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The best Asian restaurants in the Bay Area according to chef Robin Song

Robin Song
Photograph: Courtesy Robin Song


Chef Robin Song has a long and hyperlocal pedigree. You might recognize him from Hog & Rocks (or Bay Wolf or Plum) or even from his popular Korean pop-up, Junju. These days, Song is keeping busy with a new baby at home and a new restaurant, Gibson (111 Mason St). Focused on live fire cooking, local ingredients and elegant Art Deco decor, the new spot inside Hotel Bijou. In the meantime, check out a few of Song’s favorite local food and drink destinations.


Pho favorites

“Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food) introduced me to a dry pho at Pho Tan Hoa (431 Jones St) that is to die
for and the owner always puts a smile on your face.”

Chinese classics

“We recently moved back to Oakland, and East Ocean in Alameda (1713 Webster St) is always consistent. It’s family-owned and they just get it. Even American classics like pot stickers are great here.”

Korean comfort food

“My favorite is gamja-tang. It translates to potato stew, but it’s all about pork neck bones  simmered slow with fermented chili and soybean paste with a ton of fresh herbs. If done well, it’s true comfort food.”

Destination drinks

“If I lived in Lower Pac Heights, I’d always be at Tofino Wines (2696 Geary Blvd) sipping from one of the most thoughtful wine selections in the Bay Area.”