I relied on the advice from this board for my recent trip to the SF area, so I thought I'd share my experiences.
Cafe Fanny (Berkeley) - Had lunch here twice and really enjoyed it booth times. The weather was great and though the tables are overlooking a parking lot, it's a good spot for a quick lunch.
Tomate (Berkeley) - Had a late breakfast here one day. Very good! Especially the potato cake they make.
Chez Panisse Restaurant (Berkeley) - Despite some of the negative views here, my daughter really wanted to go here for dinner and I'm glad we did. First of all, the service was excellent. Very attentive, but not overly so. My daughter is a vegetarian and they accommodated her needs without making her feel like she was missing out on anything. We even got to tour the kitchen and meet the chef following dinner...very interesting! Most amazing was the dessert, a berry souffle. Perfect.
Mayo Family Winery Reserve Room (Sonoma) - Did the tasting menu with wine pairings lunch. It was fun and the food was excellent. Chef Clayton Lewis gave interesting descriptions of how the food pairings complimented the wines. We really enjoyed our experience here.
Rutherford Ranch Winery (St. Helena) - Went to chocolate and wine tasting here (had a groupon). It was nice, but wines and chocolate servings were a bit skimpy.
Bourban & Branch (SF) - I know it's a touristy thing to do, but we wanted to go. Had lots of fun and the drinks were excellent. I had the Runway and my daughter had the Gin Cucumber Gimlet.
Papalote Mexican Grill (Mission District) - Inexpensive counter service Mexican food. My Chicken Mole Quesadillas was good, but my daughter thought her bean burrito was just okay.
The Boxing Room (SF) - Found this place by chance when I was hungry. I understand that this Cajun fare restaurant is fairly new. I really enjoyed the beef brisket special and liked the modern vibe of the place. The service was excellent.
Burma Superstar (SF) - We enjoyed the interesting food here. We had several vegetarian dishes and everything was good, especially the fried bread.
Since the weather was so beautiful, we enjoyed a few picnics and didn't get to as many restaurants as I had planned, but I feel like we had a good sampling of the area cuisine on a budget in the company of a vegetarian.
Burma Superstar Restaurant
309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709
1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702
Papalote Mexican Grill
1777 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Mayo Family Winery
13101 Arnold Dr Glen, Ellen, CA
399 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102