Whether you’re looking for the best San Francisco hotel restaurants, the top romantic restaurants in the Bay Area, or the eating places with the best views, they’re all rated here in this Zagat Guide to San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants. The 350-page edition of the guide also includes Zagat’s recommendations on where to eat in Wine Country, Silicon Valley, and the Monterey Peninsula.
There are 1,373 of the best eating places reviewed in the book, rated by 10,118 reviewers. This is why we like Zagat guides. They’re written by regular diners alongside professional restaurant reviewers, and each place will have been visited by several different people at different times. The editor then compiles a ‘review of reviews’, with highlights from individual reviews cleverly stitched together into a flowing whole. This results in a consensus view that readers ought to be able to trust.
Zagat then rates each restaurant in four categories: Food, Décor, Service, and Cost. The top mark for Food is 30 points, and only two out of the 1,373 restaurants covered merit a mark of 29/30 - Gary Danko at Fisherman’s Wharf and the French Laundry in Yountville in Napa Valley. This shows you that Zagat’s standards are high. The best places are also ranked according to Cuisine, from American to Vietnamese, and by various other categories such as best bargains, winning wine lists, best for brunch or breakfast, most child-friendly eating, romantic spots, best views, and the best San Francisco hotel restaurants.
For many travelers, business travelers in particular, it’s important to book a hotel with a good restaurant. Sometimes time is tight, and you prefer to dine where you’re staying. Most of the best San Francisco hotel restaurants are not in the city, but in the larger Bay Area covered by Zagat. The best in the city itself is Masa’s, the restaurant at the Hotel Vintage Court on Nob Hill. It gets an impressive 27/30 for its new French cuisine and the review is sprinkled with words like ‘sublime’, top-notch’, marvelous’, and ‘superior’.
At the back of the Zagat guide (and Zagat guides are thoroughly well-indexed and cross-referenced) is a long listing of the other top hotel restaurants in the book. There are too many to list them all here but among those at the better-known hotels are:
San Francisco is a popular honeymoon destination, and there are plenty of romantic restaurants to choose from. Whether it’s a honeymoon or a special occasion, or you’re just feeling romantic, Zagat recommends:
So much goes into these slim, pocket-sized Zagat guides that it’s not hard to see why they’re among our favorite restaurant guides. You may not get long and glowing descriptions of individual dishes, but you definitely get a feel for what a place is like. They’re also great at helping you find just what it is you’re looking for - cheap Chinese, good prime rib, best views, best noodle shops, and top taquerias. If you’re spending any time at all in and around San Francisco, and you like your food, it’s a must-buy book.
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