Restaurant Guide–San Francisco

Restaurant Guide Main Index


California

Los Angeles | Orange County | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Alameda

Bhan Mae Vane–1511 Webster St. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  This seems to be a destination restaurant for Lao food, with a large selection of items and reviewers saying they are very good. Map (Dining room is open with limited capacity 12-17-21)

Phnom Penh House–1514 Webster St. (Cambodian) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  People say the food here is excellent. The only thing is that it is different from Thai food in that it relies more on the freshness of the food and subtle flavors rather than spices, etc. Asian crepe is one of many interesting looking items (this is similar to the Vietnamese banh xeo). Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Albany

Everest Kitchen–1150 Solano Ave. (Nepalese) Closed Tue.  Reviewers say this is one of the better Nepalese restaurants because the food is not oily or overspiced (which I read as not overdoing it on the cumin). Has a pretty extensive menu including chow mein. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Berkeley

Note: Berkeley has a vaccine passport mandate for indoor dining.

Great China–2190 Bancroft Way (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Said to be a good place to go if you want to try northern Chinese food that is not Americanized. Has a good tea selection. Does not have an outdoor patio but you can call for open air pickup. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Imm Thai Street Food–2068 University Ave. (Thai) Open Daily.  I honestly do not know how authentic it is, but from the photos it looks very visually appealing, and reviewers say it is very good. In 2019 there was about a 45 minute wait to get a table much of the time–I don’t know about post-pandemic. Note: Yimm in Oakland is its sister restaurant and SF Eater says Yimm is more understated (less chile and use of things like kaffir lime. Map  (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Kiraku–2566 Telegraph Ave. (Japanese) Closed Mon & Tue (dinner only). Japanese tapas restaurant with a wide variety of dishes. Advice from reviewers is to order anything that looks interesting (it is all good). Not a sushi place– this is an Izakaya restaurant (but they have sushi also). There is a $15 minimum to eat here (or $30 if you make a reservation). It seems to be worth it for the type of Japanese food that it is hard to find in the U.S. Wait (without a reservation) can be up to 2 hrs. on weekends. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Udupi Palace–1903 University Ave. (Indian) Closed Tue. South Indian vegetarian. Thali is good (I really liked the former Seattle location–I recommend thali sampler plate). Dosa is also very popular. Also in SF. (Takeout only 8-4-21)

Burlingame

Copenhagen–1216 Burlingame Ave. (Danish) Open daily 6 am to 6 pm. This is a bakery and cafe. Some say it’s as close to true Danish as you can get in the U.S. Pastries, sandwiches, Danish meatballs. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Mokutanya–1155 California Dr. (Japanese) Open daily (dinner only).  A destination Japanese restaurant that is not terribly expensive, but has enthusiastic fans for its hard to find authentic and delicious dishes. Black garlic ramen is one of the specialties (this is an izakaya restaurant–not primarily a sushi one). (This seems to be a place to come with friends–they give you individual rooms for each table). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Concord

Aung MayLiKa–1050 Contra Costa Blvd. (Burmese) Open daily (closed 2:30 to 4:30 pm weekdays).  Google Maps says it is a casual place serving Burmese comfort food. Green tea salad is the most popular dish, but has other good choices as well (such as coconut rice and spicy mango tofu). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Chopan Kabob–2699 Monument Blvd. (Afghan) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it is not the best Afghan restaurant in the Bay Area, but the Chapli Kabob (their specialty) is one of the must eats of the area. (Also in San Ramon and Elk Grove). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Corte Madero

Burmatown–60 Corte Madero Ave. (Burmese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Excellent reviews, but restaurant is very small. It is recommended to go at the most off-peak time possible (but food is said to be authentic and very worthwhile). Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Cupertino

Red Hot Wok–10074 E. Estates Dr. (Taiwanese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:15 to 5 pm). Reviewers say this is one of their favorite Taiwanese restaurants in the Bay Area. This is pretty much everyday comfort food (not expensive or high end). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Yayoi–20682 Homestead Rd. (Japanese) Open daily 12 pm to 8 pm.  Japanese Teishoku restaurant (several small dishes served with steamed rice). Has very good reviews. Udon and katsu are popular items. Also in Palo Alto. (Takeout and delivery only 7-16-21)

