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Best neighborhood for restaurants?

Which neighborhood do you think has the best to offer in terms of restaurants, access to groceries/farmers' markets or just overall "foodie" vibe? Does this correspond to being a great neighborhood to live in (money being no object)? This is open to the entire Bay area.

I'm trying to determine if I missed any hidden neighborhood gems during my last visit as I'm heading back out for a longer visit due to work. So I want to stay in an area with excellent food options on my doorstep but is also a nice place to be live in since I will be there for 4-6 weeks. I will be hiring a car so will have no problems getting around the Bay area.

I'm really interested to know if I am missing anything amazing outside of SF city center. I have not been to any of the suburbs except the few streets right next to UC Berkeley and that was very unimpressive. I expected to see a virbant student community with numerous cheap, good restaurants. Instead, saw loads of bums and/or aging hippies strung out on drugs.

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  1. Many people consider the Mission District to be one of the best foodie neighborhoods in the city. They have Tartine Bakery, Delfina, and great taquerias all around (and lots of great restaurants in general).

    -----
    Tartine Bakery
    600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Delfina Restaurant
    3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    7 Replies
    1. re: arlenemae

      I'm a little worried about the safety though - I heard that the Mission district is still in the process of gentrifying. That says to me there are some unsafe areas? I don't want to be worrying about my safety if coming back late from work.

      1. re: SeoulQueen

        There are very few places that aren't safe in SF during the daytime. At night it gets sketchier but the scary factor compared to other large or medium cities is pretty low. Worst part of SF, not that scary compared to NY, if you ask me.

        I'd check out the Mission and Richmond Districts. The Richmond has a large Asian population but many other ethnic groups...Irish and Russian come to mind. There's a stretch of Geary Blvd from about 19th to 25th that has a pretty wild variation of places...Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese,. Russian deli's, a few burrito joints, Irish pubs and oddball/old school and nice neighborhood joints. Aziza is also out there.

        For Berkeley, if you really want the student vibe, you should go during the day and hopefully in session...just follow the crowds. The cheap eats are on Telegraph Ave. Gourmet Ghetto gets busy during lunch and the weekend.

        Urban-planning-wise, no central square but instead neighborhood shopping district (usually a large or well-travel street, all store fronts). Every major neighborhood has at least one...some many. In a small town these would be called downtown but since it's SF that would be confusing.

        1. re: SeoulQueen

          The part of the Mission from the Valencia Street restaurant corridor west is pretty thoroughly gentrified. I think the remaining gang activity is east of Mission.

          1. re: SeoulQueen

            I was talking about this with a friend yesterday comparing US cities. we never had problems with random crime in the Mission if we were cautious. gang? bah no issue, they mostly only hit each other, Norteno vs Sureno or MS 13. if you stay out of their business you're generally OK. I did have a bad scare in 1990, but safeguards at the ATM changed fast (don't bother using one after dusk - they're closed)

            it's an easy commute through BART or the Mission bus and easy access to really good food. (and maybe I'm sheltered, but the first time I saw cleaned nopales was at the market at 17 and Valencia - oh yeah forget the V bus).

            it has its scrungy areas, but jeez, imagine what it was like all that AND junkietown.but still great Mom-n-Pop places for a good pupusa on a lazy Sunday. if you're waiting on the 22 Fillmore at 16 and Mission and the pigeons are freaking look up to see if a condor or other raptor is perched on a lightpole or cornice hunting ITS next meal. passes the time.

            I would echo ML8000's comment except the Richmond and Sunset are SOOO quiet it creeps me. (I'm someone who once walked from Valencia and 16th past the those projects, up lower Haight's Pink Palace and out to 19th Avenue where I sublet then) I was bored that night I guess.

            visually and city-wide access I guess I prefer Duboce Triangle/Lower Haight (transit central)

            1. re: SeoulQueen

              The reality is that any neighborhood in any city can be dangerous if you're not paying attention. I was mugged in the nicest area of Buenos Aires a few years back. If you're really concerned as another person mentioned just stay east of South Van Ess. I walk around the mission late at night by myself no problem. Especially the Valencia corridor as someone said. That's where most of the great restaurants are anyways. Also keep in mind that on weekends the Mission district is packed with people so there are always safety in numbers. It's definitely the best neighborhood to visit to experience food in SF they way locals would see it. You can visit the embarcadero or the wharf or downtown but you'll miss out a bit on the local flavor.

