First of all, let’s be clear right up front that Mijoté is not a secret. The restaurant opened in April 2022 in the former spot of the dearly missed Sasaki in the Mission and in five short months has become an instant superstar in the Bay Area food scene, written up everywhere and beloved by all. It’s truly hard to exaggerate how quickly Mijoté has become the first place that I think of when I’m dreaming of a place to go the next weekend, the place against which I weigh other possible plans—sure, sounds good, but is it Mijoté?

Nothing is, of course. I first visited towards the tail end of opening week, was hooked from the first bite and sip, and have been back more than a few times since. It’s addictive. One day this summer, I was eating lunch with a friend who was visiting the Bay Area for a couple of days. It was early afternoon, eating at a table on the sidewalk in Berkeley, and I was evangelizing about Mijoté. “It’s the talk of the town,” I said, and not one moment later two complete strangers walked past us on the sidewalk, talking about a new French bistro that they’d heard was the place to try. I rest my case.

My friend scored a last minute reservation at 5pm—too soon after lunch, but what can you do?—and texted me later that evening: “Best. Meal. Ever.” Yeah, it’s that kind of place.

The instant success Kosuke Tada and Grace Mitchell Tada have conjured here isn’t really instant. It’s the product of years of preparation, most recently via the Bistro Kosuke pop-up that by the time of Mijoté’s opening had more than a few people in wild anticipation. I guess now we get to the style: Mijoté is a French bistro, with a stunning natural wine list, and an atmosphere of warmth and joy. The menu is chef’s choice and set daily, with the only decisions required (i) whether to add on a supplementary course or two when they’re offered (obviously yes) and (ii) what to drink (you can’t go wrong, but agonizing over the choice is half the fun).

The cooking is so stunningly good that I am shocked anew at every dish on every visit. The sauces are so intensely perfect that they’ll make your mind go blank for a second as your taste shushes everything else down. The portions are so generous that you’ll leave feeling like you may never be hungry again. The seemingly simple descriptions on the day’s menu card give way to remarkable creativity and flavor combinations that take each ingredient to new heights. Everyone is lovely and everything is perfect.

I love to go out to eat, of course, but what I really love is going out to eat again. Rather than rushing to try every new place, I much prefer to endlessly revisit my favorites, and try a new place every once in a while. I doubt anyone who feels the same way could get through more than fifteen minutes at Mijoté before it became a mainstay of their food rotation. It’s a happy place. I already can’t imagine doing without it.

Mijoté 2400 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 9411


Try: the menu is set, but the wine list is yours to explore


Part of the nigiri course at Sasaki during outdoor dining (kanpachi, akami, kinmedai, kohada)

Sasaki is my favorite edomae sushi in the Bay Area, and I truly appreciate their efforts during the pandemic to offer delicious meals in a safe, thoughtful outdoor setting. As a certified sushi addict, I have been able to enjoy a couple of very special, safe meals in a year when that has been in short supply.

The sushi rice at Sasaki is as good a match for my taste as any I’ve had the pleasure to try in the U.S., with a wonderful punch that in my opinion particularly complements neta like akami, kanpachi, and uni because those toppings have a slow-release flavor—I enjoy a brief punch of the perfectly sour rice before it is joined by the flavor of the neta. It’s really the kind of sushi that as soon as I’m finished with a piece, I feel almost angry that it’s over! That fleeting feeling, the sensation of instant nostalgia, is one of the reasons for that sushi addiction that leads me back to places like Sasaki again and again!

I’ve always felt welcome here. It’s a down-to-earth, simple spot, in the kind of way that shows how much experience and expertise is part of every detail, from the thoughtful drinks menu to the perfect service. Whenever I need a place to eat sushi in the Bay Area (and, so help me, it happens a lot!) you’ll find me here, enjoying every moment!

Sasaki 2400 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Try: whatever else you drink, I recommend a Premium Malts on draft to start!

Standard Fare

Standard Fare is the very ideal of a lunch spot. Right down the block Third Culture in West Berkeley—making for an irresistible one-two punch—this place is bursting with freshness and taste. I seriously don’t know how they manage to make everything on the daily-changing lunch menu so packed with flavor.

On paper it’s simple enough, with soups, sandwiches, salads, and sweets that at first made me think I knew what I was getting in for. But wow, things here are really so much more than how they seem on paper. How many sandwiches have you had for lunch in your life and how many really stand out? I am a huge sandwich fan and I have really strong opinions about sandwiches, so I hope you believe me when I say that Standard Fare’s sandwiches are in the very top tier I’ve ever had. There are other sandwich places I love, to be sure, with distinct styles and therefore distinct places in my heart. But what distinguishes things here is the whack of pure flavor. The common thread among the ever-changing offerings is the bright, tangy, acidic, herb-y punch (seemingly delivered in a different way by different ingredients each time) that elevates all of them to another level. Every day there is one vegetarian and one meat or fish sandwich, and I have never been let down by any of them. A special place in my memory is reserved for examples built around line-caught lingcod and around garlicky kale, but I could go on.

It’s certainly not all about sandwiches though, and I’ve been more than happy with the daily lunch plate specials and the salads as well. This is a super casual spot, easy to eat at regularly, with lots of seating outside to enjoy some nice East Bay weather. There are few places I know of that work both as an everyday spot if you are lucky enough to live or work nearby and also as a really satisfying reason to make a special trip from slightly further in the area. Standard Fare is definitely one of them!

Standard Fare 2701 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA, 94710

Try: any sandwich

Third Culture

I won’t say how many times I’ve visited Third Culture Bakery‘s Berkeley showroom. As addictions go, it’s not the worst one to have. It has the most delightful sweets, the happiest vibe, and some fun and surprising drinks to boot.

The first time I had a Third Culture mochi muffin was at Asha Tea in San Francisco. I needed something sweet to go with my tea, and because it was late in the day there was only one thing left in the case. Obviously this was fate. Afterwards I went back to ask what it was I’d just eaten that was so delicious and new, and that was when I learned about the Third Culture phenomenon.

The HQ has several flavors of mochi muffin, several flavors of mochi donuts, specials like mochi waffles, drinks, and swag. At first I was all about the mochi muffin—chewy and toasty and rich and addictive—but I have been fully converted to deliciousness of the donuts too. The icing on the donuts tastes bright and bold, and there are great seasonal specials. Really though the way to go is to fill a box with anything that catches your eye and sample it all.

I’m also all the way addicted to the ceremonial matcha, iced with sparkling water. The first time I tried the combination I wasn’t convinced, but something compelled me to try it again, and I crave it all the time now. It is a super refreshing pick-me-up and totally worth a try if you like matcha.

Everyone at the showroom is super friendly and the whole place radiates the kind of good vibes that the best bakeries and sweets makers have.

Third Culture Bakery 2701 Eighth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Try: a box with a few flavors of donut and a mochi muffin or two; ceremonial matcha with sparkling water