Yelp released its annual list of America’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2020, which has become a yearly event for foodies. The list is different from other national culinary lists because it uses Yelp reviews around the country, combined with local culinary experts to compile a list of local fine dining, small food purveyors and hidden gems.
While the number one place to eat in 2020 came from just south in San Diego with Shawarma Guys, Northern California had plenty of representation on the list, mostly in the Bay Area. Here are the 7 NorCal restaurants that made Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2020:
#71: Porque No? Tacos – Oakland, CA
Sitting in Oakland is a brand-new taco/breakfast spot that Yelp reviews gushed over in 2019. The restaurant has nearly a 5 star rating with just under a year in business and reviews are raving about their chilaquiles and french toast. Making #71 on this list for such a young restaurant is quite the accomplishment.
#67: Tuna Kahuna – Burlingame, CA
While I’m sure there will plenty of comments like “this isn’t NorCal,” just R-E-L-A-X. This is about as far south as we’ll go on the list and due to its proximity to Northern California’s premiere international airport, I think it’s a good addition to the list.
Sitting in downtown Burlingame is this Poke gem whose near 5-star rating stems from its commitment to quality seafood. There are a lot of poke places popping up all around the country, but to find one that insists on quality is, frankly, rare. Obviously, the bowls are the most popular dish at this place, with many Yelp reviewers raving about the real blue crab salad. You really can’t go wrong here.
#55: 310 Eatery – Albany, CA
Typically rated the very best burgers in the East Bay including their blended beef and bacon 405 Traffic Jam Burger, The 310 is also well known for creating unique dishes that define what most call, “food coma.” Some of these dishes often feature soft shell crab, home made pork bellies and fried chicken all of which comes together to make everyone at the table fulfilling their cravings.
The restaurant began in 2014 in downtown Walnut Creek and sat in four different locations before settling in Albany, where it’s gotten the attention of locals and culinary enthusiasts alike. With the addition to Yelp’s list, I think it’s safe to say this might stay their permanent location.
#47: Kuji Asian Grill – Woodland, CA
While Woodland isn’t known to be a culinary destination, Kuji Asian Grill is bringing big time Korean fusion cuisine to this small NorCal town. Founded in 2019, this restaurant is taking the area by storm with its unique Asian food with a Hawaiian twist. The favorite dish by visitors is the Stone Pot Bibimbap, which includes rice, fried egg and beef.
#37: ACHILLES – Santa Clara, CA
Mediterranean cuisine can be simple, but if done correctly, it can be spectacular. That’s the motto of ACHILLES in Santa Clara, which is making a culinary impact in the area with its quality ingredients creating delicious shawarmas, falafels and their delicious waffle fries. Having made the same list in 2019, the restaurant plans to honor the Greek gods wi another delicious year in 2020.
#15: Roundhouse Deli – Roseville, CA
Yes, the Roundhouse Deli in Roseville looks diminutive from the outside, but if you get their staple cuisine during lunchtime, you’re looking at a BIG TIME meal. Sure, you can order a regular sandwich, hamburger or even a burrito at this American joint with some Mexican flare, but it’s their tri-tip tacos that have everyone flipping out. You may find a line at the small establishment during your visit, but don’t be deterred. It’s a meal you won’t forget.
#12: Shish Ke Baba – San Francisco, CA
Considering the culinary accolades of the City by the Bay, it’s hard to believe this is the only restaurant in the city to make the list. Shish Ke Baba is a Turkish restaurant with a little bit of everything, and if order a combination platter, you’ll likely see a lot of it. They also offer authentic Turkish coffee and tea along with an assortment of desserts sure to make your mouth water.
#10: Pikul Thai Bistro – Fairfield, CA
While NorCal was represented well on this list, there was only one restaurant that cracked the top 10, and it’s a Thai joint in Fairfield. Since this list is compiled from a compilation of Yelp reviews and local culinary experts, it seems like Pikul Thai Bistro is king. Opened in early 2019, the small restaurant made waves with its authentic Thai food, including its staple Pad Thai, crab fried rice and lemongrass fried chicken.
What Northern California restaurant do you think should be on this list?
As the Food Editor and Co-Founder of Eating NorCal, Brien O’Brien is one of the most influential foodies in NorCal. After being named the “14th Best Home Cook in America” in 2017 by the FOX television show MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay, he moved to the Napa Valley where he spent a year and a half studying food and wine at the Culinary Institute of America. Now, he resides in the Farm to Fork Capital of America – Sacramento.