              1. re: SPICESupperClub

                umm correct me if I'm wrong, but you mean West of South Van Ess right? except for that one stretch near the freeway?

                1. re: hill food

                  Yes! Sorry. Correction. WEST of South Van Ess. Good catch Hill. Basically South Van Ess to Church.

            1. Since most of the links focus on SF and Berkeley/Oakland, I will add a suggestion of downtown Mountain View. I don't know if you have any interest in staying in the South Bay/Peninsula area, but It is a very walkable neighborhood with a great farmers' market, dozens of ethnic restaurants, and a couple good cafes. Restaurants range from cheap taquerias to the Michelin star Chez TJ, with good dim sum, ramen, microbreweries and Indian buffet in between.

              I've lived down here for 5+ years and here are some my favorite spots are:
              Fu Lam Mum for very good dim sum (hands down the best between Cupertino and Millbrae)
              Taqueria Los Charros for good, cheap tacos (carbides are especially good)
              Ryowa for good Japanese ramen
              Xanh for fancy Vietnamese (weekday lunch buffet is a good deal)
              Shivas for fancy Indian lunch buffet
              Rose Int'l Market for cheap kabobs
              Shana Thai for moderately priced modern Thai
              Shabuway for very good Japanese shabu shabu (my recommendation: regular with a side imagine bowl)
              Verde Tea for my favorite boba in the Bay Area

              -----
              Chez TJ
              938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

              Ryowa
              859 Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

              Verde Tea Cafe
              19929 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA

              Xanh Restaurant
              110 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

              Shana Thai Restaurant
              311 Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043

              Fu Lam Mum
              155 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

              Taqueria Los Charros
              854 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

              Shabuway
              145 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

              17 Replies
              1. re: ant_chang

                While the places mentioned for Mission are some of the best in their categories (at least locally), most if not all of the places listed for Mountain View are significantly inferior versions. Fu Lam Mum? Very good dim sum -- if you don't know what real dim sum should taste like in Hong Kong. Ryowa? If you've never had a decent bowl of ramen in Japan. Ditto for Shabuway, Verde Tea, Xanh, etc -- they are all tolerable if you stay within the confines of Mountain View, but average at best once you step beyond.

                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                  Oakland: Rockridge
                  Oakland: Temescal
                  Oakland: International Blvd.
                  Oakland: North Oakland
                  Oakland: Uptown.

                2. re: ant_chang

                  I haven't been to Mtn View but you've got me intrigued so I will add it to my list.

                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                    There are awesome food areas all over the Bay Area. I would trade that off vs. where you need to be to be close to your work. Long commutes can cut into food time and energy!

                    It's true that some of the Mountain View places listed above are just OK. But downtown Mountain View has one of the top new American restaurants in the entire Bay Area (Chez TJ), perhaps the best overall Indian restaurant in the entire Bay Area (Sakoon), and a great Japanese Kappo restaurant (Nami Nami). The larger area has the best variety of high-quality Indian food in the Bay Area. If you want Korean food you're not too far from the myriad restaurants in Santa Clara. And the weather's warmer than in San Francisco. If you're working in Silicon Valley, downtown Mountain View is indeed one of the best places you could live in terms of food.

                    But it's hard to argue against most of the San Francisco neighborhoods. Except for some of the suburban-type areas in the southwest that don't have many commercial areas, nearly every area has a lot of local gems, plus good transit to other excellent food neighborhoods. Others have mentioned the Richmond; I'll mention Noe Valley. If money is no object I would choose a more upscale neighborhood - they still have great and interesting food - and take transit to visit other food neighborhoods.

                    Have fun - sounds like a great excusion!

                    Michael

                    1. re: mdg

                      This is good advice. If I were you, I'd pick out some places where you might want to live for other reasons (safety, travel to and from work and other activities) and then find out which of those is the foodiest.

