New & Hot Places

Hottest Restaurants in San Francisco

A new mid-year crop of restaurants has flooded the Bay Area, and there's plenty of eating to do across the region. As these 10 hot restaurants prove, it's a great time to be dining in the Bay Area.

Mister Jiu's

Chef Brandon Jew (Bar Agricole, Quince, Zuni) strikes out on his own at this high-end Chinatown dinner destination that puts a Californian spin on Cantonese fare with a five-course, family-style set menu plus wine, tea and cocktails named for facets of good fortune. Patrons enter through an alley to find counter, table and banquet seating and a lively atmosphere in the expansive former Four Seas building, which blends old-school design features and a modern, minimalist sensibility.

Must-order: Squid ink wontons; tea-smoked duck breast and confit leg with pancakes; black sesame cake with rosebud mousse

Insider tip: Portion sizes are the same, whether you order the four-course or six-course menu. Definitely go lighter if you're a party of two. If you're ordering an optional large format dish like the tea-smoked duck (do it), consider having dessert be one or even two or your prix fixe menu dishes.


Hawaiian fare gets the modern treatment at this hip Dogpatch breakfast and brunch place presenting midpriced meat and seafood mains, along with wine, sake and island-inspired cocktails (including boozy punch bowls for two or four), in a cozy-chic dining room with rustic wood and minimalist design style.

Must-order: Guava malasadas; spam musbi "ssam-style"; pork belly rice bowl

Insider tip: Diners seem to think of 'aina only in terms of weekend brunch — the lines reflect that. Why not have a weekday brunch without the wait? A little taste of the Islands (and a low ABV cocktail) could definitely help on a Wednesday at noon.


Curtis di Fede earned notice for Italian fare at Oenotri, but he transitions to modern Japanese at this downtown Napa izakaya-style spot with a highbrow menu of noodles, raw options, yakitori and proteins, plus housemade ice cream. The buzzy, modern bistro is all style, from the ornately carved entryway to soaring, temple-like ceilings and tall, contemporary booths – and there's a rustic wooden bar.

Must-order: Seasonal salads (like stone fruits, Jimmy Nardello peppers, macadamia nuts and a lime shiso vinaigrette); gyoza; squab preparation; any ramen

Insider tip: The savory options can seem endless, and they are all tempting (how do you choose between proper main courses, ramen and yakitori?). Please, save room for dessert. The only option is soft cream in different flavors, with or without a waffle cone, but then there are the customizable toppings and sauces. We suggest the miso caramel and sesame honeycomb pieces. Bonus: The soft cream is available to-go from the outside window. Talk about a perfect post-wine tasting afternoon treat.


NewSpanishMission Bay
From the Absinthe team comes this elevated, airy Spanish destination in SoMa serving highbrow seafood, paella, tapas, charcuterie and wood-fired dishes, along with an all-Spanish wine list, cocktails and sherry on tap. Expect a well-heeled crowd in the chic, spacious interior that's outfitted in rustic wood, sleek white subway tile and blue leather banquettes, plus plenty of bar, table and high-backed booth seating.

Must-order: Mar y montaña tower; paella dividida (pluma and fideua); El Charro cocktail, a banana-sherry-bourbon Manhattan

Insider tip: Are you bored eating just one type of paella at a time? Bellota understands the yearning for variety. The restaurant has a special dual-paella pan that keeps two paellas separated. Bring some friends and have a feast.


NewMediterraneanThe Mission
Eastern Mediterranean fare gets the Northern California treatment at this modern Mission neighborhood bistro serving homey small plates and large-format mains, plus an ambitious bread selection and upscale wine and cocktails by the Bon Vivants team (Trick Dog, Aatxe) and a former Saison sommelier. Moorish and Spanish design inspirations, turquoise walls, intricate latticework and polished concrete keep the interior airy and cheery – and there’s a small outdoor patio.

Must-order: Kibbeh niyyeh steak tartare; charred cauliflower; fresh bread with three labnehs

Insider tip: The extensive wine by the glass program (almost all the nearly 50 bottles are poured by the glass) is a dream for a meal with many small plates and lots of bold flavors.

