New Year! New Food!
1 Almanac Taproom and Beer Garden
The first brick-and-mortar outpost of Almanac Beer Co. has landed in the Mission, boasting a menu of creative snacks, sausages, and burgers. There is also a huge selection of Almanac’s signature style of barrel-aged beers on tap, as well as fresh beers, cans, bottles, and growlers to go. When the weather’s nice, grab a seat on the back patio for premium beer drinking.
2 August 1 Five
A brightly hued new restaurant from a former techie and the chef from Rasika in DC has landed on Van Ness, offering a new interpretation of traditional Indian cuisine. Small plates, tandoor, and boozy cocktails are part of the charm at lunch and dinner.
3 Babu Ji
Following their NYC restaurant’s lead, Jessi and Jennifer Singh have brought their party-forward, “inauthentic Indian” restaurant Westward. A self-serve beer fridge, laid-back vibe, and bold dishes like Colonel Tso’s cauliflower make this a buzzy place for drinks and dinner
This ambitious project from the Absinthe Group (Absinthe Brasserie and Bar, Boxing Room) has been in the works for almost three years. Now it’s open, serving chef Ryan McIlwraith’s (Coqueta) refined Spanish cuisine. Paellas, tapas (including a creamy clam and uni croqueta), pintxos and wood-fired mains are all part of the appeal. Add a glass of cider, sherry or Spanish white wine and you’ll be transported out of SF.
5 Black Cat
The Tenderloin is having a classy moment, with the opening of this supper club. The stylish new spot offers a hip upstairs dining room, and a rarefied jazz club down below. The retro vibe is strong, offering a menu with sections for meatballs, pot pies, and latkes, respectively. It’s reservation-only for those wishing to soak up some live jazz downstairs, so plan ahead.
6 Coin-Op Game Room
The San Diego-based bar, restaurant, and arcade haven has descended on SoMa, with a menu of shareable comfort food, sandwiches, pizzas, and more. It’s a clinking, jangling hangout filled with arcade games new and old, plus the addition of a Tron-themed speakeasy (which will open sometime in January).
Since opening, the newest restaurant from Hi Neighbor restaurant group has been gaining steam. The quick-service model allowing diners to order at either the counter or the table, combined with a menu of well-priced comfort food has made a mark in the tenuous mid-Market neighborhood. Dishes like spicy meatballs with foccacia croutons, meatloaf wellington, and the garganelli bolognese with burrata (also a favorite at sister restaurant Trestle) are excellent for a quick lunch, or pre-symphony dinner.
Flores, the latest from the crew behind Uno Dos Tacos, features traditional Mexican food, from Lolinda executive chef Alejandro Morgan’s point of view. Fresh tortillas are the centerpiece for dishes like mole negro poblano, duck confit enchiladas and pork shoulder carnitas. Cocktails, beer and wine round out the lively scene, which unfolds in a dining room lined with festive murals.
9 In Situ
With the grand reopening of the SFMOMA comes In Situ, the newest restaurant from chef Corey Lee (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin). The restaurant’s unique concept recreates the dishes of high-profile chefs at restaurants all over the world, including Thomas Keller, Wylie Dufresne, Rene Redzepi, and SF’s own Anthony Myint. Lee considers it an extension of the museum itself, offering diners access to culinary works of art that they might not normally encounter. Luckily, the art is as tasty as it is inventive; dine in the lounge for a casual bite, or make reservations for lunch or dinner.
Mezcalito has breathed new life into a space that’s seen several restaurants pass through in recent years; now it’s a lively, mezcal-fueled bar and restaurant serving Oaxacan cuisine. Octopus tostadas, ceviche, and fish tacos headline the menu, alongside a robust list of mezcal cocktails, and bottles.
11 Mister Jiu’s
After years in the making, chef Brandon Jew’s hotly anticipated Chinatown restaurant has opened, offering a five-course, banquet-style menu of contemporary Chinese food. The thoroughly modern space is in the old Four Seas restaurant, now a destination for family-style meals using premium ingredients. Sizzling rice soup, salt and pepper Monterey squid, and tea smoked duck are some of the options, accompanied by cocktails from Danny Louie.
The semi-permanent pop-up from Bar Tartine’s Nick Balla and Cortney Burns is turning out homey dishes with Japanese influences, like Chicken ‘nare’ rice porridge with sausage, egg, peanuts, and schmaltz. Order a la carte or go for the “everything” prixe fix for $58, wherein diners receive generous portions of, well, everything.
After months of delays, chef Kim Alter’s (Haven, Plum) first solo project is here, and it was worth the wait. The minimal, but cozy space sets the scene for Alter’s tasting menu ($125) that changes with the seasons. A “two minute quail egg” topped with brown butter hollandaise and snuggled into a nest of fried leeks starts things off, with subsequent dishes showing off California produce at every turn. The accompanying wine list is offbeat and filled with unique varietals. After dinner, head next door to the seven-seat Linden Room for a nightcap.
From the team behind lauded Sushi Ran in Sausalito, Nomica is a rowdy drinking den with upscale food. Dishes like beef tartare and karaage chicken are backed up by baller items like foie gras ice cream and whole chicken in brioche with miso butter, shiso chimichurri, and chicken essence, meant for four people and requiring 24-hour notice. Sip on Awamori, a rice-based distilled liquor from Okinawa that is making an SF debut at Nomica.
Only 12 seats are available at Masa Sasaki’s Mission sushi restaurant, all at the bar in full view of the master’s techniques. After opening Maruya and earning a Michelin star, this is Sasaki’s first solo venture. It’s a hot ticket for both limited availability as well as demand for the chef’s skillful preparation of fish, which is available only in omakase format (~$180, price varies).
16 Tartine Manufactory
The long-awaiting expansion from Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery has arrived, and it’s a doozy. The combination bakery, coffee shop (and roastery), ice cream shop, restaurant, and bar is now open for lunch (expect the ice cream component and dinner to open shortly). It’s a gorgeous space in the same building as Heath Ceramics, offering an all-day respite with some of the very best breads, pastries, sandwiches, and basically everything, in town. Check out our guide on how to navigate the Manufactory here .
17 The Morris
After multiple delays, sommelier Paul Einbund has finally opened his first restaurant with chef/partner Gavin Schmidt. A menu of dishes like the already famous chicken dumpling with foie gras, and a Dungeness crab porridge with carrots and lemongrass have drawn in neighbors and industry folk alike. Add in Einbund’s extensive wine list, and a selection of vintage Chartreuse, and you’ve got the whole package.
18 The Saratoga
The newest dining destination from Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Village Pub) is a gleaming beacon of whiskey at the corner of Post and Larkin. The building is over 100 years old, with exposed brick, original steel beams, and now a host of swanky modern updates. A menu of upscale comfort food like dry-aged steak au poivre and souped up tater tots make this a posh dinner and late night destination.
(Thanks SF Eater)