My 20 Favorite San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants

As time goes by I slowly realize that memory becomes less clear. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 24 years. Specifically in: San Anselmo, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Noe Valley (SF), Western Addition (SF), and Palo Alto. For me, a great restaurant is like excellent theater, an evening where one is transported, both by the food and the ambiance. Not all of the following restaurants are still open, but these are my top 20 (in no particular order, not including the ones that I may have already forgotten).

-Kokkari Estiatorio (San Francisco)

-Wakuriya (San Mateo)

-La Ciccia (San Francisco)

-Paseo (Mill Valley)

-Gary Danko (San Francisco)

-Tosca Cafe (San Francisco)

-L’Ardoise Bistro (San Francisco)

-Iberia (Menlo Park)

-Chez Panisse (Berkeley)

-Acquerello (San Francisco)

-Lark Creek Inn (Larkspur, closed in 2009)

-Jardiniere (San Francisco, closed in 2019)

-Mister Jiu’s (San Francisco)

-Bar Jules (San Francisco, closed in 2015)

-Cotogna (San Francisco)

-Spruce (San Francisco)

-Tadich Grill (San Francisco)

-SPQR (San Francisco)

-Quince (San Francisco)

-Ristorante Ideale (San Francisco)

Mount Tamalpais

we talk about life
stumbling upward toward East
Peak, the fog slowly
disappearing into blue sky
day on this mountain

where we remember thirty
that age when last
here, ascending together as
if time remains still
but no, five kids

between us, balding heads
failing vision, and all
the rest of middle
age, to think in
another fourteen we will

be sixty, how long
will the mountain remain
ours, before it nudges
us off fire roads, away
from crow filled branches

we look down on
Lake Lagunitas, that water
holding minutes like a
Jim Croce song that
lasts forever, then stops