The Mercury News did a round-up of the Bay area’s top restaurants run by women, thanks to the writers Martha Ross and Jackie Burrell.
Atelier Crenn (and don’t forget her casual diner Petit Crenn)
This sensational San Francisco restaurant from celebrity chef Dominique Crenn was the first female-led restaurant in the country to hold two Michelin stars. Reservations are a must at this tiny, tasting-menu-centric restaurant.
From a culinary career as a Santa Cruz jam maker and food blogger, the Bangkok-born Pim Techamuanvivit made the leap to chef-restaurateur in San Francisco in 2014 — with great success. Her Kin Khao now holds a Michelin star.
This Portuguese restaurant in San Jose helmed by the Carreira family, with chef Jessica Carreira wearing the pastry toque, earned a Michelin star its first year. Raised in this Little Portugal neighbourhood, Carreira fine-tuned her skills in Lisbon.
Brown Sugar Kitchen
The fried chicken and cornmeal waffles at this Tanya Holland-helmed restaurant in Oakland are a favourite with celebs, politicos and average joes alike. You can watch Holland on the current season of “Top Chef,” but we’d rather admire her delicious fare firsthand.
Flea St. Cafe
Long before organic was cool, Cool was organic. That’s chef-owner Jesse Ziff Cool, who for four decades has espoused a philosophy of seasonal, organic cooking at her flagship Menlo Park restaurant, Flea St. Cafe, and her Palo Alto cafe, tucked inside the Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford campus.
The cocktails are hand-crafted, the Spanish tapas delish and the vibe effortlessly cool at this hot spot near Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Shakewell hails from “Top Chef” alum Jen Biesty and the mood is so convivial, you may find yourself sharing bites with the folks at the next table.
Sausalito’s fresh, seasonal Mexican tequileria and comida is the work of co-owner Joanne Weir, longtime chef, culinary instructor and KQED cooking show host. Everything here is gluten-free, the produce hails from the restaurant’s gardens, and the tacos and margaritas are top notch.
Zazu Kitchen & Farm
Duskie Estes is the co-owner and chef behind this award-winning Sebastopol farm-to-table restaurant, which grows much of the produce for its sensational, micro-seasonal menu. Recommended by the 2016 Michelin Guide.
Nido Kitchen & Bar
Silvia McCollow’s Nido is a culinary jewel located in the Jack London warehouse district of Oakland, where the team specializes in farm-fresh Mexican plates from the country’s central and Pacific coast. Be sure to check out the mezcals and margaritas.
This ambitious new Oakland restaurant from owners Sandra Davis, Lea Redmond, and Anna Villalobos has two storefronts: a small cafe serving Roast Co. coffee and grab-and-go items and a 21-and-over rooftop bar and restaurant specializing in Latin American small plates with Asian and Middle Eastern influences.
And there are a few other chefs and restaurateurs we would include on the list as well…
Cortney Burns - co-chef/owner
Melissa Reitz - chef
Traci de Jardin - chef/owner
Jardiniere/ Mijita / The Commissary
Melissa Perello - chef/owner
Preeti Mistry - chef/owner
Juhu Beach Club/ Navi Kitchen
Gabriella Camara - chef/owner
Cala (and Contramar in Mexico City)
Wassana Korkhieola and Lalita Souksamlane - chefs/owner
Osha Thai/ Lao Table
Alice Waters - restaurateur
Jennifer Puccio - chef/owner
Marlowe/ Park Tavern/ The Cavalier/ Leo’s Oyster Bar
Michelle Miniri - executive chef
Avery Ruzicka - head baker
Sarah Rich - chef/owner
Rich Table/ RT Rotisserie
Kim Alter - chef/owner
Nightbird/ Linden Room