For the freshest Californian fare, head over to Portola Valley's Parkside Grille.
Calling all gluten-free and low-fat diners! Parkside Grille has a multitude of dishes right up your alley that are freshly-prepared and taste amazing.
Take your pick of beer, wine, or other beverages offered on this restaurant's menu.
Parents appreciate this restaurant's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
Sunny day plus appetite equals the perfect time to head to Parkside Grille.
Reserve a table in advance and get seated when you're ready.
Parkside Grille welcomes laid-back diners, so there's no pressure to throw on heels or a tie.
The restaurant has catering services as well.
Just through the door at this restaurant, you can claim your food. No delivery required.
At Parkside Grille, we supply free parking. No fees, just your car and our lot.
Store your bike at one of the many racks outside of Parkside Grille.
Your bill at Parkside Grille will typically run less than $30 per person, so bring the whole gang!
Dinner is the real yum factor here, though breakfast bites and lunch are also featured.
So when you want something fresh and tasty for lunch, try one of the California-inspired dishes from Parkside Grille.
For casual cuisine that everyone will enjoy, stop by The Treehouse for a Mexican-style menu.
Complete your meal with the perfect glass of wine or beer from this restaurant's drink list.
Grab the kids when you head to this restaurant — its family-oriented menu and ambience are perfect for the whole clan.
Complimentary wifi is available as well.
Enjoy the luxury of eating a delicious meal outside at The Treehouse.
You'll want to save quiet conversations for another spot, though — the restaurant can get noisy.
The restaurant doesn't let you book your table ahead of time, so expect a first-come, first-served policy when you visit.
Eating requires the perfect environment. This restaurant's pickup and delivery options let you choose where you want to dine.
If you need to feed a big crowd, The Treehouse also offers catering services for parties and get-togethers.
With parking onsite, it's easier to get straight to our delicious food.
If you have had a long and hard day, swing by The Treehouse and enjoy a Mexican meal in a laid back environment.
When you treat yourself to a flavorful Mexican dish from The Treehouse, you will leave feeling satisfied and full.
Creamy cheeses and fresh meats are plentiful at CoHo, a deli sandwich hub.
Take a peek at the drink menu here, and make sure to sample something off the list.
Tots and tykes will be right at home at this coffee shop with its kid-approved food and ambience.
Wifi here is on the house.
Warm weather, delectable dishes, and an awesome atmosphere make for a dream night out at CoHo.
Seating is readily available at CoHo for those with large parties.
The coffee shop's noise level can be somewhat straining on the vocal cords, so intimate get-togethers may be best enjoyed elsewhere.
Feeling a little shy? Carryout is available.
Bring the CoHo's great food to your place.
Driving to CoHo? Check out the nearby parking selections and park with ease.
Bike parking is also available outside the coffee shop.
Eat your way through the day at CoHo — diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.
For a fresh sandwich from a great deli, CoHo is definitely the play to go.
CoHo serves up freshly brewed coffee, so make your way over and enjoy a good cup of Joe.
Located in Portola Valley, Portola Valley Lobster Shack is a well-known restaurant that delivers fantastic seafood and good chowder. This restaurant delivers an unforgettable dining experience set in a familiar vibe. It's a popular restaurant for guests interested in awesome food.
There's no particular required attire, so feel free to dress comfortably.
When you get there, think about ordering the rolls, as they've gotten rave reviews. In terms of the restaurant itself, if you're searching for the perfect spot for a family gathering (or a birthday meal), it's rated as a nice local option for big groups and families with children. Along with its outdoor seating arrangements, it's one of the few dog-friendly restaurants in the area and if you need food provided for a local event, take advantage of its catering options.
Specializing in lunch, Portola Valley Lobster Shack definitely stands out from the rest. Don't worry about trying to find a spot on the street, as visitors to the restaurant do have access to a private parking lot nearby.
With both breakfast and brunch on the menu, Coupa Cafe customers in the Stanford University neighborhood of Stanford begin their day in a number of ways.
Fear not you gluten-free or low-fat eaters, you'll have plenty of choices here.
For some fresh air during the non-winter months, dine outside on Coupa Cafe's patio.
Wireless Internet access is just a click away at Coupa Cafe.
Leaving the couch is half the battle. Your foods awaits your pickup at this restaurant.
