California

Restaurants in California

Meat-centric small plates reign at Box and Bells, the latest from chef James Syhabout of Michelin-starred Commis. Try the country pork rillettes and blood pudding poutine. BART stop: Rockridge

The second location of this popular South Indian spot is great for a date night—especially when paired with a show at the Sundance Kabuki Cinema right across the street.

Make a beeline for the back display cases and order Stella’s signature sacripantina, a hard-to-find Genoese specialty. The rum-soaked sponge cake, layered with zabaglione, is somehow both richly creamy and wonderfully light.

This jewel of a restaurant in the The Redbury Hotel takes its inspiration from Cleopatra, both in cuisine (the Queen of Egypt would no doubt have loved the Middle Eastern fare) and decor (a photo of silent film actress Theda Bara as Cleopatra greets you upon entry).

Arrive early on Tuesday afternoons for the fried chicken stuffed with herbs at Miss Ollie’s. The day’s special at this airy, Cali-Caribbean spot goes fast. BART stop: 12th Street/Oakland City Center

Laurel Hardware has a healthy and delicious kale-and-feta salad.

Cafe Flore’s street-facing patio is one of the Castro’s very best places for brunch in the sunshine. Their house-made oat berries with seasonal fresh fruit is a must order.