Feature

10 Hottest New Restaurants in San Francisco

By Zagat Staff | August 3, 2015 By Zagat Staff  |  August 3, 2015
Photo by: Dirty Water

From an authentic sushi experience to a game-meat specialist in the Twitter building, there's no shortage of exciting SF openings to keep you busy all summer long. In our monthly update, here are the 10 restaurants you need to know now.

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  • Photo by: Dirty Water

    Dirty Water

    Why It’s Hot: This grand, ambitious bar-restaurant concept has made a big splash in the lobby of the Twitter building as a swanky destination for power lunches and after-work dinner and drinks. Chef Chris Fissel (formerly of Chez Spencer) has created a game-focused menu of exotic meats as well as traditional proteins and options for the vegetarian set, all cooked over a wood-fired, open-flame oven and served in large, shareable portions. The beverage menu is equally impressive, boasting 52 beers on tap, 115 wines by the glass and an extensive, surprising cocktail menu utilizing rare spirits.

    Must-Order: For lunch, the roasted tri-tip sandwich won’t disappoint. The Axis deer tartare is a gamey revelation, while the pig ear fritto misto is surprisingly fresh, flavorful and chewy, similar to calamari misto but with heartier pork.

    Insider Tip: With a supremely educated drink staff, this is the spot to imbibe while learning the intricacies of rare wines and spirits. “Bartial Artist” Zachary Taylor whips up mind-bending concoctions, such as the Long Strange Trip, which is a naturally sweet libation thanks to the maple-flavored candy cap mushrooms infused with 1776 rye, lemon, black pepper, and Zucca Amaro.

    1355 Market St.; 888-393-0530

  • Photo by: Karen Solomon

    Omakase 

    Why It’s Hot: This upscale Edomae-style sushi bar from Kash Feng (of Live Sushi) offers an ever-changing chef’s-choice menu, featuring fish flown in several times per week from Tokyo’s world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market for the freshest, most authentic sushi experience possible. Three seasoned chefs, headed up by Jackson Yu, preside over 14 counter seats and take diners on a surprising culinary journey, based on the three fixed price points. Yu is renowned for his exceptional knife skills, honed in acclaimed restaurants Japan’s Ukai and Ingi Son, New York’s Masa and Napa’s Morimoto. The donabe dishware, the world’s oldest pottery, adds to the refined experience with handcrafted dishes that maximize the plate’s ability to retain heat in order to enhance the flavors of the food.

    Must-Order: Pick your price point ($100, $150, and $200) and let the chefs do the rest.

    Insider Tip: While you surrender your taste buds to the chef, peruse the extensive sake menu, featuring several refined selections. From the mellow and clean $18 carafe of “Karakuchi” to the $345 bottle of Tedorigawa “Mangekyo,” lauded for its silky texture and deep flavor, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to exercise choice.

    665 Townsend St.; 415-865-0633

  • Myriad Gastro Pub

    Why It’s Hot: The long-awaited solo project of Tricia Tracey (formerly of ThirstyBear Brewing Company and Momo’s) is finally here in the former Nombe space, offering global flavors with seasonal Northern California ingredients. While the food is best described as “international pub food,” the flavors are much more delicate and nuanced than what you’d typically expect from pub grub. Still, the price point and shareable plates lend a relaxed ambiance to the meal. Hearty small plates and shareable entrees allow diners to explore a few different regions — from Latin flavors to Mediterranean dishes.

    Must-Order: For dinner, indulge in the summery grilled hollowed peaches topped with a tangy goat cheese mousse and the Cochinita Pibil, a Mayan pork stew with sour orange, red onions, jalapeños and green chile corn tortillas. For brunch, the shakshuka is a comforting, hearty tomato and egg dish not to be missed.

    Insider Tip: While the extensive wine and craft-beer list may get the initial glory, the low-octane cocktails should not be ignored — particularly the brunch-friendly Sandbar, a refreshing delicate mix of Madeira, orange, grapefruit, pimento bitters and Prosecco.

    2491 Mission St.; 415-525-4335

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Octavia

    Why It's Hot: Intimate Frances has been a favorite of restaurant-goers and the national press since it opened in 2009. Now chef Melissa Perello and crew have opened a long-anticipated second restaurant, Octavia, in a space that housed a long line of restaurant greats from the Meetinghouse to the original Quince and most recently Baker & Banker. Open in April, Perello and her team continue to turn out ever-changing food that is soulful and heartwarming while simultaneously light, fresh and current.
    Must-Order: Chilled squid-ink noodles and featured toast (pictured) on Josey Baker levain with changing toppings like warm ricotta, charred spring onion purée and fresh watercress leaves.
    Insider Tip: Start with an apéritif from the winning list of vermouths from beverage director Paul Einbund (formerly of Coi) with helpful tasting notes offered straight, on the rocks with bitters and an orange peel or with tonic, bitters and orange.

