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). Let’s eat.
This year has, obviously, been a topsy-turvy kind of time. If we’re sure of one thing (and one thing, these days, seems like plenty), it’s that any opportunity to support our local community should be massively exploited while it can be — even if that just means celebrating their creativity and patronizing their new establishments.
Below, our top picks for the best new restaurants birthed in the past couple months in San Francisco — plus one that’s ordering up that Uber for the rush to the delivery room at literally any moment now.
Why now: We’d be remiss not to include Matt Horn’s Oakland expansion, even if the master barbecuer himself hadn’t sent over his recipe for the West Coast’s most beloved fried chicken sandwich to celebrate the opening in January. But if you aren’t in the mood to cook at home….
Order this: The original Southern Bird with housemade pickles and “Bird Sauce,” plus fries and whatever dessert is on the weekly-rotating menu (hopefully, the sweet potato pound cake).
1733 Peralta Street, Oakland (map)
Rooftop at the Hyatt Place Hotel, SoMa
Why now: Confession: There’s nothing we love more than a rooftop bar in San Francisco — especially a self-described “tropical oasis in the sky” that might even live up to that extremely ambitious name. And if baseball ever shows up, its stadium-side location will mean for exceptionally buzzy happy hours.
Order this: Drink up — if you’re looking for dinner, head to the original Kaiyo (in Cow Hollow) or wait it out ’til the ground floor restaurant opens this summer. Until then, it’s empanadas, ceviches and a cocktail program overseen by John Park, founder of BxB Hospitality, which includes the exceptional Whitechapel.
Hyatt Place Hotel, 701 3rd Street (map)
Why now: Jeff Hanak and Ravi Kapur — who should already know from Liholiho Yacht Club — debuted Good Good Culture Club in January with a distinctly post-pandemic identity, from the 20% “equity fee” in lieu of tipping and an expanded place for QR codes in their workflow. All that is in addition to a menu that sees co-chefs Brett Shaw and Kevin Keovanpheng look to southeast Asia — rather than Kapur’s home of Hawaii, like at Liho — for inspiration.
Order this: The garlic rice-stuffed chicken wings with an adobe glaze and “mom’s lao sausage” (the mom in question is Keovanpheng’s). Accompany that with a pick off their spirits menu — those rums look exceptionally well chosen.
3560 18th Street (map)
Why now: Vegetarians, rejoice: Renowned chef Steve Joo — known for stints at NorCal hall-of-fame spots like Chez Panisse and his pop-up Nokni — is now selling the Bay Area’s best tofu, out of his new Korean deli in the former Kebabery space on Market Street.
Order this: Order online and pick up your dooboo and banchan at your leisure — this week’s assortment of the latter includes spring Napa cabbage kimchi, Rice Thief with collard greens, wild mustard and mushrooms, and DooBoo MooChiim with broccolini, spinach and watercress. Why not add on some Dokkaebier Yuza?
4201 Market St, Oakland (map)
Why now: Full disclosure: It’s not open yet, but it’s so close (and the Insta preview photos look so delicious) that we’re officially sharing the countdown here. Keep an eye on their Instagram for specifics; after being delayed from the fall, the opening should be mere days away.
Order this: “Whatever they have on offer” is a lazy answer — but given that everything is TBC here, we’re going to go with that. Not least because of its exceptionally high-quality pedigree; co-owners Tan Truong and Geoffrey Lee’s other car is the Michelin-starred Ju-Ni.
598 Guerrero Street
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