A bouquet of fresh flowers greets customers as they enter the elegant wood and glass-paned doors at Seison Restaurant & Lounge, acting as the first indicator of the eatery’s fresh, local feel. A seasonal meal might begin with artichoke fritters and a fresh autumn panzanella dressed in olive oil and vinegar before the waitstaff skillfully delivers anything from cheeseburgers and fries to saffron-infused shrimp. Dessert makes its best attempt to trump the main course with warm rice pudding dotted with almonds and louisiana bread pudding drizzled with bourbon sauce. Meals can be followed by a romantic postdinner stroll or game of elevator tag through the eatery’s home—the historic Washington Inn Hotel.
As the sister restaurant of San Francisco's ever-popular Tropisue?o, El Gusano pairs its sibling's devotion to traditional Mexican recipes with the same upscale charm as its posh Old Oakland surrounding. By day, the restaurant acts as a taqueria, dispensing tacos, burritos, and pambazos to hungry lunchtime crowds. Like someone who's been bitten by a werewolf maitre d', though, El Gusano morphs into a full-service restaurant every evening, casting warm, inviting light on tables filled with dishes such as their signature mole poblano. Nighttime is also the domain of the restaurant's bartenders, who shake up hand-crafted margaritas and specialty drinks from their extensive of tequilas and mezcals.
The chefs at Mezzé’s careful use of bold spices and traditional recipes from across the Mediterranean earned their fragrantly seasoned cuisine a rating of "Very Good to Excellent" from Zagat. In addition to sourcing local, organic, and sustainably farmed ingredients whenever possible, they also keep their flavors close to home by stuffing spicy merguez, smoking Angus rib eyes, and pickling vegetables in house. Throughout their meal, diners can gaze directly into the open kitchen and watch the chefs at work, busily arranging the lamb-shank tagine or debating the relative merits of eating soup with a spoon versus a crazy straw.
Once upon a time, a bubblegum-pink catering truck was the only outlet for ShugaHill Ice Creamery's fried fare. Today, the catering truck continues to ferry burgers, barbecue, and seafood around town, but a brick-and-mortar eatery also doles out the sizzling eats. The eatery’s menu grants patrons artistic license over their plates, showcasing meal components such as mac ‘n’ cheese, smoky turkey wings, and po boys stuffed with oyster, snapper, catfish, or sole. Beneath the murals of various sweets that line the walls, main courses culminate in cool hillocks of ice cream, which delight any diner who hasn’t just lost a pet glacier.
The clean and simple design scheme of a striped awning, weathered bricks, and street-side tables that marks the front of Hot Cajun Seafood (formerly BFC Seafood) matches the business’s succinct menu. Its brevity allows cooks to perfect the main element of each entree, including crispy chicken wings, ocean perch, catfish nuggets, and oysters. Fish and chicken also retire to parlors located inside sandwiches along with meats such as roast beef and pastrami; and a Middle Eastern section of the menu describes platefuls of hummus and kebabs. But perhaps the most popular page is the dessert section, where pie and cake reign.
Aiming to sate appetites and warm spirits, Bootstrapper features a menu of classic, made-from-scratch southern and soul food. Fried golden catfish and snapper fillets pile on top of crispy fries or next to sides of potato salad, and daily dinner specials range from meatloaf paired with pillowy mashed potatoes to smothered pork chops served with rice and gravy. Chefs build breakfast platters around fresh hotcakes, grilled beef hot links, and lightly fried salmon croquettes. Diners can add a sweet touch to the end of their meal or food fight with scrumptious desserts such as peach cobbler, lemon cake, and sweet-potato pie.