New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in San Francisco

The new year is off to a hot start, with many marquee restaurant openings already on the books. These are the 10 San Francisco restaurants that should be at the top of your winter dining list.

August (1) Five

NewIndianTenderloin
Expect contemporary Indian fare with a California slant at this Van Ness Avenue lunch and dinner bistro, pairing midpriced menu items with international wines and cocktails that spotlight global flavors. Elegant and inviting, the spacious corner spot features modern design and offers a convenient option for local employees and concertgoers alike. P.S. Closed on Sundays, and weekday happy hour specials available from 3-6 p.m.

Must-order: Palak chaat (crispy spinach); paneer kebab; trio of naans; the quirky and spicy Ancho Reyes–based Royal Bombay Yacht Club cocktail

Insider tip: Being a short walk from the opera and symphony, this is a prime early or quick dinner spot with a great selection of cocktails and small plates for grazing. Don't miss the portrait of the Maharaja of Patiala ("Patiala Peg"), which has surged to the top of SF Insta-musts.

Babu Ji SF

The Mission
The San Francisco outpost of this New York favorite lands in the Mission, where a highbrow Indian menu changes regularly and features tandoori, regional curries and modern Indian street food plus cocktails and an ambitious, locally focused wine and beer list (with beers stocked in a self-serve fridge). Clean lines and global accents define the modern dining area, which welcomes patrons at banquettes and tables.

Must-order: Colonel Tso's cauliflower; "unauthentic" butter chicken; tuna tartar gol gappa snack; the smoky and earthy Don't Tell Auntie cocktail with beetroot

Insider tip: At $62 per diner for food and $34 for wine pairings, the chef’s tasting menu is one of the best bargains in the city (especially given its generous serving size). You won’t be hungry afterwards, but you will be thrilled with the many dishes sampled.

Finn Town

NewAmericanThe Castro
Chef Ryan Scott’s Castro bistro spotlights upscale New American comfort fare and cocktails, with midpriced dinner and weekend brunch menus (plus late-night eats) and Bay Area–inspired drinks offered at two bars. Casual yet stylish, the interior accommodates guests at colorful barstools, plush booths and tables, all surrounded by vintage accents.

Must-order: Lobster and truffle cigars; fried chicken sandwich; Finn Town burger

Insider tip: Dinner Thursday to Saturday nights is served until 1:30 AM. All other nights it's offered until 12:30 AM. Plus, there are two happy hours on weeknights — 5 PM–7 PM and again 10 PM–midnight.

Flores

NewCow Hollow
From Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House Restaurant Group (Uno Dos Tacos, Beretta, Delarosa, El Techo and others) comes this traditional Mexican dinner spot in the Marina, serving midpriced snacks and mains paired with modern cocktails. The bright, expansive interior employs light wood, vibrant tiles and artsy accents, while bar and communal table seating ups the buzzy atmosphere.

Must-order: Baked corn tamal; huitlacoche and kale quesadilla; carnitas; Ghost Ride cocktail with mezcal and Averna

Insider tip: For the most lively seats, check out the front bar for a round or two of cocktails with sopes and tacos. The rear dining room is best for larger parties or a third date when conversation is the focus.

Hinata Sushi

NewSushiTenderloin
Two well-heeled sushi chefs bring this high-end omakase spot (look for à la carte options as well) to the Tenderloin–Civic Center border, where a sleek, minimalist interior offers table and counter seats – and much of the menu’s fish gets flown in from Tokyo.

Must-order: $78 omakase menu with a salad, three sashimi slices and several nigiri, a fish broth palate cleanser and a sweet to finish

Insider tip: Splurge on the $36 supplement. You'll be rewarded with A5 Mizayaki Wagyu adorned with black truffles, along with a special hair crab preparation and sea urchin with caviar nigiri.

Mina Test Kitchen

EclecticCow Hollow
Star chef Michael Mina leads this "innovative" test kitchen in a cozy Cow Hollow space, hosting guest chefs for "excellent" pop-ups centered on specific cuisines, often highlighting personal dishes rooted in their cultural heritage; it's a "great example" of "super-delicious" "family-style dining" (with wine pairings available), though the limited number of tickets sold through the website can be "hard to get."

Must-order: Dungeness crab agnolotti with black truffle; artichoke with mortadella starter; bass with sunchoke, black olive and citrus

Insider tip: The current Postcards From La Costiera concept is a runaway hit with a prix fixe format where diners choose a fish, a pasta and two starters. You'll start with a terrific mozzarella preparation (flown in from Italy specifically for this pop-up) and finish with San Francisco's lightest and most coffee-intense tiramisu.

The Morris Restaurant

NewThe Mission
This highly anticipated Potrero bistro from a team of Frances and Coi vets offers charcuterie plates and highbrow Californian fare, plus cocktails and regionally focused wines. The interior boasts a sleek bar and a black-and-white Bay Area map, along with modern furnishings and lots of natural light.

Must-order: Smoked half or whole duck; shrimp toast; charcuterie; buckwheat donuts

Insider tip: If you're curious about chartreuse and Madeiras, this is the place to try them as owner-sommelier Paul Einbund is an expert — and the restaurant boasts extensive collections of both.

Motze

NewThe Mission
Nick Balla and Cortney Burns apply their Bar Tartine skills to this elevated Mission Californian serving a shareable set-price menu that changes daily based on locally sourced ingredients. The cozy interior incorporates repurposed elements in bright, artsy environs, and while it’s not cheap, tips are included.

Must-order: Whatever comes in the $50, three-course family-style prix fixe menu (gratuity included), with many ingredients from Yountville’s Full Table Farms

Insider tip: The restaurant is now open for lunch daily, serving chanko nabe rice porridge bowls and a few small share plates. Lunch is counter service only.

Onsen Restaurant

NewJapaneseTenderloin
Tucked away in a Tenderloin bathhouse, this midpriced restaurant and tea room dishes up seasonal, health-minded Japanese fare, plus elevated tea and sake menus for spa patrons and walk-in guests. Clean lines and industrial-chic accents distinguish the serene, airy bistro, which features exposed brick, high ceilings, big windows and custom wood furnishings.

Must-order: Any of the grilled skewers; rice porridge; dumplings with changing vegetable broths

Insider tip: Pair your dinner with a dip in the spa's communal bath. Coed days are Friday to Sunday. Monday and Thursday are women only. Wednesdays are men only. Plan accordingly.

The Saratoga

NewNew AmericanNob Hill
From the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, The Village Pub) comes this upscale New American bistro with creative small bites and mains, plus playful desserts and an expansive spirits list with a focus on Chartreuse. The posh, bi-level Tendernob space offers industrial-chic lounge and formal dining options that incorporate backlit shelves of bottles, a cascading custom chandelier, steel beams and stylish vintage accents.

Must-order: The floral and elegant sibling rivalry cocktail with St-Germain, rye and ginger liqueur; 'Toga Tots with chorizo and cheddar; Cubano-style hot dog

Insider tip: The Saratoga has an off-menu special of a burger, beer and a shot for $20 after 11 PM. The full kitchen closes at midnight most nights and 1 AM on weekends.

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