food is hyper-thoughtful and evocative. The poetic Winter, Pastoral consists of burnt hay and hay stock that conjures images of walking through the countryside. The dish also signifies the life cycle: the sheep that provide the pecorino grazed on hay. 2007 New York Rising Star Pastry Chef Bill Corbett is behind the playful, exquisite desserts that are a natural follow-up to Patterson’s dishes. It’s Almost It is a play on the Bay Area classic It’s It ice cream sandwich; Corbett’s version nestles milk chocolate ice cream between two addictive layers of oatmeal cookie dough before being blanketed in dark chocolate.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Winter, Pastoral: Young Carrots Roasted in Hay, Radish Powder, Shaved Pecorino
  • Savory Wild Mushroom Porridge with Brown Butter, Garlic Confit, and Wood Sorrel
  • Lime Curd with Shiso Meringue and Aloe Vera
  • It's Almost It: Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Oatmeal Cookie Dough, and Blood Orange Marmalade
  • Winter, Pastoral: Young Carrots Roasted in Hay, Radish Powder, Shaved
    + Click image to enlarge


    Commis camera icon
    3859 Piedmont Avenue
    Oakland, CA 94611
    (510) 653-3902
    www.commisrestaurant.com
    Hours: Wed-Sat 5:30pm-10pm; Sun 5pm-9:30pm


    At tiny Oakland hotspot Commis, 2007 Rising Star James Syhabout is cooking experimental cuisine that is at once exciting and comforting. He plays with techniques, temperatures, and textures to create completely unusual dishes that are balanced and far from boring. Carlos Salgado, one of the most talented young pastry chefs in the Bay Area, follows suit with fresh, high-concept desserts. Bellwether Farms Carmody, Just Warmed with Black Pepper Pastry, Lavender Onion and Arugula is Salgado’s take on a composed cheese course. 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Sommelier Sarah Valor doesn't skip a beat, pairing unusual, funky wines that work with all the various elements on the plate. Especially noteworthy are her dessert pairings, which reach far out of the box and mercifully stay away from the cloying sweet wines so often served.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Local Halibut Tartare, Marinated in Lemon with Kelp Pickle and Cress and Ginger Snow
  • Crisp Veal Sweetbreads with Hot Rye Cereal with Braised Garlic, Caramelized Allium Nectar
  • Bellwether Farms Carmody, Just Warmed with Black Pepper Pastry, Lavender Onion, and Arugula
  • Goat's Milk Panna Cotta with Winter Citrus, Pistachio, and Beet-Blood Orange Sorbet
  • Goat's Milk Panna Cotta with Winter Citrus, Pistachio, and Beet-Blood Orange
    + Click image to enlarge


    Contigo camera icon
    1320 Castro Street
    San Francisco, CA 94114
    (415) 285-0250
    www.contigosf.com
    Hours: Tues-Sat 5:30pm-10pm; Sun 5:30pm-9:30pm


    Contigo, which means means "with you" in Spanish, is the brainchild of co-owners Brett Emerson and Elan Drucker. Built green from the ground up (from building materials to the post-consumer recycled paper on which the menus are printed), Contigo is a Spanish and Catalan restaurant in Noe Valley. The tightly packed, bustling restaurant is a fitting environment for Chef Emerson’s lively small plates, many of which are prepared in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. In Emerson’s hands, octopus is transformed into a tender base for a bold salad brightened with preserved lemon.

    Recommended Dishes:
    • Pulpo Salad with Frisee, Celery, Preserved Lemon, and Black Olives
    • Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Sheep's Milk Ricotta, Mint, and Almonds
    Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Sheep's Milk Ricotta, Mint, and Almonds
    + Click image to enlarge


    The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton camera icon
    600 Stockton Street
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (415) 773-6168
    www.ritzcarltondiningroom.com
    Hours: Tues-Thurs 6pm-9pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm


    Chef Ron Siegel has trained in some of the best kitchens in the country, from New York’s Restaurant Daniel to Yountville’s The French Laundry. Today Siegel is a mentor chef with protégés including 2005 San Francisco Rising Stars Melissa Perello and Paul Piscopo. As chef at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Siegel prepares upscale dishes for a mix of hotel clientele and locals celebrating special occasions. A playful amuse bouche of Poached Quail Egg with Osetra Caviar and Butter Crouton is served on a smoke-filled futuristic glass vessel that guests tap to let the smoke out.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Poached Quail Egg with Osetra Caviar and Butter Crouton
  • Kampachi Sashimi with Winter Citrus Gelée, Black Truffle and Carrots, and Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Kampachi Sashimi with Winter Citrus Gelée, Black Truffle and Carrots, and Citrus Vinaigrette
    + Click image to enlarge


    Elixir camera icon
    3200 16th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 552-1633
    www.elixirsf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 3pm-2am; Sat 12pm-2am; Sun 11am-2am


    At first glance Elixir looks more like a saloon from the Wild West than it does a cocktail-driven bar. But with H. Joseph Ehrmann as proprietor and mixology maven, the drinks take a refined spin. Ehrmann pays homage to classics but incorporates a healthy dose of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs to bring even more depth to already complex concoctions. The Winter Sour is a revelatory drink with a full ounce and a half of Campari, Meyer lemon, muddled rosemary, and organic egg whites; it is bitter and herbaceous and fit for the holidays. Ehrmann presents the cocktail in a dainty vintage glass and garnishes it with a rosemary-speared cherry so it looks as good as it tastes.

    Recommended Drinks:
  • Winter Sour
  • Celery Cup No. 1
  • Winter Sour
    + Click image to enlarge


    Fifth Floor camera icon
    12 4th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 348-1555
    www.fifthfloorrestaurant.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm


    Hidden on the fifth floor of the Hotel Palomar is the Michelin-starred and aptly named Fifth Floor. The recently renovated dining room is handsomely decorated with dark wood and leather banquettes. Chef Jennie Lorenzo brings years of experience cooking around the world in esteemed restaurants like Gordon Ramsay in London, Blackbird in Chicago, Ame in San Francisco, and Ryugin in Tokyo. Seared duck breast is served with an unexpected combination of honey-glazed dates, kohlrabi, sesame seed puree, and duck jus. The wonderful textures come together to create a memorable dish, from the soft dates to the crunchy kohlrabi to the lightly roasted radish to the skin of the duck that is wonderfully caramelized.

