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A Cote isn't necessarily a secret: It's been known as one of the best restaurants in the Bay Area for years,collecting accolades from Bon Appentit, Esquire, and The New York Times for its exquisite small plates. If the danger of visiting tapas restaurants is that your bill fills up long before your stomach, the secret is to visit A Cote for late drinks and order a couple of iteams a la carte, like the famous mussels or the pommes frites.

Café Clem

Operated by the owner of La Note, the cafe features salads, sandwiches, organic coffees, and sweet and savory pastries, served in a traditional French ambiance with a modern twist.

Berkeley's Cafe Rouge is a classic Californian restaurant, complete with organic vegetables and sustainably raised meats, a wood-fired oven, and smooth and efficient service. Chef-owner Marsha McBride and executive chef Rick DeBeaord create deceptively simple food, but imbue even their hamburgers with juicy, meaty love.

Chez Panisse is a legend. There's a reason it sparked culinary revolution and changed the way the Bay Area — and America — eats.

District

This sleek Old Oakland wine-and-whiskey bar boasts gorgeous design, a mind-bogglingly huge menu, and some of the best bar food around.

Fondue Fred has been nestled in the same Telegraph Avenue alleyway for more than five decades, and according to owner Baleh Heravi, the menu hasn't changed a bit since 1958. This is classic, hearty fondue, just as melty and greasy as it should be, accompanied by thick slabs of fresh bread, and served in a setting that looks like something out of the swiss alps.

The Solano Avenue establishment offers complete French meals for take-home and light preparation, along with sandwiches, pastries, sweet and savory tarts, and charcuterie.

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