Mi Almita

 

Alta

Eat This Now

By Virginia Miller

At any given time, it’s easy to find the makings of culinary greatness all over the Bay Area, but once in a while, something really jumps out and gets our attention—dishes or menus that are downright fantastic, from SF to Napa. Here are eight of our favorites to make a beeline for right now.

Mi Almita at Mina Test Kitchen’s Pato en mole de Higos
We love Houston—and so does Michael Mina. His seventh pop-up, Mi Almita (or “my little soul”), launched in August, a collaboration between Mina and one of Houston’s great chefs, the James Beard Award-winning Hugo Ortega. This is one of MINA Test Kitchen’s best concepts yet. And it’s one of the most affordable, too, at merely $39 for a five-course menu, plus supplemental dishes and a stellar drink menu of agave spirits and Mexican wines. Whether it’s chef Ortega’s signature ceviche trio (from his Houston restaurant Caracol) or an earthy-sweet huitlasquites corn soup, the menu is a journey around Mexico with vibrant California-meets-Texas spirit. Then there is the Pato en mole de Higos—crispy duck in fig mole. Spiced and succulent, the duck is accented by sweet potato purée and fresh figs. The pop-up will just be around a few months, so don’t miss it.
Neighborhood: Marina MAP

Solbar’s Potato Gnocchi Pomodoro
A stay at an Auberge resort is always luxuriously pampering, and at the Solage, an Auberge Resort off Silverado Trail, this is certainly the case. Their restaurant, Solbar—set poolside, under a white light–strewn patio—recently brought on new chef Massimo Falsini from Rome, who garnered a Michelin star at Harry’s Bar Roma. (Solbar has been Michelin star–rated eight times.) Falsini is breathing fresh life into the menu with the likes of heirloom tomato salad swimming in cashew butter and basil coulis, and agretti (an Italian herb dubbed “land seaweed”) with Jimmy Nardello peppers, jamón Ibérico and baked buffalo ricotta. His classic Italian pastas take you on a quick flight to Italy from Napa Valley. Don’t miss the divine purity of his potato gnocchi pomodoro in San Marzano tomato sauce, lush with Tomales Bay’s Ramini buffalo mozzarella.
Neighborhood: Calistoga, Napa Valley MAP

The Reubenesque sandwich at City Counter (photo credit: Kassie Borreson)

City Counter’s Reubenesque Sandwich
Opened in May in the heart of the Financial District, City Counter is a dream of a lunch spot, partially inspired by historic Woolworth’s lunch counters and founder Harper Matheson’s favorite luncheonettes when she lived in NYC. Housed in SF’s gorgeous art deco Standard Oil building, it’s a place regulars can fill up on farm-fresh roasted carrots over charred eggplant spread or “counter dips” like artichoke pepperoncini scooped up with Acme rye crisps. The menu rotates but the vegetarian Reubenesque has been on since day one, pleasing meat-eaters and vegetarians alike with smoked beets, sharp Cheddar, pickled cabbage, and "counter sauce" which is a house-made garlic aioli on toasted rye.
Neighborhood: Financial District MAP

Alta’s Monterey squid porridge
Opened this spring in the vibrant artist community of the Minnesota Street Project, chef Daniel Patterson’s new Alta (the second; a third on the way in Oakland) realizes the concept in a whole new way with Dogpatch ease, low proof cocktails on draft, and communal tables. Chef Matt Brimer goes elevated with casual California dishes, showing off the likes of Santa Rosa plums in a vibrant, cool gazpacho. But some dishes transcend the seasons, like the ultimate gourmet comfort of Monterey squid porridge, a bowl of squid ink koshikari rice brightly accented by spring peas, preserved lemon, and Fresno chiles.
Neighborhood: Dogpatch MAP

