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Feb 15, 2014 02:57 PM

Need suggestion for a solo diner heading to SF + Emeryville

Hello. I'm heading to the Bay Area for a business trip and would love some suggestions for a casual dinner for a solo diner. I'll be spending one evening in SF and one evening in Emeryville, and I'd love to go someplace that is typical for the Bay Area - you know, organic, sustainable, farm-to-table, seasonal, etc. Just a good place that really captures fresh California cooking and is not too expensive, and preferably has a bar for a solo diner to eat at. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Hi SoCal, I haven't a clue about Emeryville even though it's become much more developed with lofts, condos and a shopping venue, I just haven't heard of restaurants like you're after. If you have a car, a little to the north in southwest Berkeley is Cafe Rouge, or farther south in Oakland is a huge resurgence of terrific places in Uptown and Jack London Square area, such as Chop Bar. As for San Francisco, it's a bit like saying I'll be in Orange County, where shall I eat? Maybe not as large an area, but I think you need to offer a part of the city you'll be in, i.e., North Beach, Hayes Valley etc., to clue us in.

    1. In Emeryville, the Townhouse (Californian) or Bucci's (Cal-Ital) are probably tour best bets. But Emeryville is also easy striking distance to Oakland and Berekeley restaurants.

      1. Seasonal, farm-to-table, mostly organic, there's nothing of that genre in Emeryville. Add good for dining solo at the bar, I suggest Gather or Cafe Rouge in Berkeley, Bar Tartine, TBD, or St. Vincent in SF.

        If you're up for Cal-Italian, Dopo in Oakland, Incanto or Cotogna in SF.

        1. Emeryville is easy because it's set between Oakland & Berkeley. If you want mild Korean fusion rice bowls, Spoon is a sibling to the well-regarded Bowl'd/Albany, nice for lunch.

          Otherwise, you might enjoy Duende/Oakland, Spanish tapas, live music on weekends. Fun place, good gutsy food:
          468 19th St, Oakland, CA 94612
          (510) 893-0174
          sample menu:

          Gather (flexitarian) and Comal (Mexican but more authentic, local-driven ingredients) are in downtown Berkeley. It can be hard to park there sometimes, but there is a city garage on Allston Way between Shattuck & Milvia.

          I'd also recommend Riva Cucina, a quieter and not so "happening" restaurant, but some very good dishes and the little office park the RC owners maintain is absolutely lovely. Note it's harder to park in this area at lunch than for dinner, due to the many small businesses in the area with no city garages offering relief.
          800 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley CA 94710
          p (510) 841-7482
          Closed Sun/Mon
          Lunch menu:
          Dinner menu:

          RL is correct: we need to know where you will be in SF to offer good suggestions. Despite being small, the traffic is awful, parking is worse, and getting across town in rush hour can be maddening.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jaiko

            I don't think where socaldiner is staying in SF matters. Outside of rush hour it's normally very easy to get around town and most Cal-cuisine places are centrally located.

            Duende's good, but it's pretty Spanish, not typical California cuisine, though they do use the same top-quality ingredients as Chez Panisse et al.

            Riva Cucina is straight-up Italian, very little Cal influence.