Summer is almost here, and that means Bay Area menus will be packed with your favorite seasonal dishes and produce. Whether you're looking for barbecue classics, stone fruit desserts or new twists on Irish coffees and iced lattes, here are the dishes and drinks to enjoy this summer.
Gazpacho at Canela
There’s a summery twist to this stellar California-meets-Andalusia cold soup from the Castro Spanish bistro and wine bar: It’s not tomato-based. Instead, yellow watermelon pairs with mint, croutons and feta crumbles for a light, refreshing start for your tapas dinner.
2272 Market St.; 415-552-3000
Olive oil and lemon custard ice cream at Salt & Straw
Like many of this Portland chain's ice cream flavors, a mix of California olive oil and homemade lemon curd seems like a bizarre partnership. In reality, it’s bright and refreshing, with a touch of umami in the salty finish — the best of all ice cream worlds.
2201 Fillmore St.; 415-829-2803
Kaffe tonic at Saint Frank
Polk Street’s ever-hip coffee shop has a must-try cold espresso drink ideal for jaded iced coffee drinkers tired of cold brew and sugary iced lattes. It’s quite simple: A thick espresso crema is poured into a tall glass filled with ice, then topped with Fever Tree tonic. Gin and tonic, meet your daytime match.
2340 Polk St.; 415-775-1619
Moon bars at Media Noche
After your Cubano sandwich at Media Noche, save room for sweet closure: moon bars for dessert. They’re homemade ice cream pops, designed by Delfina's former pastry chef, available in classic Cuban flavors like guava cheesecake or cafe con leche.
3465 19th St.; 415-655-3904
Cold udon at Kagawa-Ya Udon Noodle Company
Ramen is San Francisco's star noodle, but this new spot in Mid-Market turns the spotlight on udon. Noodles are made in-house and served with various broths, the best of which is a chilled, umami-heavy dashi version, simply garnished with a soft-boiled egg, grated daikon and ginger.
1455 Market St. #3A; 415-703-0995
Vanilla Cherry Dogpatch sour ale at Almanac Beer Taproom
Though Almanac offers a host of IPAs and barrel-aged stouts, sours have always set this brewery apart from its SF peers. This new release of a sour red ale with cherries and whole vanilla beans tastes summer-fresh to us. Try it out at the brewery's six-month-old restaurant and taproom.
2704 24th St.; 415-932-6531
Pork ribs at Addendum
A world away from the formality of sibling The French Laundry, Thomas Keller's Addendum (in Ad Hoc’s backyard patio, open Thursday to Sunday seasonally) is celebrated for its buttermilk fried chicken. But don’t forget another lunch option: tender, lightly sauced pork ribs. Enjoy them with sides like macaroni salad and cornbread — and napkins.
6476 Washington St., Yountville; 707-944-1565
Shrimp ceviche at Arguello
Spicy, refreshing and wholly satisfying, the ceviche at Traci des Jardins' Presidio Mexican restaurant is easily one of our favorites. The bowl of shrimp bursts with sharp flavors and textures — lime juice, pepitas, creamy avocado, the sweetness of jicama and tomatillo — all ready to be scooped onto a plantain chip.
50 Moraga Ave.; 415-561-3650
Trader Vic’s Almost Original mai tai at China Live
SF’s best new mai tai is at one of 2017's biggest openings. The drink starts off traditional (with a house-blended rum, orgeat and lime) then veers off into experimental territory with an oolong-orange nectar and a finishing touch of smoked cane syrup. The complex result is nothing like the mai tai from your last island vacation.
644 Broadway; 415-788-8188
The Reubenesque at City Counter
The FiDi’s chic new luncheonette takes the classic Reuben sandwich in a vegetarian direction with smoked beets, sharp cheddar, kimchi-style pickled cabbage and a secret (Russian dressing–esque) Counter Sauce, all on rye. It's got the best parts of a Reuben without weighing you down on a summer day.
115 Sansome St.; 415-844-0633
Fried chicken at Hopscotch
Whether you enjoy it in-house with a cocktail or to go as a picnic option, you'll agree Kyle Itani's Japanese-Southern twist on fried chicken is one of the best in the Bay. Served at his upscale diner in Uptown Oakland, this bird combines the likes of soy and ginger with the traditional potato starch and buttermilk.
1915 San Pablo Ave., Oakland; 510-788-6217
Pokecado toast at Pokeatery
It was only a matter of time before two of the Bay Area’s hottest trends — poke and avocado toast — joined forces. Give credit to this San Mateo fast-casual for thinking of it first. Bread from Kneaded Bakery serves as the base, while the poke is a mix of spicy tuna and crab salad.
407 S. B St., San Mateo; 650-389-2672
Maplewood cold brew at Provender
After a 15-hour steeping process, this tiny Potrero Hill cafe’s cold brew is topped off with milk and Vermont maple syrup. The result is subtly sweet and smoky. A must-order accompaniment: Provender’s fantastic avocado toast with sous vide egg.
1415 18th St.; 415-685-1722
Psychedelic City ice cream at Humphry Slocombe
Leave it to Humphry Slocombe to make the psychedelic '60s taste delicious. The Mission and Ferry Building shops will scoop this new tie-dye-hued mash-up of raspberry sorbet, orange ice cream and matcha ice cream. The colorful mix pays homage to the Summer of Love, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
2790A Harrison St.; 415-550-6971
Margarita at Copita
Sausalito’s popular Mexican spot was built from the margarita up: Bay Area TV legend Joanne Weir opened this place after winning a margarita competition against Larry Mindel of Il Fornaio fame. Weir's combination of blanco tequila, agave nectar and copious amounts of fresh lime is the perfect thirst quencher in this sunny town.
739 Bridgeway, Sausalito; 415-331-7400
Dahi puri at Dum
Every meal at this food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar contemporary Indian restaurant in the Mission should start with the dahi puri chaat (fried snack). These airy semolina puffs pack in sprouts, yogurt and a tamarind chutney for a blissful, refreshing single-bite sensation.
3111 24th St.; 415-874-9045
The Drifter and Japanese snacks at Overproof’s Double Back
Mark each quarter of your 2017 calendar with a visit to ABV’s rotating Overproof prix fixe series, which pairs a cocktail with a Japanese dish. The dynamic duo on the menu this summer: The Drifter — a smooth mix of Japanese whiskey, amaro and blanc vermouth — teams with a cool togarashi-dusted avocado and seaweed salad.
Irish coffee at Sláinte
Ignore the tourist lines at the Buena Vista; Oakland now has the Bay’s best Irish coffee at its recently opened Irish pub, Sláinte. Enjoy a perfect combination of fresh whipped cream, Powers Irish whiskey and Oakland’s own Bicycle Coffee for an ideal sipper to defeat the bayfront chill in Jack London Square.
131 Broadway, Oakland; 510-823-2644
Grilled prawn salad at Twenty Five Lusk
It's a big summer for this swanky SoMa restaurant and bar. They're opening a rooftop patio and releasing a sustainable seafood cookbook. One of the book's recipes is a summery salad favorite of grilled prawns, mango, mint and fresh basil on napa cabbage with a coconut vinaigrette.
25 Lusk St.; 415-495-5875
Various stone fruit galettes at Chez Panisse Cafe
Whether it's time for apricots, peaches, pluots or plums, diners make the summer pilgrimage to Alice Waters' Berkeley landmark for these delightful, seasonal stone fruit galettes. The fruits are sliced and carefully layered on a sugar-glazed butter crust, accompanied by a scoop of ice cream (often flavored with a complementary spirit, like Noyaux brandy for apricots).
1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 510-548-5525