Restaurant Recs., CA

This is my very sloppy compilation of restaurants that I have eaten at and love in California, specifically the Bay Area and parts of Los Angeles. I still have so many more that I need to add to the list. All in good time…

If you click on the restaurant name, it will link you to the website of the restaurant so you can explore more.

(In no particular order of preference)

Bay Area (Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma County) Restaurants

  • Area: “Gourmet Ghetto”
  • Gregoire: the potato puffs are a phenomena at this place, all sandwiches are great; come for lunch, not dinner
  • Corso: Italian trattoria
  • Chez Panisse: one word: heaven
  • Cheeseboard: I crave this sauce-less vegetarian pizza; I crave it; all the time I crave it
  • Saul’s Deli: nice staff, little Jewish-style deli
  • Cesar: only eaten here once, pretty good tapas place
  • Guerilla Café: great staff, great (Blue Bottle) coffee, great breakfast, small space, worth it totally; love anything with waffles or polenta there
  • Le coco: nice little Italian restaurant, kind of hidden but definitely a good place for dinner, the rolls are garlicky and great
  • Area: College Ave/Oakland/Temescal
  • Rick and Ann’s: go for brunch, order the breakfast omelet special with a muffin, the challah French Toast, or the red flannel hash
  • Oliveto: amazing desserts-pine nut rosemary anything for dessert will blow your mind; there is a cafe and a restaurant
  • Wood Tavern: it gets crowded so make a reservation or go for lunch
  • Elmwood Café: bright natural light, vintage vibe, great food
  • Summer Kitchen Bakeshop: cute space, relatively healthy to-go foods
  • Tara’s Ice Cream: very interesting flavors-strawberry balsamic, avocado, garam masala; sesame cones are a great pairing
  • Ici: always a line, but that is the trend; really nice ice creams (brandied cherry, chicory, early grey, espresso…) and cones have a touch of chocolate when you get to the bottom
  • Chu: nice place for happy hour, very chic inside
  • Zachary’s-Chicago deep dish pizza
  • A Cote: I had a WONDERFUL experience here. Great food, small perfectly sized portions
  • Holy Land: Israeli food, falafel is pretty darn good
  • Bay Wolf (Piedmont): nice Italian, California cuisine restaurant
  • Cafe Colucci-Ethiopian food on Telegraph
  • Pizzaiolo-amazing staff 😉 amazing food/desserts amazing ambiance amazing amazing amazing amazing; see the events page on the website; open for coffee and pastries in the mornings from 8-12; movie nights during the summer…
  • Boot and Shoe Service (see Pizzaiolo) also has a great bar area in the back; more casual vibe than Pizzaiolo, no reservations necessary
  • Mua: chic, Oakland restaurant/bar
  • Dona Tomas: I had the chiles rellenos, YUM
  • Adesso: come for happy hour and order a drink and treat yourself to the best free appetizers and small plates around
  • Flora- SO yummy, trailbuster cocktail, burger, caramel pudding
  • True Burger: nice staff, nice burger (made from grinding their own meat [steaks]), nice shake, nice fries, nice nice nice
  • Homeroom– mac the goat and peanut butter pie; always order bread crumbs on top; offer gluten-free pasta and beer; vegan mac is supposed to be bomb
  • Burma Superstar-I think my expectations were too high, but it was still very good. Tea salad at Yamo noodles in SF is better in my opinion. Recommend coconut rice, platha and dip
  • Hibiscus– Caribbean/Creole food with a California twist

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Toast with butter and lemon marmalade at Pizzaiolo

  • Oakland Bars
  • The trappist– Belgian beers (sour beer)
  • Café Van Kleef– greyhounds with fresh ruby grapefruits + live music
  • Commonwealth-great beer, good food (specials/stews/potpies)
  • 355 bar: love the decor, very hip, live music

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 Breakfast at Bartavelle

  • Area: University Ave./San Pabl/North Berkeley
  • Bartavelle
  • Udupi Palace-vegetarian south Indian
  • Viks: Indian market and cafe
  • Platano-pupusas
  • Brazil Café-famous among Berkeley students; very heavy; it’s a little shack but a cute idea; known for tri-tip sandwich and mango smoothies
  • Cafe Leila-cute brunch spot; see my blog post about it here
  • Kabana-pakistani
  • Zatar Restaurant
  • Casa Latina, panaderia, order barbacoa; best burrito!!! So so good
  • Slow-nice lunch spot; great outdoor seating
  • Picante-amazing Mexican food here
  • Gioga: small pizza joint; right next to the Monterey Market
  • T-rex: whiskey bar, barbecue, brunch is supposed to be great
  • Juan’s Place: greasy Mexican food, fun vibe, great tortilla chips
  • 900 Grayson– never been but the burger is recommended by Guy Fieri (near Berkeley Bowl west)
  • Downtown Berkeley
  • La Note-nice French restaurant; great for brunch; long waits
  • Venus-great for brunch or dinner; love the morning glory muffins that come with the omelettes, everything here is superb
  • Revival-also owned my Amy from Venus restaurant-everything is local from CA here
  • Gather-mmm love Gather for lunch or dinner; pizzas are great, vegan “charcuterie” is great
  • Jupiter-nice outdoor space; pizzas are good; nice beer selection
  • Razaan’s Organic Kitchen-I would come here often for a quick fix healthy burrito

The Haight

the Mission District/Castro:


Sonoma County/Sebastopol

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 Guac., Coliflor Frito, Drinks at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood

Los Angeles

Hollywood/West LA/SilverLake/Beverly Hills

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Lunch at Little Dom’s

Downtown Grand Central Market

Santa Monica/Culver City/Venice

The Valley


3 Responses to “Restaurant Recs., CA”

  1. coolandcaffeinated May 29, 2014 at 3:00 am #

    as someone who has lived in the bay area and currently in the los angeles area, i love this list, and will definitely have to try out more of these places. thanks for this post!

    • figsinmybelly June 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      Ooo thank you. Do let me know if you know of any places that I should check out. So many good ones.


  1. Throw Together Late Spring/Early Summer Pasta | Figsinmybelly - June 8, 2014

    […] Restaurant Recs., CA […]

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