Bay Area comfort dishes local restaurant owners, chefs crave

When local chefs end their long shifts, they’re often found at other Bay Area restaurants. No, they’re not taking up another shift, but instead they’re in line waiting to grab their favorite comfort dish.

With chillier days and even colder nights ahead, SFGATE wanted to know the favorite comfort meals well-known chefs and restaurant owners crave most. Their responses didn’t disappoint. When it came to comfort dishes, the chef-owners revealed their preferences vary from dumplings to spicy soups and everything in between.

Comfort dishes mean more than just a cozy meal enjoyed on their off time. Some chefs said that the meals they prefer reminding them of spending time with their family during their childhoods, or of cultivating more recent traditions on weekends.

Take a look at the responses below to read about favorite Bay Area comfort dishes in the words of local restaurant owners and chefs. (Some of the responses have been condescended and edited for clarity.)

Yank Sing has two San Francisco locations, at 101 Spear St. and 49 Stevenson St. The storied dim sum restaurant offers a wide selection of dishes on its menu.

Blair Heagerty / SFGATE :: Pictured: Mei Lin Leung serves customers at Yank Sing on March 10.

Craig Stoll, co-owner of Delfina
Favorite comfort dish: dim sum from Yank Sing

“We love to visit Yank Sing on cold Sunday mornings. It started when Annie was pregnant with our daughter and we needed the instant gratification a passing dim sum cart could provide, but it’s become a family tradition — now with our grown daughter. We head downtown, eat a nap-inducing quantity of dim sum, and then return home to hibernate for the rest of the day. It’s really become a ritual of ours, and we especially gravitate to Yank Sing in the colder months.”

Yank Sing, 101 Spear St. and 49 Stevenson St., San Francisco. Both locations are open Wednesday through Friday, 11 am-3 pm, and Saturday through Sunday, 10 am-3 pm

The momos served at Bini's Kitchen in San Francisco.

The momos served at Bini’s Kitchen in San Francisco.

Courtesy of Bini’s Kitchen

Adam Mesnick, owner of Deli Board
Favorite comfort dish: turkey momo from Bini’s Kitchen

“It’s a Nepalese dumpling and for years I’ve watched them hand make them on 6th and Howard Street. The comfort is tasted in the hard work. The momo with the sauce is one of the best bites in the city.”

Bini’s Kitchen, 1001 Howard St., San Francisco. Open Monday through Friday, 11am-3pm Also found at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday, 8am-2pm; Stonestown Galleria farmers market on Sunday, 9am-1pm; La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, Monday through Friday, 11am-7pm

The beef kabob plate served at Beit Rima in San Francisco.

The beef kabob plate served at Beit Rima in San Francisco.

Adam B. on Yelp

Marc Schechter, co-owner of Square Pie Guys
Favorite comfort dish: Beef kabob plate at Beit Rima

“My dad didn’t make dinner often but when he did, he always made kabobs. It reminds me of my family and spending time with them.”

Beit Rima, 138 Church St., San Francisco. Open Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday, 11am-9pm; Friday and Saturday, 11 am -9:30 pm; 86 Carl St., San Francisco. Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11am-9pm; Friday and Saturday 11 am -9:30 pm



Spoon Korean Bistro is at 933 Ashby Ave.  at Berkeley.  Pictured is their spicy beef soup.

Spoon Korean Bistro is at 933 Ashby Ave. at Berkeley. Pictured is their spicy beef soup.

Angela A on Yelp

Danny Stoller, co-owner of Square Pie Guys
Favorite comfort dish: Spicy beef noodle soup at Spoon Korean Bistro

“This soup perfectly toes the line between stew and soup. I’ve ordered it more than once to cure a cold. It’s a mixture of hearty, spicy and funky, funky umami.

Spoon Korean Bistro, 933 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. Open daily, 10am-9pm

The kimchi pancake served at Pyeong Chang Tofu.

The kimchi pancake served at Pyeong Chang Tofu.

Karen L. on Yelp

Brandon Rice, chef-owner at Ernest
Favorite comfort dish: galbi tang and kimchi pancake from Pyeong Chang Tofu

“This is the perfect comfort food for a cold Bay Area evening. Growing up, my mother used to always cook and braise meats in the crockpot during the winter. The galbi tang at Pyeong Chang Tofu reminds me of that.”

Pyeong Chang Tofu, 1269 University Ave., Berkeley, and 4701 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Both locations open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 5-9 pm; Friday, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-9:30pm; Saturday, 11:30am-2:30pm, 5-10pm

The lamb shank from Paradiso.  The San Leandro restaurant is at 685 Bancroft Ave.

The lamb shank from Paradiso. The San Leandro restaurant is at 685 Bancroft Ave.

Lance Yamamoto

Nelson German, executive chef-owner of alaMar Kitchen and Sobre Mesa
Favorite comfort dish: lamb shank from Paradiso

“The lamb shank at Paradiso is served with this amazing parmesan risotto and citrus-glazed asparagus. The lamb shank dish makes it the perfect comfort food because it reminds me of home [with] the aromatics of the spices, braised meat, and the sauce it sits in. When you take the last bite, you just want to sit back in your chair with a big smile of satisfaction on your face. It always hits the spot.”

Paradiso, 685 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro. Open Monday to Thursday, 11:30 am-9 pm; Friday and Saturday, 11:30am-10pm; Sunday, 10:30am-9pm

The chicken sandwich featured at San Francsico restaurant ABV.

The chicken sandwich featured at San Francsico restaurant ABV.

Courtesy of ABV

Julio Aguilera, chief partner at Copas
Favorite comfort dish: the chicken sandwich with grilled mushrooms from ABV

“Since it’s usually too cold to go outside in the winter, I like to find a nice, warm bar or restaurant to spend my nights at. For me, that’s ABV, especially after a long week of work. Their chicken sandwich just hits home every time. The flavors remind me of summer barbecues.”

ABV, 3174 16th St., San Francisco. Open daily, 4pm-2am Kitchen open until midnight.

Molinari Delicatessen is located at 373 Columbus Ave.  in San Francisco.

Molinari Delicatessen is located at 373 Columbus Ave. in San Francisco.

Jim Steinfeldt/Getty Images

Nick Anichini, executive chef at Ancora
Favorite comfort dish: Luciano special from Molinari Delicatessen

“I love any sandwich but this one takes the cake. It’s the perfect thing to eat in the cold winter months, curled up at home and at the park in the summer.”

Molinari Delicatessen, 373 Columbus Ave., San Francisco. Open Monday to Saturday, 9:30am-5pm



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