When you close your eyes and think of San Francisco, what are three things—not counting fog—that come to mind? For us, it’s outdoor activities, the proximity to beautiful wineries (hello, Robert Sinskey in Napa and Scribe in Sonoma), and, of course, some of the best restaurants in California. Okay, we also can’t help but picture the Golden Gate Bridge.
The San Francisco Travel Association agrees. Among the top reasons to visit San Francisco is, no shocker, “restaurants and cuisine.” It also reported that table service restaurants are the number one leading activity. If, like the nearly 70K people visiting San Francisco daily, you’re looking for where to dine, keep reading. Ahead, we’ve compiled seven newly opened restaurants that should be on every visitor’s (and local’s) list, including a 30,000-square-foot seasonal dining destination in Chinatown and one of our favorite New York City restaurants now open in the Mission District.
A trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Chinatown. Here, the newly opened China Live is a must-visit. After all, when—if ever—have you had seasonally driven Chinese food? Right? Located on the first floor of a 30,000-square-foot space is China Live’s Market Restaurant. The 120-seat full-service eatery features a daily changing menu cooked from eight specialized stations. Imagine Eataly but with dim sum-style offerings. There’s also a beautiful blue-and-white counter service called Oolong Café, and a soon-to-open fine dining spot, Eight Tables.
644 Broadway, San Francisco
On a scale of one to Athena Calderone, the design of this casual counter-service restaurant is swoon-worthy. The facade of Media Noche is lined with bright pink flamingos on the contrasting stark white shiplap while the interior is accented with mint details, black ironwork, and mosaic tile flooring you’d find in Havana. The darling restaurant and bar serves Cuban fare including a selection of Cubanos, empanadas, and bowls served with black beans, rice, and coconut slaw.
3465 19th Street, San Francisco
Situated in the Hayes Valley neighborhood is Italian restaurant a Mano, which opened in May. The menu at this beautifully adorned, first-come, first-served restaurant includes daily house-made pastas prepared with seasonal ingredients (the tagliatelle with pesto, English peas, and fava pine nuts is calling our name), thin-crust pizzas, and an extensive Italian beverage program featuring classic Italian cocktails and wines from different regions including Tuscany and Sicily. While a Mano currently only serves dinner (5 p.m. till close), it has plans to roll out lunch and brunch in the coming months. (Yes!)
450 Hayes Street, San Francisco
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Francophile’s take note: Petit Marlowe, the Parisian-inspired wine and raw bar, opened in June. Expect seasonal French fare, caviar, crudo, oysters, and more seafood selections from the intimate bistro situated around the corner from Marlowe.
234 Townsend Street, San Francisco
Opened on May 30, RT Rotisserie is a fast-casual version of Rich Table (a James Beard–nominated restaurant) by husband-and-wife duo Sarah and Evan Rich. The menu here is straightforward and includes sandwiches, half or whole rotisserie chicken (of course), as well as sides like market vegetables and umami fries.
101 Oak Street, San Francisco
Babu Ji SF
One of our favorite Indian restaurants in New York, Babu Ji, opened in San Francisco at the end of November. If you haven’t been, drop what you’re doing and go. Regarding what to try: We highly recommend ordering the chef's tasting menu ($55 per person), which can also be paired with wine or beer. Added bonus: The restaurant takes reservations. We suggest getting on that ASAP.
280 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Flores, which opened in December, serves elevated Mexican fare like ocrab tostadas, duck enchiladas, and lightly fried masa dumplings with hearts of palm. The restaurant—located in Cow Hollow—has sourced its menu from family recipes, makes corn tortillas by hand daily, and now offers happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Did we mention we’re obsessed with the décor?
2030 Union Street, San Francisco
Do any of these restaurants jump out at you? Share with us which one(s) you’d like to visit in the comment section below.