If you need to feed a big crowd, Coupa Cafe also offers catering services for parties and get-togethers.
This dining establishment is located near hassle-free parking options.
Make use of the safe and efficient bike parking at Coupa Cafe.
For a night out with great food that won't break the budget, head to Coupa Cafe.
Stop waiting to try Coupa Cafe's exquisite breakfast and come right away!
For a better and brighter morning, try breakfast at Coupa Cafe.
Twisted Sprout in Stanford is a well-known pizza place, delivering a casual ambience with a flavorful menu. The laid-back atmosphere and reasonable prices allow visitors to focus on what matters: the delicious food.
Thanks to its outdoor seating, the restaurant is a fantastic option when you want to kick back and relax in the California sun. No specific attire is required, so feel free to dress casually and comfortably. Also, though the overall price can be a bit on the low side, you won't be sacrificing any quality.
In addition to its quick service (take-out is available), the restaurant also offers delivery, and can even cater an event for you.
A reputable option for both lunch and dinner in Stanford University, chances are you won't walk away from Twisted Sprout disappointed. Don't worry about trying to find a spot on the street, as visitors to the restaurant do have access to a private parking lot nearby.
Most Top Chef finalists launch their restaurant careers right after their time on television ends. Not Casey Thompson—she spent seven years after season three traveling, all the while thinking hard about what she wanted in a venue. She met farmers, built relationships, and finally opened Aveline (plus its cocktail bar sibling, The European) in June. As the result of so much careful planning, the restaurant truly embodies Casey’s vision, both in the space and on the plate.
One key part of that vision? Pigs. Casey loves to use almost every part of them, including the head. In honor of Aveline’s recent launch, we asked her about her fondness for pork, her cooking philosophy, and some of her go-to spots in San Francisco.
GROUPON: One ingredient that crops up on the menus at Aveline and The European is pork. Specifically, pork from the pig’s head—pork jowl, pig cheek, pig ear. What do you like about this ingredient?
CASEY THOMPSON: In general, I love any animal that tastes good from head to toe! As a chef, it’s really beneficial for me to use different parts of an animal that might otherwise be underutilized. It keeps costs down and provides guests with the opportunity to try things they may not otherwise try.
There is a lot more marbling in these parts than you might think, and there are a variety of different textures in specific parts like the ear.
G: Do you think that pig face is trending right now?
CT: I don't know. I try not to pay too much attention to what’s “trendy.” I just want to make food that tastes good, and if it means using parts of an animal that are unfamiliar to most people and [then] educating people about them, I’m happy to do so.
G: If someone hasn't tried any part of the pig’s head, where should they start?
CT: I think a good place to start is with pig cheek—it’s rich and it braises perfectly! Confiting a pig cheek [at home] is easy. The most difficult part is probably finding the product, but your local butcher can help with that.
G: Are there other pig dishes in San Francisco that you like?
CT: The pork at Kokkari is unreal, and Namu Gaji does a pretty impressive job too!
G: Aside from cooking with pig parts, you’re also an advocate for sustainability and the environment. Where does that passion come from?
CT: I have a job that impacts the environment, and as such, I have a duty to make sure that my staff and I do all we can not to add to the overwhelming issues we’re already facing.
I am also a firm believer in good husbandry. All animals deserve to live a good life, especially if they are giving us theirs for nourishment. It’s our responsibility as humans to recognize that.
G: Some of your dishes have original ingredients with a cool, earthy vibe. I’m talking about the "ham snow" and "chicory soil" on Aveline’s menu. Can you tell us more about these?
CT: Environmental elements in a dish add interesting flavors. The chicory soil contains nori, breadcrumbs, candied cashews, and chicory—all pretty earthy, you’re right. Now, the ham snow is highly technical stuff: we freeze ham, grate it over cold amberjack, and call it snow!
G: You’re also creating the menu over at The European, your bar-and-lounge project with Adam Wilson. It seems like the snacks have more of an updated comfort-food feel. Is The European the other side of Aveline's coin?
It absolutely is! There is a secret kid side to me with that menu and, really, it’s us having fun. I do think we have the best burger—it is so good. I want people to use both spaces! Come and eat at The European!
G: To close out, can you share some of your favorite San Francisco spots to grab a bite?
