San Francisco Bay Area Essentials

Find the best places to go in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Food and Drink Essentials: Best Places to ...

DO BUSINESS OVER A MEAL

Buck's, 3062 Woodside Rd. Woodside (650) 851-8010
This Silicon Valley institution is famed for the Silicon Valley venture capitalists and high-tech entrepreneurs who meet here over pancakes and coffee — and perhaps strike a multi-million-dollar deal before the meal is over.

SHOP INDEPENDENTLY

Rainbow Grocery, 1745 Folsom St., San Francisco (415) 863-0620
Staying true to its 1970s hippie roots, this popular San Francisco grocery co-op focuses on organic, natural and locally produced vegetarian foods.

Berkeley Bowl, 2020 Oregon St., Berkeley (510) 843-6929
Berkeley Bowl got its name from its original home in a bowling alley. It has since moved into a larger location and remains a regular staple for East Bay residents shopping for organic food.

BUY ORGANIC VEGGIES

San Francisco Ferry Building, One Ferry Building, San Francisco (415) 983-8000
Held every Tuesday and Saturday in front of the historic Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is always brimming with California-certified produce.

TASTE WINE

V. Sattui Winery, 1111 White Lane, St. Helena (707) 963-7774
V. Sattui is a popular stop during a Napa wine tour, offering a collection of wines for tasting, a marketplace and a deli with 200 cheeses and a tree-shaded picnic area.

HAVE DIM SUM

Yank Sing
Rincon Center, 101 Spear St., San Francisco (415) 781-1111
49 Stevenson St., San Francisco (415) 541-4949
Three generations of the Chan family have run Yank Sing in San Francisco. On the weekends, the restaurant takes over the atrium at Rincon Center, where a waterfall cascades from the ceiling and the staff pushes around carts of dim sum in the open space.

GET A TASTE OF ASIA

Chinatown, Between Kearny and Powell Streets, Bush and Broadway, San Francisco
Skip Grant Street, where the tourists go, and head to Stockton Street for fresh produce, live crab, fish and other seafood, dim sum and Chinese pastries.

Clement Street, Clement Street, between Arguello and Park Presidio, San Francisco
Some call Clement Street San Francisco's "new Chinatown," but it's really an eclectic mix of Irish bars and Asian restaurants, from Burmese to Taiwanese, along with Asian grocers and bubble tea shops.

Japantown, Geary Boulevard, between Fillmore and Laguna Streets, San Francisco
Stop inside the neighborhood's Japan Center for a steaming bowl of ramen or freshly rolled sushi.

Pacific East Mall, 3288 Pierce St., Richmond
Anchored by Ranch 99, the Asian grocery chain, this plaza mingles all aspects of Asian food, retail and entertainment, from Chinese moon cakes to Vietnamese pho to Japanese anime.

Milpitas Square, 190 Barber Lane, Milpitas
A hot spot in Silicon Valley, this outdoor shopping center houses more than 60 Asian restaurants and shops, from a hot-pot restaurant to a store selling ginseng and herbs.

Oakland Chinatown, Webster Street, between 6th Street and 12th Street, Oakland
Though it's often overshadowed by San Francisco's Chinatown, Oakland's Chinatown is teaming with dim sum restaurants and bakeries, groceries and retailers selling Asian imports. It's easily accessible by train (BART, Oakland 12th Street station), and ample underground parking is available at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza at 388 9th Street.

GRAB A LATE-NIGHT BITE

Lucky Penny, 2670 Geary Blvd., San Francisco (415) 921-0836
The food is nothing to write home about, but this longtime diner is open 24 hours and popular for people hungering for a greasy spoon late at night.

DRINK A CUP OF JAVA

Blue Bottle Cafe, 66 Mint St., San Francisco (510) 653-3394
Blue Bottle Cafe meticulously and individually brews cups of coffee from a $20,000 siphon bar imported from Japan.

SIP SOME TEA

Samovar Tea Lounge
730 Howard St., San Francisco (415) 227-9400
498 Sanchez St., San Francisco (415) 626-4700
This tea house pairs fair-trade teas from around the world with their corresponding cuisine: Chinese dumplings with oolong tea, scones with English tea, Indian curry with chai. With two locations, one at Yerba Buena Gardens, on the terrace above the waterfall, and the other in the Castro-Mission neighborhood.

EAT A SUSTAINABLE MEAL

Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, Cafe: (510) 548-5049, Restaurant: (510) 548-5525
Alice Waters' restaurant helped introduce California cuisine, with a menu that emphasizes seasonal, locally grown foods. Dinner reservations at the restaurant can be made one month in advance and can be hard to come by; foodies can also try the upstairs cafe, which is open for lunch and dinner and does not require a reservation.

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