Urban Chef Report: Craig Stoll's Favorite Bay Area Eats

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Chef Craig Stoll. Photo by Eric Wolfinger
Chef Craig Stoll. Photo by Eric Wolfinger

Where does Craig Stoll like to shop and eat in the Bay Area? Stoll cued Bay Area Bites into his top picks via a recent email interview. He is the chef-owner of Delfina and Delfina Pizzeria(s), a growing mini-empire of San Francisco based Italian restaurants. He and his wife Annie Stoll live in the Mission in San Francisco with their eight year old daughter, Lucy. Stoll said,

"(We) love to be part of the neighborhood in which we work and own a business and where most of our staff live." He added that as a family unit, the Stolls like to hang out at home "when we can find the time," and that "family dinner is the best."

Speculation on the Stolls next restaurant venture continues to fuel the chatter; and the Twitterverse went into high alert mode when Craig tweeted "Waitin here at SFO for our flight to Mexico for a little R&D...Did I say that? I meant R&R" on April 3rd. It was later revealed on various outlets that the Stolls are definitely taking over the Ramblas space on Valencia, for what may be a Roman food concept, expected to open in late spring or early this summer.

The Stolls opened Delfina together in 1998, and have attracted prime time crowds, as well as later adding two Delfina Pizzeria locations. Chances of getting a coveted sidewalk table or even parking spot in front of the 18th Street Delfina Pizzeria vary wildly, but the promise of a gourmet Napoletana (tomato, anchovies, capers, hot peppers, olives, and oregano) pizza pie with a side of greens in a Insalata Tricolore salad with Grana Padano cheese generally make it a worth the effort. If you can't afford that trip to Rome or the East Coast, this is a nice staycation meal City option. The service and Italian fare are a combined effort for the couple, with Craig running the food and kitchen operations and Annie handling everything else. This blogger does occasional catering for Bi-Rite Market, and prepped with some of Stoll's cooks for the 18th Street Block Party in 2008.

Here are Craig Stoll's picks for where to shop and eat. His main source for food may be the one with the easiest access. Stoll confessed that "I often shop out of the walk-in cooler at Delfina," which sounds like as good a FIFO (first in, first out) inventory system as any. Stoll's comments have been edited for content and brevity.


Shopping Spots: Bi-Rite & La Palma.

Bi-Rite Market
3639 18th Street (between Dolores Street and Guerrero Street) Map
(415) 241-9760
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.

Stoll: "Unbelievably vibrant. Best market anywhere-across the board; meat, fish and produce. (It's) constantly evolving, improving, expanding. (I’m) always blown away."

La Palma
2884 24th Street (between Florida Street and Bryant Street) Map
(415) 647-1500
Hours: Monday - Saturday 8am to 6pm
Sunday 8am to 5pm

Stoll: "We live down the street and stop in for ingredients or prepared food."

Eating Spots: Thep Phenom, Bistro Aix, (Anonymous) Mission Taco Trucks, Swan Oyster Depot, Nopa and Nopalito, Out the Door, Sunflower, Saigon Sandwich, Limon Rotisserie, Spruce and Zuni.

Thep Phanom
400 Waller Street (at Fillmore Street) Map
(415) 431-2526
Hours: Daily 5:30pm to 10:30 pm

Stoll: "When we come back from a family trip we always go to Thep Phanom or Bistro Aix. We have a taco truck at either end of our block. (I) don't want to admit how often I eat there."

Bistro Aix
3340 Steiner Street (between Chestnut Street and Lombard Street) Map
(415) 202-0100
Hours: Monday - Thursday 6:30pm to 10pm
Friday - Saturday 5:30pm to 11pm
Sunday 5:30pm to 9:30pm

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk Street (between California Street and Sacramento Street) Map
(415) 673-1101
Hours: Monday - Saturday 8am to 5:30pm

Stoll: Swan Oyster Depot is "classic and timeless, irony-free."

560 Divisadero Street (at Hayes Street) Map
(415) 864-8643
Hours: Monday - Sunday 6pm to close

306 Broderick Street (between Oak Street and Fell Street) Map
(415) 437-0303
Hours: Monday - Sunday 11am to 10pm

Out the Door Ferry Building
1 Ferry Building (Stall #5) Map
(415) 321-3740
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:30am to 6pm
Closed Sunday

Stoll: "Daughter Lucy is a pho/spring roll fanatic. (We go to) Out the Door, (or) Sunflower in a pinch."

3111 16th Street (at Valencia Street) Map
(415) 626-5022
Hours: Monday - Friday 11:30am to close
Saturday - Sunday 12:30pm to close

Saigon Sandwich
560 Larkin Street (between Eddy Street and Turk Street) Map
(415) 474-5698
Hours: Monday - Saturday 6am to 6pm
Sunday 7am to 5pm

Stoll: "(I go to) Saigon Sandwich whenever I can."

Limon Rotisserie
1001 S. Van Ness Street (between 21st Street and 22nd Street) Map
(415) 821-2134
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 12pm to 10pm
Friday - Saturday 12:30pm to 10:30pm

Stoll: "(We get) take out from Limon Rotisserie."

3640 Sacramento Street (between Locust Street and Spruce Street) Map
(415) 931-5100
Hours: Monday - Friday 11:30am to 2:30 pm
Monday – Thursday & Sunday 5pm to 10 pm
Friday - Sunday 5pm to 11pm

For date night, the Stolls go to "Spruce when we want to feel coddled. Zuni's up the street. We always have a list of new places we want to try."

Zuni Café
1658 Market Street (between Franklin and Gough) Map
(415) 553-2522
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 11:30 am to 11 pm
Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to midnight
Sunday 11:00 am to 11:00 pm | Closed Monday