Daly City

Chibog–2055 Gellert Blvd. (Filipino) Open until 6 pm (closed Mon).  Reviews are not as good as Boracay Garden in South San Francisco, but there seems to be plenty here that is very flavorful (it would be best to read on-line reviews to see what they recommend). Probably cheaper than Boracay also. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Taste of Burma–2025 Gellert Blvd. (Burmese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5 weekdays).  I think some reviews have said that Burma Superstar is the best Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area, but this one is very good also, especially when compared to the vast areas of the US who do not have Burmese food. There are about 50 items on the menu, although I keep hearing that at any Burmese restaurant you should start out with tea leaf salad. Some complain about the prices here vs. other Burmese restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

El Cerrito

Note: Contra Costa Co. requires diners to have a vaccine passport or a negative Covid test from the past three days.

99 Ranch Market–3288 Pierce St. (Grocery Store) Open Daily.  Good place for Asian groceries. Nearby, though, are a number of small Asian restaurants, dessert shops, etc. that look interesting. (Store is open 8-20-21)

New Dumpling–10064 San Pablo Ave. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  Some say this is the best dumpling place in the East Bay. Green onion pancake is recommended. Located about 4 blocks from the BART station. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Tashi Delek Cuisine–11224 San Pablo Ave. (Nepalese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Suggested by Eater SF because it has four cuisines: Tibetan hand pulled noodles and meat pies, Indian food including the Indo-Chinese gobi Manchurian, Nepalese momos (they like chicken with jhol sauce), and Bhutanese (they don’t say what dishes). Has Nepalese chow mein, and Eater recommends the lamb curry. Nepalese thali available at lunch time. I don’t think they have any outdoor dining. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Zomsa–10558 San Pablo Ave. (Himalayan) Closed Wed.  Prices are very good for the Bay Area, and the Himalayan dishes seem to be especially flavorful. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Foster City

Joy–1489 Beach Park Blvd. (Taiwanese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Has a “secret” Chinese menu which is a favorite with Chowhounds (it’s actually written on cards on the wall). The regular menu is Hong Kong, Sichuanese and Taiwanese. Reviews in late 2018 and 2019 indicate that it is now “uneven.” Part of the problem is that the landlord raised the rent and they can no longer afford to serve the cheap dishes (such as Taiwanese pancakes). They do say, though, that they have authentic Taiwanese food. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Fremont

De Afghanan Cuisine–37395 Fremont Blvd. (Afghan) Closed Mon (and closed from 3:30 to 5 pm).  Eater SF says De Afghanan is probably the most famous Afghan restaurant in America’s most famous Afghan community (I think a section of Oakland is called “Little Kabul” — De Afghanan is not there but it has 3 locations in the Bay Area) . Eater says it is a sit-down restaurant with bolani (stuffed flatbreads) and rice dishes on the menu but the kebabs are main event — especially the lamb and the thin, crisp-edged meat patties known as chapli kebab. Outdoor dining is available. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Din Ding Dumpling House–3213 Walnut Ave. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  This is a Shanghai style noodle and dumpling house. Xiao long bao (with pork) is said to be excellent, but has many other excellent dishes as well. This is said to be a good alternative to the higher priced dumpling houses and is said to be the same quality (but perhaps not exactly the same menu). Also in Union City. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Kyain Kyain–3649 Thornton Ave. (Burmese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Like other Burmese restaurants the tea leaf salad is said to be a must try, and other dishes are said to be very good as well. However, this may be more reasonably priced than other places (and just as good, according to reviews). Eater says this is where the Burmese go to eat. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Line Thai–3964 Washington Blvd. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Opened in 2017, and many had been anxiously awaiting it. Reviewers say the curry is spot on, but the pad thai is really the special dish here (because they do it right and so many other restaurants do not). Spice levels are at Thai levels (so be cautious when ordering). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Myanmar Tea Garden–41063 Fremont Blvd. (Burmese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Tea salad is a popular dish–reviewers say the food here is especially flavorful. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Shanghai Flavor–46132 Warm Springs Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Mon  (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Has a very large menu of authentic dishes. Many say skip the xiao long bao (it is better at other restaurants). This place, though, has many items you may not find in other restaurants so this would be a good opportunity. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Half Moon Bay

Barbara’s Fishtrap–281 Capistrano Rd. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Clam chowder, fish & chips. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Monsoon Himalayan–20 Stone Pine Rd. (Nepalese) Dinner only (closed Tue).  This is said to be one of the best Himalayan restaurants in the Bay Area (Little Nepal and Cuisine of Nepal are said to be the ones that would be comparable). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Hayward

