Burma Café in Daly City
When I first sat down to write this article, I typed in “Burma” into my search engine to confirm a little bit of geographic and historical context before describing this restaurant, and Google did exactly what most people in San Francisco do – automatically complete with the phrase “Burma Superstar,” which for those of you who don’t know, is a very popular restaurant with locations in the Inner Richmond and the East Bay.
Burma, also known as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, sits tucked along the Bay of Bengal between China, India, and Thailand. The cuisine is an appropriate blend of these influences with common dishes including curries, flat breads, noodle soups, spiced rice, and seafood. I was looking for a Burmese restaurant for a birthday date with my wife and wanted to find a restaurant that had fantastic food without the hustle bustle of the most popular place in the city. It took quite a while before the idea hit me to actually look outside the city, and I am overwhelmingly happy to have found Burma Café in Daly City.
Admittedly, public transport options to this location are tedious and complicated, but even if you don’t have a car, a weekend trip by bicycle for lunch is within reason at less than 10 miles each way. However you decide to get there, you’ll be delighted as soon as you walk through the door. The paint and décor are calming and comfortable, and the aromas that fill the air catch one’s interest without being overpowering. Wait staff are attentive and genuinely friendly without ever being annoying. And then there’s the food.
We poured glasses from a pot of tea infused with the faintest hint of lychee and started on a Grape Leaf Salad. In this dish, chopped grape leaves were combined with sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, split peas and golden raisins, for a beautifully balanced combination of aromatic, savory and sweet flavors with varied textures. Our next course was a Catfish Chowder, which felt immediately like a hug from grandma. It consisted of rice noodles and ground catfish in a soup base with onions, cilantro, lemon, and chili powder served on the side to add to taste.
The main course was a Kabocha squash/pumpkin curry, cooked until tender in a thick sauce of spices with a slightly North Indian feel. It was served over biriyani rice, gently flavored with saffron and turmeric. When the waitress found out it was my wife’s birthday, she brought a dessert made from a buttered, flat bread (roti) served with hazelnut and chocolate spread and a scoop of ice cream.
The flavors were very lovely overall — complex without being confusing, and our favorites were the salad and soup. Equally important, the staff knew their menu well, and the dishes we liked best were the ones they recommended. Prices are fair at roughly $10 per large dish and $3–$6 per side dish. The atmosphere was quiet without feeling deserted, and I know we’ll go back. Enjoy!
63 St. Francis Square
Daly City, CA 94015
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tuesday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.