Food & Drink | February 25, 2020 9:10 am

The 5 Best Restaurants That Opened in the Bay Area This February

Welcome the sexiest date bar in the Bay (and a French wagyu burger, plus Shake Shack)

Best New Restaurants SF
Opulent dining and afternoon tea at Mason Danel

To keep tabs on every S.F. restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.

Maison Danel SF

Maison Danel

Why now: David and Danel de Betelu of Baker Street Bistro imported pâtissier Adrian Chabot directly from Paris, where he’d put in time at the 140-year-old landmark Drouant and at Tour d’Argent, an icon of white-glove French dining. 

Eat this: The pastries and afternoon tea service are the obvious draws — the latter options include a $150 tea with a half-bottle of crémant and a one-ounce caviar service. That said: Guests at the opulent, chandelier-centric salon can also order more substantial fare without concern, given the Betelus’ bistro connection, including confit de canard and a house burger with wagyu beef. 

1030 Polk St. (map)

Viridian SF

Uptown Oakland

Why now: Looking for a sleek first-date spot in the East Bay? Boy, does Viridian have you covered, with a super-sexy space by Soon and Soon Studio — aka Anna Lee and Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s, Moongate Lounge and Mamahuhu. 

Drink this: Viridian feels more expensive than it is: It looks like it might cost $19 a cocktail — but it’s just $13, which these days counts as a win. Or consider the $6 Bohemian Pilsner from Oakland’s own Oakland United Beerworks. 

2216 Broadway, Oakland (map

Ariscault SF
(Facebook/Ariscault Bakery)

Arsicault Bakery
Civic Center

Why now: The original Arsicault — a shoebox-sized space in the Richmond — earned Bon Appétit’s “best new bakery in the country” title. Now, one-time mutual fund manager Armando Locayo brings his French baked goods to a decidedly more central location. 

Eat this: Bon App was particularly enamored of Locayo’s “preposterously flaky” croissants; even better are the kouign amann, a Breton treat that’s like a sweeter, denser, even more buttery version of the French breakfast staple — a dessert croissant, if you will. 

87 McAllister St. (map

Dumpling Time SF
(Dumpling Time)

Dumpling Time
Mission Bay

Why now: Love the original Dumpling Time(s), but don’t like waiting in line? Looking for the superior way to kill time before, during, or after a Warriors game? Welcome to the new, gigantic (5,000-square-foot!) Dumpling Time III, currently testing Yelp’s “Join the Waitlist” feature. 

Eat this: You didn’t go through the hassle of “Join[ing] the Waitlist” to go home hungry. Order the pork XLB — that’s xiao long bao, or rich and savory dumpling soup, to the uninitiated — along with the wagyu fried rice, with beef provided by the Butcher Shop by Niku Steakhouse. 

191 Warriors Way, Ste. 101 (map)

Shake Shack SF

Shake Shack
Cow Hollow

Why now: While we’d prefer to argue that we don’t need East Coast burgers in the city that’s home to Super Duper, the Wesburger, and (sort of) Gott’s. But everybody’s still curious as to what all the hype is about, and you didn’t feel like schlepping out to Larkspur or Palo Alto? Voilà: the first Shake Shack within city limits. 

Eat this: At least the lines move fast. The crinkle-cut fries are reliably great, while of the sandwich selection, the SmokeShack, with Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon and cherry poppers, is our top choice. For dessert, consider the exclusive-to-Cal California Cold Rush concrete, with vanilla custard, local Dandelion Chocolate cocoa nibs and salted caramel sauce.

3060 Fillmore St. (map)