Chez Panisse is a bucket-list restaurant that everyone should go to once, but for return trips, our first choice is Chez Panisse Cafe. This place is upstairs from the mothership restaurant and unlike downstairs, it’s much easier to get a reservation at because it hasn’t reached near-mythic status (yet). Also unlike downstairs, the menu up here is a la carte, so you’re not stuck with whatever they’re serving on the tasting menu with no other options. The food is as close to perfect as you can get with things like pizzas with salt cod mousse, incredible lamb, and chocolate cake that we want at our birthday parties for the rest of our lives. And that’s an option too because it’s much more affordable up here and absolutely worth crossing the bay for if you live in SF.
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Berkeley’s Top Dog is an institution: an anarchist hole-in-the-wall that serves incredible hot dogs late into the night.
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana
Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiana serves good and cheap Italian food right next to Berkeley’s campus.
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Wayfare Tavern is an old-school spot in the Financial District. And we mean that in the very best way.
Scoma’s in Fisherman’s Wharf is an old-school seafood spot with some of the best Dungeness crab in the city.
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Rich Table is a restaurant in Hayes Valley that, no matter how many times you go, will always surprise you in the best way possible.
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