Looking for the best new spot for dinner in the Bay Area? We’re headed to the Financial District for an expert-level Negroni Sbagliato (that trend has legs, trust us), back to Oakland for Colombian cocktails at Parche and then up to Petaluma for a reminder of how good farm-to-table can be. Here, the five best new restaurants in and around San Francisco.
You’re here because: If you can’t get to Venice, you can bring Venice to you at this new aperitivo bar that goes way beyond the Negroni Sbagliato. Designer Martin Brudnizki has crafted a mid-century aesthetic in a dining room suffused with light, where visitors are surrounded by high-gloss wood paneling and a mosaic-tile gold ceiling. Sip on a selection of original and classic cocktails crafted by Italian-born and San Francisco-based mixologist Carlo Splendorini. Offerings include the classics, like a whole section of Negronis, as well as plays on Venetian tradition, such as the Ciao, Bella, which revisits the Bellini with ruby red grapefruit and pink peppercorn sorbet. TikTok’s favorite cocktail, meanwhile, is served here with strawberry-infused Cocchi Americano and rosé Prosecco.
You’re dining on: Cicchetti, the Venetian answer to tapas, is perfect for pairing with the cocktails of your choosing. Options may include rich guanciale meatballs, Santa Barbara uni with heritage pork nduja or a Venetian favorite, baccalá mantecato, a spread of whipped salt cod topped with gold leaf for a fancy flourish. If you’re looking for something slightly more consequential, executive chef Joseph Offner’s all-day menu is as well-suited to lunchtime visitors as evening revelers. Pizza al taglio may be topped with mortadella, amarena cherries, burrata and pistachio, or toasted walnuts, gorgonzola and sweet-and-sour red onion. Choose from a lovely list of salads, such as radicchio with Campari vinaigrette and fennel, or fresh pasta with Liberty Duck ragu, orange and clove.
You’re here because: A collaboration between Paul Iglesias (previously of Canela Bistro & Wine Bar in San Francisco) and Kendrick Wu (business partner at Makan and Thirsty Crow in Washington, D.C.), Parche is a particularly personal venture for Iglesias, who grew up firmly ensconced in his Colombian heritage. With consult from Saul Valdes (who was until recently a manager and promoter of the Colombian Ethnic Cuisine project Sabores y Colores de Colombia por el Mundo), Iglesias seeks to recreate the convivial spirit of his childhood meals through a shared-plate format — all in a beautiful space that reflects Colombian history and art.
You’re dining on: Small plates may include a salmon tartare with citrus parsley aioli and crispy capers, or arepas topped with tender beef guiso and a fried quail egg. You can also dig into a crispy pork belly ceviche with citrus in myriad forms. Pair your choices with one of 10 wines by the glass (or 30 bottles), or opt for a Colombian-inspired drink like the Chía, a play on a tiki cocktail with Alkkemist gin, Lewis & Clark, Guasca Feijoa, passionfruit and orgeat.
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You’re here because: You love plant-based food but eschew labels, which is exactly the vibe and philosophy cultivated by this brand new plant-forward spot. Taking full advantage of the bounty of Sonoma County, Luma’s warm dining room, decorated in earth tones and natural wood, is the ideal space to take full advantage of local California cuisine with a twist.
You’re dining on: Shareable snacks may see hush puppies paired with roasted apple and aioli, or mushroom escabeche alongside radish and perilla. Flatbread could be topped with San Marzano tomatoes and cashew milk cheese, and entrées encompass everything from heirloom squash with sprouted grains to pasta with plant-based fennel and carrot ragu. Meat takes a supporting role, with a handful of exquisitely sourced offerings served in diminutive four-ounce portions. Think duck from Liberty Farms or farm-raised eggs from Coastal Hill. Finish things off with a gluten-free chocolate tart or crumble made with wood-fired apples and plant-based cream.
You’re here because: For as many times as local restaurateurs have played that Californian-Mediterranean hybrid tune, we can’t help but sing along. Acre Kitchen and Bar has already wowed Oakland locals with its approach: a two-in-one dining experience designed around a stone oven and wood-fired hearth. It may have taken over the space formerly occupied by well-loved Oliveto, but chef and co-owner Dirk Tolsma will soon have you convinced by his deliberately unfussy approach.
You’re dining on: Dishes from one of two menus, depending on your mood (and the time of day). Downstairs, the all-day, European-style café serves tasty pizzas and small or medium shared plates ranging from the ultra simple (smokehouse almonds or tinned fish) to slightly cheffier offerings like pomegranate with country ham and rainbow sorrel, or Moroccan-spiced burrata with sunchoke chips. Upstairs, a larger menu of more consequential fare features some overlap, like pull-apart rolls or that burrata, as well as a few additions like steak tartare, braised lamb with polenta, and rotisserie chicken with black pepper broth, levain and Meyer lemon. The bar program influenced by Brian Sheehy of Future Bars offers tantalizing libations upstairs and down, with a refreshing all-day cocktail menu in the café space and a selection of traditional tipples — including a play on the Oakland original Mai Tai — in the restaurant.
You’re here because: At the Line SF, the hotel is now home to the restaurant Tenderheart, which offers a celebration of Northern California cuisine with some international flourishes, while the vivacious atmosphere of Rise Over Run, their rooftop bar, approaches the euphoric once you get a glimpse of some excellent panoramas.
You’re dining on: Two distinct menus designed by executive chef Joe Hou. After years of experience at such spots as NoMad and Angler, not to mention the international inspiration culled from his Chinese-American upbringing and round-the-world travel, this former pastry chef has pulled out all the stops to offer a dining experience that’s creative, varied and truly delicious. At Tenderheart, bigeye tuna is paired with tomato water, black garlic and chile, and little gem lettuce is seasoned with orange zest, sunflower, scallion ginger dressing and tempura “crispies” for crunch. At Rise Over Run, meanwhile, the menu is more bar-driven, though whether that means Royal Miyagi oysters with ginger, rum, ponzu and sansho or a gourmet spin on a “royale with cheese” (with yuzu mayonette) is your call.
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