    Recommended Dishes:
    • Seared Duck Breast with Honey-Glazed Dates, Kohlrabi, Sesame Seed Puree, and Duck Jus
    • Artisan Foie Gras Terrine with Almond “Bastilla,” Orange-Grapefruit-Cardamom Gel, and Red Wine-Armagnac Gastrique
    Artisan Foie Gras Terrine with Almond “Bastilla,” Orange-Grapefruit-Cardamom Gel, and Red Wine-Armagnac Gastrique
    + Click image to enlarge


    Fish
    350 Harbor Drive
    Sausalito, CA 94965
    (415) 331-3474
    www.331fish.com
    Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30am-8:30pm

    You’re as likely to find an outspoken (and eloquent) advocate for sustainable, local fishing here as you are darned good fish. That’s because The California State Legislature recently gave this place a Sustainable North Bay Award for their efforts in supporting local fishermen. They only serve locally sourced, sustainable seafood, spurning farmed salmon and the like without a hint of pretension. Most of all, we loved digging into the fish taco plate with its delectable housemade sauces.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Lobster Roll
  • The Fish Taco Plate


  • flour + water camera icon
    2401 Harrison Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 826-7000
    www.flourandwater.com
    Hours: Daily 5:30pm-12am


    This relatively young Italian outpost in the Mission District is the unassuming scene of some incredible cooking. Just eight months in and 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef Thomas McNaughton’s “intentionally small and focused” menu at flour + water is studded with expertly made, classic renditions of rustic Italian dishes. McNaughton’s concrete focus on seasonal and artisanal products, and his utter dedication to sourcing the best of local bounty—including hunting his own boar, and using every edible bit of it—makes his cooking not only authentic, but soulfully delicious. He served us wild boar in four dishes, including shoulder, ravioli, mortadella, and a boar terrine. The omnipresence of boar didn’t stifle variety, as each dish showcased a different part and preparation of the animal. And the pizza—which you can’t leave without ordering—has a light and crispy crust with bold, but still elegant flavors. We love the focus of flour + water, but we’re very excited about the chef’s plans to open another location—the more we get of McNaughton, the better.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Bollito Misto: Braised Wild Boar Shoulder with Warm Potato Salad, Poached Egg, and Salsa Verde
  • Ravioli Doppio Stuffed with Wild Boar Ragu and Pumpkin Puree with Fried Sage and Roasted Chestnuts
  • Braised Wild Boar Shoulder with Warm Potato Salad, Poached Egg, and Salsa Verde
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    Gary Danko camera icon
    800 North Point Street
    San Francisco, CA 94109
    (415) 749-2060
    www.garydanko.com
    Hours: Daily 5:30pm-10pm


    Situated in the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, Gary Danko has been serving San Franciscans the eponymous chef’s cuisine—local product grounded in classical technique with flourishes of Mediterranean and French—for six years now. Funky sculptural bud vases enliven the hushed elegance of the spacious dining room, where white tablecloths drape over banquette tables and guests dine of Chef de Cuisine Martin Brock’s interpretation of the Danko legacy. There is just a whisper of Chef Brock’s German heritage in his cooking, and you can see where his style and Chef Danko’s gently part ways with an interesting juxtaposition of Brock’s braised lamb shoulder with barley stew and the classic understated Danko rendition, a seared piece of lamb loin with red pepper relish.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Braised Lamb Shoulder and Seared Lamb Loin with Barley Stew, Red Pepper Relish, and Cumin Mint Yogurt
  • Seared Scallops with Parsnip Puree, Braised Scallions and Black Truffles
  • Braised Lamb Shoulder and Seared Lamb Loin with Barley Stew, Red Pepper Relish, and Cumin Mint Yogurt
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    Gialina camera icon
    2842 Diamond Street
    San Francisco, CA 94131
    (415) 239-8500
    www.gialina.com
    Hours: Sun-Thurs 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm


    Locals know Gialina; they line up to catch one of its mere 40 seats as early as 5pm—on a weekday. And it’s a secret worth keeping, a charming neighborhood Italian pizzeria and restaurant, complete with a tiny, fully visible kitchen where Chef Sharon Ardiana makes magic with not much more than an induction burner. Where other San Franciscan pizza joints are boasting about all the imported accoutrements of pizza prep found in their kitchens, the magic of Gialina is what they do with so little, and that they do it with such heart.  A perfectly executed plate of meatballs, moist and flavorful, had the surprising addition of mint, brightening the dish and bringing out the sweetness of the pork and beef (Chef Ardiana won’t use veal). And the pizzas, made entirely in the oven, have fun and creative toppings like wild nettle and fried egg. Even the faro salad was exciting and flavorful, a harmonious and beautiful blend of yellow cauliflower, radicchio, arugula, and ricotta salata. Black and white photos of Chef Ardiana’s family line the restaurant walls, making the whole experience feel very much like home.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Wild Nettles Pizza with Red Onion, Portobello Mushrooms, Bocolone Pancetta, and Fried Egg
  • Little Meatballs
  • Little Meatballs
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    Gitane camera icon
    6 Claude Lane
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (415) 788-6686
    www.gitanerestaurant.com
    Hours: Tues-Wed 5:30pm-11pm; Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-12am


    The funky, romantic setting of Gitane, with its North African-influenced French menu and great use of spice, is just right for Chef Lisa Eyherabide’s elegantly simple fusion cuisine. Growing up vegetarian—a habit she’s since abandoned—Chef Eyherabide’s respect for vegetables endures on her menu, where farm-raised quail is paired with a bed of rich spinach, and caramelized cauliflower adds sweet, crunchy texture to her Moroccan-influenced wild swordfish dish. Chef Eyhrebides plays with a variety of flavors, but the results on the plate are harmonious. The chef might be a bit shy, but her boldness shines through—she’s doing her own thing in a city where everyone tends to eventually fall into step. Add Wine Director Sean Diggins’ extensive sherry list, which he’ll even pair for the intrepid customer with dinner items, and Gitane is a unique culinary entity.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Caille: Tolenas Farm Quail Stuffed with Chicken Mousseline, Raisins, Shallots, Port Demi-Glace, Truffle Oil, Bed of Spinach
  • Espadon: Pacific Wild Swordfish, Grilled, Moroccan Charmoula Sauce with Manzanilla Olives, Faro Grain, and Caramelized Cauliflower
  • Tolenas Farm Quail Stuffed with Chicken Mousseline, Raisins, Shallots,
    + Click image to enlarge