Ghanzi Afghan Kabobs–1235 A St. (Afghan) Open daily except Sun evening. Main item is kabobs, but they are served with rice, salad, bread, etc., and reviewers say it is very good. Has an outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Golden Safari–22431 Foothill Blvd. (Nigerian) Closed Sat (and closed from 2:45 to 4 pm).  Reviewers say this is very good food if you like it spicy (it is very spicy). Egusi soup and pounded yam are a combination that many order. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Los Altos

Estrellita–971 N. San Antonio Rd. (Mexican) Dinner daily; Lunch Fri-Sun.  Mostly a pretty standard Mexican restaurant, but the best dishes on the menu are Yucatan and Oaxaca style. This seems to be one of the best “sit-down” Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Noodle Talk Home Cuisine–4546 El Camino Real (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:15 to 5 pm).  Authentic Hunan cuisine, but I think the “home cuisine” means that it is casual, inexpensive, and is more home style food than “banquet style.” (Dining room is open 7-16-21)

Millbrae

Ben Tre–219 El Camino Real (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  This is a “homestyle” Vietnamese restaurant that reminds Vietnamese people of home. It is not a special occasion restaurant and they do not have any special dishes–just ones that show you what people in Vietnam eat on a daily basis (and for this it is a good choice). Also in S. San Francisco. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Hong Kong Flower Lounge–51 Millbrae Ave. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Seems to be the No. 1 place in the Bay Area for dim sum (rec. by Chowhound). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Hubei–1055 El Camino Real (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Authentic food from Hubei Province (and city of Wuhan). Some comments say that the Hubei food is not that great, but the hot-dry noodle is really worthwhile (and is the specialty of the restaurant). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Stick & Steam–350 Adrian Rd. (Singaporean) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers who have been to Singapore say you get the same food here. May be a little expensive, but it seems to be because it is good quality. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Wonderful–270 Broadway (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Hunan style food that is said to be the spiciest in China (spicier then Sichuan). The flavor, though, seems to be excellent. Stir fried pork and marinated tofu seems like a good dish to try. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Milpitas

Banana Leaf–182 Ranch Dr. (Malaysian) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm weekdays).  I think this is the place to go for Malaysian in the Bay Area (has the best reviews). Mango chicken is popular, and my experience in Seattle indicates that this may be a good bet. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Chili Garden–210 Barber Ct. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30pm).  Hunan style (said to be one of 2 authentic Hunan rests. in the Bay Area–the other Hunan rest. was in Sunnyvale but is now closed-one that recently opened in Los Altos may also be authentic).  House special Chili Garden beef, sour cabbage bamboo pork (ask for Chinese menu). (Dining room is open 7-16-21)

Layang Layang–181 W. Calaveras Blvd. (Malaysian) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm weekdays). Is as highly rated by customers as Banana Leaf, but not recommended as much by the food writers. Nevertheless it has a varied menu, the food looks very good, and I don’t think you can go wrong at either place. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Miles Bistro–1525 Landess Ave. (Filipino) Open 11-6; 10:30-6 Sat & Sun (closed Mon).  A very “off the radar” restaurant that seems to be very good with authentic Filipino food. It does seem to be a little pricey, but has interesting looking items. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Vung Tau–1750 N. Milpitas Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Popular Vietnamese restaurant with a general menu (doesn’t specialize in a particular dish). Dishes like noodle bowls (bun) and sweet and sour soup (canh chua) are said to be very good, as well as other dishes that are not widely available such as lemongrass grill spare ribs. One reviewer who frequents Vietnamese restaurants in the South Bay stated that this is the only long-running restaurant that has not cut corners or gone down in quality over time. (Also in Newark). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Mountain View

Caspian–1910 W. El Camino Real (Persian) Open daily except Sun evening.  Reviewers say the quality is good and they make good use of herbs and spices for a very nice flavor. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Napoletana Pizzeria–1910 W. El Camino Real (Pizza) Dinner daily; Lunch Sat & Sun.  Certified as authentic Neapolitan pizza by VPN. Other items served look authentic and upscale (but only medium priced). Has an outdoor patio that helps ensure they have room for all diners who want to come. Map (Dining room is open at limited capacity 12-18-21)

