A Dozen Great Dishes

A Dozen Great Dishes

San Francisco’s restaurant scene is always among the hottest in the US, and 2017 is no exception. It can be a lot for even locals to keep up. Here are a few delicious places worth experiencing this year.

ATwater Tavern

Specializing in “classic” San Francisco cuisine driven by seasonality and sustainability, ATwater Tavern offers American fare such as fried and seared calamari, cioppino and 100 percent grass fed tri-tip off the Santa Maria Grill. Opened in May 2016, the restaurant is the ideal spot for date night, the perfect cap to a vacation, happy-hour patio bites or to celebrate a special occasion. In the growing Mission Bay neighborhood overlooking AT&T Park, ATwater Tavern won’t be a secret much longer.

Salt & Straw

The much-adored ice cream emporium Salt & Straw is opening its first shops in the city this spring on Fillmore Street and in Hayes Valley. The San Francisco scoop spots will feature a menu of flavors created just for the city, and part of the profits will benefit local schools. Yes, they will still be bringing their much-beloved flavors down from Portland, too.

China Live

Chinatown is getting a huge new destination in 2017 from a team of partners, including George Chen, called China Live. The complex will clock in at more than 30,000sqft. It will house a market, retail and the lively all-day Oolong Café on the ground floor and a craft cocktail bar, lounge and elegant restaurant. www.chinalivesf.com

In Situ

It’s not everywhere you can find an award-winning chef running a restaurant in a museum, but not every museum is SFMOMA which re-opened in 2016 after a major expansion. Created by three-Michelin-starred chef Corey Lee, In Situ’s concept upends the traditional fine dining experience by “curating” benchmark dishes by over 80 chef-colleagues worldwide, including René Redzepi (Noma), Alice Waters (Chez Panisse), Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), Hajime Yoneda (HAJIME), Virgilio Martínez (Central), Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon), and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons de Bricourt), among others. Think of it as a culinary journey across time zones.

Finn Town Tavern

Described as a “tavern with a twist,” Top Chef alum Ryan Scott’s highly anticipated Finn Town opened in December 2016. Culinary tourists craving an “only in San Francisco” dining and drinking experience will discover a menu where the food is unpretentious and the drinks, described as “strong and satisfying,” include a few named after individuals who once lived or worked here, including the Call of the Wild, named for author Jack London, and the Milkman, which honors the legacy of Harvey Milk.


Barcha is a Mediterranean bistro with a Parisian flair, serving healthy, fresh and satisfying dishes with Turkish, Tunisian and Spanish influences. Opened in November 2015, it is still a hot spot. The focus is on mezze, which means a lot of small plates. Signatures are the chicken croquettes, lamb meatballs, grilled duck kefta, chickpea falafel, shakshuka and fire-roasted eggplant.


Opened in Ghirardelli Square in Fisherman’s Wharf in March 2016, James Beard Award-winning chef Jonathan Waxaman’s newest namesake plays on the Bay Area’s seasonality and homegrown ingredients in simply prepared California- and Italian-inspired dishes. The menu offers ingredient-driven pastas, wood roasted farm stand vegetables, meats and fish and fresh salads.

Two Projects by Erik Sun

Los Angeles-based food personality Erik Sun has a few projects lined up in San Francisco’s SoMa. Arsenal, at 715 Brannan St., opened in March and features two restaurants in one address. One is a 20-seat noodle bar with all house-made noodles (one preview pic shows a bowl of spicy beef noodle soup with aged sirloin, braised back ribs, and prime rib-eye), while the grill side features the world’s most exclusive beef in a Yakiniku-style grill at your table style dining. The Hunted, opening in late summer, will take inspiration from Sun’s experience on feasting in the outdoors. Sun is a hunter, spearfisher and forager, as well as a partner and sometime chef at Bestia in Los Angeles.


International chef Noriyuki Sugie has been collaborating with Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery—which brews Hitachino Nest—for the past eight years, and will be opening a craft beer bar with them. Hitachino beers will be served on tap from kegs and there will be some exclusive San Francisco brews. Whether guests want snacks or a full meal, an izakaya-like menu will offer a range of options.

Alba Ray

From the minds behind Popsons, one of San Francisco’s most drool-inducing burgers, comes their newest concept, a Cajun restaurant. There are classics like boudin balls with pickled peppers and creole mustard, frog legs sauce piquant, shrimp and grits, and crawfish boils when in season. Even the bar has a Cajun beat with N’awlins-style cocktails like the Sazeracs.

RT Rotisserie

The team behind San Francisco’s beloved Rich Table has bought a casual and approachable rotisserie chicken restaurant to Hayes Valley. The menu is inspired by the comforting meals that husband-and-wife team Evan and Sarah used to refuel with after ski trips: rotisserie chicken, warming soups, California-inspired salads, oysters and hearty sandwiches.

Babu Ji

Jessi and Jennifer Singh, the team behind the widely popular Babu Ji in New York City, bring their creative and fun approach to Indian dining to San Francisco’s Mission District, where the duo originally met. The food at Babu Ji, which opened in November 2016, is simple yet remarkable as it’s made from high-quality ingredients and offered in a creatively driven and regularly changing menu that spans Indian street food, cross-regional curries and tandoori specialties.

For more info go to www.sftravel.com

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