Homemade Irish Soda Bread (credit: Thinkstock)
Irish soda bread (traditionally made with white or brown flour, soured milk, salt and baking soda as leavening instead of yeast) can be found in the Bay Area year-round, but it is especially popular around March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. While there are a number of bakeries who make great loaves and scones fresh in San Francisco, the South Bay also provides opportunities to find and sample this delicious table bread. There are a limited number of South Bay bakeries who make it on the premises and also local restaurants who serve it fresh daily on their lunch or dinner menus.
705 Bermuda Drive
San Mateo, CA 94403
This family-owned bakery was established in 1994 by two sisters (Vicky Co and Lily Sy) and everything is made from scratch. They specialize in cake designs for all occasions and have earned a local reputation for catering corporate events as well. Their Irish soda bread scones ($2.25) are made fresh daily at their location in San Mateo, located near the intersection of Highways 101 and 92. Their soda bread is good, popular and sells out quickly, so either get there early or order ahead.
223 Castro St.
Mountain View, CA 94041
The restaurant is named for a popular park in Dublin, Ireland where people gather to escape the stress of modern life. It was opened in 1999 and is a combination Irish sports bar and restaurant. It’s also been known to open early for a particularly popular soccer match. Their Irish soda bread is made fresh daily on the premises and is usually served with the Irish stew or as a side dish if preferred. In addition to sports and soda bread, customers can also be treated to DJs spinning music on Friday and Saturday.
1216 Burlingame Ave.
Burlingame, CA 94010
Since 1977, this family-owned business has survived major changes in their downtown Burlingame location that saw the influx of numerous chain stores and the loss of many independent merchants. The owners, Ralf and his wife Sherri, learned the bakery business in Denmark and then moved back to California and opened their own shop. Their Irish soda bread ($4.95) is only made on Thursday when they are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Copenhagen also includes a restaurant which is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
831 Main St.
Redwood City, CA 94063
A gastropub is generally defined as a public place specializing in high-quality dining in a sophisticated and comfortable environment. Managing partner Moira Beveridge and Chef Michael Dotson were inspired to name it after the famed Martins Restaurant in Endinburgh, Scotland. Opened with much acclaim in 2009, Martins West is located in a large, historic downtown Redwood City building. Their Irish soda bread is made fresh daily in the kitchen and is served with the Shepherd’s Pie.
156 South Murphy St.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
This authentic-feeling Irish pub is located in the up-and-coming Murphy Avenue section of Sunnyvale, an area that is gaining in local popularity and nightlife. The owners were raised in Ireland and have also opened a sister pub with no kitchen (Molly MaGees) in nearby Mountain View. Fibbar’s serves Irish soda bread with their Irish stew and potato leek soup, and also as a side dish. The Sunnyvale location is open every day until the wee hours (2 a.m.), just as a proper Irish pub should.
Related: Best Irish Bars In The Bay Area