Where to Buy Game Meat in the San Francisco Bay Area 2022


Winter is the perfect time to satiate that primal craving for game meat – or at least as close to primal as you can get with our whimsical kamado grills, bouquet garni and port and juniper reductions. California regulations make it difficult for the regular buyer to get their hands on wild game hunted. But there are good options, often in the case of the freezer, if you know where to go. Here are some local stores that sell game meat. Be sure to call ahead to check availability.

Los Gatos Meats and Smokehouse

This institution, which dates back to 1891, carries tons of specialty meats, sometimes even more than listed on their website. They often have venison and elk medallion steaks, ostrich patties and fan fillets (called the giant bird tenderloin), ground bison, wild boar bacon and even frog legs. Plus, there are hearty deli sandwiches, like the smoked tri-tip, and something huge called the Triple Bypass Gut Buster. 575 University Avenue, Los Gatos; losgatosmeats.com

Live Poultry Saba

This place is like a farm with heaps of living ducks and rabbits, until you realize these creatures aren’t going to die peacefully of old age. But let their sacrifice grace your table with super fresh hen, sometimes goose, and rotating selections of pigeon, quail, chukar, pheasant, guinea fowl and old red roosters perfect for stew. A bonus is that many of the meats are halal. 845 Kennedy Street, Oakland; 510-535-1111

The local butcher

This small but wonderfully stocked in Berkeley sometimes carries game like quails and rabbits. They also have heritage ducks and turkeys whose pedigrees date back hundreds of years. Look in the freezer for more esoteric offerings, which may include haggis and chocolate lard cookies. 1600 Shattuck Ave Ste. 120 Berkeley; thelocalbutchershop.com

willow meats

Willowside has served Sonoma farmers and ranchers for nearly six decades in a charming boutique that seems preserved in amber. Besides the more traditional meats, they stock frozen wild boar, ostrich steaks, bison tri-tip and rib eye, rack of elk, and venison in mince, loin, and tenderloin forms. The head butcher is always experimenting with new sausages and marinades. If available, grab some of his homemade jerky. 3421 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa; willowsidemeatsllc.com

Gourmet meats and Wurst-Haus from Dittmer

Founded by a German immigrant, Dittmer’s excels in sausages and smoked meats, including delicacies like Bremer Pinkelwurst and French Blood Rings. But there are also often specialty items in the freezer like quail, buffalo and venison. Take a walk and you might be tempted by impulse buys, including imported mustards and a mix of pretzels. 4540 El Camino Real, Los Altos; dittmers.com

The durable vintage look, with a square checkerboard floor, adds to the appeal of Los Gatos Meats and Smokehouse. (Jim Gensheimer Archive/Bay Area News Group)

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Raymond I. Langston