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.
kantine (3 images)
Little Scandinavia (aka Duboce Triangle)
Why now: After myriad pop-ups, chef Nichole Accettola finally has a permanent home for her open-faced Scandinavian sandwiches — plus the kind of streamlined, sunlight-filled canteen you’d expect from the Copenhagen-based studio that designed the space.
Eat this: The utterly Scandi smorrebrod with shrimp salad, boiled egg, mayonnaise and dill, plus a pint of Mikkeller San Diego’s Raspberry Blush Berliner Weisse — or maybe a DIY-assembly brunch board, with trout rillettes with pickled onion, overnight muesli with huckleberries, and seared broccoli.
Photos: Chloé Lagier, chloelagier.com
stonehill matcha (3 images)
Why now: A worthy successor to the former occupant — Bar Tartine — Stonemill Matcha is set to become the neighborhood’s go-to spot for killer pastries and quite a few variations on matcha teas.
Eat this: If you’re meeting for something sweet, come early and settle in for a meal with the pork cutlet katsu sando (with tonkatsu sauce and cabbage). Stick around for the ginger matcha latte and the utterly tantalizing matcha cream puffs.
Photos: Stonemill Matcha
violet's (2 images)
Why now: Do you love Fiorella? If the answer is no, try again. If the answer is yes, you will really love the latest project from the same team: the super-stylish Violet’s, bringing California comfort (burgers, oysters, etc.) to 24th and Clement.
Eat this: Save yourself a Saturday afternoon’s drive up north with the Tomales Bay-style grilled oysters, chilled borscht and Key lime pie.
Photos: Grace Sager
stranger (2 images)
Why now: You gotta root for the local talent (all three co-owners have roots here) behind this new Uptown Oakland joint, offering cocktails, a dancefloor and DJ nights. This lounge is looking to shape up as an exceptionally social neighborhood spot.
Drink this: Start the evening with the eponymous cocktail: the Hello Stranger, with passionfruit, Spanish vermouth and Sacred Bond brandy.
soba ichi (2 images)
Why now: Because you already love Ippuku in Berkeley, and want to check out this expansive sister property, an actual oasis designed in the spirit of a Buddhist temple.
Eat this: Without question, you’re here for the house-made soba noodles, made with Kitawase buckwheat brought in from Washington. For us it’s a tossup between two hot soba options: one with tempura shrimp (ebiten soba), the other with sliced duck breast (kamo nanban).
Photos: Waki Hamatsu