Oakland

A16–5356 College Ave. (Italian) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Described as a Southern Italian restaurant, but is on the list because it has authentic Neapolitan pizza certified by VPN. Reviewers say they are disappointed that the menu has been pared down after the pandemic (I think they mean the rest of the menu and not the pizza) but that it is still good. Some say order the daily specials because they are always fresh and very good. Also in SF. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Anula’s Cafe–1319 Franklin St. (Sri Lankan) Open Mon-Fri 7 am to 4 pm.  Reviewers say they have delicious food such as items with the coconut sauce. Yelp lists this as the only Sri Lankan restaurant in the Bay Area (there is also a food truck that serves this cuisine). Map (Takeout and delivery only 2-20-22)

Barcote–6430 Telegraph Ave. (Ethiopian) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Combo plates (meat or vegetarian) are the most popular items here (and from looking at their web site I would say they are pretty reasonably priced). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Champa Garden–2102 8th Ave. (Lao) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  To me everything looks good, and reviews seem to support it. Lao Tae has better reviews, but it seems to have fewer items and has different hours. I would say take your pick (Champa Garden looks less expensive and more home style). Also in SF. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Da Nang Quan–615 E. 12th St. (Vietnamese) Open 9 am to 7 pm (closed Thu). One of the best places for authentic Vietnamese (although Oakland has a large concentration of similar restaurants). Bun Bo Hue and banh xeo are specialties, but has a number of hard to find dishes. Specializes in central Vietnamese cuisine (Hue style). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Doña–3770 Piedmont Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Popular during the pandemic because it has a large outdoor dining area. Food gets good reviews. Coming from El Paso the menu doesn’t look very exotic but it looks like a good find. (Dining room and outdoor patio are open 8-20-21)

FOB Kitchen–5179 Telegraph Ave. (Filipino) Dinner Wed-Sun; lunch Fri-Sun.  Several things stand out here including the variety of dishes they serve, how good it looks visually from the photos, and the reviews it gets (other Filipino restaurants in the Bay Area also have a large variety of dishes though). I think this is one of the places that is worth seeking out. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Kingston 11 Cuisine–2270 Telegraph Ave. (Jamaican) Open Wed-Sat only.  Recommended by Eater SF, especially the curry goat. Has a small outdoor patio. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Lao Tae–6516 Moraga Ave. (Lao) Open Daily.  Food seems to be very flavorful and uniformly good. Lao sausage and crispy pork belly are particularly popular. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

New Gold Medal–389 8th St. (Chinese) Open daily (open late night).  Very authentic Cantonese food. Seems to have good food, but I get the impression that the staff expects you to know what you are ordering and some end up with items they do not like. Dry style chow fun is recommended. Has an extremely large menu (as most authentic Cantonese restaurants do). Serves food without MSG if you order it that way. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Phnom Penh–3912 MacArthur Blvd. (Cambodian) Closed Sun.  It is billed as Cambodian, but actually has Thai and Lao dishes as well. Cambodian food seems to be good, but many people order the other items because they are more familiar with them (and say they are very good as well). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Pyeong Chang Tofu House–4701 Telegraph Ave. (Korean) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Eater SF says this is the most satisfying out of the string of Korean restaurants along Telegraph Ave. Several good dishes but its namesake tofu stew is highly recommended. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

See’s Candies–1 Airport Dr. (Candy Store) Open Daily.  See’s Candies are sold all over the Bay Area, but I am listing the Oakland Airport because I bought them here. I was frequently able to get chocolates made by another company based in Chicago, but when I had a chance to get See’s I found it to be a special treat. Map (In-store shopping 12-3-21)

Shandong–328 10th St. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 3 to 4 pm).  I think it is Shandong cuisine but described as Mandarin. Came up as the No. 1 Chinese restaurant in Oakland on Yelp. Hand pulled noodles (good with sesame sauce), dan dan noodles, eggplant, Shandong chicken, dumplings. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Twins Halal House–2608 Market St. (Afghan) Closed Mon.  Healthy and organic Afghan food that reviews indicate is the must-try place for Afghan cuisine (varies from some other restaurants because nothing is frozen and it uses minimal oil for frying). Said to be fresh and full of seasoning. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Vientian Cafe–3801 Allendale Ave. (Lao) Closed Tue (and closed from 4 to 5 pm).  Good reviews for the food, and you get a lot for your money. Nam kao (crunchy rice ball salad), Lao sausage, papaya salad, catfish steamed in banana leaves, noodle soup, curry, and coconut soup are recommended. Has a menu of Lao specialties that are unlikely to be found in other restaurants. Map (Takeout only 12-18-21)

