10 of the Best Bay Area Restaurants Outside San Francisco
San Francisco gets all the love, but there are so many delicious dining destinations outside city limits. Best Indian? Head to the peninsula. Mouthwatering Puerto Rican? You’ve got to cross the Golden Gate. Here are ten of our favorite restaurants beyond the 7x7. Wine Country not included.
A more affordable Michelin-starred tasting menu is not necessarily an oxymoron: Head to Oakland, where the humble James Syhabout plates refined French-influenced California fare such as a slow-poached egg with alliums and smoked dates. You’ll get all eight-plus courses for $149—a relative bargain compared to its Michelin SF counterparts. Splurge on the beverage pairing, which goes beyond wine to include beer, sake and cider.
3859 Piedmont Ave., Oakland; 510-653-3902 or commisrestaurant.com
The secret’s out: Some of the best sushi in the Bay is across the bridge in Sausalito. Much of the fish comes straight from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market—no surprise since owner Yoshi Tome hails from Japan. You can’t go wrong with the big-eye tuna tartare, expertly sliced kanpachi and line-caught mackerel, and grilled hamachi with pickled radish and ponzu sauce. Ask Tome to suggest a sake to wash it all down.
107 Caledonia St., Sausalito; 415-332-3620 or sushiran.com
You can’t miss the neon-green exterior of this San Rafael gem, which has been serving up Puerto Rican favorites for more than a decade. There’s truly nothing more satisfying after a Mt. Tam hike than a big plate of thinly sliced steak served with a simple salad, plantains (fried or sweet), rice and beans and a giant mason jar of fizzy limeade.
901 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael; 415-451-4765 or solfoodrestaurant.com
Old guard meets new wave at this Michelin-starred restaurant just south of the city. It’s owner Ajay Walia’s modern interpretation of Southern Indian food. (He’s the guy who basically started the upscale Indian trend with San Carlos’s Saffron Indian Bistro back in 2002.) Don’t miss the two-foot “white elephant” butter paper dosa served with masala on the side. It’s worth the trip to Burlingame.
209 Park Rd., Burlingame; 650-340-7272 or rasaindian.com
The warm, earthy interior is meant to feel like a (very large) living room away from home, and the food rivals the best Mexican around—grilled summer squash tlayuda, rotisserie chicken tamales with mole negro, meatballs with adobo sauce. But the best part is the landscaped courtyard, perfect for sharing a few margaritas on a balmy weekend afternoon.
2020 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 510-926-6300 or comalberkeley.com
Orenchi is known to have the best ramen in the Bay Area, so brace yourself for the hour’s drive to Santa Clara and the two-hour-plus wait for a table. But you won’t regret it as you savor the traditional tonkotsu pork perfection. Once you’ve had the classic, go for the tsukemen dipping noodles with pickled Japanese vegetables instead.
3540 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara; 408-246-2955 or orenchi-ramen.com
Vik’s Chaat House
You don’t go to this cafeteria-style warehouse for ambience. You go for the incredible Indian street food like cholle bhature (puffed puri shell with garbanzo curry) and keema (minced meat) samosas. The $11 lunch special—served on a sectioned metal tray stuffed with a main, rice, flatbread, lentils, raita, papadum and pickles—is a steal.
2390 Fourth St., Berkeley; 510-644-4412 or vikschaat.com
DIN TAI FUNG
We bet you’d never guess that we’d send you to a mall for dinner. The new Din Tai Fung is the one exception. The dumpling mecca’s first Bay Area location has been so popular (we’re talking a four-hour wait) that the restaurant had to start a reservations-only policy to accommodate hangry patrons demanding their share of xiao long bao.
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara; 408-248-1688 or dintaifungusa.com
With its $255 12-course tasting menu, Manresa is a restaurant you save (and save and save) for. The nightly changing dishes—including milk panna cotta with abalone and David Kinch’s signature “Into the Garden” plate—come out like precious works of art worthy of the three Michelin stars this restaurant has earned.
320 Village Lane, Los Gatos; 408-354-4330 or manresarestaurant.com