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). Bon appétit.
Why now: Chef Sharon Ardiana's namesake spot — her third restaurant, following Gialina and Ragazza — will be a go-to spot in the neighborhood for the dish that made her famous: pizza.
Order this: The Funghi: mushroom pizza, with thyme, fontina, and caramelized onion. There's also the New York, New York if you're looking for a classic pie — but mushrooms are in season.
Eight Tables by George Chen
Why now: Get a taste before M. Michelin comes calling: The style of exceptionally high-end Chinese dining — shi fan tsai, translated for us as "private chateau dining" — and the pedigree of all involved (including the titular George Chen, who earned degrees in neurobiology and psychology from Berkeley, of all things, before launching his cooking career), point to a starry future. (It's extremely fancy.)
Order this: The only question is whether or not to add $125 wine pairings to the $225-per-head 10-course tasting menu. (We vote yes.)
Why now: Every time a food truck gets a permanent location, a chef — in this case, that famous, FiDi pizza truck's chief proprietor, Casey Crynes — gets his wings. Specifically, a super-style-y space with plenty of room at the counter.
Order this: The special Cherry Pie — organic cherry tomato, thyme, basil, mozzarella, grana, and chili flakes. Follow him on Twitter for word when this (or other specials) are on the menu.
Iron Horse Cocktails
Why now: Because you're maybe looking for a smart cocktail place (with prices, at $10-$12, that aren't obnoxious) close to your office, and you're a fan of nearby establishments Topsy’s (on Kearney and Bush) and Playland (in the Tenderloin) — earlier projects from owner Angela Voloshyna.
Order this: The Fitzgerald, with gin, lavender, citrus, and flowers
25 Maiden Lane (map)
Why now: Chef/owner Carlos Altamirano's seventh Bay Area restaurant mixes Peruvian seafood classics with top hits from his other spots. And it's a huge, gorgeous space courtesy of Crome Architecture, with a destination patio to boot.
Order this: The arroz con mariscos — Peruvian paella, with bomba rice, a saffron-paprika base, and Peruvian beer — plus a side of fried plantains.