Zagat GOOGLE INC Travel & Local

Free App on Google Play

View

Feature

10 Hottest New Restaurants in San Francisco

By Virginia Miller
July 15, 2014
Photo by: Virginia Miller

It's been another fine season of new restaurant openings. And the streak continues, with some weeks averaging six newcomers. From two new sushi temples to a Mexican-Peruvian combo, here are 10 of the most exciting openings of recent weeks.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Urchin Bistrot

    Why It's Hot: From the owners of St. Helena's Terra and Bar Terra and Ame in SoMa, Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani opened the more casual Urchin Bistrot in the former Wo Hing General Store space in the Mission on August 4th. Chef Michael Morrison and GM Susan Naderi Johnston are running the restaurant, having worked with Hiro and Lissa at Ame.
    Must-Order: It's dinner only for now (note the reasonable $50, five-course prix fixe option — $38 for wine pairings — in addition to the a la carte menu), but we'd love to see this as an all day bistro. Don't miss the mussels treated like escargot in butter and herbs and served in an escargot dish. Here are a few of our other favorite dishes.
    Insider Tip: The cocktails, some heavy on French spirits, are a highlight, as is the reasonable French-centric wine list.

    584 Valencia St.; 415-861-1844

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Lolo Cevicheria

    Why It's Hot: When Loló relocated to a larger space on Valencia Street, Loló​'s owners took their months-vacant space and opened Loló​ Cevicheria, complete with vibrant, tropical bird-tinged decor and a Mexico-meets-Peru food theme. It's now a mellower alternative to their bustling Loló​, around the corner. A few of the classic dishes are available at the Cevicheria, namely the taco tropical and tuna tacon, while the rest of the menu is a mix between Mexican and Peruvian dishes, the latter thanks to assistant general manager Roberto Bocanegra whose mother shared her ceviche recipes.
    Must-Order: Tacos de chicharron are heartwarming, made with fresh corn tortillas cradling slow-cooked pork belly in tart, roasted tomatillo salsa over mashed black beans. All three versions of causas — crab, shredded chicken and panko-crusted shrimp — each on a whipped mound of potatoes of different flavors and colors, are a Peruvian standout.
    Insider Tip: Don't miss agave wine "margarita slushies" in changing flavors like tamarind with a salt rim.

    3230 22nd St.; 415-913-7898

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    South

    Why It's Hot: Charles Phan's South at SFJAZZ just did a major gear shift — from Cajun cuisine to Mexican food — complete with new chef Rymee Trobaugh and shortening of the name to South. The cocktail list has also made the appropriate shift to rum-, tequila- and mezcal-centric drinks.
    Must-Order: Try juicy puerco (pork from a pot-bellied pig) in salsa verde, mixed with turnips, piquinto beans and pickled onions, or fideo seco, a delicate, comforting noodle dish akin to fideo dishes in Spain, this version subtly cooked with moronga (blood sausage) and marked by mint, fava beans and cotija cheese.
    Insider Tip: We love the Tequila Special cocktail mixing Herencia Blanco Tequila, lime, orange bitters and sugar with a splash of soda.

    205 Franklin St.; 415-539-3905

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    ABV

    Why It's Hot: Cocktail experts Todd Smith, Ryan Fitzgerald and Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud soft-opened ABV in the former Tokyo Go Go mid-July, featuring a 16-cocktail menu organized by spirit.
    Must-Order: Chef Kevin Cimino, formerly of St. Vincent, is playing with his Southern roots — and many other global inspirations — in the likes of a drool-worthy pimiento cheeseburger and Southern pulled-pork tacos (unofficially dubbed South Carolina carnitas). There are many cocktail highlights, but don't miss the Pina Verde: Tapatio blanco tequila, lime, genepy, pineapple and house orange fennel bitters. Most of the finger foods and cocktails are priced at $10 or less.
    Insider Tip: Another late-night win — hours are 2 PM-2 AM daily.

    3174 16th St.; 415-400-4748

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    PABU

    Why It's Hot: Sushi master and chef-owner of long-beloved Hana Japanese Restaurant in Rohnert Park, Ken Tominaga, joined forces with none other than Michael Mina to open PABU at the beginning of July, along with neighboring The Ramen Bar, a fast-casual ramen shop.
    Must-Order: There are plenty of worthwhile izakaya and robata grill dishes, including a stellar squid- and pork belly-studded okonomiyaki. Cocktails and Japanese whiskeys from Mina Group head bartender Carlo Splendorini and lead bartender Nick Jones make an ideal partner. For a splurge ($95), we recommend the fantastic nigiri tasting menu. Read more about it here
    Insider Tip: You've never had sake pairings like those sake master/sommelier Stuart Morris can match with your dishes.