Palo Alto

Chef Zhao Kitchen–2180 W. Bayshore Rd. (Chinese) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5:00pm).  Chef Zhao appeared on the Yan Can Cook show and prepared a couple of notable dishes–fish and ma po tofu (both of which have good reviews at the restaurant and appear to be authentic). Reviewers also recommend Lanzhou beef noodle soup, chili chicken, and dan dan noodles (and say the Sichuan boiled fish is very good). Has xiao long bao. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Ettan–518 Bryant St. (Indian) Dinner Tue-Sun; Brunch Sun.  SF Eater’s top choice for Indian in the South Bay–has both modern and traditional dishes, and has many regional flavors from South India (many are not likely to be found in other restaurants). Expensive if you get meat items such as lamb, but has moderately priced items that look like they have the flavors that set this place apart from others. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Telefèric Barcelona–855 El Camino Real (Spanish) Open daily (closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Tapas restaurant with very good reviews. I think the price adds up quickly if you order several items, but reviewers do not say it is too much but only be aware of it. I have heard that American tapas restaurants do not really give you the same experience that you get in Spain, but this place looks like it may come very close (at least as far as the food is concerned). Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Terún–448 California Ave. (Italian) Dinner daily; lunch Thu-Sun.  Reviewers say the food is good but not great except when it come to the pizza which is certified as being authentic Neapolitan style by VPN. The restaurant says their other food is authentic as well, and I would not discount it because I have found much of the authentic food to be very good, but less spiced than many Americans are used to and therefore they do not always like it. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Pleasanton

Experience Burma–221 Division St. (Burmese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Reviews indicate that this is as good as any Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area, and prices are good as well. Map (Dining room is open 12-3-21)

Richmond

Note: Contra Costa Co. requires diners to have a vaccine passport or a negative Covid test from the past three days.

Huong Tra–12221 San Pablo Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Said to be a neighborhood favorite (is probably not a destination restaurant for the entire Bay Area). However, reviews and description of the food are very good, and I think there are many things here I would like to try (menu is pretty extensive). (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

San Francisco

Note: San Francisco requires diners to have a vaccine passport and does not accept a negative Covid test. Those without a passport are allowed to sit in outdoor patios.

Beijing–1801 Alemany Blvd. (Chinese) Open daily 11 am to 8:45 pm. Beijing style. Reviewers say it’s the most authentic Beijing style rest. in SF. Beijing street pancakes, beef noodle soup, dumplings are recommended. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Bund Shanghai–640 Jackson St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Tue).  Shanghai and Mandarin style. Said to be very good. Has XLB but reviewers recommend that you explore the menu. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Burma Superstar–309 Clement St. (Burmese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm). Reviewers say it is authentic. Google Maps says it is famed for its tea leaf salad (made with fermented tea leaves–in 2021 is only available to dine-in customers because of the global supply chain problems). Samosa soup, chicken tofu kabat, pork curry, coconut rice are also recommended. Some also say to get the three flowers celebration tea. Has outdoor dining at lunch hours. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Champa Garden–613 Faxon Ave. (Lao) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Rice ball salad, drunken noodles, coconut soup are recommended. Also a Champa Garden in Oakland but I don’t know if they are related. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

De Afghanan–1035 Geary St. (Afghan) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Seems to be an excellent place to try authentic Afghan food. However it is a very casual place that mostly serves kabobs. It is the variety of kabobs and the side dishes served that make it much more interesting than the average kabob restaurant. Also in Tracy, and takeout only in Fremont. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Dim Sum Bistro–675 Broadway (Chinese) Open daily 8 am to 3 pm.  This is rated as the no. 1 dim sum restaurant on Yelp. Reviewers say it has some very good items (i.e. shrimp dumpling, steamed pork bun, siu mai, shrimp and chives dumpling). There are others they say to skip. Two important factors in its number 1 rating are its price (cheaper than most) and the fact that it is in a “good area” (I don’t know where the bad area is but they mentioned Broadway Dim Sum Cafe as being in it). (Takeout only 9-10-21)

