San Francisco has long been rife with world’s best cocktail bars: it was one of three cities, alongside New York and New Orleans, that introduced the world to cocktails in the 1800s, after all. Then SF and NYC led the cocktail renaissance of the past three decades.
Many of these bars also serve killer food. While bars like True Laurel and The Snug are shining examples of this combo, there’s a recent wave of new bars where food and drink shine together, but the vibe is fully bar versus restaurant. Three of the most interesting newcomers? Movida, Bar Gemini, and Stoa. Read more →
The Tenderloin’s (TL) roughly 7-by-5 blocks get a massive amount of bad press as the center of San Francisco’s worst drugs and homelessness. As it has everywhere, pandemic has made conditions worse as Tenderloin’s decades-old issues have expanded a few blocks. But the TL remains a tiny part of our ever vibrant city with top-notch food, as in every SF neighborhood. Yet due to the TL’s location next to tourist central Union Square and hotels, it gets outsized attention compared to much larger difficult neighborhoods in other U.S. cities. Read more →
Did we need another fine dining, tasting menu-only restaurant? “Need” is maybe the wrong choice of words. With the arrival of Kiln, just open May 16th, 2023, in Hayes Valley in the former Cala space, we have yet another upscale restaurant that already exemplifies why San Francisco easily offers the U.S.’ best fine dining, but is also a global player. Read more →
One restaurant, a buzzy pizza-meets-global-plates and natural wine spot on Nob Hill; the other, a sunny Mexican newcomer on peaceful Levi Plaza. They may have slipped your notice, but don’t let them. They may not be getting a lot of press, but they’re two delightful new San Francisco neighborhood restaurants. Read more →
SPQR opened back in 2007, but it wasn’t until Matthew Accarrino came on board as chef in 2009 that it quickly became a top pasta restaurant in the nation — and one of multiple Italy-worthy pasta destinations in San Francisco.
So it was good news, indeed, to hear Accarrino and team were opening their first casual restaurant and all-day cafe, Mattina, on April 1, just around the corner from SPQR in Charles Phan’s former Out the Door space. Think coffee, house pastries and biscuit sandwiches all day, and a full lunch menu, soon to be available at dinner. Read more →
These new spots or new menus cover the gamut, from Filipino-Mexican to Peruvian. Alongside my full restaurant reviews this month, these eight (and a bonus 9th bar) are well worth visiting. Last month’s standouts are here (as always, I’ve personally vetted, visited or ordered from each place reviewed): Read more →
I won’t forget my first visit to Palette soon after opening in 2019 when chef Peter Hemsley grilled up rare, local coonstripe shrimp just caught that morning, buttery-fresh and revelatory; like eating our divine local spot prawns for the first time. Midwest-born Hemsley’s hand with seafood was evident from those early days. So maybe it’s little surprise that as Palette closed, Hemsley and team just opened Aphotic in the same space on March 21, 2023, as a sleek tribute to… you guessed it: seafood. Read more →
Opened October 2021 by Finn Stern and Stella Dennig, as Oakland’s Daytrip approaches one and a half years of age, it has become clear it’s one of the city’s best restaurants now. It was named one of Bon Appetit’s top 10 new restaurants in America in 2022 and is one of the tougher reservations in OAK. Read more →
The speakeasy trend peaked in the mid-aughts in New York and San Francisco cocktails bars where it first launched in the years prior, just as it was taking off around the country. But the clamor for “secret,” hidden spaces in restaurants and bars has not abated. There remains a thrill in finding a gem behind nondescript doors, a hidden room, a cozy hideaway.
Brand new Anomaly SF, opening January 19, 2023, from chef/owner (and former competitive cyclist) Mike Lanham, feels like just such a space. Read more →
Published in the Winter 2022-2023 print issue of Maze Row’s VOICES Magazine out of London, Vol. 2:
My interview with Lazy Bear’s (San Francisco) beverage director Jacob Brown finds inspiration in the endless wealth of California produce & vineyards: Read more →