In July, SF Eater (sf.eater.com) released its latest Eater 38, the essential
38 restaurants in San Francisco. Why 38 is not clear, but the website swears
those on the alphabetical list are the elite eateries of The City, well worth visiting
and recommending to friends. Here are several deemed the best of the best.
Starting with the A’s, Akiko’s Restaurant and Sushi Bar (431 Bush St.) is family
owned, with 30 years of experience serving the finest and freshest sushi and
98 South Bay Accent
sashimi available. It also offers a selection of fine wines, Japanese
beers, and a curated sake menu. The restaurant is
stunningly beautiful and extremely welcoming and
warm, with imported rosewood floors and exposed
brick walls. SF Eater recommends letting waiters
know what you’re in the mood for and how
much you want to spend, and trust the chefs
to serve up a delicious and memorable meal.
Reservations are highly recommended.
SF Eater’s reviewers call Cotogna (490 Pacific
Ave.) “the casual Italian restaurant of
your dreams.” It is the laid back side of the
adjoining Quince Restaurant, a fine dining establishment
led by Chef Michael Tusk. Cotogna (Italian
for “quince”) offers a changing menu of spit-roasted or
grilled meats and fish, wood-oven fired pizzas and housemade
pastas. Examples from a recent menu include inventive pasta dishes
like tortelli with squash and purple basil, and for pizza, a topping combination
of spring onion, smoked pancetta and fontina cheese.
The celebrated Thai fare of Kin Khao (55 Cyril Magnin St.) is the draw of this
trendy restaurant inside the Parc 55 Hotel, created by respected food blogger
and chef, Pim Techamuanvivit. The selection of curries is considered outstanding,
made from house-made spice pastes ground daily. Kin Khao also features
an inventive drink menu. The restaurant received its first Michelin star two
years ago, repeated again last year. Reservations are a must.
Both the space and the flavors of Mourad (140 New Montgomery St.)–
another one-star Michelin restaurant—are described as big and beautiful.
Named for Chef Mourad Lahlou, both the restaurant’s design
and its menu are based on authentic Moroccan designs and flavors,
interpreted in a new way. Expect to see both seafood and meats combined
with vegetables and spices in unique and delightful combinations.
It’s an A to Z list, so we’ll end with Zuni Café (1658 Market St.), one of San
Francisco’s all-around great restaurants, good for brunch up to late night bites.
Zuni’s chicken for two, roasted in a brick oven, is renowned, and reportedly
worth the 60-minute wait. The restaurant’s burger, Caesar salad and Bloody
Mary consistently top “best of” lists each year. In addition to an impressive drink
and wine menu, Zuni also features delightful desserts, like the Black Mission fig
tart with wildflower honey and fig leaf cream. —P.M.
ing. The beef dishes are just as delectable, earning
the restaurant accolades for serving the best steak in
town. Upstairs, the Breakwater Grill offers a variety
of appetizers and casual lunches, along with live
comedy, music and dancing. Outdoor decks provide
a friendly alfresco atmosphere and excellent
vantage point for sipping signature cocktails while
watching the steady parade of sailboats coming in
and out of the harbor. $$
The Farmer’s Union, 151 W. Santa Clara St., San
Jose. 408/277-0545. This updated incarnation of a
rustic American tavern boasts a refreshing array of
local brews, craft cocktails and hearty yet sophisticated
farm-to-table fare. $
Flea Street Cafe, 3607 Alameda de las Pulgas,
Menlo Park. 650/854-1226. An ever-changing
menu of continental and California dishes. $$
The Lexington House, 40 N. Santa Cruz Ave.,
Los Gatos. 408/354-1600. Unique Northern California
dishes made with local, organic and sustainable
The Mountain House, 13808 Skyline Blvd.,
Woodside. 650/851-8541. Highlights are excellent
cuisine featuring chicken, lamb, beef, seafood &
Park Place, 10030 S. De Anza Blvd., Cupertino.
408/873-1000. Seasonal menu and large wine list
in airy, modern setting. $$$
Parkside Grille, 884 Portola Road, Portola Valley.
650/529-9007. Tucked among the redwoods, rustic
but elegant setting serves up California comfort
food with fresh local ingredients. $$
Piacere Restaurant, 727 Laurel St., San Carlos.
650/592-3536. Piacere serves fresh, locally sourced
fare along with a wide selection of Italian and California
Quattro (Four Seasons Hotel), 2050 University
Ave., East Palo Alto, 650/470-2889. Well-prepared
California cuisine with an Italian twist. $$$
Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops (Doubletree
Hotel), 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose. 408/437-
2170. Spencer’s delivers simple but exquisite prime
beef dishes. $$$
Tarragon, 140 S. Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale.
408/737-8003. Tarragon impresses with
a seasonal, locally-sourced menu
that places an emphasis on fresh,
organic, sustainable ingredients.
1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola
1511. Visitors to one of
the most romantic restaurants
the iconic “cable car” tram
or walk alongside waterfalls
and lush gardens to reach this
ivy-covered dining destination.
Equally enticing are the seven different
dining rooms within the Swiss
Café Pro Bono
chalet-style building, the impeccable service
and award-winning cuisine. A broad menu features
fresh seafood, pasta, beef, lamb and chicken. Menu
favorites include mouthwatering slow-roasted
prime rib, local salmon and creative nightly specials.
Shadowbrook’s beautiful Rock Room Bar
(with live music on weekends) continues to be an
overwhelming favorite with locals and visitors alike
and offers more casual fare and portions. Since
1947, Shadowbrook has delighted diners who
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