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Jewish Restaurant

There’s nothing like a hot pastrami sandwich to rekindle memories, but these Jewish-themed favorites offer so much more, including veggie fare.

Shorty Goldstein’s, a new favorite in San Francisco that also caters, serves up contemporary and classic Jewish cuisine, all house-made, “from our mustard to our meats,” using local and sustainable ingredients, says owner Michael Siegel. Favorites follow old family recipes, with knishes from Great-Grandma “Shorty” Goldstein, plus Mom’s challah and Grandma’s kugel.

Don’t expect Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, to replicate the heartburn-producing fare of yore. Saul’s “honors our immigrant cuisine” while emphasizing fresh, seasonal and artisanal foods, says Peter Levitt, co-owner and executive chef.

Opened by Erez Knobler in 2011, the kosher Jerusalem Grill & Bar in Campbell, near San Jose, is designed “to bring the taste of Israel to Northern California.” The menu, also available for catering, features glatt kosher meats, including shwarma, kabobs, schnitzel and lamb specialties, as well as hummus and falafel, Israeli salads, eggplant dishes and vegetarian choices.

Miller’s East Coast Deli recently closed its San Rafael location, but the San Francisco deli serves up “all the soups, rye breads, smoked meats you would expect to find back home,” says owner Robby Morgenstein. Miller’s also caters, offering deli platters, traditional appetizers and specialty desserts, including New York–style cheesecake and black-and-white cookies.

San Francisco

Shorty Goldstein’s

(415) 986-2676

www.shortygoldsteins.com

 

Miller’s East Coast Deli

(415) 563-3542

www.millerseastcoastdeli.com

 

East Bay

Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen

Berkeley

(510) 848-3354

www.saulsdeli.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Jerusalem Grill & Bar

Campbell

(408) 866-2666

www.jerusalemgrillbar.com

 

Fine Dining

This new category features destination restaurants with superlative menus that draw diners from throughout the region, as well as travelers who come to the Bay Area to sample the cuisine.

San Francisco’s Perbacco features the cuisine of Piemonte and Liguria in northern Italy, according to owner Umberto Gibin. Think house-cured salumi misti (Italian cold meats), porcini mushroom cannelloni, quail filled with chanterelles and mortadella, perhaps carrots glazed in vin brûlé, and a dessert of cheeses or burnt caramel gelato.

Chez Panisse, opened in 1971 by Alice Waters and friends, put North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto on the map as a mecca for fine fare with fresh, sustainable, locally farmed ingredients. The downstairs restaurant features prix-fixe menus, from aperitifs to desserts, while the café upstairs offers a more moderately priced à la carte menu featuring such dishes as California wild king salmon, Sonoma County duck breast, or hand-cut linguine with Monterey Bay squid.

Designed to “bring the warmth and charm of Greece to Silicon Valley,” according to the website, Evvia in Palo Alto features rustic charm, with copper cookware, a large wood table and a  stone fireplace. Signature Greek dishes include moussaka (an eggplant casserole), spanakotiropita (phyllo stuffed with feta and braised greens) and artichoke souvlaki (with eggplant and yogurt), as well as the favorite mesquite-grilled lamb chops.

Picco in downtown Larkspur, a top Marin dining spot, is about fresh and seasonal, with produce and meats from local farms and ranches. Marin Mondays feature a prix-fixe menu that might include pasta shells with roasted tomatoes, arugula and cheese from a local dairy, followed by local sea bass and a warm challah bread pudding.

San Francisco

Perbacco Ristorante and Bar

(415) 955-0663

www.perbaccosf.com

 

East Bay

Chez Panisse

Berkeley

Restaurant • (510) 548-5525

Café • (510) 548-5049

www.chezpanisse.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Evvia Estiatorio

Palo Alto

(650) 326-0983

www.evvia.net

 

North Bay

Picco

Larkspur

(415) 924-0300

www.restaurantpicco.com

 

Italian & Pizza

This fare fills the bill when you’re too tired to cook or entertain a crowd. These Italian and pizza restaurants are favorites anytime.

Delfina, a perennial favorite in San Francisco’s Mission District, is inspired by Tuscan trattorias, with a short menu, printed daily, that may feature such fare as mint tagliatelle with chanterelle mushrooms, roasted Mary’s chicken and various antipasti. The pizzeria, with two S.F. locations and two on the Peninsula, cooks up variations from broccoli raab to cherry pie, the latter with marinated cherry tomatoes.

Zachary’s, established in 1983 and 100 percent employee-owned since 2010, dishes up Chicago-style stuffed pizza as well as the thin-crust version in Berkeley, Oakland, Pleasant Hill and San Ramon. In the deep-dish pizza, the top layer of dough — always homemade — “will melt into the cheese and seal in flavor as our flaky, buttery crust bakes until it is golden brown,” according to the website.

