From a mid-afternoon pick-me-up to a solid lunch spot, the Bay Area never fails to deliver a slew of scrumptious eateries to choose from. However, there are certain places that stand out from the rest in their consistent culinary prowess. We’re not talking trendy or try-hard here, we’re getting down to damn good eats that you’ll always want to come back for more. Nestled between the alimentary meccas of San Francisco and San Jose, here are eight destinations that NorCal natives know will never disappoint:
1. Philz Coffee
What better way to start your day with a cup of Joe brewed especially for you? Crafted with care and finesse, literally one cup at a time, the baristas at Philz know what they’re doing. If you’re a coffee addict from the Bay, you’ll know that critics of Philz Coffee are few and far between. Hosting a variety of roasts with bean choice so intricate I can’t even begin to explain it, Philz is not the type of place the average Starbs Pumpkin Spice Latte fan would thoroughly appreciate. Though their most popular drink is the Mint Mojito, there is a plethora of other caffeine-loaded drinks to satisfy your next craving for a fix.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Thanks to the creators of Sushiritto, the love child between a burrito and sushi is no longer just a dream. Following the trend of cross-cultural fusion cuisine, Sushirrito was the first to combine the flavors of Japan and Latin America into one portable, tasty package available in a variety of flavor combos. Such delectable amalgamations include exotic ingredients such as Sake-Asada Beef, Kampachi Yellowtail, and Yuzu Tobiko. Nom nom.
3. Ike’s Place
Sandwich galore. With an extensive menu containing over 80 different sandwiches with component you can possibly think of, Ike’s Place does sandwiches right. Though Ike’s creations are bomb because of their ingredients, the fact that their condiment game — namely their Dirty Secret Sauce — is always on point adds to their drool-inducing value.
#SpoonTip: Order on their Dutch Crunch (aka French bread with a crunchy twist), you won’t regret it.
“Fast food burgers. Slow food values.” Super Duper Burgers stays true to their slogan by using locally sourced ingredients to create culinary masterpieces in burger form. There’s just something about each fresh, juicy bite you take of your Super Burger that makes you die a little bit inside. Also, free pickles. In a jar. As many as your heart desires. Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
Ah, yes, the ice cream sandwich. Decadent and indulgent, no one does it quite like CREAM. Between soft, chewy pieces of fresh-baked deliciousness, those dastardly geniuses at CREAM lay scoops of the finest ice cream of assorted savour, thereby creating the infamous ice CREAM sandwich. Not only is the product top notch, the price of these pleasant lil’ desserts is just as superb — your wallet will feel slightly better than you will after gorging yourself. First setting up shop in Berkeley, CREAM has spread throughout the Bay and is slowly making it’s way to our Southern neighbors in L.A., Orange County, and San Diego. Rejoice!
6. Gong Cha
No list of California eateries would be complete without a boba shop, and you certainly can’t go wrong with Gong Cha. Originating from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Gong Cha stays true to the original concept of boba — strong tea and chewy tapioca. A personal favorite would be the Oolong milk tea, but there really isn’t any drink on their menu that would let you down. For those with a more of a sweet tooth, try out their Creative Mix Series, featuring a number of fruity variations on your traditional brewed teas.
Simple, unadulterated slices of pure goodness. On the West Coast, there is no short supply of places claiming to serve New York pies, but Escape From New York is probably the closest you’ll get to the real deal without buying a plane ticket. From crust to toppings, Escape From New York constantly knocks it out of the park every time. If you’re going to make the trip to the city, you absolutely have to try their “You Say Potato” pie. Pesto, whole garlic cloves, and potato slices roasted to perfection all on that thin New York crust. Need I say more?
8. Off The Grid
This one’s special. In summary, it’s pretty much a traveling caravan of local food trucks offering damn good eats. Off The Grid travels throughout the Bay, stopping in hometown parking lots from Alameda to San Jose or more scenic locations like the Presidio, offering a variety of distinct foods ranging from spicy kojas to Mexican-Filipino fusion. With live music, a good crowd, and a cuisine selection of epic proportions, you really can’t have a bad time with Off The Grid. To get live updates on the closest Off The Grid location to you, download their handy app and you’ll find yourself in gastronomic nirvana in no time.