Stories / Awards, Guides and Tips

A Nominee's Guide to the Best Bay Area Bites

Outstanding Chef Contender David Kinch's Top Spots

Hilary Deutsch

April 19, 2018


Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos 

Between magazines, websites, and your friend of a friend who knows everything about the latest restaurant you just have try, it can be hard to distinguish a first-rate recommendation from the bottom of the barrel. That’s why we went straight to the source: this year’s nominees for the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, a group of celebrated tastemakers you know you can trust. Read on to hear from David Kinch, of Manresa in Los Gatos, California, for his favorite local haunts for the best roast chicken, house-milled bread, romantic dinner, and beyond.

Date Night

Zuni Café is a longtime favorite, where I almost always order the same thing: oysters, roast chicken for two, and Burgundy. A perfect date-night dinner. Cotogna has a great California trattoria vibe and a warm atmosphere that makes everyone comfortable. Foreign Cinema is romantic: dinner and a movie! Californios is a foodie date dream, it’s provocative and has delicious food and a romantic environment.

Cheap Eats

A bowl of Yaka Mein at the Bywater in Los Gatos. Spicy broth, rice noodles with egg, and house-cured brisket and pork belly. It’s good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like Cajun pho.


Menudo at Tacqueria Los Pericos in Santa Cruz. It’s the best way to start a Sunday after a long Saturday night. It nourishes the soul.


Bar Agricole and Trou Normand. Sister restaurants with the best cocktails in the city, in my opinion.


Manresa Bread, where all the grains are milled in-house and slow-fermented for flavor and digestibility. It has a great selection of both savory and sweet Viennoiserie.

Learn more about the 2018 James Beard Awards or subscribe to our Awards newsletter for breaking news. 


Hilary Deutsch is digital media coordinator at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.