Looking for somewhere new to eat? Here’s your monthly cheat sheet of five brand-new places that recently opened around town.
There’s a new and bright blue/can’t-miss-it building on Valencia, with an equally cheerful interior to match. Chef-owner Aaron London (of Ubuntu notoriety) is opening his first restaurant for dinner on Friday February 6th, and you’ll find a menu of NorCal cuisine that’s full of creativity and depth of flavor, like black cod crusted with black lime and roasted black lime powder with winter citrus and sunchoke curry. There are 45 seats, with a counter in the back, where you can watch the staff make your low-proof cocktail, like the Ms. Brown (manzanilla, Dolin Dry, Cocchi Torino, grapefruit bitters). Outdoor seating and brunch are also part of the upcoming plan. Open Wed–Sun 5:30pm–10pm (and until 11pm Fri–Sat).
1499 Valencia (at 26th Street), 415-416-6136
The action on Valencia doesn’t stop, and this one is bringing the heat. Chef-owner James Syhabout has opened a second location of his Oakland-based Hawker Fare in the former Amber Dhara (so, yeah, it’s a big one). The interior is full of color and has a Thai night market feeling, with picnic tables throughout, a bar downstairs, plus another bar upstairs called Holy Mountain (opening Friday February 6th). The Thai- and Laotian-influenced menu is designed to be shared with your dining pals, with an array of dishes, from spicy salads to one pot curries. And guests are encouraged to eat with their hands, fun. Dinner hours are Tue–Thu 5:30pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 5:30pm–11:30pm, Sun 4pm–9pm. Weekend lunch will be launching on Saturday February 7th, 12pm–3pm.
680 Valencia (at 18th Street), 415-932-6193
A bunch of folks have been looking forward to this opening from chef Ravi Kapur (previously Boulevard, Prospect, and his Lilholiho pop-up) and partners Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak of Nopa and Nopalito. Their Lower Nob Hill space greets you with an “aloha” in blue tiles at the front door, a clue to the Hawaiian-inspired feeling and influences you will find on chef Kapur’s inventive menu. Picture market-fresh seasonal ingredients and flavor-forward dishes built to share, including starters like fried oyster with beef carpaccio, Thousand Island, and butter lettuce, or fried game hen with cashews, tamari glaze, and flowering kale, plus you'll see plenty of vegetable dishes. The space has a great layout, from the airy front room with a bar and comfortable seating, to large booths in the back, with cheerful tile and pine throughout. Dinner served Mon-Thu 5pm–10:30pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm.
871 Sutter (at Leavenworth), 415-440-5446
This 22,000-square-foot market and updated food court concept inside Market Square, aka “the Twitter building,” is packed full of food businesses. You’ll find the newly opened Azalina’s (her first brick and mortar!) to a taco bar, plus a pizzeria, café, salad bar, tapas bar with beer and wine, a deli counter, bakeshop, and a Japanese sushi and raw bar (with oysters). Organic and sustainable ingredients are a priority, and there’s also a grocery store, butcher shop, chocolatier, florist, and more. Open daily 7am–10pm (although some vendors, like the butcher shop, won’t open until 9am).
1355 Market (at 10th Street)
There’s a big, splashy newcomer to the 140 New Montgomery/Pacific Bell building downtown: it’s the sequel to chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s Aziza, with 258 seats, a spacious bar and lounge, two levels, and an outdoor patio (all by Lundberg Design)—you’ll see some Moroccan motifs and elements throughout. Lahlou’s menu features his carefully constructed NorCal-Moroccan dishes, and there is also a tasting menu. Wine lovers are in good hands with Master Sommelier Alan Murray, and fans of pastry chef Melissa Chou’s desserts at Aziza will also find her creations here. Open nightly for dinner 5:30pm–10pm.
140 New Montgomery (at Mission), 415-660-2500