Golden Crab House–1830 Irving St. (Seafood) Closed Mon & closed Tue lunch.  This is a Vietnamese style seafood restaurant, but you can get “regular” (non-Asian style) seafood if you want. House garlic noodles seem to be the most popular side dish to go with the seafood. Dungeness crab seems to be its seafood specialty. Popular for its fixed dinners for 2, 4, 10 etc people, but diners can order individual items as well. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Hon’s Wun-Tun House–648 Kearney St. (Chinese) Open 10 am to 7 pm (closed Sun). Authentic Hong Kong style noodle house (one of the few really authentic places in Chinatown). Serves many versions of wun tun (wonton) soup–all of them seem to be good. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

House of Dim Sum–735 Jackson St. (Chinese) Open daily 6:45 am to 6 pm.  Menu consists of dim sum, noodles, and congee. Reviewers say dim sum is the authentic version from Guangdong and is not Americanized. They also say orders are very large (although the on-line menu indicates they are not much more expensive than at most dim sum restaurants). (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

House of Nanking–919 Kearney St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Owners are from Shanghai but the wife’s dad was from Nanking (I think they have both types of food in the restaurant). Some reviewers say a good strategy here is to ask the restaurant to bring them something they would recommend. They also have Nanking sesame chicken and probably other dishes that are representative of this cuisine. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Kantine–1906 Market St. (Scandinavian) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Upscale restaurant for Danish and Swedish food that is fresh and organic (looks very good). Menu changes daily. For breakfast I think you will get more of a brunch than typical breakfast food. Outdoor dining available. Map (Dining room is open 12-17-21)

Ken Kee Cafe–2109 Clement St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Thu).  A Google search for dim sim without MSG turned up this restaurant, except that it is a full menu Cantonese/Hong Kong restaurant and not dim sum. The rating for this restaurant is higher than most others in Chinatown, including the ones I put on this list. Reviewers say it is one of the best bangs for the buck. Has authentic food, and some items take 30 or 40 minutes to prepare. (Dining room is open 9-10-21)

Kui Shin Bo–22 Peace Plaza (Japanese) Closed Mon.  Home style Japanese. Is a “full menu” Japanese restaurant. Fresh fish specials are good. Mainly a lunch place (good prices for lunch) but it’s open to 8 pm. I don’t think it has any outdoor dining. (Another location at 1424 Lombard St. that is smaller but is open later and offers a combo special). Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Lime Tree–836 Clement St. (Malaysian) Closed Mon (and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say you get good food and good prices. The city’s only Indonesian restaurant closed during the Covid period and reviewers recommend this as an alternative. There is another location at 450 Irving St. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Mandalay–4348 California St. (Burmese) Closed Tue (Dinner Wed-Mon; lunch Fri-Sun).  Not only is this a hard to find cuisine, but the restaurant gets excellent reviews. Tea leaf salad, sauteed green beans, chicken in garlic sauce. Reviewers say it is Burmese-Chinese, so Burma Superstar might be more authentic. Reviewers are particularly disappointed with the tea leaf salad, but like the curry chicken, fish soup, singapore noodles, balada, mango chicken, mango salad, and others. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Muracci’s Japanese Curry–307 Kearney St. (Japanese) Lunch only (closed Sun). It is actually open until 7 pm Mon-Thu, but some reviewers say they frequently run out of their best dishes earlier than this. I think this is probably one of the things that makes it good (everything is fresh and things are not prepared in large quantities). The specialty here is Japanese curry, which many people get with chicken katsu. The menu seems to be fairly limited but something really worth trying if you are a fan of Japanese food. (4-4-19)

Plaj–333 Fulton St. (Swedish) Open daily (dinner only).  Expensive and maybe dress up, but it’s a good chance to try a full menu of Swedish food (there are not many in the U.S.). (4-30-19)

Poc Chuc–2886 16th St. (Mexican) Open daily 11 am to 10 pm.  Small restaurant that looks like a hole in the wall but is known for its Mayan food (such as cochinita pibil). Has 2 outdoor tables, and not many more than that inside. Yucatasia at 2164 Mission St. also has good reviews. I’m listing these because Pibil Restaurant in San Rafael is apparently closed. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Shanghai Dumpling King–696 Monterey Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Recently moved to new location. Notes from the old location: best XLB in SF, and maybe the U.S; small place–cash only. New place seems to be the same, but I’m not sure about the cash only part. Some say the XLB here is better than in Shanghai. Also has a location in Millbrae. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

