The Bay Area may has earned a reputation among food nerds for its ingredient-driven, intensely locavore dining culture. But for every restaurant worshipping at the alter of Alice Waters, there is a beloved, no-frills dive or dirt-cheap taqueria that locals wouldn’t trade for all the greenmarket sunchokes in the world.
As we’ve said before, the best way to sniff out a city’s lesser-known gems is to follow off-the-clock food industry worker—people who care about what they eat and drink, but tend to seek satisfaction over hype when they step out of the kitchen. From greasy burgers to real-deal ramen, we tapped a dozen of chefs and bartenders from San Fran and Oakland to uncover their favorite under-the-radar haunts.
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