Mouth-tingling, lip-numbing heat is a major theme in Sichuan cuisine, and the menu at Z&Y Restaurant puts it front and center. Red-hot chilies and Sichuan peppercorns work hand-in-hand (a combination called má là), treating your taste buds to an explosion of burn before soothing them with a mild buzz. These vibrant dishes that don’t hold back on flavor—like duck blood with pickled vegetables and vermicelli, griddle-cooked intestine stew, and braised fish head with chili peppers—make this one of the best Sichuan restaurants in the Bay Area. Balance out the intensity and order the fried rice with black truffle and a few greens, like stir-fried Napa cabbage or dry-sautéed string beans. You’ll also want to bring a group of spice-loving friends to catch up over dinner at this laid-back spot—the round tables with lazy Susans are great for family-style dining.

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