The Grotto–2847 Taylor St. (Seafood) Open Daily.  Touristy place–expensive with a good view, but my parents said this was their favorite seafood place in SF (the best food for the money). I do not think there is any outdoor dining at the restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Ton Kiang–5821 Geary Blvd. (Chinese) Closed Wed. Dim sum served all day. One of the most popular dim sum places in SF. There is lots of competition, so it’s hard to say which one is best. If you come here try the Shanghai meat dumpling, mushrooms and shrimp, ha gao, onion pancakes, egg custard tarts. (4-4-19)

Udupi Palace–1007 Valencia St. (Indian) Open Daily. South Indian vegetarian. Thali is good (I really liked the former Seattle location–I recommend thali sampler plate). Dosa is also very popular. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

Yank Sing–101 Spear St. (Chinese) Closed Mon & Tue; Open to 7 pm Wed-Fri; lunch only Sat & Sun. In the running for best dim sum in SF. XLB is excellent also. 100 varieties of dim sum. Down side is that it is expensive, even for San Francisco. (Dining room is open 8-4-21)

San Jose

ASJ–1698 Hostetter Rd. (Taiwanese) Open Daily.  Possibly the best Taiwanese street food in Bay Area.  Most people like beef noodle soup, but other items are good also. Cash only. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Bacalhau–1555 Alum Rock Ave. (Portuguese) Open daily 9 am to 7 pm.  Portuguese and Brazilian restaurant–authentic (not the typical Brazilian steakhouse or similar type restaurant). Looks like typical food–not expensive or upscale. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Khaosan Thai–2062 Curtner Ave. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm weekdays).  Very good reviews. Has northern style sausage, papaya salad, and other dishes from the north (but I believe it has southern Thai dishes as well). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Nam Thanh Banh Canh 3 Mien–958 Story Rd. (Vietnamese) Open 9 am to 8 pm (closed Thu).  Located on a street lined with Vietnamese restaurants, and this is one of the highest rated and most popular. Specialty is banh canh (Vietnamese udon noodle soup), said to be richly flavored and filling. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Popular Bakery–1636 Alum Rock Ave. (Bakery) 7am to 2 pm Tue-Sat.  Portuguese bakery. Egg tarts, queijadas, meringue are popular. Rec. by Doug in Mesa (from Chowhound). Map (Takeout only 2-20-22)

Santouka Ramen–675 Saratoga Ave. (Japanese) Open daily 11 am to 8:30 pm.  Maybe the best authentic Japanese ramen in the U.S., but some reviewers say it is good but not exactly like it is in Japan. Cash only. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Zeni–1320 Saratoga Ave. (Ethiopian) Closed Mon.  Apparently the best Ethiopian in the Bay Area. Vegetarian combo plate gets the best reviews. Map (Takeout only 2-20-22)

San Leandro

Kendejah–197 Pelton Center Way (Liberian) Open Daily.  Said to have West African comfort food (specifically from Liberia) such as oxtail stew, jollof rice, and palm butter stew topped with a crab leg (one reviewer says the jollof rice is best). Map (Takeout only until Covid measures are lifted 2-20-22)

San Rafael

El Lucerito–767 Lincoln Ave. (Guatemalan) Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.  Reviewers say it has authentic Guatemalan food. Many recommend the breakfast. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Yet Wah–1238 4th St. (Chinese) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say this is the best Chinese food in Marin County (if you don’t want to cross the bridge into San Francisco).  Has some authentic items on the menu. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Santa Clara

China Stix–2110 El Camino Real (Chinese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2 to 3:45 pm weekdays).  One big reason to eat here is that it does not use MSG. Ratings, though, are less than convincing except for the dim sum served 11 am to 2 pm Sat & Sun (I think it is not easy to find good dim sum without MSG). Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Din Tai Fung–2855 Stevens Creek Blvd. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Shanghai style dumpling restaurant with Xiao Long Bao. Good reviews compared to several similar restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Orenchi Ramen–3540 Homestead Rd. (Japanese) Open daily (closed from 2 to 5:30 pm).  Ramen restaurant that is particularly noted for its good broth, and some describe it as solid but not particularly the best in the Bay Area. Tonkatsu is recommended. Patrons say it is not uncommon to have a 30 min. wait to get into the restaurant. (Dining room is open 7-16-21)

Tay Ho–2047 El Camino Real (Vietnamese) Open daily 10:30 am to 9 pm.  Banh cuon is the specialty here. I had it in Oklahoma City in the now closed Tay Ho restaurant (a chain with most restaurants in California, apparently including this one). I recommend it as much as the reviewers of this restaurant do. Map (Dining room is open 12-18-21)

