There's two kinds of restaurants in this world: the ones that bring instant name recognition (in the case of the East Bay, there's Chez Panisse) and the sleeper hits that have great local buzz in the community, but not nationwide acclaim (such as Brown Sugar Kitchen.)
The "household name" restaurants are burdened with living up to great expectations as their reputations precede them; their merit is often hotly contested on an ongoing basis at Yelp and other review sites. The underground sensations just keep quietly doing their own, wonderful thing, with only those in the know appreciating these local gems.
Chop Bar, located near Jack London Square in Oakland, is one of those places that you only tell a select special circle of food aficionado friends about because a) you know they'll appreciate it and b) you want it to be popular, but not so popular that you can't get in and/or it loses its charm. It's the go-to place for me and my husband to get a burger. We'll force ourselves to go on long, arduous bike rides so we feel that we've earned that burger and not feel guilty about the bacon and cheese that's heaped upon it. (I would write sonnets about their burger if I could write decent poetry.)