In this post I will share my favorite restaurants and food spots I discovered during my honeymoon in San Francisco and Sonoma. From an impressive Michelin star restaurant to an amazing burger place and from shrubs to toast. You really shouldn’t miss these delicious California places!
1. State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Several food magazines declared this restaurant ‘best new US restaurant’ and now State Bird even has a Michelin star. Its concept is original: just like in a dim-sum restaurant, carts with little dishes come by, for you to pick and chose. Unlike a dim-sum restaurant though, these dishes aren’t steamed dumplings, but extremely creative dishes with Asian as well as more Mediterrean influences. I enjoyed (amongst many others) the nectarine with whipped crescenza, fried garlic bread with creamy burrata and the famous state bird: crispy fried quail. I found this dinner impressive, creative and very inspriring. Only downside is that pretty much everything looks delicious, so the amount of food (and therefore the bill) can be pretty steep in the end, even though prices of the dishes itself are very affordable.
2. Farm: Table, San Francisco
A lovely place for breakfast is Farm:Table in Post Street. It’s a tiny space with some extra outdoor seats and a small, but interesting menu. They have a daily rotating toast, beautifully presented with for instance mascarpone and red fruit. But the egg sandwiches and granola are also very recommendable.
3. Souvla, San Francisco
Souvlaki just might become the new burger. That’s what you think when you dine at Souvla. The traditional Greek snack has gotten a makeover in this hip and elegant decorated spot. Although they have salad bowls (and they seem to be pretty popular), I highly recommend their soft flatbread wraps. Stuffed with fillings like wood-grilled chicken (marinated in feta brine!), yogurt sauce, pickled red onion rings and feta, this is a dish to impress. Make sure to save a little room for the frozen Greek yogurt: with olive oil and sea salt, or more traditional with honey.
4. The Mill, San Francisco
This bakery/coffee spot/shop is well known for its toast. Some might think that 4 dollar for a slice of toasted bread is slightly over the top, but this isn’t your average toast. This is a very thick (huge!) slice of lovely sourdough bread, perfectly golden brown and crispy, spread with toppings like homemade almond butter (highly recommended!) or salted cream cheese. Simple can be so good.
5. Gott’s, San Francisco
Gott’s sells all kinds of burgers and their quality is so high, that there is pretty much always a long line of customers waiting. Luckily, they work fast and Gott’s has a lovely terrace to unwind afterwards. Definitely order a glass of wine (we are in California, after all) or a craft beer to go with it.
6. Ferry Building, San Francisco
You’ll find many more great foodie spots in the Ferry Building. It’s almost a little food court with lots of delicious places. The famous cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery for instance. Or the Acme bread company. Also very good: the freshly rolled spring rolls from Out the Door.
7. SHED, Healdsburg (Sonoma)
SHED is a coffee spot, fermentation bar, restaurant, workshop spot and farmers market all in one, and also sells all kinds of kitchen accessories and cookbooks. The prices here are pretty impressive too, but only browsing through this place is already inspiring (although it can be hard to suppress your urgency to buy pretty much everything). SHED is also known for their shrubs: fruity drinks with vinegar and herbs. And they are so good!
8. The Fig Cafe, Glen Ellen (Sonoma)
The Fig Cafe is sister to the well-known The Girl & The Fig and is a much-loved restaurant for the Glen Ellen locals. Their menu is very Californian: lots of local ingredients, light and vegetable based dishes and simple, but truly impressive flavors. I absolutely enjoyed the crispy soft shell crab, a lovely kale salad with figs and goat cheese and a truly perfect pizza with zucchini flowers. Good to know: you can bring your own bottle of wine, without any charge. How generous is that. I highly recommended this place if you’re in the area!
9. Glen Ellen Star, Glen Ellen (Sonoma)
Chef Ari Weiswasser of Glen Ellen Star worked in several star kitchens, before he decided to land himself in the tiny town of Glen Ellen. With his restaurant Glen Ellen Star he’s now internationally known for his impressive dishes from the wood fire oven. His vegetable dishes are mind-blowing. I enjoyed slightly blackened corn with cotija cheese and lime, crispy roasted cauliflower with tahini and amazing sweet potato with a cool ranch dressing and jalapenos. And even the dessert comes from the same oven: apple crumble with gingersnap crumble and vanilla-bourbon ice cream. Very, very impressive!