    Heaven’s Dog camera icon
    1148 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 863-6008
    www.heavensdog.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-1am; Sun 4:30pm-9pm


    Charles Phan’s newest project, Heaven’s Dog, is the Vietnamese chef’s first foray into Chinese food. The long, narrow space is sleek and modern with a granite counter overlooking the glass-encased open kitchen and rows of bamboo steamers lined up. Executive Chef Andy Wai’s menu focuses on small plates and house-made noodles with a focus on Northern Chinese cuisine. Mixologist Erik Atkin has designed the bar menu to match the food. The Bumble Bee, composed of rum, lime, honey, egg white, angostura bitters, and orange peel, is creamy, sour, and luscious.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Classic Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple and Cranberry Sauce
  • Spicy Chicken with Fresh Bamboo, Toasted Cashews, Red Pepper, Scallions, Chilies, and Ginger

  • Recommended Drinks:
  • Bittered Sling
  • Bumble Bee
  • Bittered Sling
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    Humphry Slocombe
    2790 Harrison Street
    San Francisco, CA 94080
    (415) 550-6971
    www.humphryslocombe.com
    Hours: Daily 12pm-9pm


    This old fashioned ice cream parlor in The Mission is the latest and greatest of the city’s ice cream crazes. The shop, adorned with a double-headed cow, has red vinyl swivel chairs and ice creams that are anything but old fashioned. White pear-miso, peanut butter-curry, Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee, and balsamic-caramel are just a few stellar scoops to get. The Secret Breakfast, composed of bourbon and cornflakes, is a stand-out—and very chef appropriate. And the Candy Cap Mushroom ice cream that tastes like maple syrup is just dreamy—who knew mushroom ice cream could be so good?

    Recommended Flavors:
  • Secret Breakfast
  • Candy Cap Mushroom
  • Humphry Slocombe
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    il Cane Rosso camera icon
    1 Ferry Building # 41
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    (415) 391-7599
    www.canerossosf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10:45am; Sat 8am-11am; Sun 9:30am-12pm; Mon-Fri 11am-5pm; Sat 11:30am-9pm; Sun 12:30pm-9pm


    If you haven’t gotten enough of Daniel Patterson’s food, drop in on his first go at a casual sandwich shop, il Cane Rosso, in the food mecca that has become the Ferry Building. Chef Doug Borkowski (a Delfina alum) prepares porchetta, sandwiches, and simple, awesome sides like Warm Cauliflower Salad with Mizuna, Currants, Pine Nuts, and Rosemary Vinaigrette. They pack ’em in for lunch and have a bargain of a three course supper for $25, so it’s also fit for a casual, satisfying dinner.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Warm Cauliflower Salad with Mizuna, Currants, Pine Nuts, and Rosemary Vinaigrette
  • Marinated Beet Salad with Farro, Ricotta Salata, and Kale
  • Warm Cauliflower Salad with Mizuna, Currants, Pine Nuts, and Rosemary Vinaigrette
    + Click image to enlarge


    Jardinière camera icon
    300 Grove Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 861-5555
    www.jardiniere.com
    Hours: Daily 5pm-10pm


    Jardinière’s location and elegance cater to the opera and symphony crowd, as well as food-driven locals who know and love Chef Traci des Jardin’s beautiful Euro-California fare. Since opening in 1997, it’s become a landmark in San Francisco fine dining. And the revived bar program is quickly gaining ground for its innovative and unique takes on classic cocktails under the quick hands of 2010 Rising Star Mixologist Brian MacGregor. MacGregor, always on the hunt for obscure classics and even more archaic spirits, likes to push the mixology envelop—and his customers’ tastes—by blending things like Scotch, chamomile liquor, and Peruvian bitters, as in his Scorching Banshee. Even if you’re not going to the opera, make it a point to stop in for a sip at the bar.

    Recommended Drinks:
  • The Bon Bon Biracha
  • The Scorching Banshee
  • The Bon Bon Biracha
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    Madera camera icon
    Rosewood Sand Hill
    2825 Sand Hill Road
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    (650) 561-1500
    www.maderasandhill.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 6:30am-10:30am; Sun-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; Sun-Sat 5:30pm-10pm; Sun 10:30am-2:30pm


    2007 Rising Star Chef Peter Rudolph at the newly opened Madera at Rosewood Sand Hill has assembled a great team with Chef de Cuisine Anna Bautista and Mixologist Lulu Almaguer. The restaurant’s centerpiece wood-burning grill is put to some of its best work for a grilled rabbit loin, part of a dish with rabbit done four ways that combines complexity, intensity, and a brilliant variety of flavor. The idea behind Almaguer’ drinks is that they’re artisanal and antioxidant. For example, her Rose Geranium Mojito doesn’t just taste good; it also has medicinal properties. Mint is a great digestive and rose geranium is an anti-depressant and makes you euphoric.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Grilled Rabbit Loin, Rabbit Mortadella, Braised Rabbit Leg, Coco Blanc Beans, Black Trumpet Mushroom and Baby Carrot Salad, Natural Jus
  • Monterey Bay Sardines, Marinated Baby Beets, Swiss Chard Agro Dolce, Picholine Olives, Meyer Lemon

  • Recommended Drinks:
    • Chocolate Fig Manhattan
    • Rose Geranium Mojito
    Monterey Bay Sardines, Marinated Baby Beets, Swiss Chard Agro Dolce, Picholine Olives, Meyer Lemon
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    Manresa camera icon
    320 Village Lane
    Los Gatos, CA 95030
    (408) 354-4330
    www.manresarestaurant.com
    Hours: Wed-Sat 5:30-10pm; Sun 5pm-10pm


