Wine fans in the Bay Area have loads of reasons to celebrate, as two new wine bars join the local landscape — and that’s not all. Berkeley is welcoming a pioneering American pizzaiola taking an anything-goes approach to regional styles, while a brick-and-mortar Oakland outpost opens from a fan-favorite Filipino-fusion food truck. Here, our top choices for where to eat next.
Any opportunity to dig into delicious pizza is prime time to celebrate, and Pizzeria da Laura, the new venture from Tony’s Pizza veteran Laura Meyer, is a step above the rest. This restaurant in a vibrant Art Deco building on Shattuck Square provides the ideal showcase for the passionate pizzaiola, who, in 2013, became the first woman and the first American to win the world title in Parma, Italy, for pan pizza. Pies here are inspired by Meyer’s passion for fermented dough and love of a wide range of pizza styles: Detroit or Sicilian, Grandma or New York. Choose your base, then turn your attention to toppings, where combos include the Ray J, a double pepperoni with stracciatella, fermented honey, basil and parmesan cheese, or the Callie Girl, a white pie with mozzarella, spinach, green olives, arugula basil pesto and peppadew peppers. (You’re also free to build your own.) In addition to pizza, expect a host of house-extruded pasta dishes like spaghetti with Meyer’s father’s ragu recipe or rigatoni with vodka cream sauce. Pair your choices with a glass of wine, a draft beer or a low- or no-ABV cocktail like the Sherry Cobbler, made with a house sherry blend, seasonal fruit and orange.
2049 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA
Cal-Italian is alive and well, and SPQR chef Matthew Accarrino’s new all-day spot has added a few unique spins to the classic formula, with seasonally driven dishes inspired by Accarrino’s signature Cal-Italian style. Breakfast offerings may include scones both sweet and savory, like kale-mushroom or Meyer lemon poppy; charcoal-grilled biscuits may be filled with prosciutto and cheese or curry chicken salad. All are delicious alongside a cup of Saint Frank coffee. Come lunchtime, dig into an array of dishes crafted via a medley of cooking methods, be it charcoal grill, brick oven, smoker or Hestan range. Fresh pasta is made daily: Lemon ricotta agnolotti come with spring green veggies and arugula pesto, while canderli is richly dressed with a sweet and savory combo of bechamel, broccoli and grape brown butter. The menu is rounded out with a variety of cicchetti-style small plates and large dishes like a 24-ounce ribeye or whole fish cooked in the brick oven, perfect for sharing. And be sure to save room for house-made gelato and sorbetto.
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This Filipino-fusion food truck-turned-fast casual restaurant, which first graced San Francisco 13 years ago has decamped to Oakland for its third brick-and-mortar cantina-style restaurant from. The new outpost notably promises a fresh new feel, complete with colorful Bay Area-inspired art from local Aaron Kai, not to mention a full bar and a few exclusive new menu items. They’re serving a delicious fusion of Filipino and Mexican fare: Think Filipino sweet pork burritos with adobo garlic rice or cheesy loaded fries with guac and pickled jalapeños. And in addition to these fan faves, the Oakland outpost also offers a few exclusive options, like three-cheese lumpia taquitos created in partnership with chef Alex Retodo and rapper E40’s The Lumpia Company. The build-your-own Lechon Kawali pork belly taco, meanwhile, comes with shrimp chips, sisig barbecue sauce, creamy habanero salsa and pickled red onions. Wash it all down with a craft cocktail like a calamansi lime margarita.
This all-day, low-intervention wine bar is the perfect spot to indulge in a glass or two alongside ingredient-driven small plates — plus, if you stumble upon some new favorites, the on-site bottle shop makes it easy to bring your discoveries home. You’ll find an assortment of snacks and plates: “smaller” and “larger,” and perfect for sharing. The simplest dishes may include fried chickpeas with za’atar or fried potatoes with pimentón aioli, while slightly more copious plates could see Liberty Duck liver mousse paired with tart cherry mostarda or a light, fresh scallop crudo seasoned with fennel, kumquat and oil-cured olives. More consequential plates may include charred rapini with bagna cauda and walnut butter, green risotto with grilled octopus, or braised lamb shank with red chermoula and pearl couscous. For dessert, dig into a cheese assortment or a dark chocolate crémeux with burnt white chocolate and bruléed banana, a rich marriage of bitter and sweet.
Mili, which means “meeting” in Sanskrit, was born of founder and former Silicon Valley engineer Shubhra Sarkar’s pandemic-fueled realization of the essential values of togetherness and community. Located on the ground floor of the Mira condo tower, this chic wine bar complete with zinc countertops and chairs from Mission District furniture maker Fyrn offers beautiful views of the Bay Bridge and wines from around the globe. Expect a selection of locally sourced small plates with international flair, from simple dishes of house-pickled organic olives or Marcona almonds to cheffier plates like a pulled lamb masala feuilletée. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, consider digging into golden Osetra caviar with Tsar Nicoulai blini and a glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne.
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