Heading to the San Francisco Bay for holidays? Don’t break your bank in Northern California and head over to these local hole-in-the-wall joints to enjoy some tasty food!


Photo of Homeroom - Oakland, CA, United States. Mexican Mac
Mexican mac stuffed with spicy pork chorizo and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (photo by: Greg R. )

Located in the heart of Oakland, Homeroom, has some of the best mac and cheese in the whole Bay Area. Most of the restaurant was built by hand with a quirky school-house theme including tables made from bleachers from a local high school. Not only is it cute and trendy, but they’ve got a killer menu with over a dozen different choices of specialty macs…or you can make your own! This joint is Vegan friendly, family friendly, and group friendly. After all, they are named after the class in school that served only one purpose: to connect with friends and classmates!


Rubiano’s famous wings. (Photo by: Homa Khugyani)

Passing by San Leandro? Stop by Rubiano’s Pizzeria for some chicken wings slathered in a house made spicy garlic buffalo sauce. Rubiano’s is known around the Bay Area for their special off-menu wing selection and perfectly made pizzas. The small bar carries local craft beer on draft and loads of bar snacks, and if bar food is just not your thing, their menu is filled with other options like pastas, salads, and calzones.


Fried chicken, spicy greens, mac and cheese, and buttered cornbread (image by: Jan T)

Southern Flavors is a small family owned business in Hayward that gives enormous portions and big Louisiana flavor. With their unbeatable prices and huge plates, they are easily one of the most affordable places to get soul food in the Bay Area. Their menu offers weekly specials such as smothered oxtails and every day favorites like their juicy fried chicken, candied yams, and fried catfish. Food is always fresh and made to order, so if you’re on a time crunch it is best to call ahead of time to have them start preparing your order. Southern Flavors is cash only at the moment, but very worth the trouble of stopping by an ATM on your way over!


Tacos de al pastor and carne asada with habanero salsa (Photo by: Kenneth Turner)

If you’re ever in Fremont and craving the best street tacos, Tlacoyos, and burritos outside of Mexico, Tacos El Chavo is the place to visit. El Chavo is a family run food truck that is very dear to every Bay Area salsa lover’s heart. Their menu features a variety of meats such as their slow roasted al pastor (marinated pork), carne asada (steak), pollo (chicken), and cabeza (beef head). You can top off your food with mild salsa verde and extra hot habanero salsa which is made from scratch every day. If you’re out on the town and everything is closed, you can bet that Tacos El Chavo is parked outside of the Red Wing’s shoe store and ready to feed you some authentic Mexican food at 2 a.m.!


Photo of De Afghanan Kabob House - San Francisco, CA, United States. Triple Kabob platter.. So good! Chicken was my favorite!
Triple kabob platter with beef, chicken, and chaplee kabobs (Photo by Ellen W. )

De Afghanan Kabob House is a family owned Afghan restaurant offering the locals and tourists in Fremont and San Francisco with a taste of the mouth watering flavors of Kabul’s street food. Not only is it popular in Middle Eastern communities within Northern California, but also with all Bay Area foodies, and those who saw it featured on Andrew Zimmern’s TV show Bizarre Foods America on the travel channel. Some of their menu favorites include bolani (turnover filled with potatoes or sweet butternut squash), qabili pallow ( Seasoned rice baked with lamb shank and topped with julienne carrots and fried raisins), as well as their triple kabob platter (pictured above).


Spicy whole fish (Photo by: Miki C.)

SiChuan Style is an authentic Szechwan and Hunan cuisine restaurant in Berkeley. This particular cuisine is known for the aromatic spicy seasonings and savory sauces included in each dish. Their menu includes Chef’s signature dishes such as boiling and spicy whole fish (pictured above), as well as a cost friendly lunch deal on weekdays. The lunch specials are all under $10 and include a wide variety of items such as garlic chicken and broccoli beef. The special also comes with hot soup, appetizers, and steamed or fried rice for free! Students, families, and solo travelers can always be spotted at SiChuan Style because of their great prices, high quality ingredients and kickin’ flavors.