6 Must-Book San Francisco Restaurants

Credit: Sushi Sato

It’s no secret that America’s tech hub is also home to one of the best and most diverse restaurant ecosystems. With the city’s January reopening, new additions to the scene are gearing up for launch.

As you revisit your favorite old haunts, don’t miss these six hot debuts in the Bay Area, including a couple of stunning renovations and reopenings. Ease out of winter at a West African dance party or a handsome steakhouse with tableside flourishes — or opt for affordable omakase and whisky cocktails. With these choices at your fingertips, you’ll be back in the loop when it comes to the Bay Area’s best restaurants in no time.

Little Baobab (Mission)

Credit: Little Baobab

Little Baobab brings the West African dance party back to the Mission. It was the end of an era when owner Marco Senghor announced plans to close after nearly two decades in 2019, but during the pandemic, the Senegalese restaurant managed to reclaim its tiny space on 19th Street. Snag one of the limited tables for chicken mafe, smothered in creamy peanut sauce and pitchers of fresh tamarind juice. On the weekends, the Afrobeats turn up after 10pm. 

Miller & Lux (Mission Bay) 

Celebrity chef Tyler Florence long promised a swanky steakhouse near the new Chase Center, and it finally shimmered into focus in fall 2021. Envisioned by award-winning designer Ken Fulk, Miller & Lux is rich in leathers, gold, and mid-century style. The steaks are prime, dry-aged, and Black Angus, Caesar salads are tossed elegantly tableside, and desserts roll in on carts. Order the $24 burger “lux style” (be prepared to tackle it with a fork and knife), and it’ll arrive with a heady green peppercorn bordelaise sauce.

Sorella (Nob Hill)

Sorella | Credit: Hardy Wilson

From the award-winning team behind two MICHELIN-starred Acquerello, Sorella is a more casual spinoff (its name means “sister” in Italian). But while big sis Acquerello has the reputation for Italian fine dining, the younger one is the sought-after date right now, thanks to cicchetti bites and amaro cocktails at the bar, plus layered pastas and juicy pork chops in the dining room. Check out the special Valentine’s Day experience at this restaurant by clicking through to the Experiences section here

Boulevard (Embarcadero)

An SF institution with Bay Bridge views, Boulevard reopened last fall after a long pandemic closure and loving renovation. Designer Ken Fulk put the shine back into the Belle Epoque dining room, which still has whimsical tulip lamps and taxidermied peacocks. New additions include an expanded bar, wider windows, rich velvets, and feather prints. Regulars will take comfort in old faithfuls like the Dungeness crab bisque and rack of lamb; chefs Dana Younkin and Nancy Oakes also added set menus of three or four courses, with veteran barman Greg Lindgren (of 15 Romolo fame) consulting on cocktails. Check out the crab-themed Valentine’s Day menu at this restaurant by clicking through to the Experiences section here

Sushi Sato (Tenderloin) 

Credit: Sushi Sato

Known for excellent but affordable omakase offerings at neighborhood favorites like Sushi Hon and Sushi Hakko, the Mins Group continues to expand with an ambitious triple-restaurant destination: Sushi Sato opened with smaller tastings and whiskey cocktails in November, while Sato Omakase followed with the full bespoke experience — that’s six rounds, or 16 pieces, sourced straight from Tokyo’s Toyosu market — in December, and still to come, Kuro, a wagyu bar, is slated to debut in the coming months. Begin with snacks, such as tuna carpaccio and miso-glazed eggplant, and drinks at Sushi Sato (enter on Polk Street), where six-piece sushi tastings start at $40, and highballs are $12. 

The Sea Ranch Lodge (Sonoma County) 

Wind north up Highway One, and you’ll find Sea Ranch, a historic property on 53 acres, where famed architects built a timber lodge in the 1960s. Acquired in 2018, it underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation and finally reopened in fall 2021. Chef Eric Piacentine, from the beloved Big Sur Bakery, made the move north, where he’s digging into coastal ingredients, from local baby lettuces and goat cheese to wild lingcod and wine country ducks to craft the ranch’s fresh menu, inspired by the land and the sea.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

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San Francisco Restaurant Week

San Francisco Restaurant Week

October 23, 2020 - November 1, 2020