Informal Foodie Suggestions in SF and Marin/Sonoma County
We make almost annual trips to SF and love farm-to-table/california-type places. We will be out in SF for a few days and then staying in San Rafael for a few days going along the coast and into wine country. We will be cooking at the rental in Hayes Valley a couple days and also going out a couple days.
I have to go back to Tartine, Blue Bottle, and our favorite burrito place, and I've never been able to make it to Bi-Rite, so that's on the list as well. And of course a trip to the Ferry Building. (Last trip we tried Delfina and NOPA). Some other places in the running for lunch/dinner/snack:
One of the Flour +Water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria team's places
Ozumo for lunch?
Zuni Cafe (because I've never been)
and just cause I like cream puffs, Pacific Puffs
Hog Island/Tomales Bay Oysters
Cowgirl Creamery Cantina in Point Reyes
Bottega in Napa for lunch?
(Loved the Girl and the Fig last time)
We prefer informal places and try to go under $100 for 2 people, since there are so many good choices. We have a bent towards seafood and stay away from heavy French, as well.
Thoughts on these places or suggestions? I assume all will need reservations, but anything that is good for walk-ins would also be nice to know.
You might want to consider adding Fish. to your list. It's on the water in Sausalito. Excellent for fresh, locally and sustainably caught seafood. It's a very casual dining experience: order at the counter, picnic tables in and out doors, very friendly and helpful service.
I learned about it through a local fisherman who sells his catch to them often. We went there recently for crab roasted in the wood fire oven - $26. It did not disappoint.
As far as the San Fran portion of our trip:
We are trying to decide now between Cotogna and La Ciccia for dinner one night, having ruled out Locanda and Central Kitchen (only because we don't have enough meals to make it everywhere). I have made a reservation at Bar Crudo and Zuni Cafe (because we needed somewhere late night one night), and am planning a lunch at Ozumo and a breakfast at Tartine Bakery. We will also hit our favorite burrito place for lunch one day.
If you are travelling into west Sonoma County or to the coast, and you could plan a route along Hwy. 116 through Guerneville, I would highly recommend boon eat+drink. I think it fits your criteria to a "t". They have an extensive garden behind the restaurant from which a great deal of their produce comes. It's quite informal, yet has excellent service and a small but great wine list. The menu is seasonal and pretty reasonably priced. Some things I've really liked there include a grilled calamari salad, the brussell sprout side dish (which we shared as an appetizer) and the burrata with beet pesto. I have heard several people say that the burger was the best they have ever eaten, but I haven't tried it mostly because there are always so many more interesting things on the menu.