Ceviche from Alma Cucina


Double Smash Burger from The Den at WesBurger ‘N’ More (photo: Wes Rowe)

On The Blackboard

The Terrace Room in Oakland
Take in sparkling views of Lake Merritt in this Art Deco hidden gem. While the usual favorites will be offered at the Thanksgiving buffet ($69), consider the culinary flourishes found in velvety curried kabocha squash (Japenese pumpkin) bisque, rich Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and double-smoked bacon, Thanksgiving pot pie, red wine–braised short ribs, or Meyer lemon marmalade duck quarters.
Neighborhood: Oakland’s Lake Merritt MAP

Tommy’s Joynt
This comfort food hofbrau is a storied Turkey Day tradition harking back to 1947—open 11 a.m. till 8 p.m. They're doing a special turkey dinner with all the fixings, dessert, and coffee for $24.95. No need to make a reservation, as Tommy's is a cash only counter service restaurant with plenty of space for all. Visual delights from Coca Cola lamps to the extensive beer and wine chalkboard are catchy. Don’t forget to look up, since many items live up, up, up. The food is good but the easy prices make it all taste even better.
Neighborhood: Van Ness Corridor MAP

Pier Market Seafood

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant at Pier 39
Thanksgiving specialties will be offered as well as the regular sustainable seafood menu this holiday. A large, circular mesquite grill near the front window brings an earthy sweetness to cooking, making the mixed grill of shrimp, swordfish, and salmon a greatest hit. The hearty “shrimp wrecked” Bloody Mary equals boozy indulgence, and garlicky roasted Dungeness crab begs for sourdough bread with butter. Do not shy away from the bib, which is something of a must when cracking away.
Neighborhood: Fisherman’s Wharf MAP

The Den at WesBurger ‘N’ More
If you’ve ever wanted brisket-smoked-sausage corn dogs amidst jungle curios, this is it. In a petite new bar that fits maybe 20 people at a time, expect big flavors when that late-night urge hits from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. An ooey gooey double smash burger with cheese (pictured above) is equal parts lickable and delectable—the house style of using ground brisket has its merits. Nashville hot chicken rocks appropriate crispness and heat, while smoky BBQ brisket tater tots with queso are a nice twist—use the pickled jalapeños to cut through the fat.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Alma Cocina
The Peruvian roasted chicken, whether quartered, halved, or whole ($10 to $26), is the must-have order at this newish spot, where the friendly and skilled owners have revamped the space with reclaimed wood décor. Piquant lemony aji amarillo sauce is a near-perfect foil for the bird—even Lima natives have been known to nod in approval while reaching for one more dipping piece. Three ceviches are also worth a try; find flair along with fill via the corn hominy and sweet potato accompaniments.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

The Riddler

Brunch at The Riddler
The owners of this female-run eatery clearly have their priorities straight, from the coffee mugs spouting “Of course, Champagne, but first coffee!” to the fall-friendly outdoor table seating. Their brunch-ish menu just launched, and it’s an attractive $24 prix fixe option. There’s a traditional tea element to the three-tier presentation, but the space and crowd (which skews female) are vibrant and celebratory. The fruit salad is seasonal (of course). Choosing between the savory grain bowl or Earl Grey chia pudding is deeply personal, while buttery Viennoiserie pastries from nearby Jane Bakery will please all takers. Coffee and tea arrive in proper vintage silver tea pots and cost extra; no reservations are taken.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP

Brenda's Sunday Supper
Breakfast for dinner is an elevated art here. Somehow, a sense of calm takes over during the wait for the spectacular fried beignets after the sun has set, because hangry urges tend to dominate much earlier in the day. The three-piece BFC ($16.75) is such a compelling version of fried chicken that tablemates may eyeball the plate longingly. The kitchen hustles and bustles in a unified urge to win guests over—one bite of the béchamel laden ham and Swiss croque monsieur affirms all that and so much more.
Neighborhood: Tenderloin MAP

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