Restaurants: San Francisco at large

All reviewed by me.


San Francisco


  • Cha Cha Cha's on 1801 Haight one block from Golden Gate park. Santeria folk art decor Cuban atmosphere. Takes two hours to get a table, recommend eating at the bar (only 45 minute wait). Dress down and order the potato dish. Sangria comes in large quantities. (415) 386-5758
  • Caribbean Zone at 55 Natoma has half an old airplane inside 415.974.6416


  • Millennium cafe in a little hotel off Union Square. We went one night and could not believe the tastes that came out of an all vegan meal. The entrees were delicious and the desserts scrumptious. Pricey but really worth it.
  • Cafe Gratitude is a little weird and we love it. Not just vegan, but also raw. Try the "enchiladas". And the key lime pie dessert was spectacular.



  • Cafe Venitzia on University.  (510) 849-4681


  • Rivoli in Albany (that cute little town just North of Berkeley ...) Excellent Calif. cuisine. (510) 526-2542

with Beer

  • Pyramid Brewery on Gilman in Berkeley. Good brews and during the summer you can go to their outdoor cinema every couple of weeks. Don't miss it.  510 528-9880

Buddhist Brunch

  • Thai Buddhist Temple Mongholratanaram 1911 Russell Street serves a Sunday brunch from 9-2 for a few token dollars. Eating is outside and the food is Asian steam table and quite a good value. Neighborhood locals streamed in and we ate soup noodle (sans tripe, thank you) .

(according to Gayle G.)

  • Kirala - Japanese Grill 510 549-3486
  • Citron - California / Mediterranean with outdoor seating. On College in Oakland 510 653-5484
  • Oliveto's - Italian Grill. In the Rockridge area off College in Oakland 510 547-5356

Half Moon Bay

Unusual Places

  • Miramar Beach Restaurant just south of HMB. Used to be a prohibition era roadhouse, now fine dining. Great view of the ocean. Excellent stop after the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. 650.726.9053
  • Moss Beach Distillery  a bit north of HMB.  Also was a prohibition speakeasy.  My Grandfather used to tell stories of driving down there from San Francisco with my Grandmother.  Food is variable, but have a beer in the bar and view a secret little part of the coast. (You can also drive over and sit on the beach in the little cove you see from the bar.)
  • HMB Brewery right in the harbor. Live music and places to dine away from the music. Fish and Chips was a good meal.

Santa Cruz Area


  • Zelda's on the beach in Capitola. Dine while overlooking the beach.
  • Moonshadow Ranch south of La Honda. Quiet and gentle under the redwoods. (You have to pull a leg to get in, but no reservations required. Go there and you'll see what I mean...)


  • Rosa's right in Santa Cruz Harbor. The Cuban ham BBQ special is great. The fresh fish looked very good on other's plates. Interesting casual dining and a great harbor view.
  • Lido in Capitola. Wonderful food in a great atmosphere. 831 475-6544
  • Cafe Sparrow in Aptos has a beautiful menu that changes often. Several specials every day. They do a late breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

San Juan Bautista (close to Hollister)


  • Across from the Mission is a bar with an adjacent liquor store. The bar is clean, well lit, and we met some very nice locals there. Worth staying for two beers. 


  • Basque Restaurant on fourth street behind downtown. Family style service of six courses and wine and dessert, all for $20. Way too much food, but very delicious.