Mac and Cheeses in the Bay Area That Will Make You Drool
Tackle your comfort food cravings with some of the Bay Area's most outrageously delicious mac and cheese creations.
Some foods you eat because they’re trendy and some foods you eat because they’re too bizarre not to; but when you’re homesick or tired or cozy, you don’t crave fancy foie gras or squid tentacles. You want something simple and familiar, a dish that is basically a creamy, carby hug that reminds you that you’re gonna make it after all. We're referring, of course, to macaroni and cheese.
From the blue box of Kraft to your grandma’s secret recipe, there are few meals that make you feel so good so fast. And it’s no surprise that in the land of adult children, this is one dish many restaurants throw on the menu. Here are some of the best macs in the Bay.
Bender's806 South Van Ness Ave.
This is the perfect, non-pretentious mac for when you’re craving all the Kraft you used to eat. It’s definitely a step up from our favorite blue box. Bender’s version is gooey and thick, and pairs well with the tartness of side dishes like fried pickles or tater tots. Plus, this hearty mac can serve as the perfect foundation for a night of serious drinking or an “it’s getting late and I’m suddenly starving” option. If you’re adventurous, Bender’s also makes grilled mac and cheese sandwiches that are to die for.
Homeroom400 40th St., Oakland
If you had only one day left on this earth you should go to Homeroom, sit down, and eat every one of its 12 mac and cheeses. The Mexican Mac is a fiesta of fresh chorizo, chipotle peppers, and Jack cheese, and the lime you get on the side makes all the difference. One squirt of citrus and the mac gets a refreshing twist. The chorizo is spicy but not overpoweringly so. The Gilroy Mac makes your taste buds feel like they are sinking slowly into a cheesy garlic bath. Splurge and add bread crumbs to the top of any mac for just 99 cents. You are so worth it.
Souley Vegan301 Broadway, Oakland
It’s okay to be skeptical about fake cheese, but the mac and cheese at Souley Vegan will lead you to the vegan promised land. With thick, deliciously sloppy noodles and oozing “cheese” sauce, this mac tastes anything but artificial. You don’t have to know what kind of cashew or vegetable had to die to make the creamy sauce here, but whatever it is, it’s a worthy sacrifice. This mac also has a strong, lovely cayenne bite that makes this dish the spiciest on the list. Pair it with crispy fried tofu and you’re in for a good time.
Wayfare Tavern558 Sacramento St.
This is a surprisingly simple dish for such an upscale establishment. Wayfare Tavern’s mac is luscious, made with Vella dry Jack cheese and a panko crumb crust that stays crunchy. The white sauce tastes like the delicious love child of traditional mac and cheese sauce and Alfredo sauce. It’s baked with floppy noodles that are more conducive to a good slurp than most macaroni noodles. The sauce is so good you’ll want to lick the bowl clean, but don’t — the fancy waitstaff will judge you hard core.