Saratoga

Indo Cafe–14443 Big Basin Way (Indonesian) Dinner Wed-Sun; Lunch Thu-Sun (closed Mon).  Food is said to be authentic and spicy as it would be in Indonesia. The coconut rice is said to be one of the best items (get it with your choice of meat). Some reviewers say they increased the price in Nov 2021 to the point that they do not want to return, but this may be the case with many Bay Area restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Note: there is another Indonesian restaurant in Palo Alto that also seems to have good food, but reviewers are discouraging people from going because of their prices (I think it is higher than Indo Cafe).

Mint Leaf–14420 Big Basin Way (Thai) Open daily (closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Upscale and innovative Thai food in a way that I think I would like to try it (even though I usually think the more traditional the better). Lunch menu has interesting choices and is reasonably priced by Bay Area standards. Dinner has more choices and is either a little more expensive (for the vegetarian menu) or quite a bit higher (for seafood, etc.). It is also said to be dog friendly (I think on the outdoor patio). Map (Dining room and outdoor patio are open 2-21-22)

South San Francisco

Boracay Garden–269 El Camino Real (Filipino) Closed Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  This seems to be the best and most authentic Filipino restaurant in the Bay Area. It is more expensive than some of the others, but most dishes seem to be in the $15 range (not bad for the Bay Area). Also an advantage here is less greasy food and a very clean restaurant and restrooms. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)

Sunnyvale

Chelokababi–1236 S. Wolfe Rd. (Persian) Closed Mon & Tue lunch.  Good food, but more expensive than it might be in other cities (also seems to have more menu choices). Map (Dining room is open 2-21-22)

Saravanaa Bhavan–1305 S. Mary Ave. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5:30 pm).  South Indian/Sri Lankan vegetarian restaurant. Some say this is the best South Indian rest. in the U.S. (there is also one in New York). Dosa, rasmalai. Serves thali. Map (Dining room is open 2-20-22)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Ethnic Population Centers in the Bay Area
(as a way to find authentic food and meals they would have at home)

  • Afghan–Fremont, Oakland
  • Burmese–Daly City, Fremont, San Francisco, San Jose
  • Cambodian–Oakland
  • Chinese–San Francisco (and likely many others)
  • Ethiopian–Oakland
  • Filipino–Daly City, Milpitas
  • Guatemalan–San Francisco, San Rafael
  • Indian–San Jose, Cupertino, Fremont, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara
  • Italian–San Francisco (North Beach is the historic Italian area)
  • Japanese–Alameda (this is the historic Japanese area)
  • Korean–Santa Clara, San Jose
  • Lao–Oakland, Richmond, San Pablo
  • Portuguese–Oakland, San Jose, San Leandro, Newark
  • Vietnamese–San Jose

Best Restaurants

Burmese

Eater’s Guide to Eating Burmese in the Bay Area–Dec. 12, 2018. (This is a guide to finding the best version of each dish)

    • Mohinga–Donut Delight–34554 Alvarado Niles Rd., Union City
    • Shan Noodles–Ledu–749 Hickey Blvd., Pacifica
    • Pyay Paratha–Tharaphu Burmese Street Food, 90 Franklin St., Oakland
    • Ohn No Khao Swe–Happy Myanmar Cafe, 2025 Gellert Blvd, Daly City
    • Curries–Golden Burma, 15 Boardman St., San Francisco
    • Danbauk (Chicken Biryani)–Burmese Kitchen, 3815 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
    • Platha & Dip–Burma Superstar, 390 Clement St., San Francisco
    • “Everything on the Menu” (don’t miss the tea leaf salad)–Kyain Kyain, 3649 Thornton Ave., Fremont
    • Samusa Soup–Mandalay, 4348 California St., San Francisco
    • Garlic Noodles (House Noodles)–Yamo, 3406 18th St., San Francisco

Sources:

Chowhound (San Francisco)

Eater San Francisco (9 Flavorful Indian Restaurants Around the South Bay)

Eater San Francisco (38 Essential Restaurants in the East Bay)

Eater San Francisco (Eater’s Guide to Eating Burmese in the Bay Area)

Google Maps

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

VPN Americas (California)

Wikipedia (List of ethnic enclaves in North American Cities)

Yelp (San Francisco)

Zomato (San Francisco)