El Paseo’s Double Bone-in Pork Chop
El Paseo’s magical multi-room space, off a hidden brick alley in the charming town of Mill Valley, dates all the way back to 1948. With its rock star ownership (Sammy Hagar), there is change afoot this fall: new chef Todd Shoberg, who helmed the kitchen at Mill Valley’s excellent Molina. He’s bringing new life to El Paseo’s romantic, one-of-a-kind space in the form of a salt-soaked stone fruit and heirloom tomato salad or Mexican tarragon tomato sorbet post-dinner. But it really is all about that double bone-in pork chop. Massive and meaty, the chop is contrasted by roasted figs, hunks of Pt. Reyes blue cheese, grilled purplette onion, and mustard greens, drizzled in sweet, unctuous Saba vinegar.
Neighborhood: Mill Valley, Marin County MAP

Beef and Cheese at Top Round

Top Round Roast Beef’s beef and cheese sandwich
Recalling American childhood (you could call it a glorified Arby’s), Top Round Roast Beef opened in the historic, vibrant orange Discolandia Records space at the end of August, bringing nostalgic roast beef sandwiches, fried chicken sandos, hot dogs, frozen custard, and curly fries to the Mission. This is old-school, quality fast food with hand-cut fries fried in beef fat, 100% pure beef free of additives, and the chicken is hand-breaded and fried crispy. In fact, it's the first SF location of LA-based chef Steven Fretz and team’s mini-chain. Their Chicken “Cali” (lettuce, tomato, avocado, ranch, sesame bun) is one of the menu’s best items, while classic roast beef sandwiches run the gamut from horseradish to blue cheese versions. But don’t miss their classic “beef and cheese,” meltingly good in a house-made cheese “wiz” and house round sauce, on a soft onion bun.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Khamsa’s basteeya
A Mission newcomer this August in yet another new condo building, Khamsa is a sunny destination—with Moroccan lamps and tiles plus a cozy patio—featuring Moroccan specialties, like tagine in vegetarian, fish, and meat forms. Basteeya remains one of Morocco’s classics, and Khamsa’s version gratifies with the right sweet-savory balance. Encrusted in a flaky phyllo pastry, a mix of shredded chicken, almonds, onions, and eggs is a study in flavor and texture contrasts, the pocket dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. If you have more of a savory than a sweet tooth, this meaty-sweet “pie” would be your ideal dessert.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Sutro’s at the Cliff House’s house-smoked scottish salmon
A legend since the 1800s that counted even Mark Twain as a diner, Cliff House is pure San Francisco history. It’s upscale side, Sutro’s, boasts dramatic views jutting out over the crashing waves of the Pacific. Now that owner and chef Ralph Burgin—a German native who has cooked from London to SF—is back in the kitchen, you can taste it on the plate, whether in the bright garlic-zucchini-yellow tomato coulis over heirloom tomato carpaccio, or the gently tart frozen lemon souffle for dessert. His house smoked Scottish salmon surprises with a touch of brown sugar. The subtle sweetness contrasts beautifully with horseradish crema, sweet dill mustard, pickled shallots, fennel, and friseé.
Neighborhood: Sea Cliff MAP

Email   Print   Tweet  

San Francisco

On the Blackboard

 
Fall is under way in the Bay and while we don’t have foliage to stare at, we do have lots of exciting dining and drinking additions this season. MORE

San Francisco

7 top spots for authentic dim sum in the Bay Area

 
The Bay Area's stellar and storied dim sum scene continues to expand—here are seven of our favorite spots in San Francisco right now. MORE

San Francisco

On the Blackboard

 
Whether you are getting your evening off on the right foot before a show, celebrating Oktoberfest with traditional flair, or just playing hooky on a school night, these seven specials in the Bay Area are at the ready to do your right. MORE

San Francisco

How 8 top Bay Area restaurants are staying fresh

 
These eight restaurants—some of them barely a year old, others a robust 20 years—are drawing crowds while still finding ways to stay fresh, encompassing new aspects, or reinventing themselves. MORE

San Francisco

SF’s best happy hours you can enjoy outside

 
It’s rare for San Franciscans to get a chance to enjoy outdoor patios and terraces without a sweater-and-scarf combo, but indian summer is coming, and that calls for a celebration MORE