    101 California St.; 415-668-7228

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Ferry Plaza Seafood

    Why It's Hot: At the Ferry Building, Hog Island Oyster Co.'s recent expansion meant that Ferry Plaza Seafood's Ferry Plaza Building space got the boot. Thankfully, Ferry Plaza Seafood continues the tradition it started in 2003 in a new space just off Washington Square Park in North Beach. The menu is still heavy on shellfish but now there are new things to eat, too. Chef Joey Ng, who worked for years at the original location, cooks "with love" and one can taste it in the seafood-dominant dishes.
    Must-Order: Green papaya prawn salad ever-so-subtly spicy with chiles, and a top-notch soft shell crab BLT.
    Insider Tip:
    Take Chef Ng's tip and order a combo of the New England or Manhattan chowder — it's tomato-fresha and creamy.

    653 Union St.; 415-274-2561

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Gaspar Brasserie

    Why It's Hot: Alluring in reds, blacks, polished brass and dark woods under low ceilings, this new FiDi hot spot from restaurateur Franck LeClerc recalls a Parisian brasserie circa 1960. A dream team of executive chef Chris Jones, pastry chef Chucky Dugo and bar manager extraordinaire Kevin Diedrich confirm its status as a new dining and drinking destination.
    Must-Order: Absinthe Frappe to drink, Burgundian snails poached in sherry vinaigrette (pictured) and any of Dugo's stellar desserts.
    Insider Tip: Sit at the intimate upstairs bar under a low ceiling for a lighter dinner with cocktails.

    185 Sutter St.; 415-576-8800

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Kusakabe

    Why It's Hot: Open in May, Kusakabe is an intimate sushi restaurant in blond wood showcasing the talents of Mitsunori Kusakabe, who for years was the highly lauded sushi master at Sushi Ran in Sausalito.
    Must-Order: $95 omakase menus with changing ingredients gives you the best experience of Kusakabe's range. Here are some standout moments from our recent visit.
    Insider Tip: Reserve seats at the sushi bar online via Seat Me.

    584 Washington St.; 415-757-0155

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Bartlett Hall

    Why It's Hot: Beer and classic cocktails with upscale comfort food? Yes, please. Barlett Hall focuses on quintessential urban-casual Downtown dining, with iconic dishes from Eman Eng, like Maverick’s butter burger and fried chicken.
    Must-Order: That dreamy butter burger, fried chicken entree, octopus and watermelon salad, miso-maple ribs, Emperor Norton cocktail.
    Insider Tip: Chris Wike brews his own beer in the on-site brewery with a few rotating beers at a time.

    242 O’Farrell St.; 415-433-4332

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Shakewell

    Why It's Hot: Top Chef alums and former Scala's Bistro chef Jen Biesty and pastry chef Tim Nugent opened their Oakland restaurant, Shakewell, on July 11. The airy spaced features Cal-Med cuisine with a Spanish emphasis.
    Must-Order: We recommend the chicken albondigas (meatballs), summer squash salad and any of the bomba, a style of paella named after chewy bomba rice, which soaks up more of the broth; Amy Chapman's gorgeous lavender and egg Summer Berry Flip cocktail.
    Insider Tip: Order a glass of Gonzales Byass Solera cream sherry with Nugent's desserts.

    3407 Lakeshore Ave.; 510-251-0329

  /  

Places Mentioned

South at SFJAZZ

Mexican • Hayes Valley

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Bartlett Hall

Tenderloin

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Kusakabe

Sushi • Downtown

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Gaspar Brasserie

French • Downtown

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Pabu

Downtown

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostE
 
 
 
ABV

Bar • The Mission

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Lolo Cevicheria

Mexican • The Mission

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Shakewell

Mediterranean • Oakland

Food- Decor- Service- Cost 
 
 
 
Ferry Plaza Seafood

Seafood • North Beach

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Urchin Bistrot

French • The Mission

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
 
Stay in-the-know with our San Francisco newsletter.
 

Explore related content:

comments powered by Disqus