The Five Best Restaurants That Opened in SF This June
Get in line now for the bulgogi beef + kimchi pizzas
To keep tabs on every Los Angeles 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). Let’s eat.
If you’re anything like us, you’re ready to try something — literally anything — you haven’t tried before (or ordered a million times, or attempted to recreate a billion times).
Happily, we’ve got new ideas and fresh mash-ups all across the Bay Area this month, from green tea-inflected croissants to mapo tofu pizzas.
SSP Beer Hall
You’re here because: You followed the whole Sunset Squares saga on Instagram, during which chef Dennis Lee, of Namu Gaji and Namu Stonepot, quietly began selling pizzas online following a pandemic-induced period of sourdough experimentation with his young kids. Now the whole operation’s gone extremely brick-and-mortar, within this ginormous and determinedly multipurpose SoMa/Mid-Market space.
What you’re eating: Pre-pizza, Lee’s most Insta-famous menu item was his gamja fries with short ribs, kimchi relish, green onions and a sauce involving kewpie mayo, teriyaki and gochujang. Here you’ll find equally taste-intensive pizzas with toppings like mapo tofu (and Sichuan peppercorns), the Bulldog (with bulgogi beef, kimchee, kewpie mayo, bulldog sauce and bonito flakes) and our (admittedly basic) pick, with duxelles, cremini and shiitake. Also, there’s a gallery of NFT art, which we’re just noting impassively.
59 9th Street (map)
You’re here because: Having reached the legal limit on bakeries purely à la francaise (any more and all TV sets in the city would be automatically tuned to Euro 2020 coverage), College Avenue welcomes a bakeshop that takes French elements and reworks them with Asian-American flavors.
What you’re eating: You’ll want to make room in the tote bag for not just boring croissants but an Aloha Croissant, with a pineapple sausage center, furikake, scallions and parmesan, or maybe a pain au chocolat made with a green tea dark chocolate filling. Did we mention the ube snickerdoodles? The Korean barbecue-inspired corn cheese croissants? The Thai tea milk buns?
5931 College Ave., Oakland (map)
You’re here because: The words “rooftop luxury lounge at the mall” fill you with curiosity (rather than nausea/dread). Happily, your correspondent hails from New Jersey, and is genetically compelled to count herself among the former.
What you’re eating: If you’re the kind of person looking for a plate of artisanal prosciutto and a warm baguette following a spin through a 60,000-square-foot Restoration Hardware, you are 10 percent in the right place (no judgments). Frankly, given the surroundings, the setting (which, seriously, is very nice) and the clientele, we’re not sure $20 for a truffled grilled cheese doesn’t qualify as a bargain. (We also liked the wild mushrooms with thyme, garlic and sherry vinegar, not least because after a year of trying to make it at home, we finally know how it’s supposed to taste.)
1750 Redwood Highway, Corte Madera (map)
You’re here because: You want Mexican, your plus-one wants vegan, and you have been very, very concerned that you both might not get what you want out of dinner.
What you’re eating: Hibiscus flower tacos with mushrooms, onions, cilantro and vegan cheese are best enjoyed in the extra-large Belden Street patio (it’s a half-block off Kearney between Pine and Bush — appealingly close to everything without being in the fray). Also vegan: margaritas and appealing non-alcoholic cocktails like La Bandita, with blackberry, rosemary shrub, charred jalapeño, agave, lime and soda water.
56 Belden Lane (map)
You’re here because: You’ve been hearing only good things about pizza-only-for-the-moment Itria, and feel like a more traditional option after trying out the keto cheese flavor-way from SSP.
What you’re eating: In a couple months, Itria will expands to pasta and non-pizza selections, but for now, you’re definitely eating pizza: maybe the Hawaiian (which swaps black olives for bacon) or the soppressata with broccoli rabe and pickled pepper. Kick it off with the burrata (with roasted sweet corn, green garlic, capers, purslane) and finish up with the tiramisu, made from Vietnamese coffee.
3266 24th Street (map)
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