Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 2, 2012 11:13 AM

First restaurant meal of the New Year?


It can be anything, anywhere in the Bay Area. The only criteria is that it is good ... I have a superstition that otherwise it will set the tone for the rest of the year.

I was going to go with the same place as my last restaurant meal of 2011, Gaumenkitzel. However, they are closed today.

I'm personally boycotting Chez Panisse, so while that might have been it ... nope. I'm too late to make it to the Dine About Town lunch at Campton Place. I'm thinking maybe Zaki for the chicken. Is it still good?

I'm still more or less not yet up to speed on the local restaurant scene. It doesn't need to be something old. It can be something new and great.

I hope it is clear that considering anything from Campton Place to Zaki Kabob House,I don't have borders in terms of cuisine or price. Good ... hopefully great ... that's the criteria.

I might just wait till tommorrow and Gaumenkitzel which for me is a sure thing and there are a few things I want to try. However, I'd be interested in what others might suggest.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is Smoke Berkeley open today? Lunch only but great BBQ brisket.

    Galette 88 is great but might still be on vacation. Again, lunch only (that might change later this month).

    Wood Tavern is open.

    Some people have complained about Zaki's higher prices. I haven't been in a while.

    Wood Tavern
    6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

    Smoke Berkeley
    2434 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

    Galette 88
    88 Hardie Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Smoke is closed today (I asked last week). I'd check whether Luca's Cucina and Paisan are open. Pizza at Paisan, hearty Italian dishes at Luca's.

      (apparently I can't add two restaurant links. Luca is at


      2514 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Hmmm ... Wood Tavern ... probably a good choice to fInally try it and maybe the sandwich shop next door is open for take home.

        What do you recommend. I'm not going with the pastrami as there has been too much controversy. I'm not big on salt so not salt-soaked is good. How are the salads?

        1. re: rworange

          After the pastrami, my favorite things at Wood Tavern have been the fish soup, minestrone, and pasta with rag├╣ / bolognese. One of the things I like about the place is that they're not afraid of salt. Salads have all been good but except for the fabulous cole slaw that comes with the pastrami not as memorable as other things.

          How about Bocanova? Except for one ill-conceived crab dish everything I've had there has been excellent.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            A Wood Tavern virgin no more. It was perfect.

            Southie is closed until Saturday for re-tooling. There was lots of construction going on.

            Wood Tavern had the first good hot buttered rum i have had in my life.

            Hot buttered rum sounds so good, but never lives up to what I imagine it should taste like ... until Wood Tavern. It was better than I imagined it could be.

            it was rich buttery goodness that was nicely spiced but not overwhelming (there was a whole cinnamon stick). it was warm and comforting enough to make me forget this miserable cold for a short time. Very highly recommended.

            I was going to get the fish soup but it looked smaller than I wanted and for the price. I'm sure it is good but i needed more. Almost got the pastrami after all but then the Acme roll put me off.The sausage stuffed quail looked great. i might go back for that.

            I started with whiskey chicken liver pate. This was so worth the $4 with the smooth pate, some apple thingy, a bit of mustard and toasted bagette.

            There was also a nice bread basket of sliced Acme bread ... walnut and sourdough. it tasted sliced to order unlike some places that prepare the bread baskets ahead of time.

            The crispy pork belly with bacon-stewed green lentils, spinach, soft poached egg and chives was outstanding and an excellent eating beginning of this year.

            The melt-in-your-mouth pork had a cloud of heavenly fat that was crackling crispy on top. Perfect poached egg that broke over those wonderful lentils. Even though I'm a day late, i kind of liked having New Year's good luck food like lentils and pork. I should buy a lottery ticket.

            They did have the Southie meatball sandwich, so i ordered it to go. The only thing I liked were the two half sour pickle slices. I forgot how much I miss them.

            First of all ... $13 for a meatball sub ... there was a lot, but it just was wrong. It was almost a job to finish it. Didn't like the Acme roll which looked like the same as the one for the pastrami. It wasn't toasted and ... soft.No.

            Um, too much meatball,not enough sauce, weird salty parmesan type cheese in there that distracted me. This has to do with my cold, but I didn't like the slaw with it. I was in no mood for jalepenos today. I'm just too queasy for it.

            I do love Wood Tavern. I thought a Monday after the holidays would be dead, but it was packed. I rarely go places prime time, but I kind of enjoyed the energy. I had a great seat overlooking the kitchen which kept me amused.

            Terrific service too. i thought it was kind of cool as i left they knew my name. It was sort of old time restaurant.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          The sign in Galette 88's window says "reopening Jan. 3".

        3. A caipirinha followed by mussels & fries at A Cote?

          Or a fantastic burger at Mua's? (tho last time at lunch the fries were a tad sad...)

          1 Reply
          1. re: escargot3

            Had lunch at Mua's last week. Ordered the burger and asked for the fries to be crispy. They came out wonderfully; my only complaint was that they were on the small side (like 1/2 inch); I prefer slightly longer fries.

          2. With all the recommendations for Plum on this board, I had been wanting to try it for so long and was finally able to make it happen last night. We enjoyed every bit of the experience. Loved sitting at the counter and watching the crew at work, and getting to talk to them as they worked. Everything was utterly delicious, perfect, and inspiring. We can't wait to go back to try more.

            2214 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612