Few chefs have generated the kind of culinary tsunami in San Francisco’s restaurant scene as Hawaii-born Ravi Kapur.
Since opening Liholiho Yacht Club in 2015 and Good Good Culture Club in 2022, he’s earned accolades from everyone from Michelin and the James Beard Foundation to Bon Appétit and Food & Wine .
Lately, Kapur has been putting his talents to work in another kind of business, too. In addition to his hit restaurants, the chef heads up Ohlena , a craft distillery specializing in a botanical spirit distilled with ginger and golden turmeric. But despite his great success over the last decade, Kapur’s public roles pale in comparison to the one he plays at home: Dad to his 12-year old son Makoa.
We caught up with Kapur at the Mission home he shares with Makoa, his wife April Storm, and their Great Dane-Rottweiler mix Malu to find out what’s in his Bay, from his go to neighborhood restaurant to his favorite Northern California day trip.
"We really like how the owners have created this unique, vibrant space [at Lolo]," says Kapur. (Couretsy of @lolorestaurantsf )
What is your go-to neighborhood spot for food or drinks?
Living in the Mission, one of our favorite neighborhood spots is Loló ( 974 Valencia St. ) We really like how the owners have created this unique, vibrant space. We love the energy, the constantly evolving interior, and the cocktail program.
What restaurant or bar are you excited to check out?
I’m excited to go to the restaurant at the Harbor House Inn ( 5600 South Hwy 1, Elk ) up in Mendocino to see what they’re doing with that coastal-inspired cuisine.
What’s your favorite Northern California winery, brewery or distillery?
I really enjoy going to Barebottle ( 1525 Cortland Ave. ) in Bernal because of this community space that they’ve created where adults can hang out and kids can run around. It’s just such a really great place to meet up with folks. They always have a food truck and there are games for people to play and lots of places to sit and hang out.
[Presidio Theatre] is just such a cool venue," says Kapur. (Courtesy of @presidiotheatre )
Do you have a favorite venue for seeing art or theater, or listening to live music?
We just recently revisited the Presidio Theatre ( 99 Moraga Ave., Presidio ) to see Ritual by Patrick Makuakāne and Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu. It’s just such a cool venue. It’s intimate but has everything you need for a good stage performance like lighting and sound.
Best park for hiking or biking?
One of the top is El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve ( CA-35 & Skyline Blvd., Redwood City ). You can check out the Methuselah Tree and do a great shaded hike in the forest to this beautiful sandstone structure, the Tafoni Sandstone Formation, that’s been formed by the elements over the thousands of years.
On the way back from the Russian River, Kapur likes to stop at The Barlow in Sebastopol. (Courtesy of @thebarlow707 )
Tell us about your favorite Northern California day trip.
We’ve been having a nice time up near Guerneville. We drive up to Monte Rio in the morning and go to Lightwave Coffee and Kitchen ( 9725 Main St. ), which is kind of connected to this community garden and skate park, then cruise by the (Russian) river. On the way back to the Bay, hit The Barlow ( 6770 McKinley St. ) or the Sunday farmers market ( 6908 Weeks Way ) in Sebastopol.
What Bay Area shop do you love to visit?
Bernal Cutlery ( 766 Valencia St., Mission )! They always have such a well curated selection of knives—and that’s definitely my go-to place for them—but I also love the tinned fish selection, condiments, and other really cool, thoughtful gadgets that they have.