Thursday, August 29, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Restaurants in Palo Alto

We end up going to Palo Alto a lot to eat as it is really close to us. Most weekends we go to SF, but if we are feeling too lazy, downtown Palo Alto has some great options that keep us happy:
Evvia Estiatorio: Great food and even better dining experience. It is a must try if you like Greek food. On weekends it gets very crowded so reservations are recommended. The menu is very similar to Kokkari in San Francisco. The appetizers are nice and light. The fish is very delicate and flavorful. The lamb dishes are also very popular.

Coupa CafĂ©: This little Venezuelan cafe, just off University Avenue, is one of our favorite places to get late night dinner. It is crowded most of the time. Traditional Venezuelan dishes like Arepas, Cachapas and Empanadas are great. I did not like the pasta too much. The sandwiches/salads are really nice and fresh. Love the cappuccino.

Joya: I like the ambiance more than the food here! Sometimes that is more fun:) This spanish tapas place is always packed. The Yuca fries, crab cakes and  croquetas are good to start with. We are not into ceviche, but it seems to be popular. Paellas are great for the main dish. It is pretty huge and 3-4 people can share one.

Rangoon Ruby: This is our new favorite place for Burmese food. I could eat the tea leaf salad everyday! The sambussa soup is really good. The chicken and shrimp biryani is nice as well.

Sprout Cafe: Sprout cafe replaces Plutos as our new favorite salad place. The ingredients are very fresh and they have more options for make-your-own salads.

Nola: Enjoy Bourbon street without a ticket to New Orleans! This three story restaurant on Ramona street serves authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine. The restaurant as well as the bar is very crowded most evenings.

Tamarine: Reservations are highly recommended for this fancy Vietnamese place on University. I have not tried the shaking beef but everyone seems to be raving about it. The Banh mi roti, papaya salad, noodles, seafood and the vegetarian dishes are all delicious. 

Coconuts: Only 2 among the 4 of us are fond of this Caribbean restaurant. The jerk spices could be too strong for some. That said, the place is always packed. Try it if you like Caribbean food. The jerk chicken, fish, fried plantains, guacamole platter are good. Love the cocktails! 

Cafe 220: This is a casual Mediterranean place that serves Greek and Turkish food. Being one of the few places that are open till midnight, makes it convenient for a late night dinner. The Kebabs and gyros are made fresh to order. The Arni Kokinisto ( diced lamb with tomatoes, onion, eggplant, bell pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, baked in clay pot served with rice and salad) is very delicious. The hummus and pita and the Turkish tea is good too. 

Fuki Sushi: This Japanese restaurant has a traditional seating area with beautiful art and Ikebana arrangements. We really liked the Sushi there, but recent reviews on Yelp have not been that great. We are guessing the quality might have gone down!

Happy Eating:)

-Yam and Dee

Photo Courtesy: Personal/ Yelp 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Favorite Restaurants in San Francisco

We absolutely love food. We eat out often and love to try new places. Lets start with the city that has the highest density of restaurants per capita -  San Francisco! There are so many great restaurants in SF that it was hard to pick just these favorites. We will probably review more sometime later. Till then, give these a try :)

Foreign cinema: This is our absolute favorite place for brunch in the city. It is hard to get reservations unless you call a few days in advance. Our plans are usually more last minute! We walk in around 2 pm and they have been able to seat us most of the time. The pop tarts with fresh fruit compote are awesome to start with. Last time we also had the berries with yogurt and honey and liked it. Most of the time I get the french toast while the husband loves their Huevos Mexicanos. The menu changes often and the ingredients are fresh and seasonal. The outside seating is nice when the sun is out. I can never get bored of this place, and everyone in the family loves it. Five stars for food, ambiance and the service. Must try place!

Kokkari: This Greek restaurant has to be one of SF's finest. Start with the Gigantes (fava beans with tomato, olive oil and feta), kolokithokeftethes (crispy zucchini cakes), and the Spanakotiropita (spinach filo pie). The fish is very delicately prepared and is one of the best I have had in the US. 

Jadiniere: If you are celebrating a special occasion, Jadiniere is the perfect spot for you. Romantic and cozy, this place is perfect in every way. We are not big meat eaters, but if you are you will enjoy this place even more. Truly an incredible experience!

Burma Superstar: I could go there just for the tea leaf salad - the flavors are so intense and amazing. Love the sambusa soup too. The main dishes are good but nothing special. The only downside is that it gets very crowded and they do not take reservations. The wait time is upwards of an hour on weekends. The same owners have another restaurant called B-Star just a block away. We were not very impressed with the food. We have waited in the coffee shop across Burma Superstar many times, but these days we just head up to Rangoon Ruby in downtown Palo Alto as the food is great and the ambiance is much better than Burma Superstar. I heard that the chef is from Burma Superstar.

Millennium: A go to place for vegetarians! This is one of the very few gourmet dining places in San Francisco that caters exclusively to vegetarians (The other nice place I remember going to long ago was Greens, also very good).

Osha Thai: This is one of the best Thai places in the city. There are a few locations in SF that we have tried. While I like the one on Geary St (Tenderloin) for the simple dining and good food, the one on Union St (Marina/ Cow Hollow) is more fancy with modern decor, awesome presentation and great service. Love the Tom Yum soup. The mocktails are really great too. They have a wide variety of vegetarian and meat dishes.

Pancho Villa: We love Pancho Villa on Valencia! This is for those nights when we are craving for some amazing food, and don't care about the ambiance. It is one of the best places for quick Mexican food. It is open till late on Weekends, and is much cleaner than some of the taquerias nearby. 

Dosa: I have always felt that there is a huge market for upscale South Indian restaurants in the bay area. Very few like Dosa have capitalized on that. Dosa on Fillmore is fancier but the food is better at the Valencia location. 

Lavash: If you love Persian food, look no further! The place is small but cozy. It is beautifully decorated, and the service is impeccable.

T0mmaso's: The one thing I remember about this place is that we saw Jerry Brown there. We really liked the pizza and pasta. I have to go back and try again to see if I like it now. I have been craving good Italian food since we returned from Italy and the local places have not hit the spot yet! They do not take reservations so the wait time was about half hour each time we went.

Range: This Michelin star restaurant is located in SFs Mission district. Like many of its neighboring restaurants, it is elegant and fun. There is a huge bar area as well. We have been here only once, but this restaurant serving great American food deserves another visit!

Nopa: We discovered this place by chance. We were headed to the city quite late one Sunday night, and the places we wanted to go to were closed. Yelp suggested Nopa, and we are so glad we tried this trendy place. It is open for dinner till 1 am all nights of the week and the fact that it remains crowded till it closes shows that the food and ambiance is amazing. The four of us shared the baked butter beans with feta and pesto, Moroccan vegetable tagine, a burger, and a fish dish. I have heard that the brunch is really good.

Happy Eating:)

-Yam and Dee

Photo Courtesy: Personal/ Yelp