Restaurants in California
Adjacent to the Classic Car Wash in downtown Napa, this tiny drive-through café is well known for its unfussy, inexpensive hamburgers. Umbrellas and a red-and-white wooden awning shade a patio of approximately six tables, while three bar stools and one small table are available inside.
This long-standing Big Bear spot is known for its breakfast, which includes everything from egg-and-meat scrambles to waffles, even omelettes. Lunch and dinner are also served, with menus listing casual standards like burgers, wraps, and salads.
In business since 1912, this Nob Hill neighborhood joint is essentially a seafood diner. Just over a dozen can squeeze onto the stools of its old school, marble, fish bar, so there's often a line out the door at lunch.
American food, Cuban cocktails
Frequented by Hollywood power players, this fine-dining landmark is housed inside the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel. The dining room is classically designed with bronze wall sconces, oversize flower arrangements, white tablecloths, and sage-green banquettes facing the adjacent garden patio.
With its name on the flap of a maize-yellow awning and planters and small tables in front of its plate-glass windows, Zuni Café on Market Street in the Hayes Valley area serves French and Italian fare crafted with sustainable, seasonal, and organic ingredients.
Owned by chef Amy Murray, a longtime proponent of the Slow Food movement, this downtown café specializes in seasonal, organic cuisine. Classic jazz music plays in the dining room, which contains small wooden tables, chalkboard menus, and exposed brick walls hung with vintage French posters.
In the area known as Little Persia or the Iranian restaurant row, Shamshiri Grill serves Mediterranean fare in a spacious dining room with black tables, orange floors, and red walls decorated by the works of local painters.
This pan-Asian restaurant has an Asian-noir space and is named for Tokyo's trendy nightclub district.
Opened by the late Susan Campoy in 1985, San Marino café has since expanded in size and scope with the help of her daughters. The restaurant boasts vine-covered arches, a spacious covered patio, and a market with well-stocked shelves and display cases.
This French bistro from chef-owner Raphael Lunetta opened in 1996, and stops just short of fine dining. The restaurant has brown awnings and arched windows outside, and inside, canary-yellow walls, ground-floor and mezzanine seating, and crystal chandeliers.
The sultry lounge has artisanal cocktails (try the Alpine Blood Orange Cosmo), house-made charcuterie, and remarkably good live jazz.
This Ferry Building stalwart purveys its triple-S specialties—soups, salads and sandwiches—to a crowd of financial district salarymen (and women) and hungry tourists. The menu skews Italian with California-fresh local ingredients.