For coffee: Réveille Coffee Co.
For breakfast (and guilty, greasy pleasures): San Jalisco
For lunch and dinner: Kokkari, Kin Khao
For after-hours drinks and eats: Rye, Tradition, Le Colonial
For outdoor dining: The Ferry Building, Slanted Door, Cavallo Point, Coqueta
This interview has been condensed and edited. Photos courtesy of Casey Thompson. The European photo by Andi Fisher.
When you live in a city with so much scenery, eating inside can feel a bit stifling. Here are five beautiful restaurant patios in San Francisco that allow you to order in the great outdoors.
Mission Rock Resort (817 Terry Francois Blvd.)
The restaurant group that owns South Park staples MoMo’s, Pedro’s Cantina, and Pete’s Tavern overhauled Mission Rock Resort in late 2012. Now, it’s a bayside escape with plenty of deck seating, calming ocean views, and easy parking. Try bites from the raw bar or fried seafood for lunch, brunch, or happy hour.
Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.)
The most popular tables at this Mission stalwart are in the romantic covered patio. In the evening, artsy or retro flicks are projected on the patio wall while sound can be played through drive-in–style speakers at each table. The movies, however, are a secondary draw compared to the Californian-Mediterranean food.
Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero S)
Waterbar is a perennial Top 100 restaurant, so you can bet on some memorable seafood with views of the bay, the Bay Bridge, and the Bay Lights—not to mention $1.25 oysters every day before 5:30 pm.
Bar Agricole (355 11th St.)
Opened by a collective of the city’s best bartenders and sommeliers, Bar Agricole is led by master drink maker Thad Vogler. Unsurprisingly, its cocktails are just as good as its seasonal food. The space’s award-winning design features plenty of redwood, concrete, and glass, plus a spacious patio that’s covered and heated during the winter months.
Biergarten (424 Octavia St.)
Biergarten takes its name literally—its only seating is outdoors, where all of its Bavarian-style street food is served from shipping containers converted into a kitchen and bar. Brews can be ordered by the half- or full-liter, but considering the long lines, it’s best to get the larger of the two before you squeeze into one of the communal picnic tables.
Photos courtesy of Mission Rock Resort, Foreign Cinema, Waterbar, and Bar Agricole; Biergarten photo courtesy of BarFlySF.
Sushi is not hard to come by in San Francisco, but so much variety means that finding the perfect sushi spot can be a challenge. Here are our picks for the five freshest, most innovative sushi restaurants in the Bay Area.
1. Cha-Ya (762 Valencia St.)
Vegetarian sushi anyone? While that may sound like an oxymoron, Cha-Ya is redefining what sushi means, veggie- and vegan-style. It’s cash-only here, and the wait can be long, but the food is inventive and the service is great. Even meat eaters should enjoy the Cha-Ya Roll: tempura-battered asparagus, avocado, yam, and carrot with Cha-Ya’s special sauce.
2. Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant (2154 Mission St.)
Never tried fried “veggie eel” before? This place has you covered, and it accommodates most dietary restrictions. There’s a vegan menu, a gluten-free menu, animal-product-free tempura, and sushi made with brown rice.
3. Roka Akor (801 Montgomery St.)
The presentation at Roka Akor is out of this world: sushi served on a landscape of salt rocks, ice, bamboo boxes, and light (that’s right, your sushi plate will glow). The tasting menu is a must-try and incorporates a wide range of different fish.
4. Tsunami Sushi Panhandle (1306 Fulton St.)
Tusnami’s classic california rolls are half off during happy hour, but the restaurant is most famous for its combination rolls. Try the Mama San with tempura shrimp and spicy tuna or the Magic Mushroom roll with salmon, snow crab, and enoki mushrooms. Also, consider adding some zing to your meal with sake or wine.
5. Akiko’s Restaurant (431 Bush St.)
Located in Union Square, Akiko’s serves up superfresh sushi—the menu changes daily based on the availability of ingredients. The kitchen focuses on serving sustainable, organic, seasonal, and local fish at high-end prices. The omakase menu will run up to $100 per person, but for sushi die-hards, it’s worth it. If you’re not feeling fish, there are non-sushi items on the menu, too, including teriyaki meats and udon soups.