A Pop-Up Puts Down Roots Among SF’s Best New Restaurants

Elsewhere, a new rooftop spot worth the elevator ride, and exquisite omakase

February 28, 2023 7:46 am
The fennel at Anomaly SF.
The fennel at Anomaly SF.
Andrea Bartley

The Bay Area is awash with new openings this month, from world-class omakase in SoMa to an authentic French bistro in Oakland. Dig into after-work noshes with Spanish flair in Menlo Park, or enjoy Latin-inspired small plates and cocktails on a Mission Bay rooftop complete with live music. Plus, an under-the-radar residency has finally scored a brick-and-mortar with an 11-course prix fixe sure to make any foodie swoon.

Food from Canteen
Food from Canteen
Jim Sullivan


Menlo Park

You’re here because: You’ve been looking for a solid after-work spot in Menlo Park, and a Spanish-accented wine bar is the ideal destination. Canteen is the very first restaurant to join newly launched Springline, a mixed-use space created with the goal of bringing new energy to the heart of Silicon Valley. Designed by Megan Padalecki from Stanton Architecture, the warm, welcoming wine bar is decked out in soft white oak and black steel accents — the perfect ambiance in which to enjoy a glass of wine, a cocktail, a few small plates or a more consequential dinner.

You’re dining on: A seasonally-driven menu of shareable plates inspired by chef Greg Kuzia-Carmel’s time in Spain. After stints at New York’s Per Se and Quince, the Michelin-pedigreed chef has designed a pintxo-style menu uniting both Basque-inspired classics and more international fare. Dig into marinated white anchovies or shrimp cooked a la plancha, or enjoy raw bar specialties like local oysters with koji and pomegranate seed mignonette, or cured snapper with Meyer lemon. A shareable bone-in New York strip, inspired by the offering at San Sebastian’s legendary Bar Nestor, serves up to four hungry diners. Dishes are complemented by wines from California, Spain and beyond. The cocktail menu, meanwhile, is driven by small-batch spirits from little-known distilleries around the world — and pays more than mere lip service to zero-ABV offerings. Be sure to save room for a Catalan-style burnt custard with cinnamon and bay for dessert.

550 Oak Grove Ave, Menlo Park

Asado Roca from Cavaña
Asado Roca from Cavaña
Anthony Parks, Emilio Miguel Salehi (Equal Parts Media)


Mission Bay

You’re here because: You’re in the market for a sleek new rooftop, and Cavaña, a recent addition to LUMA Hotel San Francisco, ticks all the boxes. The seamless indoor-outdoor space from John Park of BxB Hospitality Group and Anthony Parks of True Hospitality offers unparalleled views of San Francisco’s skyline and the bay. A full program of Latin-inspired DJs, vocalists and more will keep you dancing into the wee hours. 

You’re dining on: Small shared plates inspired by the flavors of Central and South America and the Caribbean. Think flaky Brazilian pasteles de carne with rocoto aioli, or Venezuelan chicken tamales with bell peppers and dried fruit crema. These delicious eats are accompanied by colorful, creative sugarcane- and agave-derived cocktails from Emilio Salehi, Miguel Salehi and Anthony Parks: Elote Pasilla features Oaxacan purple corn whisky, reposado tequila, pasilla chile and bitter vermouth, while the zero-ABV Chicha Morada marries purple corn, pineapple rind, apple and spices.

100 Channel St, 17th Floor

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Nigiri from Akikos
Nigiri from Akikos
Joseph Weaver



You’re here because: The dream of any sushi fan is a top-notch omakase, and chef Ray Lee’s new flagship in the outdoor pocket park at The Avery is delivering the same expertise and craftsmanship the brand has been known for since its beginnings in 1987. Of course, Lee has also added his own touches since taking over from his parents in 2009, and the new 2,700-square-foot space marks a notable expansion for the team, inspired by the 1970 Osaka Exhibition in its design. The focal point of the restaurant: a 24-seat Chef’s Stage, boasting a 360-degree view of chef Lee, head sushi chef Shinsuke Hayashi and the team as they craft the ideal series of immaculate bites.

You’re dining on: A chef’s choice menu starring a selection of sustainably-sourced seafood from Tokyo’s acclaimed Toyosu Fish Market, dry-aged in-house and served up in a style that marries tradition and innovation. Lean bluefin tuna, Spanish mackerel and golden eye snapper are smoked and served as sashimi; a steamed egg chawanmushi custard is topped with snow crab and Hokkaido uni. But there are some meatier options too: Wagyu beef may, for example, be fashioned into a puff pastry dumpling with aged Parmesan. Wash it all down with a selection of Japanese beers, reserve sake and Japanese whiskey.

430 Folsom Street

Filet Mignon from Anomaly
Filet Mignon from Anomaly
Andrea Bartley

Anomaly SF

Pacific Heights

You’re here because: You first discovered chef Mike Lanham’s wow-worthy, craft-driven cuisine at his under-the-radar residency at The Mansion on Sutter, so you’ve been looking forward to the opening of his debut restaurant. It’s not likely to disappoint. 

You’re dining on: The chef’s whimsical 11-course tasting menu, which shows off Lanham’s phenomenal technical prowess and decidedly contemporary aesthetic. Some dishes will be familiar to fans of the pop-up, like “An Egg… sort of,” which sees egg-yolk jam settled atop smoky seaweed dashi potato foam. New creations may include a contemporary play on filet mignon served with beet-Parmesan mille-feuille. And the Georgia-born chef’s childhood favorite sweet potatoes appear in a dessert featuring a candied slice of the veggie that shatters like the perfect crème brûlée.

2600 Sutter Street

LBB Seafood Plateau
LBB Seafood Plateau
Leila Seppa

Left Bank Brasserie


You’re here because: You’re already a fan of the popular Left Bank Brasseries in Larkspur, Menlo Park and San Jose, so you’re glad to see the group has opened a massive location in Jack London Square. The latest address features a whopping 2,000 square feet of outdoor dining space complete with waterfront views. Inside, choose between the 19-seat, marble-top bar or the red leather banquettes in the rear dining room, oozing Parisian charm.

You’re dining on: An all-day menu of the classic French fare the group has been known for for nearly three decades: Think French onion soup with a gooey Emmental topping, beef bourguignon or classic steak frites with a choice of bordelaise, Roquefort butter or au poivre sauces. Lighter options include salade Niçoise topped with seared ahi tuna or a towering seafood platter of lobster, Dungeness crab, oysters and more. At lunchtime, a few sandwiches join the offerings, like a fried-egg-topped croque madame. And don’t miss the classic French pastries, like ice-cream-filled profiteroles drizzled with dark chocolate sauce or a light, bright lemon tart. A French-dominated wine list from Wine Spectator award winner Serena Harkey and a list of craft cocktails — including CBD and zeo-ABV options — round things out nicely.

55 Webster Street


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