Sanraku wasn’t a new discovery this year – in fact, I had been on several occasions for work lunches over the years. But this year was the first time I tried their omakase, and wow, it was good! Especially considering it was just $50 for 10 melt-in-your-mouth pieces of sushi. The rice to fish ratio is on point, and they’re definitely worth a visit! They have two locations in SF and one down in San Jose, so don’t miss them!
2. Atulya Bharat’s Handi Chicken Combo
This was the most recent discovery! Parked in the lot of a gas station in San Jose, Atulya Bharat is a delicious North Indian food truck serving comfort food with a focus on simple, clean recipes with bold flavor. We can attest to the fact that everything felt much less greasy and oily than many other Indian places, and the chicken was actually bone-in, which kept it unbelievably moist and tender. It literally fell off the bone.
3. Joyride Pizza’s Pestoriffic Pizza
It’s not every day that we genuinely get excited about pizza, but this masterpiece was a-ma-zing. It’s probably not low in the calorie department, but if you’re ordering a pizza, that should be the last thought on your mind. It’s rectangular, thick crust, and made with Zoe’s smoked chicken, Sonoma County applewood smoked bacon, house made pesto and house made ranch.
4. Rosario’s Tacos’ Surf n’ Turf Birria Tacos
Rosario’s Tacos began life as a catering company, but when the pandemic hit and everyone moved to working remotely, they had to pivot and decided to open up shop selling freshly made birria tacos out of their home in San Jose. While you may be familiar with birria tacos, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried their Surf n’ Turf Birria Tacos! Carne asada and shrimp with that incredible sauce? Sign us up all day!
5. Lao Table’s Grilled Calamari and Mark Mango
Lao Table is a spot where we couldn’t just pick one dish. If you’ve never been, it’s a trendy spot in downtown SF that serves tasty and beautifully presented Laotian food. Our go-to savory dish is their grilled calamari, which is perfectly cooked so that it’s not the slightest bit chewy, and we highly recommend you finish off your meal with their Mark Mango, which comes with mango shave ice with coconut mango sticky rice. YES, you get both in one order! Is this real life?
Another great find this year was Rocketbird! They flew under our radar for awhile because as of now they’re operating a ghost kitchen and only do pick up and delivery with no brick and mortar location. But if you’re looking for unique fried chicken sandwiches that aren’t just “spicy or mild,” this is a must try! For example, their Cali Bird is made with Rocketbird Bacon-Tomato Jam and Basil Aioli… what?!
7. The Cupcake Shoppe’s Assorted Cupcakes
If pure happiness can be sold in cupcake form, this is it. The variety they have is pretty darn impressive, and the fact that they’re ALL perfectly moist and decadent in their own way is pretty mind boggling. Make sure to check their website for which ones are available each day because it changes!
8. Tang Bar‘s Green Onion Pancake Roll
Tang Bar’s signature dish is their malatang, which is similar to hot pot, but you choose your own ingredients and then they cook everything to perfection for you in the signature broth of your choice and serve it all in a big bowl. This is reason enough to give them a try, but when they came out with their green onion pancake roll, I started making occasional trips there just for this because it’s such an easy on-the-go lunch!
9. KS Delights’ Ube Waffles
You may think you love ube, but KS Delights literally built a whole business around creating their own unique ube treats, and they’re freakin’ awesome. These ube waffles are probably our favorite, but don’t miss their crinkle cookies, too!
10. Balboa Cafe’s Balboa Burger
Balboa Cafe’s Balboa Burger has been on many a list of top burgers in SF, and it’s absolutely clear why as soon as you sink your teeth into one. We recommend adding on cheese, bacon, and caramelized onions to complete this San Francisco classic.
11. Chili House’s Peking Duck
Chili House’s peking duck will probably make our end of the year list for the rest of eternity. Admittedly, duck is a personal favorite, but they just do it so well. Order in advance and get the full duck to share. Or not. We definitely won’t judge.
12. Lucky Pig‘s Korean Fried Chicken
We can never get enough of Lucky Pig’s Korean fried chicken! They serve the sauce on the side so the chicken stays nice and crispy, which makes it that much more of an experience with each bite.
13. The Dorian‘s Dorian Burger
If you’re looking for a fully loaded burger with all filler and no frills, The Dorian Burger is it. Made with fancy sauce, white cheddar, onion-bacon jam, avocado, bacon, and an egg, be prepared to leave completely stuffed.
14. Chick n’ Bros’ Angry Bird Deluxe
If you just want a really solid spicy fried chicken sandwich in the South Bay, Chick n’ Bros’ food truck is your one stop shop. These chicken sandwiches are enormous, and the spiciness mixed with the local honey they use make this one to remember.
15. Z & Y Restaurant’s Flaming Fire Fish
Despite its name, Chili House’s Flaming Fire Fish isn’t actually that spicy. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor – in fact, it’s crazy delicious! If you’re a fan of peppercorns, order this one and thank us later.
For more awesome Bay Area recommendations, check out our San Francisco Bay Area Tab HERE