With the worst of pandemic chaos in the rearview mirror, restaurants are finally back in full force.
A whole slew of new eateries have opened their doors, and we can't wait to try them all. From Korean to Russian to Mediterranean, here are 10 buzzy spots whose 2022 openings you may have missed.
Birch & Rye: A Modern Love Letter to Russia
(Courtesy of @birchandryesf)
Despite having been open for just six months, Birch & Rye has already made its way into San Francisco’s newest Michelin guide, and left a mark on the SF food scene. Owner and executive chef Anya El-Wattar interprets traditional and contemporary Russian food through a California lens to come up with three impeccable tasting menus—a caviar-centric menu, a five-course chef’s tasting menu, and a five-course vegan menu—that include dishes like einkorn pelmeni made with Liberty Farms duck, bone broth, Tokyo turnips, and spring peas; and stroganoff made with einkorn noodles, wild mushroom coulis, porcinis, and fennel oil. Indulgent, responsibly sourced caviar service and a focused list of breads and small plates are also available.
// 1320 Castro St. (Noe Valley), birchandryesf.com
Slug: Natural Wine + Disco Vibes in Oakland
(Courtesy of @slugbaroak)
Slug, the wild sister to Temescal’s popular Snail Bar, debuted last month in downtown Oakland. The late-night natural wine bar, which has more of a focus on small-scale California wineries than its older sibling, welcomes the after-dark set with a glittering disco ball and DJ booth. Eats by executive chef Spencer Horovitz and Snail Bar’s Andres Giraldo Florez make the most of seasonal, local produce and seafood with Asian accents like Japanese tarako, kombu, and shio koji.
// 102 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (Oakland), slugbaroakland.com
Bodega SF: A Vietnamese Favorite for the New Generation
(Courtesy of @eringgg & @bodega_sf)
Throughout the first part of the 21st century, the best Vietnamese in the city hailed from the Tenderloin’s Little Saigon neighborhood, and Bodega Bistro was at the top of the pack. The restaurant closed in 2014 but now, almost 10 years later, son Matt Ho is picking up where his family left off in a new wood-paneled, clean-lined space on Mason Street. The biggest departure from the original Bodega is the bistro’s full bar and cocktail menu, but the younger Ho has also added his own take to the previous Northern Vietnamese and French menu with dishes like cha’ca (whole branzino served with dill, turmeric, and galangal) and lemongrass clams with kumquot nouc mam.
//138 Mason St. (Union Square), bodega-sf.square.site
Taksim: Contemporary Mediterranean From a Chef With Pedigree
(Courtesy of @taksimsf)
Chef Daniel Gribble, formerly of French Laundry and Atelier Crenn, takes a modern approach to Mediterranean classics at his new SoMa restaurant, Taksim. The industrial-chic space revolves around a wood-fire oven that turns out savory meats, seafood, and breads. Grab a seat at the bar for a range of mezze, including three varieties of kebaps; bazlama (Turkish flatbread) with sumac butter, perfect for dips; and pepper stuffed with eggplant and manchego. Mains include roast chicken with tabbouleh salad, quail egg, egg yolk mousse, and homemade sausage with truffle; Anson Mills polenta with ratatouille and herbs; and branzino with anchovy rice pilaf, grilled seabeans, and turnips.// 564 4th St. (SoMa), taksimsf.com
Odin: An Ode to Agave From the Nido Team
(Courtesy of @odin.oakland)
From the team behind Nido comes its palindrome Odin, a mezcaleria with bites by chef Devin González of Tacos El Precioso. The cantina, decked out with carved wooden-hand chairs and milagritos, promotes and supports responsible agave farmers and their families, with more than 300 different bottles of mezcal, tequila, sotol, and raicilla on offer. Antojitos like mushroom ceviche tostadas and a Mexican-style cheese plate conspire with tacos, quesadillas, and desserts like mezcal-macerated arroz con leche with almond toffee for a laid-back meal in a playful space.// 444 Oak St. (Oakland), odinoakland.com
Bansang: Korean Tapas on Fillmore Street
(Courtesy of @bansang_sf)
Upscale Bansang’s modern Korean-inspired tapas are the newest addition to the Western Addition. Brought to the table by the group behind Daeho, and chefs Ethan Min and Jin Lim, the monochromatic, wood-accented restaurant has a tight a la carte menu with plenty of room for exploration. With starters like mussel seaweed soup, small plates like uni scallop toast on buttermilk bread, and mains like marinated prime beef short ribs with pine nut sauce, soy-pickled pearl onions, and shichimi, Bansang is an emerging leader in SF’s quickly-expanding Korean culinary scene.// 1506 Fillmore St. (Western Addition), bansangsf.com
Schlok's Bagels & Lox: Caviar schmear, please!
(Courtesy of @schloksbagels)
NoPa’s Schlok’s Bagels & Lox is one of two brick-and-mortar newcomers feeding bagels to the masses (the other is the Inner Sunset’s Midnite Bagel). Here chewy, fluffy disks come in six classic varieties and four types of sandwiches. Top your toasted sesame or poppyseed with housemade whipped schmears in such flavors as baked tomato and caper, lox, or smoked Tsar Nicoulai salmon or trout roe. Eat your heart out, New York!// 1263 Fell St. (NoPa), schlocks.com
Mijoté: French Flavors, Local Produce
(Courtesy of @jen_aboutsf)
Seasonal ingredients take the stage at Mijoté, a petite new French restaurant in Mission-Potrero. Chef Kosuke Tada’s four-course tasting menu changes frequently to showcase produce at its peak alongside ultra-fresh meat and seafood. Simply wrought dishes like petrale sole with kale and apricot and pork loin with broccoli and plum boldly bring out the best in each ingredient.
// 2400 Harrison St. (Mission-Potrero), mijotesf.com
Yuji: A Fresh Take on Japanese Cuisine
(Courtesy of @kappo_yuji)
April was witness to the debut of Yuji, a new kappo-style Japanese restaurant in Japantown. Although its cuisine is more casual than that found at multi-course kaiseki restaurants, kappo requires immense skill; chef Yuji Yamauchi trained for more than 10 years to learn how to apply its expansive techniques to exquisite, uber-fresh ingredients. The 12-course menu features dishes like firefly squid with miso vinegar sauce, potato salad with Kuruma shrimp and broad beans, and soft snapper roe topped with caviar served in an intimate, postage stamp-sized space.
// 1700 Post St. (Japantown), kappoyuji.com
Sweet Fingers: A Taste of the Jamaican Childhood We Never Had
(Courtesy of @sweetfingersjamaican)
After a three year hiatus, Jamaican favorite Sweet Fingers is back with a bright, sunny new 3,300-square-foot space in Oakland. Chef Clive Barnes’ award-winning cuisine draws from a childhood spent in the Jamaican countryside with his grandmother Lucy. Like in its previous iteration, the menu focuses on classic Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken, coconut shrimp, and oxtail stew. Make a date to visit on Friday night when fresh whole snapper is only $25. A crab feed will soon join the offering.
// 5859 Foothill Blvd. (Oakland), sweetfingersrestaurant.com