    At Chef David Kinch’s legendary farm-to-table mecca Manresa, 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef de Cuisine John Paul Carmona proves that you can respect the ingredients and let them shine while also applying contemporary technique. Carmona’s dishes effortlessly infuse sophistication into the produce that he forages and that the restaurant sources from Kinch’s Love Apple Farm. He focuses on the inherent purity of his ingredients and gracefully applies modern technique to create elegant dishes that are deceivingly simple—a stunning aesthetic that obscures their hidden complexity. Boudin blanc is made in–house from a pig that came from within 50 miles of the restaurant and is served with wild, peppery watercress, sweet dates, and bold garlic.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Atlantic Cod and Young Carrots in a Broth of Sweet Onions and Marrow
  • Boudin Blanc with Wild Watercress, Dates, and Garlic
  • Atlantic Cod and Young Carrots in a Broth of Sweet Onions and Marrow
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    Marché camera icon
    898 Santa Cruz Avenue
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    (650) 324-9092
    www.restaurantmarche.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm; Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm


    Located in the sleepy Peninsula town of Menlo Park, Marché is a handsome restaurant with brown leather banquettes and white tablecloths. Chef Guillaume Bienaime prepares eclectic global cuisine based on the farm fresh ingredients available to him. Seared Ahi Tuna with Strange Flavor Mustard Greens, and Baby Turnips and Carrots gets a South Asian flare from traditional Thai coconut red curry that is prepared with galangal, ginger, cardamom, coriander, red curry paste, and coconut milk. Pastry Chef Adrienne Garcia’s desserts are homey and satisfying with a distinctive French bent, as in her lovely Lemon Rosemary Madeleines with Heirloom Apples, Brown Butter Anglaise, and Caramel Ice Cream.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Seared Ahi Tuna with Strange Flavor Mustard Greens, Baby Turnips and Carrots, and Coconut Red Curry
  • Crab and Radish Salad with Meyer Lemon, Avocado, Grapefruit, and Chrysanthemum
  • Lemon Rosemary Madeleines with Heirloom Apples, Brown Butter Anglaise, and Caramel Ice Cream
  • Poached Rhubarb with Rose Geranium Cream and Fennel Apple Sorbet
  • Seared Ahi Tuna with Strange Flavor Mustard Greens, Baby Turnips and Carrots, and Coconut Red Curry
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    Masa’s camera icon
    648 Bush Street
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (415) 989-7154
    www.masasrestaurant.com
    Hours: Tues-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm


    At this classic San Francisco fine dining, white tablecoth restaurant Chef Gregory Short (a French Laundry alum) cooks old school fine dining food that is beautifully presented (a single scallop dramatically presented in a vibrant green watercress puree and topped with a shaving of black truffle) and well executed (seared foie gras that is the ideal thickness to ensure it is crusty on the outside and buttery on the inside). East Bay native Pastry Chef John McKee has been in the business for 33 years and is back in the kitchen after a long stint teaching. His desserts are rooted in the classics and evoke nostalgia, like a frozen tangerine soufflé that is reminiscent of a creamsicle. Master Sommelier Alan Murray selects food friendly wines that let the dishes shine.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Sautéed Artisan Foie Gras with Fennel and Licorice Gastrique, Braised Fennel, and Fennel Pollen Gelee
  • Frozen Tangerine Soufflé Glace with Coca Nib Shortbread and Grapefruit Marmalade
  • Frozen Tangerine Soufflé Glace with Coca Nib Shortbread and Grapefruit Marmalade
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    Meritage camera icon
    The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa
    41 Tunnel Road
    Berkeley, CA 94705
    (510) 843-3000
    www.meritageclaremont.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 6:30am-11am; Sun 6:30am-9:30am; Sun 10am-2:30pm; Tues-Sat 6pm-10pm


    Over in Berkeley 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Hotel Chef Josh Thomsen brings the San Francisco focus on sustainable ingredients and local wines to the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa—and its priceless view across the Bay—at the Meritage. Having worked at such varied places as The French Laundry and Tao Las Vegas, Thomsen has mastered both impeccable technique and the art of high volume dining. Since his arrival less than a year ago, Thomsen has transformed the hotel’s food and beverage program into something fresh and elegant. Thomsen’s presentation is elegant and sophisticated and his flavors are bold. He marinates short ribs in wine before slow cooking them so they're packed with taste and is fork–tender.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Braised Beef Short Ribs with Seasonal Vegetables
  • Sonoma Goat Cheese-Potato Terrine with Baby Beets and Aged Balsamic Syrup
  • Sonoma Goat Cheese-Potato Terrine with Baby Beets and Aged Balsamic Syrup
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    Michael Mina camera icon
    335 Powell Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 397-9222
    www.michaelmina.net
    Hours: Tues-Thurs 5:30pm-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm


    Michael Mina is a formal, fine dining restaurant in the Westin St. Francis right off Union Square. Pastry Chef Catherine Schimenti trained under pastry great Claudia Fleming, and spent time in the kitchen at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. Her lighthearted and “natural with a little something extra” approach to pastry, paired with her expert technique, make for imaginative flavor combinations that highlight seasonal ingredients. Schimenti’s heirloom squash cheesecake is the perfect picture of autumn with tangy cranberry and rosemary accents.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Heirloom Squash Cheesecake with Cranberry Gel, Rosemary Caramel, and Honey-Pine Nut Ice Cream
  • Creamsicle, Aperol Powder, Basil
  • Heirloom Squash Cheesecake with Cranberry Gel, Rosemary Caramel, and Honey-Pine Nut Ice Cream
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    Murray Circle
    Cavallo Point
    601 Murray Circle
    Fort Baker
    Sausalito, CA 94965
    (415) 339-4750
    www.cavallopoint.com

    Hours: Mon-Thu 7am-10pm; Fri 7am-11pm; Sat 11:30am-11pm; Sun 11:30am-10pm

    Inside the sumptuous Cavallo Point hotel in Sausalito you’ll find the Michelin-starred Murray Circle. This Bay Area restaurant is slick, with breathtaking views of the Golden Gate bridge from the veranda, yet somehow it’s simultaneously cosy and romantic with its roaring interior fireplace and colonial décor and bar. At the helm is Chef Joseph Humphrey, who counts Michael Mina and Bradley Ogden among his mentors. His focus (unsurprisingly in San Francisco) is on local, organic, and sustainable ingredients, but dishes like Spot Prawns, Sumac, Mezcal-Compressed Melon, Smoked Egg Aioli, and Prawnshead Powder are stand-outs on a menu that manages to balance the Bay Area approach with global culinary influences.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Heirloom Tomatoes, Compressed Watermelon with Lillet, Smokey Blue Cheese Sponge, Wild Arugula, and Pickled Watermelon Rind
  • Spot Prawns, Sumac, Mezcal-Compressed Melon, Smoked Egg Aioli, and Prawnshead Powder
  • Murray Hill
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    The Moss Room camera icon
    55 Music Concourse Drive
    San Francisco, CA 94118
    (415) 876-6121
    www.themossroom.com
    Hours: Daily 11am-3:30pm; Wed-Sun 5pm-9pm; Thurs-Sat 5pm-9:45pm


