A new mid-year crop of restaurants has flooded the Bay Area, and there's plenty of eating to do across the region. As these 10 hot restaurants prove, it's a great time to be dining in the Bay Area.
Must-order: Squid ink wontons; tea-smoked duck breast and confit leg with pancakes; black sesame cake with rosebud mousse
Insider tip: Portion sizes are the same, whether you order the four-course or six-course menu. Definitely go lighter if you're a party of two. If you're ordering an optional large format dish like the tea-smoked duck (do it), consider having dessert be one or even two or your prix fixe menu dishes.
Must-order: Guava malasadas; spam musbi "ssam-style"; pork belly rice bowl
Insider tip: Diners seem to think of 'aina only in terms of weekend brunch — the lines reflect that. Why not have a weekday brunch without the wait? A little taste of the Islands (and a low ABV cocktail) could definitely help on a Wednesday at noon.
Must-order: Seasonal salads (like stone fruits, Jimmy Nardello peppers, macadamia nuts and a lime shiso vinaigrette); gyoza; squab preparation; any ramen
Insider tip: The savory options can seem endless, and they are all tempting (how do you choose between proper main courses, ramen and yakitori?). Please, save room for dessert. The only option is soft cream in different flavors, with or without a waffle cone, but then there are the customizable toppings and sauces. We suggest the miso caramel and sesame honeycomb pieces. Bonus: The soft cream is available to-go from the outside window. Talk about a perfect post-wine tasting afternoon treat.
Must-order: Mar y montaña tower; paella dividida (pluma and fideua); El Charro cocktail, a banana-sherry-bourbon Manhattan
Insider tip: Are you bored eating just one type of paella at a time? Bellota understands the yearning for variety. The restaurant has a special dual-paella pan that keeps two paellas separated. Bring some friends and have a feast.
Must-order: Kibbeh niyyeh steak tartare; charred cauliflower; fresh bread with three labnehs
Insider tip: The extensive wine by the glass program (almost all the nearly 50 bottles are poured by the glass) is a dream for a meal with many small plates and lots of bold flavors.
Must-order: Octopus and the Coral (braised octopus with seaweed); Apocalypse Burger; pine salt-buttermilk fried chicken (lounge only)
Insider tip: Just because you're visiting the museum doesn't mean you get special access to In Situ. Hundreds of museum-goers get turned away at the door daily. Reserve, reserve, reserve if you want to sit at a table. However, the lounge usually has space and is good for snacks, a nice way to sample the fun and creativity on full display in the dining room.
Must-order: Foie gras parfait; Tucker's Daily Harvest; chicken meatballs
Insider tip: The dining room is a stunning venue for dinner, but when it's a warm summer evening, the outdoor lounge is where to be in Napa Valley. It reminds you of why wine country isn't just a place but a mindset.
Must-order: Eggplant and harissa sandwich; any salad; Liège waffle; turmeric kefir
Insider tip: Upon arrival, the daunting amount of choices is overwhelming. Do yourself a favor and consider this a two- to three-course meal. Don't order everything at once. Order savory first then return to the counter for dessert. The same should be considered for drinks: get wine or turmeric kefir first, followed by espresso drinks from the barista station for the dessert pairing.
Must-order: Five-course tasting menu–only that changes frequently
Insider tip: Two quick notes: The house-baked bread is outstanding (definitely don't "save room" by skipping this part of the meal) and, as charming as the adjacent Linden Room Bar is, it's only six seats long. Yes, that means don't plan on lingering too long because space is at an absolute premium.
Must-order: Koji akaushi rib eye; "gyoza" farce-stuffed chicken wings; big eye tuna and beef cheeks
Insider tip: Try to save room for dessert and bring a group of friends: The sweets and large-format dishes are some of the highlights at Nomica. Bigger parties can opt for a miso butter-enriched whole chicken in brioche. Desserts are riveting creations like foie gras ice cream with hazelnut streusel, aged balsamic and Indonesian coffee. Yes, this isn't your normal izakaya.