    1701 Octavia St.; 415-408-7507

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Aatxe

    Why It's Hot: Long-awaited Aatxe (pronounced "aah-CHAY") opened in April on the dramatically transformed ground floor of the Swedish American Hall, which houses Cafe du Nord downstairs (recently reopened with new menus). Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, etc.) and the Bon Vivants (Trick Dog) are behind this Basque/Spanish restaurant with chef Ryan Pollnow at the helm (formerly at Central Kitchen). Pollnow combines his favorite regional dishes from Spain and Basque Country travels with California ingredients and ethos.
    Must-Order: Pintxos or bites (pictured), exceptional patatas bravas, mussels escabeche, morcilla (blood sausage) and chickpeas with pork cheek, carrots, pine nuts and raisins.
    Insider Tip: The Bon Vivants' aperitivos and cocktails do not disappoint, showcasing sherry but also sporting a fantastic graph of gins from Aatxe's extensive collection with a range of tonics to pair with, in keeping with Spain's most popular drink, the G&T, all run by bar manager Tommy Quimby. Wine directors Sam Bogue and Geno Tomko's dynamic wine list focuses solely on small Spanish producers, a range of sherry and dry Basque ciders.

    2170 Market St.; 415-471-2977

  • Lord Stanley

    Why It's Hot: Husband-and-wife chef team Rupert and Carrie Blease met in Oxfordshire, England while working at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the acclaimed Raymond Blanc restaurant, and they’re bringing that expertise to their own SF kitchen. The menu’s deceptively simple food pairs their well-honed global cooking techniques with SF’s best ingredients in a light and airy Russian Hill locale.

    Must-Order: Pickled shellfish with fennel and dill; beef tartar with seaweed, cucumber and nori cracker; slow-cooked and grilled lamb shoulder, alliums and lemon; chocolate pouch, crème chiboust and cherries.

    Insider Tip: Everything on the menu is made in-house — from bread to butter and beyond.

    2065 Polk St.; 415-872-5512

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Aster

    Why It's Hot: Daniel Patterson Group's long-awaited Aster opened at the end of March on the cozy corner of Guerrero and 22nd. The kitchen is helmed by Brett Cooper, whose cooking we've missed since his days as Outerlands chef. Sous-chef Meghan Clark (Aziza, Spoonbar, Kin Khao) and pastry chef Sean Ehland (McCrady’s in Charleston) work with Cooper, utilizing ingredients from small, local farms on an ever-changing menu.
    Must-Order: Crispy potato and nettle dumplings; camouflage-esque frozen chocolate marked by cocoa-nib crumble, mandarin orange sauce and basil oil; kale leaf and carrot salad.
    Insider Tip: Aster has eschewed its highly publicized tip-included menu pricing for traditional tipping. Diners may now pay whatever they wish for service.

    1001 Guerrero St.; 415-875-9810

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    ICHI Kakiya

    Why It's Hot: Erin and Tim Archuleta opened ICHI Kakiya in May with longtime collaborator and restaurant manager/beverage director Shasta Olarte in the original ICHI Sushi space, which is now down the street in larger digs as ICHI Sushi + Ni Bar. In the intimate, 21-seat space, executive chef Tim Archuleta helms an oyster bar with raw, cold and hot dishes, steamed shellfish and a focus on sustainable seafood, whether from Japan, France or North America's West Coast. This newcomer maintains the welcome and intimacy of the original ICHI with a distinctive menu from its sister restaurant down the street.
    Must-Order: Oysters and half lobster (pictured), Hokkaido scallop crudo and daily changing seafood specials.
    Insider Tip: Watch for "secret menu" treats like mini, Japanese-style lobster rolls, vivid with tobiko (flying fish roe), kani (crab) miso and bonito (a fish in the mackerel/tuna family) Tabasco.

    3369 Mission St.; 415-814-3877

  • KronnerBurger

    Why It's Hot: The beautiful and bright marble eatery could not contrast more drastically with the eatery’s former home in Bruno’s dark and dank dining room. This longtime SF pop-up hops the pond to the East Bay to the delight of carnivorous diners drawn to the expanded menu and the cult classic Kronnerburger.
    Must-Order: Of course the signature Kronnerburger, and ideally with all the fixings, including roasted bone marrow, housemade pimento cheese and bacon; the chopped salad with radicchio, baby kale, and smoked coconut; chicken wings with fermented chile and schmaltz; the gluten-free Earth Burger with crispy, chewy fried yuba bacon.
    Insider Tip: An extensive cocktail list and selection of wines by the bottle go beyond your basic burger joint. The Saigon Pickup — mezcal, lime, lemongrass liqueur, ginger and chile — will perk up any burger-induced coma.

    4063 Piedmont Ave., Oakland; 415-656-9871

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Trestle

    Why It's Hot: A three-course dinner for just $35? Yes, please! The team from Stones Throw has come together again to launch a casual, neighborhood joint serving a daily changing menu of well-executed comfort food. This Jackson Square combo of appetizer, main course and dessert is one of the best bargains in town. The extra-hungry will want to add a fourth pasta course ($10 more); the thirsty will pop open one of the many top-notch bottles around $40.
    Must-Order: English pea risotto with cress and Parmesan; roasted tomato soup with whipped burrata and basil; thyme and garlic-stuffed chicken with dirty rice, sausage and greens; thyme panna cotta, poaches peaches and peach granita.
    Insider Tip: The 49-seat space can also be rented out for private parties. Helloooo wedding rehearsal dinner!

    531 Jackson St.; 415-772-0922

Places Mentioned

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Octavia

New American Lower Pacific Heights
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Aatxe

Swedish The Castro
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ICHI Kakiya

Seafood Bernal Heights
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Aster

Californian The Mission
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KronnerBurger

American Oakland
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Trestle

New American Chinatown
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Omakase

Sushi Potrero Hill
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Dirty Water

American SoMa
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