San Francisco

On The Blackboard: July 25

 
It’s the heart of summer in San Francisco, and that means there are lots of things you can count, including restaurants in the city getting in the summer spirit. Whether sunny or foggy, it’s always a delicious and fun summer by the Bay. MORE

San Francisco

Where to eat before going to the funniest comedy clubs in SF

 
If you’re heading out to a local San Francisco comedy club, why not turn it into a delicious date night? Prepare for some side-splitting comedy with drinks, snacks, or dinner before the show. MORE

San Francisco

The best fried chicken sandwiches in SF right now

 
In the Bay Area there is no end to the varying iterations of fried chicken, but regardless, nowhere is juicy fried chicken more gratifying than when stuffed into a sandwich. MORE

San Francisco

Dinner and a movie, perfected

 
Whether you’re on date night or just having a fun evening on the town, here are nine delicious and convenient options for making the perfect dinner and a movie night out. MORE

San Francisco

Where to have a barbecue in a backyard that isn't yours

 
We’ve put together a list of our favorite spots with barbecue and outdoor dining, where you can channel all the spirit, fun, and great food of the backyard summer BBQ, without actually hosting it yourself. MORE

San Francisco

Welcome to the new wave of
house-made charcuterie in SF

 
A new wave of chefs in the Bay Area have taken to the craft of house-made charcuterie lately—good news for lovers of all things meaty. MORE

San Francisco

8 cool alternatives to the typical Easter brunch

 
It's time to shore up your plans for this year’s Easter brunch, and San Francisco has so much to consider—from famous fried chicken to a Japanese breakfast set, from family-style Italian feasts to music and movies accompanying your BBQ shrimp and grits. MORE

San Francisco

8 of our favorite tea shops and houses in the Bay Area

 
Rich in tradition, terroir, and technique, this modest drink offers a lot to appreciate. And lucky for us, we have plenty of awesome shops to act as our suppliers and guides. MORE

San Francisco

8 crazy good ways to get your Taco Tuesday on in San Francisco

 
There’s no denying the harmonious beauty of cheap beer and discounted fill-your-belly tacos. Here are eight of our favorite Taco Tuesday deals to check out around the Bay Area. MORE

San Francisco

Ancient grains and modern mixes—SF’s 5 best grain bowls

 
We’ve dug into bowls all over the Bay Area, from a forward-thinking, high-tech, high-health chain that started in San Francisco to an artful bakery with seasonal bowls, to find the ones we can’t live without. MORE

San Francisco

Drink This Now—The 10 best mocktails in San Francisco

 
San Francisco's behind-the-bar talents have kept teetotalers in mind with plenty of legit, walk-the-walk booze-free options. MORE

San Francisco

Eat this Now—The Wellness Edition

 
In a city like San Francisco, some of the tastiest dishes around also happen to be inspired by wellness and mindfulness. Here are 10 of our favorites to start your year off right. MORE

San Francisco

7 diners in San Francisco that dish out seriously good grub

 
For those times when you just want a plate of comfort food with a side of nostalgia and some ketchup, San Francisco’s bustling diner scene has your back. MORE

San Francisco

7 breakfast sandwiches in SF worth waking up for

 
When you’re going to go out and pay for a breakfast sandwich, it better be something pretty damn special. Here are seven breakfast sandwiches in San Francisco that will definitely brighten your morning. MORE

San Francisco

7 SF bakeries that will rock your world

 
When it comes to showing their love for great pastry and baked goods, San Franciscans have at least one consistent way of making their affection clear: getting in line. Here are seven favorite bakeries worth the sweet reward at the end of the queue. MORE

San Francisco

Feed Love: San Francisco

 
It’s no surprise that the restaurants in San Francisco are especially attuned to the needs of the community. Here are 10 restaurants that help feed love by fostering community, positivity, and peace through charity programs—like helping people rebuild their lives, donating money to public schools, and acting on their dedication to environmental conservation. MORE

