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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.

Peter & Melissa Swanson opened Benchmark Pizzeria in July 2012. The couple met over a decade earlier when they both worked at Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland. Their pizza is "neo-Neapolitan" – thin crust, individually sized at roughly 11-inches, and light on cheese and toppings. The dough, made from a wild yeast, sourdough starter, is rolled out by hand daily.

5:00-9:00 p.m. Tues.-Sun.

For great coffee a short walk from the MacArthur BART station, Cafe Dejena fits the bill. Prices are reasonable, there’s free wireless, and the decor is bright and welcoming. The menu is a mix of Eritrean, Italian, and standard American food.

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