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It’s cold and getting colder, so here’s The Standard’s hot chocolate roundup

Salted caramel hot chocolate is on the menu at The Chocolate Dragon. | Courtesy the Chocolate Dragon

Rich, frothy and creamy—an exceptional cup of hot chocolate can and has warmed the gloomiest of hearts. (See: me after Korea and Japan got eliminated from the World Cup.)

Whether you prefer your hot chocolate scooped instead of poured, or you’re looking for a spot you can settle into late at the night with friends, here’s our list of the Bay Area’s best hot chocolate destinations. This is your sign to hit up your bestie and treat yourselves to a lovely morning, afternoon or evening of marshmallow-y goodness. After all, hot chocolate’s one of the best ways to tell your body it’s the holiday season, second only of course to listening to Mariah Carey.

Spicy drinking chocolate is available at Casa de Chocolates in Berkeley. | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

Casa de Chocolates


The home of the award-winning mole bonbon also serves a killer hot chocolate—and we highly recommend adding chili flakes for a well-rounded kick. This small-batch chocolatier, which puts out a four-pound Aztec calendar made entirely of 61% dark chocolate, honors the Mesoamerican origins of cacao.

📍2629 Ashby Ave., Berkeley

Casa de Chocolates' spicy drinking chocolate has a well-rounded kick. | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

The Chocolate Dragon


The salted caramel hot chocolate at The Chocolate Dragon is to die for. It’s also the best spot if you’re looking to chill with some friends or post up with a book and your laptop. It’s a lively, friendly place where you can also find exceptional drinks in all shapes and sizes from white hot chocolate—don’t come for me, haters—to its bicerin, a traditional Italian drink from Torino that’s made with espresso, rich drinking chocolate and whipped cream.

📍5427 College Ave., Oakland

Hot chocolate is a crowd-pleasing item at La Oaxaqueña in the Mission. | Olivia Cruz Mayeda/The Standard

La Oaxaqueña

The Mission

Known for the Oaxacan specialty tlayuda, La Oaxaqueña’s lesser known but crowd-pleasing menu item is its hot chocolate. The restaurant sources its chocolate discs from Oaxaca, which team members melt down in steamed milk for a delicious, cinnamony treat.

📍2128 Mission St., SF

Salt & Straw

Pacific Heights

OK, hear me out: This one may not be hot, but it is chocolate. For those who can get down with ice cream on a cold winter’s day, pop by Salt & Straw for a scoop of peppermint cocoa. And while you’ve already committed to being your quirky self, check out its Cloud of Cocoa “culinary perfume” that will have you smelling like Ecuadorian chocolate, malted milkshake and Japanese whisky.

📍2201 Fillmore St. SF