San Francisco has cemented itself as one of our nation’s restaurant capitals. As such, we get to celebrate hundreds of restaurant openings, pop-ups and foodie events every year. And a select number of those have the food, the atmosphere and the service needed to immediately make a mark on our foodie city.
We rounded up some of our favorites from that list to start your new year off with a bucket list of epic proportions. How many of these new spots in the city can you visit before the end of 2019?
Embarcadero | Facebook
This sea-life focused restaurant offers a cozy, lounge atmosphere complete with a wood-burning hearth then pairs that with views of the San Francisco Bay and California-inspired fare made from local ingredients. From the same chef behind the city’s famed Saison, this team works with a small group of fishermen, hunters, gatherers, ranchers and farmers to find the highest quality ingredients then prepares each meal around an open wood fire.
The food and atmosphere are so good, in fact, that Esquire ranked Angler the best new restaurant of 2018. You can see that article here.
Mission | Facebook
This Mission District cocktail bar channels the free-spirited, funkier times of the 1960s. In accordance with that era, they offer some of the neighborhood’s most inspired cocktails like their signature, The Beehive, made with Botanist Gin, sarsaparilla honey, ginger, lemon and salt. The food menu showcases shareable bites, bigger plates and a dessert menu that includes dark chocolate fondue with fruit and other treats.
SoMa | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Heather Lockwood Photo via Birdsong
Former Chef de Cuisine at Atelier Crenn and veteran of Saison, Chris Bleidorn, opened Birdsong in May 2018. Much more than a typical restaurant, this nature and heritage-inspired eatery strives to preserve the fundamental cooking techniques of the past in order to pay homage to the past while also introducing it to younger generations. Currently, their rotating menu is inspired by the Pacific Northwest and features dishes made with regional ingredients like cold-water shellfish, wild game, berries and mushrooms.
NoPa | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Krescent Carasso via Che Fico
This new taverna housed inside a building that is over 100-years-old provides San Francisco’s Nopa neighborhood another cozy restaurant with an Italian-inspired, approachable menu and a warm, friendly atmosphere. But Che Fico has no problem standing out from the crowd thanks to its menu which features some of the best meals in the city. These are focused on seasonal and local produce, meat and fish and ooze Italian culture with every bite.
Tenderloin | Facebook
Unlike any other kitchen in the United States, the Dispensa kitchen features an indoor charcoal oven that utilizes sustainable, environmentally friendly fuel. That means their rich and rustic Italian-inspired menu is created without gas or electricity and showcases the flavors of every decadent ingredient. Shall we sign you up for a plate of 24-hour, slow-cooked octopus?
Fillmore | Facebook
Isla Vida is named for the culture, story and lifestyle of the Caribbean and they’re introducing it to San Francisco through colorful plates packed with Afro-Caribbean flavor. Next time you’re craving a Cubano made with mouth-watering, oven roasted, wood-fired pork, you know exactly where to go.
Cow Hollow | Facebook
Through food, Kaiyō tells the story of Japanese families growing up and living in Peru. This cultural exploration results in meals that beautifully showcase the characteristic flavors of each, while seamlessly merging them on your palate. On the menu, you’ll see things like fresh ceviche alongside sashimi and grilled scallops beside wagyu.
Hayes Valley | Facebook
Chef Nichole Accettola spent more than a decade in Copenhagen and returned with an impressive knowledge of and passion for wholesome, Scandinavian food. At Kantine, she and her team craft inspired fare from scratch using whole grains, seasonal and sustainable ingredients, and Scandinavian methods. This lineup includes fresh baked breads and pastries, open-face sandwiches, warm and savory porridges, and build-your-own brunch boards for a full Copenhagen experience.
Castro | Facebook
Owner Salome Buelow was born here in the Bay Area to German immigrant parents and she and her team have built an eatery that is inspired by her family’s history and her communities’ characteristic sense of love and welcome. That’s why her café is named after the park in Berlin that was once the militarized land between the barriers of the Berlin Wall. Come by for items like bratwurst, soft pretzels, breadboards and so much more.
Financial District | Facebook
Chef Ingi “Shota” Son balances traditional and modern techniques at this new Financial District destination. The menu showcases Edomae-style omakase sushi and Kaiseki-inspired dishes made from seafood sourced and jet-flown from the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Served alongside local ingredients, these meals will make you engage both your senses and your food.
Pacific Heights | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Jordan Wise via Sorrel
Using fresh, organic and local ingredients sourced from Bay Area farmers’ markets as well as a few ingredients foraged from their rooftop gardens, the team at Sorrel creates true California cuisine with an added touch of Italian sensibility. Come by to experience fine dining inside one of the most welcoming dining rooms in the city.
Chinatown | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Z & Y Bistro
In 2008, Chef Han and his family followed his dream and opened Chinatown’s first Sichuan restaurant, Z&Y Restaurant. Today, that restaurant is one of the city’s best; it has been recognized by Michelin Guide and visited by President Barack Obama. In 2018, Chef Han opened Z & Y Bistro just steps from his original restaurant. Here, he offers the classic Szechuan dishes of Z & Y alongside meals inspired by other regions of Asia, like Yakitori, Ramen and Hot Pot.
Do you have a favorite?
If you have a favorite restaurant that opened in 2018, tell us about it in the comments below!