As the second pandemic winter came to a close, San Francisco and Oakland lit up with a slew of new restaurants by long-beloved and up-and-coming chefs, alike.
While we couldn’t make it to every one (we see you Birch & Rye, Slug, and Mijoté), we did our best to do justice to the 2022 renaissance. From Tenderheart to Damansara, our favorite new restaurants of the year took on flavors from near and far with style and passion—and left us wanting more.
Here are 7x7’s favorite new restaurants of 2022.
The craveable Good Good chicken wing with garlic rice stuffing and adobe glaze.(Marc Fiority, Gamma Nine Photography)
Good Good Culture Club
Good Good Culture Club, the sophomore effort by chef Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club fame, took the city by storm when it opened at the beginning of 2022. Last month, it was named one of Esquire’s best new restaurants in the U.S., and that comes as no surprise to us. With a welcoming space (not to mention one kick-ass roof deck) and dishes like Mom’s Lao sausage, pork belly marinated in aromatic oyster sauce, and whole petrale sole fried two ways with plum chili glaze, Good Good is great (great). // 3560 18th St (Mission), goodgoodcultureclub.com
The new restaurant inside the stylish Line hotel caught us off guard with its innovative take on California fare. Executive chef Joe Hou reimagines familiar ingredients through the lens of his Chinese-American upbringing to come up with dishes like creamy burrata with nutty, charred salsa macha, fiery pickled gypsy peppers, and crisp wontons; caviar with tiny, perfect English muffins and buttery salted egg yolks; and ribeye with Sichuan peppercorn jus and fried bone marrow. Tenderheart is exciting, sometimes unusual, and so unforgettable. // 33 Turk St. (Tenderloin), thelinehotel.com
The chef goes by one name only: Imana. She's a BIPOC woman in her mid-20s and she totally disrupted the fine dining machine this year with her “vulgar” brick-and-mortar, Hi Felicia. The Uptown Oakland restaurant is a choreographed performance starring Mexican- and Japanese-influenced California comfort fare like tamales made with lavender-scented masa; caviar sopes; and raw halibut with miso, cashew slaw, and blue corn tortillas. But it’s not just the delicious food and campy, playful atmosphere that floors us—it’s the subversive celebration of individuals of every identity coming together over dinner. // 326 23rd St. (Oakland), resy.com
Imperfectly perfect pizzas with a side of funk at Shuggie's Trash Pies + Natural Wine.(Erin Ng)
We love this Mission pizza joint not just for its ooey-gooey pies but for its commitment to sustainability. Brought to life in maximalist yellow-and-green technicolor by the duo behind Ugly Pickle Co., Shuggie’s primary ingredients are blemished and surplus produce, under-used byproducts, meat off-cuts, and bycatch. But don’t go thinking that Shuggie’s is just a gimmicky pizza joint riding the climate change wave. The natural wines and pizzas like the au-gratin-like Dead Combo (salt cod, potato, farm eggs, white sauce) and the Sausage Party (guanciale vodka sauce, grape must, sausage, olive) are delicious. // 3349 23rd St (Mission), shuggiespizza.com
San Francisco finally has a brick-and-mortar dedicated solely to the culinary heritage of Malaysia. If you ask us, Damansara was worth the wait. The rich scents that pour from the door of Tracy Goh’s low-key Noe Valley restaurant taste as good as you think they will: Dishes include the likes of laksa with two-day coconut broth; achar awak with turmeric pickled veggies, crushed peanuts, pineapple, and tofu; and cereal and salted egg fried chicken. Plus, they’re among the most affordable new eats the city has to offer. // 1781 Church St. (Noe Valley), damansarasf.com
Burned cauliflower with gochujang at Pomet.(Aomboon Deasy)
It doesn’t get fresher or more local than Oakland’s Pomet, a restaurant launched by second-generation farmer Aomboon Deasy and fired up by Benu and Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef Alan Hsu. His Asian heritage whispers through a menu that includes seasonal produce from family farms in dishes like crispy Liberty duck leg with gochujang and pickles; ugly mushroom filled pasta with corn miso butter; and McFarland trout with celery root, beans, and grapes. Housed in a Julia Morgan original, the cozy restaurant is a delightful, welcome reminder of our Bay Area bounty. // 4029 Piedmont Ave. (Oakland), pomet-oakland.com
Handrolls are having a moment in the Bay Area and the Handroll Project is leading the pack. Brought to the Mission by the team behind Michelin-awarded Jū-Ni, executive chef Geoffrey Lee crafts taco-shaped rolls like salmon and sesame with ikura and bonito flakes; smoked hamachi with shiso and Japanese green onion; and creamy scallop with miso aioli and avocado in a minimalist, light-bright space. Order a la carte or go for sets of five, seven, or 10 rolls for a satisfying and affordable take on fine sushi. // 598 Guerrero St (Mission), handrollproject.com
Dinner at Occitania has accents of the South of France.(Joseph Weaver)
Named for the region spanning Spain, France, and Italy, Occitania delves into hearty southern French fare in the uber-hip Kissel hotel. Chef Paul Canales of Uptown’s Duende expertly turns out dishes like pissaladière, a Provençal tart of caramelized onions, black olives, and boquerones; roast half-hen with braised celery root, breakfast radishes, and herb sauce; and braised pork shoulder with prunes, red wine, pomme lyonnaise, and arugula. Housemade charcuterie and beautiful cocktails round out a menu as comforting as it is tasty. // 2455 Broadway (Oakland), kisseloakland.com
Finally, the perfect place to grab a bite before a show at the opera or symphony that’s actually worth the effort. Helmed by James Beard Award–winning chef Loretta Keller, Uccello Lounge is a laid-back showcase for Mediterranean-inflected cuisine served alongside live music from students at the attached SF Conservatory of Music. Dishes include crispy potato batons with brown butter-miso-wildflower dipping sauce; Turkish manti with spiced carrots, manouri, labneh, and almonds; and vacherin, a monumental dessert. Whether you’re in for a quick bite or something sweet after the show, you won’t be disappointed. // 200 Van Ness Ave. (Civic Center), uccellolounge.com
(Courtesy of Gloria Ferrer)
When it comes time to propose a toast, Gloria Ferrer’s award-winning sparkling wine is the perfect compliment to festive holiday dining. Founders Jose and Gloria Ferrer brought with them over 100 years of multigenerational knowledge of sparkling winemaking from Spain. When they arrived in Carneros, they fell in love with the region whose climate and terroir reminded them so much of their home in Catalonia. Gloria Ferrer remains dedicated to producing exceptional, traditional-method sparkling wine that reflects their passionate Spanish spirit and commitment to Sonoma-grown quality. Gift the discerning wine lover on your list, or purchase a bottle for your holiday gathering. You’re sure to find something sparkling and memorable from Gloria Ferrer. // Shop online at gloriaferrer.com.
Thank you to our partners at Gloria Ferrer.