Readers’ Choice 2021: Fine Dining

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SAN FRANCISCO

Firefly

(415) 821-7652  •  fireflysf.com

Readers say Firefly’s most endearing quality is their very personal, very human, very real approach to everything they do. They take their ingredients and care so seriously and yet with such a sense of fun and enjoyment. This is one of the few  restaurants that list all of the ingredients in each dish on the website, helpful information for those with food sensitivities. And what food it is! Cheesy buns to accompany the meal, Japanese sweet potato tostones with spicy pineapple — ginger glaze, Moqueca baiana of Rockfish (we had to look that one up — it’s Brazilian fish stew). This menu is certainly a tour around the world’s cuisines.

 

EAST BAY

Wood Tavern

OAKLAND
(510) 654-6607 • woodtavern.net

Fun, cozy spot to dine and drink on buzzing College Avenue. Great pizza (they were winners in last year’s Readers’ Choice) but also so much hearty fare: grilled rib-eye, burgers, seafood stew, and pan-seared halibut, to name a few. And another thing: They are open during that “impossible to find a restaurant” time period from 3 to 5 p.m. for a mid-afternoon nosh, with a limited but excellent menu, no reservations needed for those times. But reservations are a must for dinner!

 

SOUTH BAY/PENINSULA

Fleming’s

(408) 346-4557 SANTA CLARA
(650) 329-8457 PALO ALTO
flemingsteakhouse.com

This is the place for steak and seafood on the Peninsula.  Incredible, cooked to perfection steaks: rib-eye, filet mignon and New York strip.  Seafood includes truffle-poached lobster and jumbo lump crab. Interesting offer for oenophiles: a tasting of 100 point Verite wine sourced in Sonoma (a Bordeaux-style blend) along with a Riedel glass to take home. And for some midweek fun — Tomahawk Tuesday with a 35 oz. tomahawk steak to share for two, with sides and salads.

 

NORTH BAY

Insalata

SAN ANSELMO
(415) 457-7700 • insalatas.com

Since 1996, chef/owner/manager team Heidi & Mark Krahling have been serving up Mediterranean-inspired food, with a goal of “gracious service and delicious food.” It’s no wonder that J. readers voted for Insalata in this year’s Readers’ Choice. Serving traditional Mideastern fare such as a mezze plate, hummus and lamb kefta, with some interesting twists and creative additions like eggplant fries, and how does this sound for dessert heaven? Pigs in mud, which is a rich chocolate pudding with a shortbread cookie. Open for lunch and dinner. Takeout from the deli case (cold items only) is open between 11a.m. and 7 p.m.

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