                      But just because I can't help putting my two cents in: from your screen name and the fact that you use non-American English ("hire a car") I'm going to guess you're from Asia. If so, I think you would really like the Richmond District. It's not the most convenient if you are completely dependent on public transit, but it's one of my favorite parts of the city.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Ha ha sorry, I'm in the US. It's the Queen's English that's coming out. :)

                      2. re: mdg

                        I can't believe people here are comparing Mountain View and Palo Alto to the Mission in SF -- the latter is clearly a MUCH stronger food spot. I might have reservations about the neighborhood in general but I can assure you that the quality of food in the Mission is very strong, even by national and international standards.

                        The same cannot be said at all about Mountain View and Palo Alto. In fact, the Asian food in these two areas (which are arguably the highlights) are mediocre at best, and the only reason people go there is because there's nothing better nearby!

                        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                          I don't think anyone's actually saying that MV and PA are comparable to the Mission - I think people are trying to find the upscale community with the most diverse food scene. It's a little like trying the find the most delicious low-fat, sugar-free truffle, but those are the constraints.

                          I agree with Jasmine - given that there is no one perfect community that suits all of the OP's preferences, I think we really need to know 1) what are the things that are the most important to have in immediate walking distance 2) what are the things that are the most important to have within a 5-10 minute drive, and 3) what does she consider essential to her ideal "foodie vibe"? Most of us assume it means a high density of non-European/American restaurants, at a lower price range, but given her reaction to the Mission, I'm guessing she has a different definition.

                          SeoulQueen - what food options would you want to have on your doorstep?

                          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                            It depends on the food you're looking for. As far as I know, Chez TJ, Sakoon, and Nami Nami in Mountain View have no quality equivalents for their cuisines in the Mission. I can't say the same for downtown Palo Alto though - individual dishes, yes, but not for restaurants. Does the Mission have a farmer's market comparable to downtown Mountain View's?

                            Overall the Mission may be superior for food, but not for everything and certainly not for all Asian cuisines.

                            Michael

                            -----
                            Chez TJ
                            938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                            Sakoon
                            357 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                            1. re: mdg

                              The Mission has Saison - whose chef used to work at Chez TJ; and also DOSA, which is very much upscale Indian food (albeit South Indian).

                              The other thing about the Mission is that while it may not have every type of cuisine (it is admittedly lacking Asian), it's so conveniently located close to much public transit so that it makes it easy to get to other parts of SF where they are represented. The Mission farmers market may not be as good as the MV one; but when you can get to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in 10-15 min. via BART, it doens't really matter.

                              -----
                              Chez TJ
                              938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                              Saison
                              2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                          2. re: mdg

                            Noe Valley has a fairly decent selection of restaurants in a very compact commercial zone, but having lived there I can attest that parking's a nightmare if you don't have a garage.

                          3. re: SeoulQueen

                            h_k_f is mostly right. MV isn't really a destination. It's got a lot of good places, but no destinations. It's still a nice compact little area with a bunch of eats, and, heavens, a bookstore. Some people seem to like the boba tea. They do a lot of cafe tables, every other restaurant has a suite of tables on the curb. Kind of hopping at night - there's 3 or 4 clubs that usually have bouncers out.

                            If you go, do try to finagle an invite to the famous google cafes.

                            I might actually recommend Palo Alto over MV, although there's a lot of good-natured rivalry. PA has, by simple quantity, more restaurants. If you like geek tourism, you can find the 'lucky building', and, for those of you who remember bang-paths, decwrl. PA places tend to be a bit on the slick and overpriced side, but there's some minor gems. It's a cozy shopping area. MV is a little more "ethnic" / asian. I like MV more, personally, but I would send friends to PA.

                            1. re: SeoulQueen

                              Note I recently posted 50 currently recommended restaurants in downtown MV, link below. The recent history is, this small-town downtown,around a few blocks of Castro St., got a big facelift 20 years ago, and old storefront shops that had failed began remodeling as restaurants. Some good ones of those days (e.g., Jacqueline's, Tien Fu and the adjacent grill) now gone. But some critical mass was reached and the restaurants kept coming and the patrons with them. By 2005, despite some failures, there were 70 total restaurants, coffee, and tea houses within short walk; now there are about 95. Unless they've kept up with it, most Bay Area people don't realize the restaurant density there today, exceeded by no other current neighborhood I know of.

