The Best Farm-To-Table Restaurants In The Bay

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A farm-to-spoon soup at Alta, CA
A farm-to-spoon soup at Alta, CA

The farm-to-table movement originated in the Bay Area and these days, every restaurant in San Francisco and the surrounding regions has some sort of farm-to-table component to their menu. Whether they are sourcing chickens from Petaluma or working directly with a local grower to produce a specific type of kale, every chef is in on the game in one way or another. Just look at how many local eateries have farm in their name! There’s the Farm at Carneros, Farmshop, SingleThread Farm, and Zazu Kitchen + Farm to name a few off the top of our heads. Farm-to-table cuisine is so prominent that there is even talk of SF’s county jails serving inmates meals made with local and seasonal ingredients. While every player is serving garden-to-fork delicacies, there are few essential restaurants that define what it means to be truly farm-to-table. We highlight them below.

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Chez Panisse

Alice Waters’s famed restaurant Chez Panisse is the birthplace of the California cuisine movement. At Chez Panisse, Waters was the first chef in the United States to focus on ingredients rather than technique. She partnered directly with farmers, ranchers, dairies, and other local purveyors to get the exact food items she needed and then she let the ingredient shine. The rest is history.


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Alta, CA

Daniel Patterson’s Alta, CA restaurants are a celebration of Northern California. Just click over to his website where he says that eating at Alta “reflects who we are now—the exquisite ingredients, the vibrant culture, and everything that is great about California.” Pristine local ingredients are used to make comforting and delicious crowd-pleasing cuisine at both eateries, on Market Street and at the Minnesota Street Project.


Manresa. All of the lamb, nectarine, espelette IV CREDIT ERIC WOLFINGERPhoto Credit: Eric Wolfinger

Manresa

Like Waters, David Kinch is a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement. He was one of the first chefs to work with a farm to produce all the fruit and vegetables necessary to serve the restaurant’s nightly diners. For 14 years, Kinch worked exclusively with Love Apple Farm in a famed symbiotic partnership between restaurant and local grower. Although the two parted ways last year, it’s worth mentioning the relationship between Manresa and Love Apple Farm because it was ground-breaking and the first of its kind.


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Farm : Table

A tiny cafe in the middle of SF’s Tenderloin, Farm : Table is a sensational breakfast spot that serves homey dishes made with local, sustainable ingredients. It’s a casual and friendly spot where cafe goers are invited to hang out and enjoy a coffee in the parklet out front. Like all good farm-to-table restaurants, the menu changes daily with different toast, savory tart, and pastry offerings.


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Frances

The menu at Frances, Melissa Perello’s beloved Castro restaurant, is new and distinct every evening. This is because she shops daily and develops the menu around what is fresh that day at the farmers market. It’s a neighborhood eatery that’s so popular it’s turned into a culinary destination—and for good reason. Perello’s cuisine is fantastic.


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Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

Up in Napa, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch is a restaurant in the middle of a farm. The dining room is located in a renovated barn—it doesn’t get much more farm-to-table than that, folks! The cattle ranch and winery provide the eatery with all the beef, produce, and (some of the) wine. It’s a great place to wind down after a day of exploring wine country and we highly recommend you check it out.

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