    Whether you need a break after taking your kids to the museum or are looking for an out of the ordinary dining experience, The Moss Room (located on the lower level of the California Academy of Sciences) is just the place. The unlikely collaboration between san francisco Star Chefs Charles Phan and Loretta Keller, The Moss Room looks like something out of Pan’s Labrynth with a vine-covered dirt wall and a glowing amber bar. Chef de Cuisine Justin Simoneaux cooks California-Mediterranean using local and organic ingredients. Monterey squid spaghetti is served al dente and given heat from Fresno chilies and acidity from Meyer lemon.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Monterey Squid Spaghetti with Fresno Chilies, Oven Dried Tomatoes, and Myer Lemon
  • Mixed Baby Beet Salad with Frisee, Watercress, Caramelized Goat Cheese, and Hazelnut Vinaigrette
  • Monterey Squid Spaghetti with Fresno Chilies, Oven Dried Tomatoes, and Meyer Lemon
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    Orson camera icon
    508 4th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94107
    (415) 777-1508
    www.orsonsf.com
    Hours: Tues-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 6pm-10pm; Sat 11am-2:30pm and 6pm-11pm


    Orson,Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s first foray into the realm of savory, is her second restaurant following her Hayes Valley's hit, Citizen Cake. Falkner continues to set herself apart by making bold, experimental food that few others (pastry or savory) are daring to do. She often starts with familiar dishes and adds a healthy dose of her own vivacious flare. Classic Caesar salad gets an explosive kick from a sprinkling of Pop Rocks and crème brulee is sexed up with the addition of sensual violet flavors and hibiscus jelly cubes.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Explosive Caesar Salad, Romaine, Parmesan Streusel, Croutons
  • Violet Violet! Violet Crème Brulee, Ginger, Hibiscus Gel, Brown Butter Sablé
  • Violet Violet! Violet Crème Brulee, Ginger, Hibiscus Gel, Brown Butter Sablé
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    Pizzeria Delfina camera icon
    3611 18th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 437-6800
    www.pizzeriadelfina.com/pacificHeights.html
    Hours: Mon 5pm-10pm; Tue-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 12pm-11pm; Sun 12pm-10pm

    2406 California Street
    San Francisco, CA 94115
    (415) 440-1189
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Tues 4pm-10pm; Fri 11:30pm-11pm; Sat 11:30am-11pm; Sun 11:30am-10pm

    Both locations of Pizzeria Delfina (the second and third siblings to Chef and Restaurateur Craig Stoll’s Delfina) are ragingly popular, comfortable neighborhood pizzerias. Stoll and Chef de Cuisine Anthony Strong are a winning team, passionate about authentic Italian ingredients and procuring the best products; they can geek out together about anything from octopus to their house–made chili flakes for hours. Strong cooks satisfying pizzas (in a gas oven, no less) and super casual, rustic Italian food that keeps both restaurants packed from noon until night. In a town that is serious about its comfort Italian food, Pizzeria Delfina stands apart.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Swordfish Involtini with Pesto Amalfitana
  • Panna Pizza with Tomato Sauce, Cream, Basil,  Sausage, and Shaved Parmesan
  • Swordfish Involtini with Pesto Amalfitana
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    The Plumed Horse camera icon
    14555 Big Basin Way
    Saratoga, CA 95070
    (408) 867-4711
    www.plumedhorse.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm


    At the recently redesigned Plumed Horse, the three-story, 20,000 bottle, glass-encased wine cellar is a towering, temporary distraction from Chef Peter Armellino’s elegant but comfort-food-friendly Californian cuisine. Crab, uni and Parmesan are an unlikely combination but Chef Armellino turns it into an airy, refined soufflé that marries the disparate textures and flavors. The crab comes from salt water tanks that they keep in the kitchen so they get their own fresh fish daily. He sources antelope (not a menu item we see too often) from a farm that he’s been working with for the last 20 years. They harvest the animals using sharp shooters in helicopters so the antelopes don’t have any of the stress of slaughter; and the resulting meat is mighty tasty.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Black Pepper and Parmesan Soufflé with Uni and Dungeness Crab Fondue
  • South Texas Antelope with Vanilla-Scented Sweet Potato and Piquillo Pepper Escabeche
  • South Texas Antelope with Vanilla-Scented Sweet Potato and Piquillo Pepper Escabeche
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    Range camera icon
    842 Valencia Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 282-8283
    www.rangesf.com
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sun 5:30pm-10pm


    Husband and wife team Phil and Cameron West opened Range in 2005 and gave a sparse industrial chic space in the Mission some genuine warmth. The food is of the minimalist Californian variety, with sophisticated, bright flavors. West has the attention to the detail necessary for that kind of ingredient-focused food to go from good to great. Mixologist Brooke Arthur is a talented up-and-coming cocktailian with a flare for seductive drinks. The B Line, for example, (made up of Bulleit Bourbon, Lillet, Bergamot, honey, and bitters) hints at the taste and texture of honey and has a nice herbaceous quality on the finish.

    Recommended Dish:
  • Dungeness Crab with Pickled Beets, Clementine Oranges, and Orach

  • Recommended Drinks:
  • The B Line
  • Vin de Pamplemousse
  • The B Line
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    Rickhouse camera icon
    246 Kearny Street
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (415) 398-2827
    www.rickhousebar.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-2am; Sat 6pm-2am


    Rickhouse has the feel of an eighteenth century saloon with dark wood walls and whisky barrels decorating the spacious rooms. And Bar Manager Erick Castro and his team are mixologists on a mission. He wants to “do for cocktails what Starbucks has done for coffee” and introduce good cocktails with high-quality ingredients into every corner of the country. Castro has hit the ground running at Rickhouse, mastering the art of high-volume cocktails without sacrificing quality with a true systems approach that involves five identically stocked wells and a killer organizational system. And his cocktails are extraordinary and eccentric to boot—Prohibition era isn’t far enough back for Castro. This mixologist is delving into the 1800s and, true to history, forbidding processed sugars and juice concentrates from his shaker.

