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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.