Amici’s, with locations throughout the South Bay and in other Bay Area cities, serves “authentic East Coast-style artisanal pizza in an inviting, warm, customer-friendly and upscale environment,” says owner Peter Cooperstein, who launched Amici’s in the mid-1980s with fellow East Coast transplant Mike Forter. In addition to the thin-crust pizza, baked in a brick oven heated to 700 degrees, Amici’s offers pasta, and Cooperstein says the Bay Guardian credited Amici’s with “the best Caesar dressing in the history of the universe.”

The family-owned Mulberry Street Pizza, opened in 1986, makes its own sauces and dough and features build-your-favorite pizzas and such signature pies as Blue Hawaiian, Three Beer and Pizza al Pesto. For the intrepid, the Food Network Award–winning and nontraditional For the Love of Mushroom has been described as “thick as stroganoff” and compared to lasagna filling on a crust.

San Francisco

Delfina/Pizzeria Delfina

Restaurant • (415) 552-4055

Pizzeria • Various locations

www.delfinasf.com

 

East Bay

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

Various locations

www.zacharys.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria

Various locations

www.amicis.com

 

North Bay

Mulberry Street Pizza

San Rafael

(415) 472-7272

www.mulberrystreetpizzasanrafael.com

 

Hamburger

Beef, turkey, chicken or vegan — the hamburger is an American standard no matter what the filling, and these eateries serve up the classics plus their own specialties.

At Roam, with two San Francisco locations and a new eatery in Lafayette, the burger begins with “100 percent grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, all-natural bison,” or you can choose an organic veggie version, according to the website. Add sauce and a variety of toppings, and finish with a Straus Family Creamery shake, a house-made soda, wine, kombucha or a local brew.

Barney’s, with locations throughout the Bay Area, is a perennial favorite with J. readers and is the East Bay choice, with restaurants in Oakland and Berkeley. The secret to its 35-year success: high-quality beef, fresh ingredients, baked sesame buns and table service, plus kosher hot dogs, truffle french fries and baskets of mixed fried vegetables.

Kirk’s, “a Silicon Valley staple since 1948,” according to the website, specializes in handmade, cooked-to-order burgers, served with such sides as regular, chili cheese or sweet potato fries, garlic onion strings, a strings-and-fries combo and shakes. “We cook only on open charcoal fires that give our burgers a unique and satisfying taste,” says owner Rick Juncker.

In addition to burgers, Marin Joe’s serves Italian favorites and seafood dishes, and steaks, chops, fish and burgers are cooked in a mesquite broiler. Since 1954, the Corte Madera restaurant has been owned and operated by the Della Santina family: “We still do things the way my great-uncle and my dad did them,” says owner Paul Della Santina.

San Francisco

Roam Burgers

Union Street • (415) 440-7626

Fillmore Street • (415) 800-7801

www.roamburgers.com

 

East Bay

Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers

Various locations

www.barneyshamburgers.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Kirk’s Steakburgers

Campbell • (408) 371-3565

Palo Alto • (650) 326-6159

www.kirks-steakburgers.com

 

North Bay

Marin Joe’s

Corte Madera

(415) 924-2081

www.marinjoesrestaurant.com

 

Specialty/Gourmet Market

Catering to foodies and those who seek the best, Bay Area specialty markets pride themselves on fresh produce, artisan breads and house-made specialties.

A San Francisco institution since 1940, Bi-Rite has been in the Mogannam family since 1964 and now features the in-store Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop, plus a wide selection of produce, artisan cheeses and house-made specialties. “Our kitchens are our beating hearts, right in the middle of the market,” according to the website, where chefs “smoke our own salmon, whip up hummus from Mom Mogannam’s recipe and make risottos from scratch.”

Since opening as a small neighborhood market in 1977, Berkeley Bowl has specialized in high-quality produce. Now with two larger stores, it also features sushi and Asian foods, a delicatessen, a bakery, plus a café at Berkeley Bowl West.

Rockridge Market Hall, adjacent to Oakland’s Rockridge BART station, is a proverbial European-style market, with multiple shops offering everything needed for a dinner party under one roof. Shops include Highwire Coffee Roasters, the Pasta Shop, Paul Marcus Wines, Hapuku Fish Shop, Marin Sun Farms Butcher Shop and Market Hall Produce, plus The Flower & The B for table décor and gifts.

Draeger’s, opened in 1925 in San Francisco, is now based on the Peninsula, catering to the carriage trade in Los Altos, Menlo Park and San Mateo, as well as Blackhawk in the East Bay. The stores specialize in gourmet fare from local and worldwide sources, offering more than 300 cheeses and more than 2,500 wines, plus a bakery, cookware, cooking classes and a restaurant, Viognier, in the San Mateo store.

