The New SF Restaurants I’m Craving Most

Most people move to San Francisco for a job, for a friend, for the natural beauty.  Others (*ahem*) move to the city in pursuit of one of the U.S.’s most vibrant food scenes.

Just when you think you’re getting somewhere with your SF restaurant list (and don’t even get me started on all the additional food pilgrimages that need to take place in the surrounding Bay Area,) fifteen of your new favorite restaurants decide to open up (twelve to be exact.)
And then you’re left with the age old dilemma of: do I go back to my favorite spot (or, if you’re feeling particularly lazy, the favorite spot within a few blocks walk from your couch) OR do I venture out?  Will the trek to this or that neighborhood, or outside of my food comfort zone, pay off in the form of delighted taste buds?

To add to this ever-present challenge, here are a few more to add to your ever-growing list of SF eats.  All of them opened in the last six months, and a few in the last few weeks.

 

Brenda’s Meat and Three

Cuisine: New Orleans inspired/Southern
Neighborhood: NoPa (Alamo Square)
Story: Get Southern style meat and three sides (hence the name) from the genius folks behind Brenda’s French Soul Food. And, they served brunch here too. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Difficulty level: Low to medium. During busy restaurant hours you’ll likely wait (just like Brenda’s for brunch) but you’ll get in eventually!  (I’m going to try going for lunch first.)
What To Try: It’s hard to go wrong with po’ boys. And I’m pretty excited about the Little Gem and Fried Oysters Salad. Also, biscuits. Also, fried chicken.

brenda's meat and three fried chicken

Hapa Ramen

Cuisine: Japanese
Neighborhood: Mission
Story: Former food truck has its own brick-and-mortar serving up legit ramen with locally sourced, organic ingredients. Where do I sign up?
Difficulty level: Mellow. You can get in for a bowl of steamy goodness.
What To Try: Buttermilk fried chicken steamed bun? Yes. Any and all ramen, yes, especially the house Hapa Ramen.

 

Burma Love

Cuisine: Burmese
Neighborhood: Mission
Story: If you’ve ever taken a long drive out to stand in a long line at Burma Superstar, you might enjoy the convenience of their newest outpost in the Mission
Difficulty level: Medium. It can take up to an hour to get a table on a busy night, but there are spots at the bar and service is pretty quick.
What To Try: Classics like the samosa soup and tea leaf salad, and I am a huge fan of the yellow tofu. You can’t really go wrong.

 hapa ramen


Lazy Bear

Cuisine: American.
Neighborhood: Mission
Story: Prix-fixe menu of 12-18 (yep, you read that right) courses that supposedly knock your socks off. Also I know this shouldn’t matter, but the interior of this place looks beautiful, and their website has plaid. Meals are served on long wooden communal tables.
Difficulty level: Medium. Tickets are released in limited amounts online (and are non-refundable) but generally accessible.
What To Try: Everything. Just show up. If it suits you, opt for the beverage pairings as well.

 

Huxley

Cuisine: New American
Neighborhood: Tenderloin
Story: A small bistro with only 25 seats serving rustic plates with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Difficulty level: Low. Same day reservations are possible!
What To Try: Everyone is all about the beef short rib pot pie and the charred squid. Personally, I’m dying to try their savory bread pudding with nettles and gruyere. Mmm.

 

Monsieur Benjamin

Cuisine: French
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley
Story: With a Parisian bistro inspired feel, his was one of the most talked about restaurants that opened last year.
Difficulty level: Medium. Be sure to book a week or two out.
What To Try: With classic French menu items, there is plenty to try here and little to go wrong.  I’ll have one of everything.  Also, Camembert beignets? Yes, please.

 monsieur benjamin sf

 

Arguello

Cuisine: Mexican
Neighborhood: Presidio
Story: The new, upscale Mexican spot in the Officer’s Club of the Presidio was inspired by the post Spanish settlement of the area. I can taste the mezcal already. Also, they have chilaquiles so I automatically need to eat here.
Difficulty level: Unknown. They’re not currently taking reservations.
What To Try: When in doubt, get the tacos. Also the caramelized pork shoulder looks pretty damn amazing.

 

Crystal Jade

Cuisine: Chinese
Neighborhood: FiDi/Embarcadero
Story: Crystal Jade is already an institution in Asia, with 22 open across China and Singapore. This is their first U.S. location.
Difficulty level: Low. Lots of timing options here.
What To Try: Dim sum! Noodles! Seafood! Real Peking duck!

 crystal jade restaurant

 

Cockscomb

Cuisine: California
Neighborhood: SOMA
Story: With a wood-fired oven and an emphasis on fresh oysters, the website calls it “a celebration of San Francisco’s diverse culinary heritage and homage to the chef’s adopted city.”
Difficulty level: Medium low. If you’re willing to eat late, you can often get a same day reservation.
What To Try: Raw bar, cocktail bar, the “ham” burger (made with actual ham.) Duck fat cauliflower side also sounds divine.

 

The Pink Zebra 

 

Cuisine: Japanese-Mediterranean
Neighborhood: Mission
Story: The folks behind Mission Chinese (what up!) lost a chef to this new venture, which is bound to be tasty.
Difficulty level: Medium. You can make reservations by calling ahead, with a minimum 1-2 day lag time for a response.
What To Try: Omakase! Omakase! Menchi katsu (pork katsu with layers of gruyere…mmmm)

 

The Progress

Cuisine: Amazing-ness
Neighborhood: Western Addition
Story: It’s the restaurant the team behind legendary State Bird Provisions intended to start.  Dishes are served family style (not dim sum style.) It’s probably the most anticipated restaurant in SF.
Difficulty level: High. If you’ve ever tried getting a table at State Bird only to come up short, you can expect more of that here for now though they do offer room at the bar for walk-ins.
What To Try: Looks like we can expect more imaginative and fresh creations using ingredients you never knew you loved so much. I’ve heard good thing about the salty roti dish, and I’ve got my eye on the spiced squab and smoked duck.

 


 

So those are the 2015 San Francisco restaurants I’ll be eating at, with any luck.  Because the only thing better than SF food is its random restaurant names.  And if you have a car, don’t forget about Thomas Keller’s new pop-up!

Have you been? Where do you most want to go?  Or, really throw me off and give me your favorite “old” eatery in San Francisco, if you think it can stand up and tempt me away from all these new and shiny, scrumptious spots.

 

all images provided via Flickr/CC.

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9 Comments

  1. In a nutshell, why I need to marry rich.

  2. I haven’t been to San Francisco yet, but a coworker and I were just talking about SF today, and about how the restaurant scene there is supposed to be fantastic. So now I have a few more restaurants to add to my must eat here list.

    • Hey Alouise! Seriously, this is a place I would visit just for the food. Let me know when you come and I’m happy to help you create a plan of attack 🙂

      PS I have a list of nearly 400 if that makes you feel better…

  3. The food looks amazing! Thumbs up! Thanks for the post!

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