Wondering where you should be eating in San Francisco right now? You’re in the right place. The Infatuation Hit List is your guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
And when we say “best new restaurants,” we mean it. Because we’ve tried every single one of these places - and we’ve also left off many spots that simply aren’t as worthy of your time and money.
The Hit List is our record of every restaurant that’s opened in the past year that we’d highly recommend you try. This guide is sorted chronologically, so at the top you’ll find our latest entries to this list (the newest spots), and as you keep scrolling you’ll find the places that are on the older side - but are great enough that we still haven’t stopped talking about them.
New to The Hit List (as of 12/20): The Snug, Petit Marlowe, Namu Stonepot, Villon
Contrary to what you might expect from the name, The Snug is not ski lodge-themed. You won’t find a fire, warm blankets, or taxidermied elk inside. What The Snug is is a welcome addition to Fillmore - because how many times can you really go to Palmer’s? This place is big, busy, and “snug” in the sense that you can count on being elbow-to-elbow with other humans. The short menu has mostly snacks and small plates - we like the poke, wings, and hummus with naan. Try those alongside some excellent cocktails.
Prepare to pay a lot of money for a lot of delicious raw things - from oysters to salmon crudo to beef tartare - at this SOMA wine bar. You could basically throw darts at the menu as an ordering strategy here and be happy, if significantly poorer post-meal. It’s from the people behind (wait for it) Marlowe, and even though it’s new, it feels like a fancy old-school oyster bar. Come for a girls’ night or date when you want to get slightly spendy and share a bunch of phenomenal things, possibly including a seafood tower.
This newer spot from the people behind Namu Gaji is always busy. Its prime Divisadero location doesn’t hurt - nor do its affordable crispy rice stonepots (bowls of rice, vegetables, and proteins with some delicious sauces) or solid local beer list. You’re mainly here for those pots, but the fried chicken is spicy and great and also worth your time. Come with a small group and you should be able to get in without too much of a hassle.
We’re generally skeptical of hotel restaurants, but Villon, in the San Francisco Proper, is genuinely good. It doesn’t have that depressing “I’m just a lobby with some tables” feeling, and the bar (which has a Beauty and the Beast library-style ladder for top shelf bottles) is an attractive place to meet someone for drinks. Get the tuna tartare, the Hawaiian bread, and the squid ink noodles - just leave room for some beignets to close out your meal. Then, head upstairs to the hotel’s rooftop bar, Charmaine’s. It has comfortable couches, great views, and expensive but good cocktails. Overall, this place is perfect for a one-two punch, and the crowd is only a tiny bit obnoxious.
Omakase places are popping up around the city like high school friends announcing they’re having kids on social media. Unfortunately, they’re generally too expensive for anything but birthdays, anniversaries, or celebrating successful Ethereum trades. Robin is a new sushi spot in Hayes that does a (relatively) affordable $79 omakase in a modern space that you’ll want to hang out in. For your $79 you get an excellent mix of high-quality nigiri, sashimi, and a few non-fish dishes - it’s enough food that you won’t have to go eat a burger afterwards. The salmon, caviar and potato chip, and any of the tuna pieces are highlights, but almost everything put in front of you will be great. If you can’t totally shake your control issues, there’s an a la carte menu to order from, but the omakase is really the way to go. However you’re eating, save room for dessert. Sake soft serve is the best new way to eat your alcohol.
On a sunny day, lunch outside at Hook Fish Co. might have you thinking about a move to the Outer Sunset, convincing yourself that the neighborhood feels just like LA. The tiny order-at-the-counter seafood spot has a simple menu of poke, tacos, fish sandwiches, and fish and chips, plus beers and agua frescas. When it’s nice out, there are lots of benches outside to eat one of their phenomenal fish tacos or sandwiches on, or if it’s one of the 300 days of the year when the weather could best be described as “98% cold humidity,” there are bar seats and tables inside too. Since it closes at 9pm, Hook is a place for lunch or a casual early dinner.
If you’re the kind of person who counts rotisserie chicken as a major food group, we endorse your life choices and welcome you to join us at the temple that is RT Rotisserie. This new Hayes Valley corner spot from the people behind Rich Table makes some exceptional chicken, and is one of our new favorite places for a low-key weeknight dinner. The vibe is casual, and the food is simple and close to perfect. With a short menu of salad, sandwich, and rotisserie options and a local wine and beer list, RT is basically a slightly more upscale Souvla. You’ll need the umami fries, and the cauliflower, which is one of the best vegetarian entrees we’ve had in a long time. Maybe because it’s fried.
There aren’t too many things that bring us to Noe Valley. We don’t have kids or a dog stroller, so we mostly just feel like imposters. But Uma Casa is the kind of place that will start getting us there much more often. This Portuguese spot has awesome seafood, super-friendly service, and a great wine list that isn’t offensively priced. You should be ordering the spicy shrimp, octopus, and short rib. The bar is ideal for posting up solo, and also has a TV if you need to watch sports rather than interact with a human.
This Cajun place does it right. The food and cocktails are remind us of stuff we’ve actually eaten in New Orleans, and the vibe is fun without trying to replicate the feeling of Bourbon-Street-after-drinking-one-to-three-hand-grenades. The jambalaya is fantastic, as are the roasted oysters, and all the fried food is as good as fried food can be. If you’ve never tried a sazerac before, this is a good place to drink one.
A Mano already feels like a staple. This Italian spot in Hayes Valley is cool without trying too hard, just like everything else on Hayes Street. If you like Delarosa or Beretta, you’ll be excited about this place, which is from the same people (and potentially even better). Start with the asparagus (if you need something that’s not a carb), and then move on to any (or all) of the pastas, which are handmade and surprisingly affordable. Expect a bit of a wait, but Anina is just a couple doors down for drinks outside while you do. A Mano is our favorite new date spot around.