Mollie Stone’s, a favorite in the North Bay, was launched in 1986 and now has markets in San Francisco and the Peninsula, catering to kosher customers. The Palo Alto store, with a kosher butcher, has “the largest year-round selection of kosher foods west of New Jersey,” according to the website. “If you don’t see the kosher product you’re looking for, Mollie Stone’s will gladly order it” and send it to your “preferred store location.”

San Francisco

Bi-Rite Market

18th Street • (415) 241-9760

Divisadero • (415) 551-7900

www.biritemarket.com

 

East Bay

Berkeley Bowl

Original store • (510) 843-6929

Berkeley Bowl West • (510) 898-9555

www.berkeleybowl.com

 

Rockridge Market Hall

Oakland

(510) 250-6000

www.rockridgemarkethall.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Draeger’s Market

Various locations

www.draegers.com

 

North Bay

Mollie Stone’s Markets

Various locations

www.molliestones.com

 

Bakery/Bagels

Boil them, bake them, toast them or top them with lox, bagels are the Jewish go-to food, and these perennial favorites serve them with panache — or a shmear, if you’d prefer.

House of Bagels, a family-owned bakery-deli that brought the recipe from Brooklyn to San Francisco in 1962, boils its bagels in water before baking them on stone. Beyond the bagel, there’s fresh challah and rye bread, including corn rye, plus New York–style black-and-white cookies and rugelach.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland takes its inspiration from Montreal, “where bagels are rolled by hand, boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood-fired oven,” according to the website, and co-owner Blake Joffe says it’s the only wood-fired bagel shop in the Bay Area. Beauty’s offers smoked trout salad, organic fried chicken and the After School Special, with chopped liver, Swiss cheese, mustard, lettuce and pickled onion.

Israel Rind was looking for the kind of bagels he enjoyed growing up in Brooklyn — boiled, rolled in seeds and baked golden brown — so in 1996 he opened Izzy’s Brooklyn Bagels, a kosher establishment in Palo Alto, later adding a second shop in East Palo Alto. In addition to 17 bagel varieties, lox and shmears, you’ll find an array of breakfast and lunch options, including breakfast burritos, quesadillas, soups, pastries and cookies. Izzy’s also caters at homes, synagogues and Silicon Valley businesses.

Bagel Street Café, the Marin favorite with two San Rafael cafés, plus locations throughout the Bay Area, serves up 30 varieties of bagels, plus breakfast “eggwiches,” bagel sandwiches for lunch and salads. And since it’s a café, you can enjoy a cappuccino, an Americano or a chai tea latte, hot or iced.

San Francisco

House of Bagels

(415) 752-6000

www.houseofbagels.com

 

East Bay

Beauty’s Bagel Shop

Oakland

(510) 788-6098

www.beautysbagelshop.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Izzy’s Brooklyn Bagels

Palo Alto • (650) 329-0700

East Palo Alto • (650) 322-5700

www.izzysbrooklynbagels.com

 

North Bay

Bagel Street Café

San Rafael

Northgate • (415) 479-5000

Third Street • (415) 257-8832

www.bagelstreetcafe.net

 

California Winery

Northern California is wine country, offering varieties for all palates, plus opportunities to tour and taste.

Frank Family Vineyards, our San Francisco readers’ choice, is in Calistoga, where visitors can make appointments for tasting in an 1884 winery listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The wines, most sold only at the Napa Valley winery or through its wine club, are handcrafted in small quantities.

Calling itself “the only urban kosher winery operating in America since Prohibition,” Covenant Wines moved from Napa Valley to a 7,000-square-foot warehouse in Berkeley last year, producing wines that are kosher for Passover and year-round. Tastings are by appointment, and members in the Landsman Wine Club can purchase selections that are not available in retail stores.

Launched in a garage in 1993 with just 25 cases of wine, today Testarossa is housed in the historic Novitiate Winery in downtown Los Gatos, with a tasting room open daily, a wine bar and facilities for weddings and special events. The Artisan Wine and Cheese Experience, which includes winery tours, is offered weekends by appointment.

Hagafen Cellars, a perennial favorite founded in 1979, produces gold medal–winning Napa Valley varietals that are kosher for Passover and year-round. Owner Ernie Weir, aka “Don Ernesto,” is involved in both sides of wine production: grape growing in two estate vineyards in the eastern Napa Valley and winemaking in the Silverado Trail winery. Tours are by appointment.

San Francisco

Frank Family Vineyards

Calistoga

(800) 574-9463

www.frankfamilyvineyards.com

 

East Bay

Covenant Wines

Berkeley

(510) 559-9045

www.covenantwines.com

 

South Bay/Peninsula

Testarossa Winery

Los Gatos

(408) 354-6150

www.testarossa.com

 

North Bay

Hagafen Cellars

Napa

(888) 424-2336

www.hagafen.com