San Francisco

8 Bay Area farmers markets you’ll want to browse this fall

 
Here are eight markets that prove once again that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the world’s best places to pull up a fork. MORE

San Francisco

9 delicious San Francisco burgers for $10 or less

 
You'll likely never use words like "cheap" or "inexpensive" when referring to SF rent, but they can be applied when it comes to the search for a great burger. Here are nine favorites around the Bay Area for $10 or less. MORE

San Francisco

7 ice cream spots you’ll want to hit before the end of summer

 
San Francisco may be swaddled in a blanket of fog and only reach a summery high of 64 if we’re lucky, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying ice cream. MORE

San Francisco

The best (affordable) outdoor dining in San Francisco

 
The City by the Bay is packed to the gills with heated patios and garden seating so charming you won’t even notice that you’re wearing three scarves and an extra pair of pants. MORE

San Francisco

7 wineries where the food is as good as the booze

 
With everything from full multi-course sit-down meals to smaller bites and more casual sips and nibbles, the options in wine country today are as diverse as they are delicious. MORE

San Francisco

Where to eat barbecue in SF this summer

 
The Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas, Kansas—you name it. You can find all those factions and more represented in the Bay Area this 'cue season. MORE

San Francisco

Eat This Now: 6 must-try dishes in San Francisco right now

 
New openings in San Francisco seem to be at a peak right about now—so much so that it can be tough to keep up with all the constant deliciousness in the city. But we can try, can’t we? MORE

San Francisco

SF’s hottest restaurants for $35 and under

 
As it turns out, San Francisco is ripe with affordable prix fixe options, from special lunch and brunch deals at some of the biggest-name restaurants to affordable dinners at trendy hotspots. MORE

San Francisco

Eat to live—6 places where eating out is almost as healthy as making it from scratch

 
So often, going out to eat means sacrificing—not just on cost, but on clean and smart choices, too. In the spirit of treating your body as well as you treat your palette, here are six awesome restaurants and cafes around the Bay Area where eating out—and eating well—is almost as clean as dining at home. MORE

San Francisco

7 Bay Area spots where both the food and the show are first-rate

 
In a city that offers so much and at such a high level, it’s only natural to be a little greedy: You want both your dinner and your show—dancing, live music, comedy—to be worthy of the spotlight, instead of one greatly outshining the other. MORE

San Francisco

5 Vietnamese hot spots for under $20

 
San Francisco’s patchwork quilt of cultures and ethnicities is a big part of what makes it such an exciting culinary capital, and Vietnamese holds an important place in the city’s dining landscape—here are six of our favorite spots where you can eat for under $20. MORE

San Francisco

7 buzzy spots worth the hype for less than $25 per person

 
A dinner check in SF can rival your monthly rent before you know it. But have no fear, it’s still possible to sample fabulous cuisine at top restaurants without taking out a second mortgage. MORE

San Francisco

San Francisco’s best bets for ordering in

 
In our on-demand world, you can have practically any sort of meal brought right to your front door, and with ease. So what can you count on when you want dinner delivered? Here are five of our picks for types of food that travel well—and where to get it. MORE

San Francisco

Surprise your dinner party host with something rad beyond wine

 
In vino veritas—and the truth is there’s probably something else you could be bringing to that dinner party besides wine. While there’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with the old-standby, there’s also a whole other world of fine, local goodness that can make the party that much more memorable. MORE

San Francisco

$25-and-under date ideas

 
Here are eight restaurants in the Bay Area where you can have a delicious but affordable date night—whether your after festive, casual, hip, intimate, or playful. MORE

San Francisco

Eat This Now: 9 must-try dishes in San Francisco right now

 
With San Francisco's diverse and delicious food scene, you barely have a chance to visit last month’s hottest new dishes before you're all wrapped up in the excitement of the next new thing. If you're still playing catch-up too, here are nine favorite dishes to check out around town right now. MORE

San Francisco

How to feast well on Korean fare for $25 or less

 
If you’re smart and play your cards right, you can find places where bountiful Korean feasts are offered at a real bargain—and that’s not even counting the banchan, the impressive spread of kimchi and other accent plates that come complimentary with your order. MORE