                              Having dined there more than most people you'll hear from, I have to argue for once with B. Bulkow who may have forgotten some "destination" draws: Chez TJ has brought me and others from other cities into that downtown for special occasions for 20 years (long before the Michelin took notice). In recent years Sakoon and Kappo Nami Nami (focus of the linked thread), among the most elegant and unusual there, and to some extent also Sushi Tomi, Xanh, maybe Cascal, and the two established ramen houses have gotten buzz and have brought people in.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3812...

                              Even though not a deliberately "foodie" nexus like Berkeley's 40-year-old Gourmet Ghetto (whose actual restaurant count is also far lower), the MV downtown has recently gotten two wine shops (one, the new Savvy Cellar location not yet in the CH data base, is a wine bar and the other, Artisan Wine Depot, a serious destination retailer), and developed a large vibrant Sunday Farmer's Market at the Mountain View Caltrain station, which is adjacent to all of this and by which (or by Light Rail from points south) downtown MV is extremely accessible without driving.

                              -----
                              Cascal
                              400 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

                              Kappo Nami Nami
                              240 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                              Chez TJ
                              938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                              Xanh Restaurant
                              110 Castro St, Mountain View, CA

                              Sushi Tomi
                              635 W Dana St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                              Sakoon
                              357 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                              Artisan Wine Depot
                              400A Villa St, Mountain View, CA 94041

                              1. re: eatzalot

                                Re: destinations. You have mentioned the two places I think are standouts in MV. Kapo Nami Nami is excellent and unusual, and I have neglected Chez TJ for far too long. When I was thinking about destinations, I had placed a higher bar, like -- would I recommend someone come down from SF just to eat there.

                                Regarding density, University Ave in PA is between 150 and 160 restaurants. That's not tea houses, that's restaurants that serve dinner with sit down and menus. University Ave has more, or at very least is comparable once you throw in density.

                                Look, I love MV, and I greatly enjoy MV food. I've been eating more there over the last few months, as I'm a little bored with PA. I miss Food Street to this day. But I think you're being a tad jingoistic.

                                -----
                                Chez TJ
                                938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  bbulkow, do you have a link to a list of those 150 or 160 restaurants around University Ave.? (I maintain a list of all the restaurants in downtown MV and have already posted 50 favorites, linked above.)

                                  I eat in Palo Alto often, though less often than MV. PA has always had some particular strengths and unique operations (Tamarine, Junnoon; Oaxacan Kitchen RIP; I think of Joya as Mountain View's Cascal "done right," much more interesting food, and it even uses the same musicians). But I did not think the restaurant density was as great. PA's downtown has lots of college-town businesses that MV's doesn't (actually some of my faculty friends at Stanford come to MV for lunch because they prefer the options!), streets a bit dirtier, influx of kids every Fall who dress out of the LL Bean catlaog until they figure out that students at elite schools don't actually do that; etc.

                                  -----
                                  Tamarine Restaurant
                                  546 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301

                                  Junnoon
                                  150 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                                  The Oaxacan Kitchen
                                  2323 Birch St, Palo Alto, CA 94306

                                  Joya
                                  339 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                    I got to that number a year ago when, by hand, I went through Yelp's search results and found the 30 I hadn't eaten at. I made my sub-list on a physical sticky note and used those notes for 3 years as part of "university ave restaurant roulette". I find Yelp to have the singularly most complete restaurant database, although I hate everything else about their site and don't go there often.

                                    Using their location based map search, I see 137 restaurants around university ave. Our restaurant roulette covered a slightly larger area (we went past the train tracks to pull in PF Changs, the restaurant at the westin, and Macarthur Park). Using the same algorithm around Castro St is giving me 123. Looking through the lists, Yelp is returning non-restaurants for a restaurant search in both cases - but the Univ Ave list is probably around 95, and the Castro list is around 80. My estimate of 150 seems very high, but my statement that the University Ave area is similar if not slightly bigger seems to hold.

                                    In both cases, knowing your area, and all the side streets, opens up the field of play. There are a few places on the MV list I hadn't heard of - but not many. I bet you've never heard of Bistro 412, but the food's decent.

