Best Deli
Treat a homesick Manhattanite 

Frishman's, A New York Deli

The Bay Area may be the best place in the world to eat, but when it comes to delicatessens, we're not even third-rate. Transplanted New Yorkers whine (don't blame them, it's their native dialect) about how they can't get a decent bagel west of the Mississippi. As for good pastrami, you have to fly down to Los Angeles. Lezlie Frishman finally got so fed up with California delis that she did something a little extreme: She moved back to Brooklyn, spent six months persuading purveyors to sell her their wares, then started her own cross-continental import business trucking the real stuff west. Step up to her 1930s-era enamel counter, and everything laid out before you will have started out in the Big Apple (including the counter): the pickled herring, the smoked whitefish, the pastrami, the black-and-white cookies. Even her bagels get frozen on the Right Coast and thawed on the Left. Only a Northern Californian could be so committed to her ideals.

Readers' Pick:
Genova Delicatessen & Ravioli
5095 Telegraph Ave. # A, Oakland

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