    Recommended Drinks:
  • Statesman
  • Rye Maple Fizz
  • Statesman
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    RN74 camera icon
    301 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    (415) 543-7474
    www.michaelmina.net/rn74/
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sun-Thurs 5:30pm-10pm


    Michael Mina’s latest venture, RN74, is a wine bar fittingly named after the highway that runs south from the provincial capital of Dijon to Beaune, in the heart of the Burgundian wine country. The walls have French-style train station signs that constantly flip, revealing the names of wines on their list. Chef Jason Berthold has designed the menu with the wine in mind and that each serving is sized to go with a pour of wine. His spectacular Hamachi Sashimi with Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Green Apple Relish, Pumpkin Seed Puree, and Lime is pure joy.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Hamachi Sashimi with Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Green Apple Relish, Pumpkin Seed Puree, and Lime
  • Foie Gras Terrine with Dijon Mustard, Grilled Peach, Cornichon Gastrique, Arugula, and Country Bread
  • Hamachi Sashimi with Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Green Apple Relish, Pumpkin Seed Puree, and Lime
    + Click image to enlarge


    Saison camera icon
    2124 Folsom Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 828-7990
    www.saisonsf.com
    Hours: Fri 7pm-9pm; Sat-Sun 5:30pm-9pm


    When it came time for 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Concept Chef Joshua Skenes to open his own place—in the midst of the recession, no less—he decided to test out his concept with a pop-up restaurant one night a week in a rented event space. And so Saison was born. Skene serves his gorgeous uber-seasonal, luxury-studded dishes to just a handful of tables a few nights a week. The pinnacle of elegance, Little Roots with Caramelized Shoots and Leaves is a dish packed with nuance and umami flavor. The concept of Saison is so successful that Skenes and his partners are shifting it from pop-up to permanent—year round Saison for all.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Whole Roasted Sonoma Lamb with Compressed Herbs, Dates, and Yogurt
  • Little Roots with Caramelized Shoots and Leaves
  • Little Roots with Caramelized Shoots and Leaves
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    Scala’s Bistro camera icon
    432 Powell Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 395-8555
    www.scalasbistro.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-10:30am and 11:30am-4pm; Sun-Wed 5:15pm-11pm; Thurs-Sat 5:15pm-12am; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm


    We first fell in love with 2007 San Francisco Rising Star Chef Jennifer Biesty’s food at Coco 500, where she knocked our socks off with simple, soulful dishes. Now, as executive chef at Scala’s Bistro in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, Biesty is continuing in that tradition. Dishes like her take on classic Duck A L’Orange and an enticing Cavalo Nero with Squid remind us why she was a Rising Star and why, today, she is making her way up the ranks to Star Chef.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Duck A L'Orange
  • Cavalo Nero with Squid
  • Duck A L'Orange
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    Seasons at the Four Seasons camera icon
    757 Market Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 633-3000
    www.fourseasons.com
    Hours: Daily 6:30am-2:30pm; Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm; Tues-Sat 6pm-10pm


    Seasons at the Four Seasons is an elegant restaurant high up with floor to ceiling windows and sweeping views of the city. The well-appointed dining room attracts hotel guests as well as locals celebrating special occasions. Chef Mark Richardson ensures a focus on local and organic and doesn’t let being in a hotel get in his way. Richardson’s dishes are conceptually intriguing with unusual combinations like foie gras with milk jam.

    Recommended Dish:
  • Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon, Granny Smith Apple, Marcona Almond, and Milk Jam
  • Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon, Granny Smith Apple, Marcona Almond, and Milk Jam
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    Serpentine camera icon
    2495 3rd Street
    San Francisco, CA 94107
    (415) 252-2000
    www.serpentinesf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm; Tues-Sat 6pm-10pm


    Located in an out of the way, industrial part of San Francisco, Serpentine is a diamond in the rough. Chef Deepak Kaul has mastered the use of spice in his soulful food, which incorporates global flavor profiles and local ingredients. Braised lamb cheeks are fall apart tender and cocoa nibs and spices give the dish serious depth of flavor. And a deceptively simple cauliflower soup is nutty and creamy with incredibly well balanced flavors. Fun cocktails like Cynara's Folly (Distillery No. 209 gin, Italian vermouth, Cynar liqueur, and orange twist) round out the meal.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Madras Curry, Yogurt, Cashews and Chili Oil
  • Braised Lamb Cheeks with Preserved Early Girl Tomatoes, Shaved Fennel, and Cocoa Nibs
  • Braised Lamb Cheeks with Preserved Early Girl Tomatoes, Shaved Fennel, and Cocoa Nibs
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    The Slanted Door camera icon
    1 Ferry Building
    San Francisco, CA 94111
    (415) 861-8032
    www.slanteddoor.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; Sun 11:30am-3pm; Daily 5:30pm-10pm


    Charles Phan’s successful signature restaurant, The Slanted Door, looks over the water beside the Ferry Building—San Francisco’s newest foodie mecca. Classic Vietnamese-American dishes like spring rolls and shaking beef are given new life in Phan’s talented hands. And his concept of modern Vietnamese food is as popular as ever, which means there’s often a long wait for a table. But don’t be put off by a 45 minute wait; walk around the pier and watch the boats come in, browse the bookstores and specialty meat and seafood shops–or even better, go to Blue Bottle Coffee to have a cappuccino while you wait.

