Whether you’re dining on the Peninsula or venturing farther afield, here are our favorite places for a bite
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Courtesy of Del Popolo
In November 2015, the pizza go-to grew up when the much-loved Del Popolo food truck finally settled down and opened up its first brick-and-mortar. The Nob Hill restaurant features an expanded menu of antipasti, specially curated beer and wine, and of course the same mouth-watering, wood-fired pies that cultivated such a following when it was on four wheels. Grab a pie to go for the big tail gate, there are no TVs in this tiny bistro. $$; 855 Bush Street; delpopolosf.com.
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Divorcing from the usual Sunday morning ritual of overly-sweet treats is San Francisco’s Cala, helmed by Mexican food dynamo Gabriela Cámara. Here, she serves up weekly brunch with authentic street-style tacos on fresh tortillas and chilaquiles rojos (or verde) topped with a fried egg. Even the industrial cement walls feel warm with a glass of seasonal house-made sangria. $$; 149 Fell St.; calarestaurant.com.
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Courtesy of Mourad
After undergoing a $60 million renovation, the updated PacBell building has opened its Art Deco doors anew. Among the tenants—tech giants Yelp and Luminosity—sits Michelin-star winner Mourad. The sophisticated spot, sporting marble finishes and geometric chandeliers, churns out Moroccan dishes with a NorCal twist, like the delicate eggplant served grilled with diced cucumber and traditional za’atar spice. $$$; 140 New Montgomery; mouradsf.com.
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Courtesy of Zola
Authentic French food may be the cuisine du jour for the Bay Area, but Zola’s Chef Guillaume Bienaime has the pedigree and playfulness to set himself apart. Rather than focusing on traditional plates, French-American Bienaime is offering Gallic-Californian fusion in his intimate downtown Palo Alto restaurant. With a bilingual menu, you can find filet du boeuf with crisped fingerling potatoes, or revolving vegetarian soupe du moment. Don’t worry, you won’t need a translator to appreciate these intriguing dishes. $$; 565 Bryant St.; zolapaloalto.com.
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Roots and Rye
In Santana Row, or “The Row” as locals say, welcome addition Roots and Rye calls to a Southern tradition with hearty consumables like buttermilk cheddar biscuits and an enviable whiskey list. Go light with the red quinoa salad and crisp red wine vinaigrette, or get serious with the deep-fried chicken sliders slathered in honey mustard aioli and crispy apple slaw. If you’re staying at Hotel Valencia, you can head back to your luxury suite for a nap. $$; 3055 Olin Ave.; rootsandrye.com.
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Courtesy of The Lexington House
The Lexington House
Los Gatos’ heavy hitter on the cocktail scene, this restaurant's artfully crafted drink list is just as impressive outside the jigger. Chef Philippe Breneman’s seasonally changing menu with farm-to-table emphasis has pulled in nationwide acclaim with dishes as pretty as they are tasty, like colorful Italian risotto with rainbow carrots or sherry roasted beets with earthy Bay blue cheese. $$; 40 N. Santa Cruz Ave.; thelexlg.com.
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Downtown Santa Cruz’s Assembly is all about teamwork. Esteemed pair Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis have been revolutionizing farm-to-table cuisine since their eatery's inception. The rustic restaurant sources its ingredients, from fresh-baked breads to succulent slabs of meat, from local establishments. Kick-start the weekend with the farmer’s market fruit plate at the long communal table, or dine on fluffy three-egg scramble with black truffle butter al fresco. $$; 1108 Pacific Ave.; assembleforfood.com.