The 5 Best New Restaurants That Opened in the Bay Area This Spring
Bayview Creole, Japanese whiskeys, and endless #gratitude for all the new things
We don’t know about you, but our cooking repertoire has actually shrunk rather than expanded over the past year, and if we have to eat our own broiled salmon one more time, we might lose our ish in a deep and permanent way.
Thankfully, there’s no reason to do any of that.
While we’re not totally sure we were rooting for the real estate market to force the latest round of “Bay Area home prices just hit a record high” headlines, we are 100-trillion percent ready for all the new-news from the restaurant scene: all these delayed dream projects, finally opening up for business.
Go make a res at one of these spots, and join us in supplicating ourselves before the old gods and the new, the Drowned God, the Dothraki horse god — literally whoever can keep us out of a second helping of this most recent and cataclysmic mess. Bottoms up, everybody, and let’s clean those plates.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on those ever-changing regs — indoor/outdoor/takeaway-only — for maximum pleasure.
La Cocina Municipal Marketplace
The backstory: We’ve written several times about La Cocina and its highly fruitful efforts to support the culinary ambitions of women of color. La Cocina success stories dot the SF restaurant scene: If you’ve eaten at Heena Patel’s Besharam or Guadalupe Guerrero’s El Pipila (among many others), you’ve benefited from their work.
On the menu(s): La Cocina Municipal Marketplace isn’t a restaurant — it is, as the name suggests, a marketplace, featuring seven different food spots, plus a bar, La Paloma. You’ll want to try them all, obviously, but we suggest starting with chef Tiffany Carter’s Creole-via-Bayview at BougCali: po-boys, jerk chicken tacos, and a blood orange lemonade.
101 Hyde Street
The Tailor’s Son
Backstory: If you stumbled across this restaurant in chef Adriano Paganini’s native Italy — maybe in Solbiate Olona, the northern village where he grew up, not too far from Milan — you’d dream about coming back. Lucky for us, it’s just over on Fillmore Street, and filled with exceptional recipes from Paganini’s mother’s own notebooks.
On the menu: There’s plenty of lovely pastas — like a bucatini with tomato, basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano — but why not focus on the imaginative entrées, like involtini di spada, or stuffed swordfish rolls with currants, pine nut, browned butter, pangrattato and lemon.
2049 Fillmore St.
Backstory: Izakaya Hon is actually the second half of a two-pronged opening from Min Choe of Mins Group, which debuted omakase spot Sushi Hakko in Cow Hollow in mid-March. Here, in the former space of Pine Tar Grill (RIP — you were a credit to Giants fans everywhere, good sir), Izakaya Hon offers an expansive drinks menu and a range of more-sophisticated-than-average small plates.
On the menu: Gather up your friends and order a table of snacks: the “fries with eyes” (that’s fried silver striped herring with yuzu kosho, aioli, and lemon); tori kara-age (deep fried chicken with awase shio, lemon and yuzu aioli), bacon asparagus maki and more; wash it all down with one of a couple dozen Japanese whiskies.
917 Folsom St.
Backstory: The say the gods laugh when men make plans — especially if those plans involved a Kickstarter scheduled to end its six-week fundraising window … two weeks after the coronavirus shut down the world. Chef Brandon Rice — you might know his work from Rich Table — eventually earned his cash, and opened up this New American restaurant, named for his grandpa, in April.
On the menu: After perusing the raw bar — featuring at least for the moment a selection of Washington State’s finest oysters — there’s a grilled black cod with cherry ssamjang and sesame leaf, or the pork tonkatsu, served “Nashville Hot”-style (we didn’t think it made sense, but trust). Pickles included.
1890 Bryant Street, Suite 100
Hinoya Curry SF
Backstory: If you’ve been to Tokyo and overindulged in the sushi, maybe you went into a Hinoya Curry and came out a changed man, forever dreaming of a deep-fried pork cutlet, a pile of rice, and a delicious sauce. Happily: Your dream has been delivered to San Francisco. Well, you’ll have to go pick it up yourself, since the debut U.S. outpost of the longstanding Japanese chain isn’t doing delivery, but close enough.
On the menu: Curry, fools! Pick your meat (deep-fried pork, deep-fried chicken, delicately fried oysters) or vegetable (croquette), drown it in curry sauce, surround it with rice, die a happy person.
3347 Fillmore St.
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