One of my absolute favorite things in the world is going out to dinner. I just love the experience of trying different foods served to me! My other favorite thing is sharing my love of going out to eat with other people. This naturally translates into a “Restaurants I Love” page. I have some restaurants that are mainstays for me, so I wanted to share them with you and recommend my favorites. These are grouped by city, and restaurants that I’ve reviewed have links to the review. I expect this to be updated a lot, so check back often!
B Street and Vine, San Mateo – All you need to get here is the bruschetta. There are 12 different kinds and they are all amazing.
Crepevine, Burlingame – There’s also one of these in San Francisco, but I have a lot of good memories at this location. Their menu is very extensive, but my favorite item is the Sonoma Sandwich (grilled chicken breast with pesto and provolone).
Mi Tequila, San Bruno – I actually have my grandparents to thank for this one. Best chile rellenos in the WORLD.
Silverhouse, San Mateo – Such good Chinese food – get the King Do Pork.
Pasta?, Palo Alto – Such a stupid name but I love their pink sauce. There used to be one of these in Davis and I legit cried when it closed.
Spasso, San Carlos – Love the saffron pappardelle, and the dumplings are AMAZING. The sauce is straight drinkable.
The Vans, San Mateo – Very old school and fancy. The views are amazing, the porkchop equally so.
Taxis, San Mateo – This place holds a lot of nostalgia for me because I went here with my friends almost every week in high school. Probably a big reason I like it so much, but the chicken tenders are perfect (and I never order chicken tenders) and the ranch is fantastic.
Antico Forno – Authentic italian in the North End. The chicken parm is to die for (and comes with homemade noodles!).
Atlantic Fish Company – Located on Boylston street (busy shopping street) this is an excellent seafood restaurant. Get the lobster roll! The crab and brie panini is also very good, as is the Ahi burger.
Grotto – I can safely say this is one of my favorite restaurants in the entire world. Incredible contemporary Italian served with a prix fixe menu: 3 courses, for $34. If you go here and don’t get the short rib gnocchi, I will hurt you. The fondue is also excellent.
The Pour House – Very dive-y, but a great breakfast (lunch is eh). The corned beef hash is nomtastic, and very cheap.
Burgers and Brew – The last thing I ever order at restaurants (besides salads) are hamburgers, but this place has totally changed my view on that. The waitresses are all really strangely good looking, also.
Cafe Bernardo – I included this restaurants for their specialty drink: Wiky Wacky Woos (Wiki’s for short). Don’t ask me what is in them, but trust me when I say you get a lot of bang for your buck. On Wednesdays they do a Wiki/Hamburger special for $10.
Davis Farmers Market – Not a restaurant, exactly, but many local restaurants congregate here Wednesdays and Saturdays, and it is truly an experience unique to Davis. Things I love: bacon cheddar breakfast sandwich from Fat Face, designer popsicles from Fat face, the bolani stand, all the delicious samples!
Nugget Market – Also not a restaurant, but their sandwiches are the best I’ve ever had (try the tri tip and rosemary one), and their sushi, Chinese food, and food bar are all awesome.
Thai Canteen – BEST Thai food, and so reasonably priced. Highlights: the pad see ew and the crispy pork belly (duh).
Yolo Berry – It’s not a true Davis trip if you don’t come here. They have over ONE HUNDRED self serve toppings, and yogurt flavors that rotate every day.
Zen Toro – Sushi! My absolute favorite in Davis (and there are many, many sushi restaurants). Get the surf and turf roll – fried onion strings come with it!
Bistro Don Giovanni – The menu changes daily here, but everything is spot on. It sits on a little vineyard so the view is also very nice. I had the calamarata amatriciana and it was potentially one of the most perfect pasta dishes I’ve ever had (this says a lot).
Bottega – Michael Chiarello’s restaurant. This also ranks as one of my favorite restaurants ever. The parm dip they serve with your bread (its free!) is amazing. The appetizers are all very strong, my favorite being the pork belly/egg/asparagus (this varies by season). The raviolo in brown butter is also so good you will probably cry.
Mustards – Good comfort food. This menu, like most in this area, changes seasonally but everything is quite good. The fish with risotto was very memorable, as was the Ahi appetizer. My dad is still talking about the pork chop.
Chicory Coffee and Tea – I come here on pretty much every lunch break at my internship for one reason: the SOUP. They have a rotating menu of the absolute greatest soups you will ever eat (5 different ones a day) for extremely cheap: $3.00 for a small, $3.50 for a large, and it comes with bread a butter!
The Kitchen – This is the only restaurant I haven’t actually been to on this list. It is here solely for the purpose of baiting someone to take me to this interactive fine dining experience. Any takers?
Lucca – Awesome contemporary Italian, with a great outside patio. Love the linguine in lobster sauce with Machengo.
Paesano’s – Affordable and casual, with great happy hour specials. I recommend the watermelon lemonade for sure. They now have a location in Davis, too!
Absinthe Brassiere and Bar - One of my favorite meals I have ever had in San Francisco. California French food, with an awesome ambiance and killer cocktails. Some favorites: pretzels with cheddar mornay, jalapeno-cheddar polenta, beef tartare, mushroom and artichoke tart….I could go on….
Bin 38 - Great little wine bar. The prosciutto flat bread is outstanding.
Cha Cha Cha - TAPAS! Wonderful, wonderful tapas, and great sangria. The garlic mushrooms are awesome, and even the rice and beans are drool worthy.
Fisherman’s Grotto - Located in the very touristy Fisherman’s Wharf, this place is me and my Dad’s go to restaurant when we are in the area, so it holds some sentimental value. Very old school – the carpet is millions of old fishermen wearing yellow rain jackets. The crab louie is very good.
La Folie - I was lucky enough to go here with a good friend. Romantic, expensive, and absolutely phenomenal. This is a must go, if you’re feeling like splurging.
Mission Cheese - So great for all lovers of cheese. I highly recommend the Cheesemongers cheese flight, as well as any of the sandwiches. Don’t go here without ordering the mac and cheese.
Nick’s Crispy Tacos - Greatest fish tacos ever, bar none. The sauce they put on them is magical.
Park Chow - Comfort food at its absolute best. The interior of this place is so cozy. The beer is great, and the food even better. I loved the fusilli with sausage and chicken in tomato cream.
Prospect – BRUNCH! I had my first Pimm’s Cup here, and it was the perfect morning treat. Their bloody mary’s were a little too spicy for my dining partner, but the food was great (especially the deviled eggs).