    Recommended Dish:
    • Crispy Vegetarian Spring Roll on a Bed of Noodles and Lettuce
    • Meyer Ranch Shaking Beef
    • Coconut Water Tapioca with Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Sorbet
    Coconut Water Tapioca with Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Sorbet
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    Spruce camera icon
    3640 Sacramento Street
    San Francisco, CA 94118
    (415) 931-5100
    www.sprucesf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Sun-Thurs 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm


    Located in neighborhoody Presidio Heights, Spruce is Chef Mark Sullivan’s follow up to the perennially popular Village Pub in Woodside. Chef de Cuisine Ben Cohn cooks contemporary American cuisine with French influences in the elegant, 70-seat restaurant. In Cohn’s deft hands sweetbreads are crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, perfectly seasoned, and comforting. Sommelier Andrew Green has a story to tell about every wine he pours, like the light bodied 2007 Cuvee Lapierre that he discovered on a recent trip to the French winery and paired with Cohn’s sweetbreads. Mixologist Brandon Clements makes excellent classic cocktails but also steps outside the box with his own creations, like the uber-seasonal Country Cobbler, which is made with muddled pear, lemon juice, walnut liqueur, molasses, house-made vanilla syrup, and vanilla-infused bourbon.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Spruce Sweetbreads Lyonnaise
  • Rabbit in Three Preparations with Chantenay Carrots and Umbrian Lentils

  • Recommended Drink:
  • Country Cobbler
  • Rabbit in Three Preparations with Chantenay Carrots and Umbrian Lentils
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    SPQR camera icon
    1911 Fillmore Street
    San Francisco, CA 94115
    (415) 771-7779
    www.spqrsf.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sun 5:30pm-10pm


    2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef Matthew Accarrino has trained under the who’s who of American culinary legends, including Thomas Keller, Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Trotter, Rick Moonen, and Tom Colicchio. Now at SPQR, Accarrino is turning out refined Italian food that blends Old World traditions with updated techniques and flavors; the end result is cuisine that’s both rustic and artistic and deeply satisfying through and through. With Accarrino’s vision and finesse, bone marrow is transformed into a flan-like sformato that has all the rich flavor of marrow but with a light, silky texture. Fellow 2010 Rising Star Restaurateur and Wine Director Shelley Lindgren selects wines from her Italian-focused wine list to complement the food.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Bone Marrow Sformato with Smoked Bacon and Onions
  • Chestnut Nicci with Spigarello and Burnt Orange Sauce
  • Chestnut Nicci with Spigarello and Burnt Orange Sauce
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    Star Belly camera icon
    3583 16th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94114
    (415) 252-7500
    www.starbellysf.com
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-11pm; Fri 11:30am-12am; Sat 10:30am-12am; Sun 10:30am-11pm


    The newest restaurant from the owners of Beretta, Star Belly is a casual neighborhood bistro in the Castro. Grab a quick bite at the bar or wile away a sunny afternoon in the outdoor patio. Chef Adam Timney makes simple food with a lot of flavor, like chicken liver pâté that we’d be happy to eat all the time. It's creamy and luxurious served on rustic bread and accompanied by a tangy sour cherry, Turkish apricot, and pistachio chutney.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Chicken Liver Paté with Cherry, Apricot, and Pistachio Chutney and Grilled  Bread
  • Pan Roasted PEI Black Mussels with Homemade Mexican Chorizo
  • Pan Roasted PEI Black Mussels with Homemade Mexican Chorizo
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    Town Hall camera icon
    342 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94105
    (415) 908-3900
    www.townhallsf.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm; Sun-Thurs 5:30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm


    We know Vernon Morales as the 2004 Philadephia Rising Star Chef at Salt and later as experimental maven alongside Pastry Chef Boris Portnoy at Winterland. So we were thrilled to hear that he’d turned up at San Francisco institution Town Hall. Morales is in new waters, cooking Southern-style food that wasn’t previously in his repertoire. But he hasn’t skipped a beat, and is making waves with comforting, well-executed dishes like the incredibly tender and homey Mashima Ranch Wagyu Beef Cheeks with Parsley Root Puree and Early Spring Vegetables.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Parmesan-Crusted Monterey Sardines, Little Gem Lettuce, Pickled Eggplant, Rosemary Aioli, and Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Mashima Ranch Wagyu Beef Cheeks with Parsley Root Puree and Early Spring Vegetables
  • Parmesan-Crusted Monterey Sardines, Little Gem Lettuce, Pickled Eggplant, Rosemary Aioli, and Lemon Vinaigrette
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    Wood Tavern camera icon
    6317 College Avenue
    Oakland, CA 94618
    (510) 654-6607
    www.woodtavern.net
    Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm; Sun 4pm-9pm


    At Oakland’s Wood Tavern, 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Chef Maximilian DiMare packs people in day and night with his straightforward, comforting bistro food. Chef Maximilian DiMare is a wickedly talented Boston boy who draws on his Italian heritage and years of experience in other Italian-leaning kitchens. Straightforward dishes like DiMare’s Crispy Pork Belly with Bacon Braised Red Lentils, Spinach, Soft Poached Egg, and Chives and a hearty Bouillabaisse are the boldly flavored stars of his American brasserie menu. DiMare’s unassuming and casual approach to his cooking reflects his own friendly and unpretentious demeanor—it’s a magical thing when the food captures the soul of chef so deliciously. Simple classics with big flavors never tasted so good.

    Recommended Dishes:
  • Crispy Pork Belly with Bacon Braised Red Lentils, Spinach, Soft Poached Egg, and Chives
  • Pan Roasted Half Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes, Grilled Radicchio, Spinach, Garlic Confit, Bread Crumbs, and Lemon-Rosemary Jus
  • Crispy Pork Belly with Bacon Braised Red Lentils, Spinach, Soft Poached Egg, and Chives
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    Campton Place camera icon
    340 Stockton Street
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (415) 781-5555
    www.tajhotels.com/camptonplace
    Rooms start at $175


    We’ve long been fans of Campton Place and although it’s come under new ownership since we last stayed there (it’s now a Taj property) we were pleased to find little changed. The rooms are as spacious and comfortable as ever and the concierges are extremely helpful and friendly—need a rental car? They’ll arrange the whole thing and have it waiting outside for you. A stay at Campton Place is not complete without a visit or two to the restaurant. Many a StarChefs Rising Star have come out of the kitchen at The Campton Place Restaurant, including Chef Peter Rudolph (now at Madera), Chef Daniel Humm, and Sommelier John Ragan (both now at Eleven Madison Park in New York). Chef Srijith Gopinathan, who hails from India, has maintained the style of the dining room menu while bringing some South Asian flare to the bar with homey Indian curries. Master Sommelier Richard Dean selects wines from the eclectic 10,000-bottle cellar and hosts frequent wine dinners, which feature Chef Gopinathan’s cuisine and special winemaker guests.