San Francisco

San Francisco's best Indian eats for under $20

 
Filling, flavorful, spicy, and appealing to almost any dietary restriction, Indian also makes for some of the best bang for the buck meals you can find in San Francisco. MORE

San Francisco

7 late-night Happy Hours worth staying up for

 
If you're putting in crazy overtime hours and can't make the early bird deals around town, check out these “reverse” happy hour specials—think dollar oysters, $4 beers, and half-off bottles of wine—that are offered late night, if not all day. MORE

San Francisco

6 bang-for-your-buck brunches

 
Weekend brunch can quickly turn into a rather expensive habit, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are six of our favorite budget-friendly brunch options. MORE

San Francisco

6 spots where bringing the kids and loving your meal aren’t mutually exclusive

 
Date night comes but once a week, so great dinner spots that also extend a generous welcome to families are always a boon for parents. The kids might not need much, but the right menu—and a few helpful touches—can make all the difference, granting you some precious extra moments to enjoy the meal. MORE

San Francisco

On the Blackboard: French under $30

 
While classic French cuisine might fly under the radar in San Francisco, we’re drawn under its spell from the first whiff of a freshly baked kouign-amman to the last bite of ratatouille. MORE

San Francisco

Pro Picnicking: 7 ways to raise your picnic to an 11

 
If summer in the Bay Area means one thing, it’s getting outside as much as humanly possible. Of course, this means eating outside, too. MORE

San Francisco

San Francisco’s best under-the-radar desserts

 
You can’t throw a James Beard award in San Francisco without hitting a restaurant that could serve you up an amazing meal at the drop of a hat. But let’s not forget what comes at the end of every meal: Dessert. MORE

San Francisco

5 group dinners that won’t cost you an arm and a leg

 
The best thing about group dining—aside from getting to share a meal with a large collection of friends and loved ones—is that more people means more food to taste. Of course, you do have to play it a little smart in these situations, or you could still end up breaking the bank. Here are five favorite SF spots for special occasion group dining that won’t force you to drop such serious coin. MORE

San Francisco

7 SF markets for all your culinary needs, from essential to esoteric

 
Part hang-out and gathering place, part grocery store and coffee shop, the history of small markets in this gold rush town is a long and storied one. Here are seven of our top picks for places that carry everything you need and crave. MORE

San Francisco

$25-and-under steaks that are a cut above

 
There is no shortage of stellar, classic steakhouses in SF, and unfortunately, many are also fantastically expensive. But if you steer clear of the big-ticket cuts and hunt out lunch and brunch deals, there are plenty of affordable, $25-and-under steak options to be found around town, too. MORE

San Francisco

Will drive for food—8 places worth the gas or electric charge

 
There are plenty of real-deal destinations not too far from SF—discover a hidden gem or a beloved local spot that’s virtually unknown to city dwellers. Either way, adventure awaits. MORE

San Francisco

How to indulge in the omakase experience on a perfectly sane budget

 
The appeal of omakase is easy to understand, but the result is often a tab that stretches comfortably into the triple digits. It doesn’t have to! be that way, however—here are seven SF spots where you can get awesome omakase for $100 or less. MORE

San Francisco

5 restaurants that should have a Michelin Star

 
These five restaurants have received no shortage of accolades and award nominations themselves, but none of them have received a Michelin star yet—and we think they’re all especially deserving of it. MORE

San Francisco

7 restaurants where you want to eat at the bar

 
Eating at the bar, you get all the perks of a table without the fuss of a reservation. Even better is when the bar delivers its own set of specials, priced just right for one or a crowd. MORE

San Francisco

Vegetarians get stoked for four courses at Cha Ya & more...

 
At this point, it’s a novelty to find a restaurant that doesn’t offer at least something vegetarian, but we went a step further, finding you the best straight up vegetarian prix fixe and tasting menus in town that are also sensitive to the old wallet. MORE
x