Uncovering the Bay Area’s Hidden Dining Gems


Anagha Dogiparthi

Writers-turned-food-critics dig into thick, creamy, authentic pizza from “Pizza Chicago”

Tired of going to the same restaurants over and over, but too scared to try something new in case you end up wasting your time? Thankfully for you, we’ve created a list of three Bay Area restaurants that we completed the “exploration process” for; based on the type of meal you’re looking for, you definitely have your pick of options for your next reservation. Each review will provide insight into the ambiance of the environment, the pricing, and the meals themselves, almost walking you through the real dining experience. 

Burma Taste: 

When we first walked into Burma Taste, we were immediately calmed by the peaceful atmosphere. The dimmed lighting and closed-off tables made the quality much more mature and made the restaurant feel more blue-ribbon. The menu featured a good selection of items and there was an entirely separate vegetarian menu that made it easy to choose between accessible options for those with restrictions; highlighting the ingredients of each meal also gave us a sense of what flavors we were trying. It was difficult choosing between the variety of unique choices, but we eventually decided on “Mango Tofu” (sliced tofu sliced with mango puree, fresh mangoes, basil, and onions), “Kebat Beef” (battered deep-fried beef cooked with sweet and tangy sauce topped with sesame seeds), “Sesame Chicken,” and “Basil Lemongrass Chicken.” 

To specifically highlight the “Mango Tofu,” taking my first bite was like a flavor explosion on our tongues. I could immediately taste the rich coconut milk, the tanginess and sweetness of the mango, and the strength of the spices. What could possibly go wrong with the excellent combination of sweet, spicy, and sour? Of course, the addition of the crunchy, stir-fried onions balanced out the soft tofu, proving to be a balanced meal in multiple ways.

The price for the four dishes and two drinks was about $89. Considering the quality of the meals, as well as the ambiance of the restaurant, I would say that the price is reasonable but a little bit on the high side. We recommend this restaurant for people looking for a formal, high-end experience.

Tous Les Jours: 

Tous les Jours has the perfect environment to get work done, oftentimes more efficiently than when at home, and I can confirm this with personal experience. It combines French and East Asian culture with innovative drinks and pastries, such as the “Blueberry Boba,” fresh on-demand “croquettes” (deep fried rolls consisting of a thick binder combined with a filling), and unique flavors of bread and sweets. Looking at the glass displays of endless rows of pastries made it difficult for us to choose, and we decided to ask the staff for their recommendations: thankfully, we were not disappointed. 

We settled on sampling one savory pastry, one sweet pastry, and one drink. These were all of a unique variety, specifically including the “Kimchi Croquette,” “Blueberry Cornet Pie,” and “Black Tea with Mango and Peach Flavor with Lychee Jelly.” The Kimchi Croquette contained fried Kimchi combined with various sauces. It was a unique alternative to regular Kimchi and provided something for everyone to try. Although the Blueberry Cornet Pie was not anything revolutionary, it still provided a sweet balance to the sour, salty croquette. The cream cheese filling paired with the blueberries was an excellent combination and brought a classical element to our spread of treats. Last, but not least, the selected beverage was a good ending to our sampling of pastries and balanced everything out well. The combination of the mango and peach flavor as well as the lychee jelly provided that sweet and sour aspect nobody can get enough of. It cinched the other two pastries we selected efficiently, and it’s safe to say we finished it fast! 

For all three items, the total bill came to $12. Considering the unique flavors and the variations provided and the quality of the food provided, I think that this was a reasonable price. Overall, we would recommend this café to people who are looking for a unique selection of delicacies to choose from.

Pizza Chicago: 

The atmosphere of Pizza Chicago had somewhat of a quaint feel to it, almost as if we were stepping into a different decade. Adorned with checkers and black-and-white pictures, I was immediately drawn to the uniqueness of the decorations. Especially in the Bay Area, there are very few restaurants that still maintain a diner-like vibe and have not yet shifted to a more modern decorating approach. Considering all these factors, Pizza Chicago’s ambiance and decor can unarguably be described as refreshing.

 Instead of featuring “basic” pizza flavors, Pizza Chicago introduces unique specialty pizzas such as “The Billy Goat” (marinated portabella mushrooms, fresh spinach, red peppers, and goat cheese), “The Southsider” (meatballs, spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic, fresh basil, and diced tomatoes), and many more! What makes the meals more interesting is not only the unique ingredients but also the creative names that draw customers in. Although it was difficult to finalize our selection, we eventually decided to split one medium pizza into half “Pepperoni” and half “The Greektown” (red onions, artichoke hearts, Roma tomatoes, Greek olives, peppadew peppers, feta cheese, and fresh oregano). 

Based on the thick, gooey, fresh pizza we were served, we knew that the taste wouldn’t be disappointing either. Compared to the thin, greasy pizza we were accustomed to, the freshness was definitely a positive change. In terms of pricing, each medium size pizza was $28. This is definitely on the expensive side for pizza, but the high-quality taste matched what we were paying. Overall, we would recommend this pizza to those looking for a more delectable, high-quality pizza experience.

Hopefully, we have provided you with a list of student-verified restaurants to choose from for your next dining experience. Whether that be Burmese delicacy, unique French pastries, or revolutionary twists on pizza, you will definitely not be disappointed.