                                  2. re: bbulkow

                                    Further to my question above, CH's data base lists restaurants in PA and MV neighborhoods but with flexible neighborhood tags that evidently overlap, so I couldn't quickly separate out the specific neighborhoods compared here. Yelp's data base was easier to follow, but only easily gave grand totals, incidentally comparable (405 restaurants listed in PA, 415 in MV) again without reliable geographical delimitation. But I remain curious about that claim of large restaurant population around PA's Univ. Ave. -- the presence of many restaurants agrees with my experience, the number 150 does not.

                            2. Let me further add - I love the New England format of having the town square or main street with all the shops/restaurants and then the residential areas nearby. Anyplace like that in the Bay area?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: SeoulQueen

                                I'm not sure your New England template fits San Francisco proper but the neighborhood concept (shops, restaurants, access to mass transit) works pretty well. I'm fond of the FiDi/SOMA area but that's just a personal conceit. Every argument for my favorite areas can be applied to a bunch of others.

                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                  No. The reason that configuration is special is it's a new england thing.

                                  If you think about the history of california, first boom was brought by steamers and trains. Growth was through rail (like the key system). Only after that was the car. So the oldest and most fun areas are by the ports (JLS and the ferry building), then the old railroad junctions, and places that are car-centric look like any stripmall anywhere (orinda).

                                  On the peninsula, there are little towns clustered around train stations, so you get the train station, and a 10 block area with lots of shops. All from the Caltrain, that part of the southern pacific is a very old line. Burlingame, San Mateo, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View.

                                  In Berkeley / Oakland, there was this trolly system called the key system. There's a plaque to it at the corner of 40th and piedmont, but you can trace old neighborhood by the old rail lines. There are some streets that are broader, and used to hold trolly lines.

                                  There's a number of town halls (like SF city hall, a very nice building, Berkeley, and Oakland), all of which have plazas, few of which have great food right next to them. With some exceptions.

                                  You should check out the crab, though. Look around on the board for crab - if you're here in the next few weeks, it's at peak of season. Best thing is to just get steamed & cracked from a grocery store and dig in.

                                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                                    Park Street in Alameda has lots of great restaurants and fun shops. SF is just a ferry ride away.

                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                      SeoulQueen, please note that the "New England" model reflects city-planning practice pre-automobile, while the Bay Area's biggest expansions occurred in the era of bedroom communities separated from shopping malls sepearated from workplaces (the 1970s-80s suburbia model). That pendulum has been swinging back, with the result that a few years ago some enterprising developments instead built self-contained compact "villages" where shopping and dining cluster around a central area, residences nearby, and for residents with nearby workplaces, no car needed. Santana Row in San José, and maybe even more dramatically the similar complex (name?) in San Mateo off Hillsdale Blvd., are examples.

                                      The same layout is found, broadly speaking, in the Peninsula's older small-town downtowns, the locally so-called "Train Towns" that were established before autos were commonplace, and have become restaurant clusters. This thread already mentions some of them, which include especially downtown Burlingame, downtown San Mateo, downtown Mountain View I mentioned separately above, perhaps downtown Menlo Park though friends there complain constantly of fewer restaurants than some of these other towns, and a couple of parts of Palo Alto, especially its secondary downtown along California Avenue, near the Courhouse and the California Ave. Caltrain station.

                                      -----
                                      Santana Row
                                      355 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128

                                      1. re: SeoulQueen

                                        Kinda, sorta -- Mill Valley, just north of SF... two(!) farmer's markets, but you'll need a car unless you're a dedicated hiker.

                                        1. re: SeoulQueen

                                          Sonoma CA & Healdsburg CA (both in the California Wine Country) have have this type of development.

                                          1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                            And Windsor and Cloverdale, also in Wine Country, have installed modern versions of town squares for a central hub for their small towns. The plazas rooted in our Spanish heritage. One thing to keep in mind though, businesses outside the urban core of San Francisco and Oakland don't stay open that late. One needn't worry about safety coming home late from dinner because a restaurant dinner won't end that late.

