Food & Drink

Bay Area’s Best Mac & Cheese

October 26, 2011 12:29 PM

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It’s old school, familiar and comforting. Macaroni and cheese has been an American staple for generations. And this classic is making a gourmet comeback. Here’s the best of the Bay’s cheesiest spots and newest twists on this all time favorite.

4048 Sonoma Highway
Napa, CA
(707) 299-4870

While the Carneros Inn’s fun and casual dining spot, Boonfly Café serves up breakfast lunch, mid-day and dinner, one can only order the mac and cheese in the evening. So that’s when you should go (unless you’re willing to bat your eyelashes and talk the kitchen into hooking you up for lunch.) The mac vs. cheese factor is huge here, and weighs heavily on the cheese side. An indulgence, for sure. But Boonfly is the perfect Wine Country spot for a high-end mac and cheese stop. If you’ve got the time, check out the outdoor bar at the Carneros Inn’s FARM for a cocktail around Napa’s chic-est firepits.

2100 Market Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 503-0333

Home Restaurant was created under the guiding principle that simple, classic comfort food can be prepared in a way that dazzles your taste buds, evokes home-cooked emotions and goes easy on your wallet. What better place, then, to order up mac and cheese? Made with three cheeses and topped with crispy breadcrumbs, this classic is one of many on the fabulous menu. Swing by for the early bird special and dig into a taste of home. Literally.

Presidio Social Club
563 Ruger Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 855-1888
Presidio Social Club

Revamping the Presidio’s old Army Infirmary, Presidio Social Club is one of our favorite north-side spots for a fun, casual dinner date or a quick bite at the bar. Chef Ray Tang’s take on California comfort cuisine and old-school, local classics (with the occasional twist) will liven up even the foggiest San Franciscan evening. The traditional mac and cheese is topped with breadcrumbs, or if you’re in the mood for something similar yet a little lighter, try the Gruyere cheese toasts with tomato dip. It’s grilled cheese and tomato soup for grown-ups. Or really classy kids.

25 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA
(415) 409-Farm

This popular upscale soul food spot offers a fried chicken/macaroni and cheese combo, which might mean a little more time at the gym but is oh-so-worth it. You can also order the farmerbrown macaroni and Tillamook cheddar on the side, but why when you’ve got such a great excuse to add fried chicken?

Epic Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA
(415) 369-9955
Epic Roasthouse

Epic Roasthouse’s mac and cheese is truly epic. Featuring the ear-shaped orricchiette pasta and listed on the menu under “Things You Just Want In A Steakhouse,” this mac and cheese is a very high-end version of the famous classic. Be prepared for just as much cheese as there is “mac” in Chef Jan Birnbaum’s rich and filling side dish.

400 40th Street
Oakland, CA
(510) 597-0400

You won’t want to skip this class. Brand new to the buzzing Oakland dining scene, Homeroom actually specializes in macaroni and cheese made with artisanal cheeses from local cheesemakers. But they’re much more than a mac and cheese shop. You will also find nostalgic treats like homemade oreos and peanut butter pie, tasty veggie sides, and a great selection of local craft beers and wine. There’s even a beer float, with Old Rasputin stout and Three Twins vanilla ice cream.

100 W. San Carlos Street
San Jose, Ca
(408) 278-4555

Arcadia is a sleek and modern Silicon Valley steakhouse, serving classic cuts and traditional steakhouse side dishes with world-renowned Michael Mina’s contemporary twist. You know what that means: Michael Mina Mac and Cheese. Arcadia’s version is truffled, naturally, and comes both as a side or with the fried chicken-for-two. Alternately, Chicken Macaroni and Cheese is an entrée unto itself at Arcadia, served with rosemary rings and truffled cheese. While you’re there (negotiating that start-up funding), order to impress by trying the clever foie gras sliders.

Beth Spotswood, CBS San Francisco

View Comments
  • The Sonia Show

    I would add Broken Record in the Exclesior to this list. Their mac ‘n’ cheese is made with corn bread crumbles AND bacon!

  • D Wright

    Add Piqueos @ 830 Cortland. Veginators beware, Some bacon in this Mac too. Vegiholics try the corn fritters, awesome.

  • Pat Kaye

    You left PICAN on Broadway in Oakland off your list. I had their Mac & Cheese as a side dish with a meal and it was so good, I’d go back for just that…& I live in North Marin County!

  • David King

    BerBersQ in Napa makes the Best Mac & Cheese that I have ever tasted. You should give them a try.

  • James Comport

    I tell you it’s about Zephur’s in Livermore. Randy Tei and his restaurant delivers that “oh please mom let me have some more of that cheesy mac n” cheese. By far the best I have ever had!

  • Alex

    I am a huge mac and cheese fan. One of the best sites I have ever seen for ranking the best mac and cheese dishes in the bay area is:

  • Gretchen

    Blue Plate’s macaroni and drunken Spanish goat cheese is the best.

  • SLV

    Pete’s Tavern on King St in San Francisco has the absolute BEST mac n cheese!!

  • Ben

    Memphis Minnies has yummy mac n cheese too.

  • Foodfan

    Try Fog city diner right by Pier 23. I thought that was one of the best mac and cheese.

  • Kate

    Q on Clement Street!

  • A Moose

    Blue on Market Street!

  • Karin Learned

    Jack’s in Pleasant Hill, Ca….can taste it now, makes three different types of great Mac n’ Cheese

  • Derek

    If your in a hurry, and want an excellent microwave mac and cheese, go to your local Raley’s Grocery Stores. $5.00 for a five cheese mac and cheese. It’s excellent!

  • Theresa
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