    Campton Place
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    Cavallo Point
    601 Murray Circle
    Fort Baker
    Sausalito, CA 94965
    (415) 339-4750
    www.cavallopoint.com
    Rooms start at $310

    Most of the rooms at Cavallo Point—whether they’re historic or contemporary—have stunning views of the San Francisco Bay or Golden Gate Bridge. Luxury is putting it mildly. If there’s a chill in the air, you can settle down in front of your own in-room fireplace. Organic linens make for a luxe (and sustainability conscious) night’s sleep. Some rooms are set aside for dog owners, so Fido can enjoy the views too. Historic rooms are set inside former army post Fort Baker.

    Cavallo Point
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    The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa camera icon
    41 Tunnel Road
    Berkeley, CA 94705
    (510) 843-3000
    www.claremontresort.com
    Rooms start at $194


    An East Bay institution since 1915, The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa is a classic, historic property that looks like something out of an old movie with white flagged turrets and a palm tree-studded pool. The fitness center is just past the multiple tennis courts and before the three outdoor pools and offers complimentary fitness classes to guests as well as full use of the modern equipment. There are multiple dining options, all headed by 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Star Hotel Chef Josh Thomsen. For a special occasion (or no occasion, as Thomsen says) Meritage is the spot and Paragon Bar & Café is a favorite among locals to grab a bite and a drink and watch the sunset.
    The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa
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    The Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghiradelli Square
    900 North Point Street
    San Francisco, CA 94109
    (415) 268-9900
    www.fairmont.com/ghirardelli
    Rooms start at $499


    Located right in the heart of historic, touristy Ghiradelli Square, The Fairmont Heritage Place offers one, two, and three bedroom residences with all the comforts of home. Appointed with luxury bedding and amenities, a working fire place in the living room, in-room washer and dryer, and a full kitchen it’s easy to imagine a chef spending extended stays here. The communal patio is a lovely place to sit around the fire pit with a glass of wine and observe the happenings of the square just below. And for those who just can’t tear themselves away, The Fairmont Heritage Place is also a private residence club with ownership options.

    The Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghiradelli Square
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    The Fairmont Luxury Hotel & Resort camera icon
    950 Mason Street
    San Francisco, CA 94108
    (800) 257-7544
    www.fairmont.com/sanfrancisco
    Rooms start at $239

    Situated in Nob Hill, just blocks away from San Francisco’s lively Chinatown is The Fairmont Luxury Hotel & Resort. Construction on the now historic hotel was completed amidst the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 and soon became home to debutant balls and was the hub of Bay Area socialite activities; more recently the property served as the set of the popular 1980s television series Hotel. Today the hotel is as sophisticated and elegant as ever with breathtaking chandeliers in the lobby and Jacuzzi tubs in the luxurious rooms. For a fun and unusual dining experience check out the scene at the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, where Chef Marc Passetti's Pacific Rim cuisine fits the faux thunderstorms that rain down in the middle of the tiki-themed dining room.
    The Fairmont Luxury Hotel & Resort
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    Galleria Park Hotel camera icon
    191 Sutter Street
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    (415) 781-3060
    www.jdvhotels.com
    Rooms start at $159


    The Galleria Park Hotel is a fun and funky Joie de Vivre property with a hip, young vibe. Brightly colored velvet couches sit on a vibrant print rug in the lobby and the rooms have lime green walls. Located right near Union Square and just blocks away from the Metro, the location can’t be beat. Grab a cocktail in the bustling downstairs bar of Midi or head upstairs to the chic dining room for a bite. Chef Michelle Mah prepares simple, tasty food like a roasted beet salad with feta.

    Galleria Park Hotel
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    Hotel Shattuck Plaza camera icon
    2086 Allston Way
    Berkeley, CA 94704
    (510) 845-7300
    www.hotelshattuckplaza.com
    Rooms start at $139

    Hotel Shattuck Plaza is another historic property in the East Bay. First open in 1910, the hotel has undergone recent renovation to bring it up to the modern standards of a boutique hotel. With the Metro just on the corner, Berkeley’s theater district at your fingertips, and downtown San Francisco a 25 minute drive away it’s ideally situated for a stay across the Bay. Two room suites come equipped with two bathrooms, a living room, two televisions, complimentary wireless internet, and luxury amenities. The hotel’s chic restaurant, FIVE, is helmed by Chef Scott Howard and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (the Steel Cut Oats with Golden Raisins, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, and Cream are a great way to start the day!).

    Hotel Shattuck Plaza
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    Hotel Vertigo camera icon
    940 Sutter Street
    San Francisco, CA 94109
    (415) 885-6800
    www.hotelvertigosf.com
    Rooms start at $127

    Located blocks away from Union Square and dead in the center of San Francisco’s downtown, Hotel Vertigo is a great budget option. The stylish lobby is decorated with orange sofas and curtains, white plaster statues of animals, and large wood coffee tables in natural forms. The rooms are decorated in a similar fashion with orange leather chairs and modern furniture. Complementary wireless Internet, access to a nearby fitness club, and iPod docks round out the experience.

    Hotel Vertigo
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    Rosewood Sand Hill Resort camera icon
    2825 Sand Hill Road
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    (650) 561-1500
    www.rosewoodsandhill.com
    Rooms start at $375

    From the deluxe rooms to the 1,900-square-foot villas, everything about the Rosewood Sand Hill Resort screams luxury. Situated amid 16 acres in Silicon Valley, the property is stunning with California ranch architecture and sweeping views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Spend a day lounging by the swimming pool, cuddling up near one of the outdoor fireplaces, or taking advantage of the areas natural amenities with hiking, horseback riding, cycling, or golfing. Do not pass up a trip to Sense, the in house spa that offers 13 rooms and out of treatments that are out of this world. We recommend the Forest Sanctuary, an hour and a half treatment that includes an aromatic scrub, massage, aromatherapy, and hot stones. And Chef Peter Rudolph has a great team at Madera and ensures that the dining experience is just as top notch.

    Rosewood Sand Hill Resort
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    Westin St. Francis
    335 Powell Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 397-7000
    www.starwoodhotels.com
    Rooms start at $299

    Built at the turn of the century, the Westin St. Francis is a historic hotel right on Union Square. The hotel is ideally situated to as a jump off point to explore the city with great shopping and restaurants within walking distance. And with restaurants like Michael Mina and Clock Bar in the lobby, it’s a modern day foodie destination both to stay and to visit. The extremely courteous staff makes the stay even more pleasant and state of the art fitness facilities allow you to work off the calories from eating your way around the city.

    Westin St. Francis
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