In Situ at SFMOMA

Former French Laundry chef Corey Lee (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin) collaborated with international culinary legends to create the menu at this highbrow SFMOMA bistro, where dishes replicate established recipes from the likes of Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and René Redzepi. Patrons choose from communal counters and smaller tables in the casual and formal halves of a minimalist space befitting its museum setting.

Must-order: Octopus and the Coral (braised octopus with seaweed); Apocalypse Burger; pine salt-buttermilk fried chicken (lounge only)

Insider tip: Just because you're visiting the museum doesn't mean you get special access to In Situ. Hundreds of museum-goers get turned away at the door daily. Reserve, reserve, reserve if you want to sit at a table. However, the lounge usually has space and is good for snacks, a nice way to sample the fun and creativity on full display in the dining room.

Two Birds/One Stone

NewJapaneseSaint Helena
Chefs Douglas Keane (Cyrus) and Sang Yoon (Father's Office) teamed up on this elevated St. Helena bistro known for California-inspired yakitori dishes (emphasis on poultry and fresh vegetables) plus wine, beer and cocktails. Housed in a turn-of-the-century stone structure at Freemark Abbey Winery, the soaring space incorporates arched ceiling beams, rich woods and big windows, plus vintage-inspired sofas and modern tables.

Must-order: Foie gras parfait; Tucker's Daily Harvest; chicken meatballs

Insider tip: The dining room is a stunning venue for dinner, but when it's a warm summer evening, the outdoor lounge is where to be in Napa Valley. It reminds you of why wine country isn't just a place but a mindset.

Tartine Manufactory

NewThe Mission
San Francisco’s legendary bakery expands into spacious, multi-purpose Mission quarters that also house a coffee counter, ice cream parlor, and midpriced Californian cafe and bar serving wine, beer and low-proof cocktails. With soaring ceilings and a modern, industrial-chic look (including stoneware from neighboring Heath Ceramics), this production kitchen and food hall-style destination hopes to elevate local cuisine to a new level.

Must-order: Eggplant and harissa sandwich; any salad; Liège waffle; turmeric kefir

Insider tip: Upon arrival, the daunting amount of choices is overwhelming. Do yourself a favor and consider this a two- to three-course meal. Don't order everything at once. Order savory first then return to the counter for dessert. The same should be considered for drinks: get wine or turmeric kefir first, followed by espresso drinks from the barista station for the dessert pairing.


NewAmericanHayes Valley
Former Coi and Plum chef Kim Alter makes her solo debut in Hayes Valley, serving an elevated Californian tasting menu that changes regularly and features regional flavors. The cozy dining area blends high-style whimsy, with clean lines and vintage accents, and an adjacent seven-seat cocktail lounge channels the Art Deco era.

Must-order: Five-course tasting menu–only that changes frequently

Insider tip: Two quick notes: The house-baked bread is outstanding (definitely don't "save room" by skipping this part of the meal) and, as charming as the adjacent Linden Room Bar is, it's only six seats long. Yes, that means don't plan on lingering too long because space is at an absolute premium.


NewJapaneseThe Castro
Bordering the Noe Valley, Mission and Castro neighborhoods, this upscale Japanese bistro by the team from Sushi Ran in Sausalito skews modern with an elevated menu of meat and seafood mains plus a full bar and cocktails mixed with awamori, a traditional Okinawan spirit. Inside, it’s all clean lines, natural wood and marble accents, with banquette, bar and table seating and an elevated vibe.

Must-order: Koji akaushi rib eye; "gyoza" farce-stuffed chicken wings; big eye tuna and beef cheeks

Insider tip: Try to save room for dessert and bring a group of friends: The sweets and large-format dishes are some of the highlights at Nomica. Bigger parties can opt for a miso butter-enriched whole chicken in brioche. Desserts are riveting creations like foie gras ice cream with hazelnut streusel, aged balsamic and Indonesian coffee. Yes, this isn't your normal izakaya.

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