Bars serving top-notch food. Chefs whose menus celebrate their own ethnic heritage. The continuing rise of Oakland as a culinary destination. In this hour, we’ll talk with leading local food writers about the latest trends in Bay Area dining, and get their picks for the hottest restaurants — both high-end and budget. And we want to hear from you: What was your most memorable recent eating out experience?

Spots Our Guests Want to Check Out

Ala Romana

Alta CA

Box and Bells

Leader House



Restaurants Worth a Drive Outside San Francisco

Farm Shop, Larkspur

Hachi Ju Hachi, Saratoga

Manresa, Los Gatos

Ramen Shop, Oakland

Sir and Star, Olema

Wakuriya, San Mateo

Places Open Relatively Late

Broken Record


Tosca Café

Alta CA and Monsieur Benjamin both say that they're going to stay open late.

Family Friendly Restaurants

Our guests all agreed that it is tough to find stroller-friendly dining options in the Bay Area. The specific suggestions they did have:

Paxti's Pizza

M.Y. China

Other Restaurants Recommended by Our Guests


Bar Tartine


Centonove Serves a kale ravioli




Koi Palace

La Taqueria Michael Bauer is a fan of their carnitas burrito

Mission Chinese Food


Southside Spirit House Try the kale salad

Super Duper Burger Serves a good, affordable burger


Yank Sing


Michael Bauer, executive food and wine editor and restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle; and member of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Awards Committee
Carolyn Jung, dining blogger at; former food writer and editor for the San Jose Mercury News; and author of the "San Francisco Chef's Table"
Meesha Halm, local editor of the Zagat Bay Area Restaurant Guide

  • Elizabeth

    Hi there, huge fan of Micheal Bauer and the Chronicle, he’s my favorite columnist every week. My question is: What are your guests’ favorite places to go in the East Bay?

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Is anyone else ear-tortured by listening to the valley-girl pronunciations of Meesha Halm? Not only does she turn the simple word “food” into two syllables by saying foo-ud”, her voice goes up at the end of each sentence like a teenage girl. She even does “the vocal fry” that Slate accuses NPR of falling into:

    and even more description:

    • Robert Thomas

      I noted that her High Rising Terminal (“upspeak”) was pronounced to the point of irritation early in the show and that for whatever reason (am I getting used to it !?!) somewhat less pronounced later in the segment.

      Your other observation is something I’ve noticed coming from the same cohort – the iotation of a number of such words, most commonly “food”, turning it into the diphthong-enhanced “fiYood”. This is the same iotation (prepending the “I” sound to other mid-sylable vowels) that British people add to words such as “duke”: “dyuke”, or more accurately, “diuke”. It’s an annoying vowel shift I could easily do without, but probably is explained linguistically the same way as other vowel shifts (I’m not a linguist).

      Many “U” sounds at the beginning of words (and elsewhere) are conventionally iotated in American and British English, as the pronunciation of “use” (iotated: “i-Use”) as opposed to “ooze” (not iotated).

      In the Cyrillic alphabet, about half of the eleven vowels are explicitly iotated forms of the other half. Of those that use the Roman alphabet, different languages iotate through context and convention.

    • Robert Thomas

      Thanks for the links. I’m new to the Lexicon Valley podcast – it’s great.

      • Fay Nissenbaum

        Your very welcome, Robert. And thanks for giving me a new word to look up!

  • alekskela

    One of the relatively unknown cuisines here is Turkish. Fortunately there are some good ones appearing around. A friend of mine took me to “Cafe Baklava” in Mountain View (on Castro Street). The food was delicious. I also like the food at New Kapadokia on Broadway in Redwood City. I would love to hear if there are any good ones in San Francisco since I will start a new job there soon.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Hey guys, the word “restaurant” is not pronounced RESH-ta-rant. There is no “h” sound in the word. How can you be a critic addressing the public, on radio no less, and voice such poor speaking skills?

  • Another Mike

    Chinese restaurants are the most family friendly in general, but I was surprised at the number of kids in Kabul Afghan restaurant in San Carlos — they actually ran out of child seats and boosters, although they had a good supply.

    • Great tip Another Mike. I asked the question about dining with strollers-always looking for more options! And Afghani food sounds like something we need to try. In the city I’ve found a lot of places are stroller-friendly when asked…

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Any comments on the economics of Food Trucks and whether they are a trend or not and whether they really hurt brick n mortar restaurants?

  • Another Mike

    How about brewpubs and so-called gastropubs? Are they increasing/declining?

  • Another Mike

    Yelp is good for finding out what restaurants are in a particular neighborhood, but the ratings have to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • dorothy

    I’m glad the caller from Walnut Creek called in; I’m in the same boat. Very frustrating to miss out on great restaurant opportunities regardless of price. It’s hard to settle for food that is good but not great. Let me know if anyone can suggest their favs in WC, Lamorinda, Danville. Don’t want to drive any further!

  • KG

    I didn’t hear much about the South Bay and peninsula here. Most people in Bay Area don’t live in San Francisco so who cares about these $$$$ restaurants in the city ?

    • Robert Thomas

      My dear, WGBH has produced NOVA, Frontline, This Old House, Masterpiece Theater and (historically) The French Chef, to name only a few of its more notable achievements.

      Despite having the most viewers of any station in the network, KQED’s most proud contribution for several years has been “I Love My Hipster Restaurant, I Hate Your Hipster Restaurant”. What do you expect?

    • becky

      Try Donostia (authentic Basque), Enoteca la Storia, Hults (farm to table), Cin Cin, Dio Deka (greek) and Centonove in Los Gatos. Table (local, sustainable) in Willow Glen (S.J). Gombei (traditional, casual Japanese), Sushimaru (excellent quality Sushi/sashimi), Omogari Korean (family owned, casual, very friendly), Kubota (traditional Japanese- must try the “Black Cod Kasuzuke. Marinated in Sake Lees, Char-Grilled” or share the Yosenabe (seafood) or other Sukiyake- big enough to share as an entrĂ©e with 1 to 2 others) in Japantown S.J. Xanh (great happy hour), Fu Lam Mum (all very well made Chinese, especially Dim Sum), Steak out (fresh, top quality yet very casual, great beer selection), Scratch (tasty upscale comfort food) in Mountain view. Tamarine (Vietnamese fusion), The Wine room (constantly changing wine selections and small plates, comfy seating, romantic), Terun (Casual delicious southern Italian, very friendly) in Palo Alto. Flea Street (local, seasonal sustainable), Madera at Rosewood (great people watching while enjoying cocktails, appetizers and dinner), Gombei (authentic, everyday Japanese) in Menlo Park, ,Amigos Grill (fresh very well made Mexican, Margheritas to die for made with their own tequila from Mexico) in Portola Valley.

      • Another Mike

        Those first four, at least, are pretty spendy as we say up north. The commenter was looking for restaurants that were not $$$$. These are at least $$$.

        • Robert Thomas


          Carnitas (but not the chiles rellenos): Tres Potrillos, on Fair Oaks in Sunnyvale

          Japanese: Tanto, on El Camino Real east of Henderson in Sunnyvale

  • Katherine

    What was the name of the Indian restaurant on Valencia in the Mission that was mentioned during the show? I’m longing for some authentic Indian.

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