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Our Top 20 Favorite Bites in the Bay Area

What’s Yours?


While I’d like to consider myself a fairly creative person, I’ve grown to understand it’s really my constant sense of order that’s gotten me to where I am today.  Without an on-going list of “Things To-Do” I would be completely lost and stressed (more than usual).  There are even times when immersed in an especially large and complex project when I am working off of a list of lists.

Yes, I love my lists.

Of course, also lover of all things edible, I especially love FOOD LISTS. But, seriously who doesn’t?  One of my favorite lists right now is this one for obvious reasons.

Sfweekly Chix List


This is a good one too even though we’re in second place.


Sfweekly Brunch List


But by far my favorite food list published in SF these days is this one and not just ‘cuz we’ve been blessed enough to be included in it for the last three years:


We're #79!
We’re #79!


So, the other day when my wife and I were out on a much-needed date, enjoying one of our all-time favorite dishes at Kokkari, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite bites here in the Bay Area. So these are my and Libby’s faves along with a few staff picks. Keep in mind these are our totally subjective opinions and while we were putting this together we realized we eat A LOT of Asian food. If you have a favorite bite here in SF you’d like us to check out please feel free to share!


Our Top 20 Favorite Bites in the Bay Area (in no particular order):

1. #2 (Rare Beef Pho) at Turtle Tower. We are here often as our own place is just around the corner. It’s all about the soft, slippery house made noodles and the pristine beef broth. Definitely a go-to bowl of comfort for us.

2. Classic Cheeseburger from 4505 Meats.

4505 Burger
Stellar beef patty, perfect house baked bun, great balance of flavors and textures. It is officially our favorite burger in the city.

3. Lemon Cookie Ice Cream from Three Twins Ice Cream. The genius of this ice cream is that it’s super lemon-y in essence, and just when you’re expecting to be clobbered with sharp acidity at the end, it finishes with soft, creamy cookie-ness. This ice cream makes us smile.

4. Crispy Super Carnitas Tacos at La Taqueria.  Hand down best tacos ever.  Truly in a category by itself.  Love, love, love.  Thanks to Christina for showing us the way!

La Taqueria Tacos


5. Menage a Trois at Ike’s Place. I believe this short video best conveys our families deep appreciation of this masterful sandwich:

Yummy Ike’s Sandwich Video

6. Kusshi Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company.  I realize there are probably many places to find and enjoy these oysters, but we love sitting at Hog Island within the the food mecca that is the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, enjoying the views of the Bay and sipping champagne.  All of this while slurping those perfectly creamy semi-orbs of love that to me start off with a nice, salty snap.  Aaaaaah, life is good.

7. Taramasalata at Kokkari.  I have a deep, deep appreciation of Greek food especially since my first ever cooking gig was in a Greek restaurant in New Orleans.  And one of the first ever dishes I Iearned to make in a professional kitchen was Taramasalata or Creamy Carp Roe Dip.  Kokkari’s version is supreme especially scooped up with their ridiculously good house made pita bread.  Libby also sends a shout out for their simple and divine Grilled Vegetables with House Made Yogurt.  Jesus, it’s all really good.



8.  (A Tie) Soup Dumplings at Yank Sing and Shanghai Dumpling King.  Though two very different places, we love them both equally.  We also always get the garlicky cucumber salad at Shanghai too.  Just make sure everyone at the table takes a bite if you plan on spending the rest of the day together.


9.   Pork Belly Clay Pot at Best Taste Restaurant (Oakland Chinatown).

Pork Belly Clay Pot
My sous chef, Luciano, was as blown away by this luxurious pot of pork belly love as I was.    Photo by Libby Truesdell.


10. Tofu Skin Roll at Wing Lee Bakery.  After years of enduring the barking, unsmiling ladies at this establishment to get my favorite cheap dim sum on, my genteel Southern self has finally learned to not take it personally.  It’s just that worth it to me, especially the chewy, savory tofu rolls.  Chicken skewers are good too.  Tell ’em I said “Hi”.  I dare ya’.


11. Dark and Stormy Ribs at B Side BBQ

B Side Ribs
My wife thinks this is the best BBQ in the Bay Area right now. I have to agree.

12. Scoop of Tcho Dark Chocolate Ice Cream at Smitten Ice Cream.  What do you get when you combine the amazing dark chocolate from Tcho Chocolate with this ice cream’s stands patented made-to-order ice cream process?  Love on a cone.

13. Slice of Garlic Clam Pizza at Golden Boy Pizza.  I know there are beaucoup thin crust hyper-artisan pizzas out there these days, but this is still my favorite.  Baked on foccacia since ’78,  I love this pizza dive.  Try the sausage too!

14. Toro at Sushi Ran

Toro At Sushi Ran
SEX in the Mouth.


15. Crab Salad with Crab Fat Vinaigrette at Swan Oyster Depot.  This one was contributed by our GM Andrew, and believe me the man knows and loves his crab.  I once watched him inhale two orders crab remoulade in New Orleans, before digging into his seafood entree and finishing that up too, proving to me that sometimes watching someone else relish a favorite food can be as satisfying as eating it yourself.

16. Roast Crab at Thanh Long 

Thanh Long Crab
This was a contribution from our server extraordinaire, Becky, and we couldn’t agree more. Don’t forget the garlic noodles!


17. Wild Boar Lettuce Cups at M.Y. China.  I realize I’m taking a risk here by recommending a dish from a total new-comer, but I truly crave this dish and it’s multidimensional crunch.  The first time I had it I could not stop myself from finishing them long after I was already stuffed to the gills.


18.Prime Rib at House of Prime Rib. Whenever I walk into this place with the wife (both of us salivating), I congratulate myself on marrying a good, solid Midwestern girl who isn’t afraid of a nice, big ol’ slab of beef.  I would eat here once a week if my waist and cholesterol would allow it. You have to have a martini too!Prime Rib


19. Fried Chicken Sandwich at Bakesale Betty’s. You gotta give a woman props for building an entire empire practically on a single sandwich.  Since gaining such crazed popularity, I’ve seen many a copy-cat fried chicken sandwich around town, but no one can touch hers.  The wife and I will stand in line to eat one of these beauties at one those ironing board tables any day.

Bakesale Betty Sandwich


20. Bean and Cheese Pupusas at Balompie. Is it strange to have bean envy?  Well given the love and pride I put into my own, I have to say, these are some pretty badass beans. Now stuff ‘em in a pupusas with some queso fresco and I’m there. Seriously, if anyone can get me the bean recipe from them I’ll buy you dinner.


So what are some of your favorite bites?