Every week it feels like a new and noteworthy restaurant opens up in San Francisco. However, as much as we love checking out delicious new culinary offerings, sometimes it’s nice to revisit an old favorite. Perhaps you only went once to the eatery right after it opened, had a great meal, and then forgot about it. Or maybe you always wanted to try the scrumptious-sounding menu, but never quite made it out to the Richmond. Or is it possible that you missed it all together? Whatever the reason, it’s high time you checked out these old restaurants. Some have been around for years, others are relatively young, but all have undergone exciting changes and are currently serving up sensational cuisine.
A year ago, a little Italian restaurant called Fiorella opened in the Outer Richmond. This neighborhood hot spot serves up wood fired pizza, housemade pasta, and delectable snacks. Literally everything on the menu is good, from the rich and rustic chicken liver toast to the clam pie covered in chopped clams to the cheesy and spicy cacio e pepe. Partner and director of operations Boris Nemchenok is a SF native and sommelier who has put together an interesting and provocative wine list. A charming back patio and brunch (complete with a green, egg, and ham pie!) means there is much to love about this Clement Street gem.
Every quarter, Barrel Room completely reinvents itself with a new menu and wine list. The latest incarnation of the Sansome Street restaurant, wine bar, and spirit shop? A traditional French bistro. On the menu? Oysters, caviar, seared foie gras, pork rilettes, and duck liver mousse. It’s a francophile’s dream complete with delicately bubbly Champagne, crisp tart flambé topped with lardons and creme fraiche, and housemade fennel boudin blanc.
In late October the 10-year old Salt House announced a new chef, Evan Gotanda, and innovative new menu. Gotanda has a unique background—he’s of Japanese descent, but has been exposed to Mexican, French, Italian, and Asian cuisines. His international culinary prowess is evident by the first bite of any of his dishes. Roasted cauliflower is served on a bed of soy mayo along side baby radishes, crunchy cashews, and furikake. Gnocchi comes with octopus, pork belly, red chile, and chimuchurri. Green cavatelli pasta is plated with juicy lamb sausage and a cool persimmon sorbet—an interesting combination that provides both a cool and hot sensation in each bite. Gotanda’s new menu is also presented in a different way. Instead of arranging the dishes by appetizer, entree, and dessert, items are categorized—think vegetables, seafood, grains, poultry, and meat. This lets the diner create a one-of-a-kind culinary journey.
Lots of thrilling things are happening at Acquerello’s little sister eatery, 1760 on Polk Street. Diners can enjoy a special five-course tasting menu on certain nights of the week. It features chef Carl Foronda’s modern American cuisine with a hint of Southeast Asian flavors. Roasted vibrantly green broccoli is covered with a creamy lime-fish sauce emulsion. Crispy octopus is paired with cubes of potatoes and a red pepper rouille that brings to mind traditional Spanish tapas, patatas bravas and pulpo a la gallega. Thick slices of perfectly rare bavette steak sit on a bed of green farro and miso-sherry jus. Grower champagnes are featured every Monday and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. every day, there is a special stirred spirit and snack menu. 1760 also just announced a new dinner series in collaboration with Acquerello’s chef Suzette Gresham. Foronda and Gresham will cook up a special menu inspired by after-hour familial spaghetti feasts on Sunday, January 22.
Michael Mina Test Kitchen
Michael Mina Test Kitchen debuted its fifth concept in early November. If you haven’t tried the amazing coastal Italian fare at Postcards from La Costiera you are missing out. The cuisine is inspired by a trip that Mina and his right hand man, Adam Sobel, took through the coastal cities of Italy. The food is absolutely sublime. Savory beignets are topped with burrata cheese and a heaping tablespoon of caviar. Crudo is fresh, perfectly seasoned, and melts in your mouth. Black pasta is toothsome and spicy, while risotto with truffles is incredibly creamy and rich. The wine list is 100% Italian with plenty of hard to find and lesser known varietals. The pop-up is around for a limited amount of time, so book a reservation now before its too late.
The financial district’s Barcha recently celebrated its one-year anniversary by launching an all-new menu. The bustling restaurant specializes in contemporary Mediterranean food with a hint of Parisian flair and influences from Turkey, Tunisia, and Spain. Think doughy Turkish flatbread with cumin-scented hummus, chicken croquettes with honey dijon dipping sauce, and shakshuka with lamb shoulder and labneh. Potent cocktails make Barcha a happy hour destination for the young professional set. A semi-private back area also mean it’s an ideal spot for a hosted event.