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Cal-French in Berkeley, kebabs in Oakland, and a taco joint in Dogpatch.

Huevos and chorizo at Glena's.

Pompette
Berkeley
Beloved Café Rouge is gone, along with its butcher counter. But the grand zinc bar remains, as does the bistro spirit of the cooking as conjured by Chez Panisse vet and former Café Rouge regular David Visick. Familiar Cal-French accents turn up throughout his menu: lingcod brandade with rye croutons, asparagus panzanella, roasted chicken with crispy polenta, and, for dessert, a dense wedge of flourless chocolate cake. This is not a place of culinary pyrotechnics. Its appeal lies in the simple pleasures of, say, steak frites and red wine in the dining room, or a lunchtime burger and craft beer at the bar. 1782 4th St. (Near Delaware St.), 510-356-4737
Josh Sens

The Kebabery
Oakland
It isn’t every day that you walk into a West Oakland corner kebab shop that announces, on the front of its takeout menu, that “all meat, vegetables, dairy, grains, wine, chocolate, and spices are organic” and fills the back with a long list of farms. None of this is surprising, though, when you consider that the Kebabery is run by the folks behind Camino, who have brought a similar aesthetic—i.e., a tiny menu highlighting the best of the season’s bounty—to the realm of Middle Eastern spices, colorful salads, and meat grilled on sticks. Of the protein options, the cumin-tinged chicken kebab stands out for its succulence and crisp, smoke-kissed edges. Whatever you order, the main attraction is the restaurant’s chewy, slow-fermented flatbread, which makes a sturdy and delicious vehicle for savory meat juices. 4201 Market St. (At 42nd St.), 510-922-1601
—Luke Tsai

Glena’s
Dogpatch
Other cities’ fine-dining chefs might dream of downscaling to a burger joint or New York slice shop. Naturally, here in the Bay, our chefs open taco shops. Or at least that’s the case with Glena’s, the cute-as-a-button counter-service spot in Dogpatch, where chef Michael Gaines (Manresa, Kin Khao) dishes out upmarket street tacos and margaritas. His take on an al pastor taco makes for good but messy eating, served, as it is, on a single housemade flour tortilla reminiscent of a Chinese pancake. But what are most memorable are the little touches: the salty-oozy chipotle aioli on the fried chicken torta and the dusting of sea salt on some of the most impeccably fried sweet plantains in town. 632 20th St. (Near 3rd St.), 415-915-8226
—L.T.
 

Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco

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