*With Covid restrictions loosening up and indoor dining back on the table, restaurant operations and hours may have changed since this article was first published. Please check with the restaurants for the latest information.
The restaurant industry may be reeling from COVID-19, but somehow that's not stopping intrepid chefs and entrepreneurs from setting up new shops.
The Bay Area's newest crop of eateries is boxing up charcoal-grilled Peruvian-style meats, wood-fired pizzas, and even high-grade sushi at pandemic prices. These seven brave new restaurants are now open for outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout.
Jaranita: Latin-American Grilled Meats, Rotisserie Chicken + Empanadas
In late January, Peruvian rotisserie Jaranita landed in the Marina in a riot of succulence and spice. The newest restaurant from the masterminds behind La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, this colorful spot showcases more traditional, lesser-known dishes from the Latin-American nation. But rich grilled beef heart and hearty lomo saltado, perfectly fried empanadas and sweet-and-savory pastel de choclo are just the start. Jaranita's real genius is in its charcoal-grilled rotisserie chicken, a savory and piquant specialty marinated overnight in cumin, oregano, black pepper, rosemary, ginger, and cloves. Even the restaurant's mocktails, Peru-inspired combinations—like purple corn, pineapple, and cinnamon in the chicha morada—are bright, unexpected, and full of flavor. Look for outdoor seating on the parklet soon.
// Order for takeout or delivery daily from 11:30am to 8pm; 3340 Steiner St. (Marina), jaranitasf.com
Barley: Craft Beer, Wine + Sandos
Fly Bar alum Eric Anderson takes the pretension out of craft beer and wine with Barley, his new down-to-earth digs on Lower Polk. Alongside a selection of local elixirs, the resto-bar serves elevated salads and sandwiches like the turkey, bacon, provolone Lovibond and the mushroom, mozzarella, avocado and creamy cilantro-sauced Zymurgy. In addition to its brick-and-mortar home, you can bring Barley's alcohol expertise home via the beer and wine club. The CSA-style subscription can be enjoyed in multiple different ways and starts at $35. The opening of an outdoor beer garden is just around the corner.
// Takeout and delivery is available from 11am to 8pm Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 8pm Sunday and Monday; 1038 Polk St. (TenderNob), barleysf.com
Alley & Vine: Elevated Comfort Fare in Alameda
From a team of Waterbar alums comes the newest addition to Alameda's dining scene. Alley and Vine highlights the seasonal organic bounty of California's farms, oceans, and ranch lands in its food, craft cocktails, and carefully curated wine list. Elegant, grown-up comfort dishes include Mt. Lassen trout with marble potatoes, broccolini, white miso hollandaise, and smoked roe; house-made white sturgeon caviar served with popovers, egg, chive creme fraîche, and caper relish; and wild mushroom soup with black truffle duxelles cheese toast. Alley and Vine has a cozy, redwood-accented outdoor patio. and is open for takeout and delivery daily.
// 11:30am to 8pm daily; 1332 Park St. (Alameda), alleyandvine.com
Damnfine: Natural, Elegant Pizzas + A Full Bar
The Outer Sunset's new wood-fired pizza joint is more than just molten cheese and tomato sauce. Damnfine has its sights set on being a one-stop shop for the damn finest eats and drinks day or night. Slice into a Mushroom Dream Pie (garlic butter, three types of cheese, and a mix of exotic mushrooms) or a classic SF-style Clam It Up (garlic butter, mozzarella, baby clams, pecorino and ricotta). These and other specialties are made with naturally fermented pizza doughs made from ultra-digestible, high-protein flours. Unlike most pizza spots, Damnfine has a full liquor license which means that everything from Italian chianti to negronis are on the menu and, eventually, the fledgling restaurant plans to add morning hours for coffee and pastries.
// Open for takeout only, 5pm to 9pm Wednesday through Sunday; 3410 Judah St (Outer Sunset), damnfineco.com
Shawarmaji: Juicy Halal Shawarma in Uptown Oakland
Oakland pop-up Shawarmaji now has a permanent Uptown home for its Jordanian-style shawarma. Unlike the burrito-style shawarma that dominates the Bay Area, chef Mohammad Abutaha's version is rolled thin and stuffed with carefully marinated meat and minimal toppings. Shawarmaji specializes in chicken and lamb shawarma, but the pared down menu also makes a mean falafel.
// Open for takeout, delivery and outdoor seating 11am to 10pm Monday through Saturday and 11am to 7pm Sunday; 2123 Franklin St. (Oakland), theshawarmaji.com
Ken: Affordable Sushi From a Former Kusakabe Chef
Although it's still in its soft opening phase, the new Lower Haight venture from alumni of the Michelin Plate-awarded Kusakabe promises a more affordable take on nigiri and sashimi. Currently offering a $48 omakase menu, the only way to get a taste is by contacting restaurant namesake Chef Ken via Instagram for the week's offerings. Bites like unagi hako sushi, masu ikura don, and jidori egg are beautifully prepared, incredibly fresh, and full of umami.
Little Original Joe's: Italian Classics for Take Out, Delivery + Grab-and-Go
From a Bay Area OG comes a new concept that's part restaurant, part corner market. Whereas Original Joe's is known for its steakhouse fare and steadfast Italian classics, Little Joe's has boldly dived into formerly uncharted territory: pizza, available by the slice or by the pie. Gorge on specialty creations like the Hawaiian Punch (rosemary Italian ham, pineapple, onion, pickled jalapeño) or build your own. Not in the mood for pizza? Little Original Joe's also has favorites like ravioli, pasta sauces, parmigianas, and rotisserie chicken on order and in their robust grab-and-go section. Available for pickup to eat at their outdoor tables or for takeout and delivery.
// Open 10am to 10pm daily; 393 West Portal Ave. (West Portal), littleoriginaljoes.com