                                        2. Great post. Berkeley - vibrant student eats wanted, instead - stench and bums. Yep, that's UC Berkeley.

                                          The major eat areas near campus are closer to where grad students and faculty live. That would be:
                                          1) Berkeley downtown actual - you probably found telegraph ave. You wanted downtown berkeley - where berkeley bart is. Set 'five' or 'eve' or 'gather' as your iphone coordinates, and it'll all become obvious pretty quick.
                                          1a) cheeseboard. The cheeseboard is a destination unto itself. Add gregoire and linger at the Chez Panisse menu.
                                          2) Solano Ave. Look up 'adjanta', park near there, and walk west. Do *NOT* miss la farine bakery. More like a quick evening trip. Fonda is a favorite, slightly more for vibe than food. China Village is teh bomb, if you like beer, watch for the sign that says 'the pub'.
                                          3) College Ave. There's a cluster around College and Claremont (cole coffee!), and another around BART (market hall). Kind of weak.
                                          4) Piedmont Ave. Start at Lush Gelato and walk in whatever direction smells good. Lush is great, and Commis, but there aren't a lot of destinations.
                                          5) Temescal. Pyung Chang tofu, tara's, lanesplitter, bocanova, and a few others. Start at 51st and telegraph and walk south-ish on telegraph.
                                          6) Uptown. Plum, the new chef at Flora, Luka, Cafe van Kleef. Oaksterdam U. Kind of spread out for walking though. Grab BART to 19th street, and walk "south" toward JLS - which has a nice little view area, and you can catch the Trappist, B, New Gold Medal, etc. If you start at Flora or Plum (plum is my current favorite).
                                          6a) Downtown. You could also simply go to JLS or chinatown. There is also the ferry from oakland to SF, so you can make a big triangle between SF embarcadero, oakland JLS, walk up to the bart, home. The raw amount of stunningly excellent eats on that trip --- well. And you get out on the water.
                                          7) For san francisco, everyone's favorite quick dip into SF is the ferry building, because you've also got Chaya, RN74, Boulevard, Waterbar (oysters!), and the classic view of the Bay Bridge arching overhead - all accessible via Bart (embarcadero). This can also be a quick evening trip, because you've got the lights on the water.
                                          8) Fruitvale - check out the taco crawl link. Daylight hours.
                                          9) the mission - The mission is pretty safe. It's much safer than the tenderloin, I'd rank it closer to Berkeley - more smell and beggars than harm. And the architecture's better. Bart to 16th and mission, and walk over to the corner of 16th and Valencia, one of my favorite nostalgic corners. There's a certain vibe there. Unfortunately, lots of the actual places you'd want to go are long-ish walks, like BiRite, but if you have a muni card or transfer, you can work the 14 mission bus. Daytime, angle toward Dolores Park and hope for cart street food.

                                          Where are the farmer's markets - JLS has one, berkeley near city hall has one, there's the big one at the ferry building. Without knowing what you actually like, hard to make a rec.

                                          I know you said you had a car, but for a lot of these things, you're better off trying public transit.

                                          -----
                                          New Gold Medal
                                          389 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

                                          Commis
                                          3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                          Dolores Park Cafe
                                          501 Dolores St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                          Lush Gelato
                                          1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                            I live right on the Berkeley-Oakland border, and think it's the best area for food in the Bay Area, but your post makes it clear how the good stuff hereabout is scattered among various neighborhoods. There's not one great neighborhood that can match the Mission, or even the Richmond District.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              I stopped by Cesar on Shattuck yesterday after years away and was reminded how excellent it is. 'migas' with an egg to die for, a great Brussel sprout dish. The egg ranked #2 for the year, above Plum's very good poached egg. I often skip Cesar because it's loud, but at 10:30 it was very cozy. A willingness to browse widely in the bay area is greatly rewarded.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Bay Wolf on Piedmont is one of my favorite east bay restaurants. For ZOMG taco's, Cactus, right by Rockridge BART. Veggie, shrimp and carne tacos are all very very good. Also, Digs in Berkeley has quality food and a nice neighborhood vibe. And dont forget 4th street.

                                                -----
                                                Bay Wolf Restaurant
                                                3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                1. re: The Baconator

                                                  Digs is closing in a week, sadly. I've never liked the food at Bay Wolf, though some people enjoy it. I like other places on Piedmont Ave a lot better.

                                                  -----
                                                  Bay Wolf Restaurant
                                                  3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611