The SF Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In San Francisco
The new spots we checked out—and loved.
The Hit List is our guide to the best new food and drink experiences in San Francisco. We track new openings, and then visit as many as we can. While the Hit List is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.
Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New to the Hit List (2/3): Peaches Patties, Ciccino
photo credit: Carly Hackbarth
Ever loved a lentil patty so much you were inspired to pen a romantic sonnet? No? Then get to Peaches Patties. The newest Ferry Building kiosk (located out front) is laser-focused on serving Jamaican patties that are iconic. The flaky shells are buttery and soft. And fillings like beef, curry chicken, and those rich, berbere-spiced lentils are packed with flavor. Even though one patty is filling enough, you’ll want to try their plate of jerk chicken that’s perfectly spiced. Grab a seat and dig in while you listen to whatever live drum show is going down on the plaza.
photo credit: Ciccino
Dinner at this upscale-ish Northern Italian restaurant in Nob Hill moves at a slower clip, which is fine by us. We want as much time as possible to appreciate their perfectly light fritto misto, seafood skewers grilled over binchotan, and deceptively simple pastas, like the cream-filled ravioli carbonara topped with crispy guanciale. The only complaint we have is that we wish the menu of dishes were longer. This spot looks like a cafe, filled with neutral tones, black-and-white photos, and bistro chairs. It’s also all about warm ambiance—so embrace the delightful five-minute chat you might have with the chef about the handmade copper fork rests, and order that third glass of wine, even if you think your night is over. You won’t want to leave.
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photo credit: Saru Handroll Bar
Saru Handroll Bar
We want to keep Saru Handroll Bar in Russian Hill a secret so we can always get a seat, and also tell everyone we know to get here immediately. The bar seating-only spot (formerly Saru Sushi Bar) stands out for its cozy space that'll inspire you to spend all future spontaneous date nights here—and for keeping their temaki simple and well-executed. There are no gold flakes or dramatic flourishes to these temaki—just rice and seafood rolled up in a crisp nori sheet and handed to you from across the counter. The fillings like salmon, scallops, and spicy tuna shine front and center. We also like this place because it’s an in-and-out situation (for any LA transplants, think Kazunori) that’ll keep you coming back.
photo credit: Mary Lagier
Liholiho Yacht Club
Liholiho Yacht Club just returned after a two-year hiatus with a new interior refresh. So no surprise here—Liholiho is the hottest comeback since clogs. While there might be a slightly sleeker dining room, the dishes on the “heritage-driven” menu are still relatively the same—bold and in-your-face, in the best possible way. There’s a shaved pig head brightened up with a zippy frisee and Asian pear salad, and a baked Hawaii that’s torched and filled with coconut POG sorbet. Even the slightly sweet carrots that come alongside a perfectly charred ribeye will rewire your brain. Do everything you can to get here for your next milestone birthday or last-ever meal in the city.
photo credit: Sarah Felker
Cantina Los Mayas
Nothing says “I’m cool and interesting” like knowing about the least-boring wine bar food in town. Cantina Los Mayas (the sister spot to Taqueria Los Mayas) focuses on Yucatecan specialties like panuchos and the juiciest cochinita pibil ever. They also have a list of exclusively Mexican wines, so you can cut into mole-drenched chicken while swirling around a glass of syrah from Valle de San Vicente. Keep this new Richmond bar top of mind for any and all future dates.
photo credit: Nicola Parisi
These days, it seems like there’s a new pizza spot on every corner. Angie’s Pizza in the Mission is one to highlight in yellow on your official Pizza-To-Stuff-In-Your-Face list. Everything on the menu, from top to bottom, is worthy of a return trip. Garlic chili honey gives the pepperoni pie a sweet and spicy kick, while the date, bacon, and goat cheese-topped pizza is a creamy stunner. And for dessert, there are housemade ice cream sundaes decorated with poached apple and pecan streusel. Records play behind the bar, globe lights hang above, and the infectious energy invites you to stay all night.
photo credit: Julia Chen
Like Michelle Yeoh, The Laundromat is multi-talented. In the morning, they serve coffee and bagels that are plump and ideally chewy. And if that wasn’t enough, the laidback spot transforms at night into a place for natural wine and rectangular, cheese-edged pies with chunky tomato sauce spilling over. They’re also experts at designing a space you’ll want to move into—there’s eclectic art covering the walls, records playing, and homey mismatched napkins and Elmer Fudd water glasses. Get here for first dates, catch-ups with friends, and occasions that call for diving headfirst into some thick pizza.
photo credit: Loquat
If you’re someone who seeks out the city’s newest pastries like they’re limited-edition Cars-themed Croc drops, get Loquat high on your radar. The laidback Hayes Valley cafe and bakery (located in the old 20th Century Cafe space) serves Jewish and Levantine-inspired pastries that will encourage you to embrace the early bedtime you’ve been manifestation journaling about and officially become a morning person (they open at 8am). Salted chocolate babka has mesmerizing swirls of thin, golden-brown layers. Flaky bourekas get a touch of sweetness from the warm ricotta and sage filling. And because cake for breakfast is always a good idea, they have slices of chocolate cake with silky smooth espresso buttercream and labne cheesecake at the ready.
photo credit: Julia Chen
SF’s pizza scene has tangy sourdough pizzas topped with seasonal sweet potatoes and corn galore. Empire Pizza, a straightforward New York-style slice shop in SoMa, is a welcome change-up. The decor is a nostalgic nod to the East Coast—the walls are covered with photos of the New York skyline, subway station signs, and framed “Knicks Win It!” headlines. It’s exactly where you want to be when devouring snappy thin slices bigger than the average adult's face. And you should get here for the square slice of pepperoni alone. If you’re shopping at Union Square or working in a high-rise nearby, Empire Pizza is an easy lunch destination to seek out.
Like Paramore or low-rise jeans, Kin Khao is officially back after a two-year closure. Translation: get to this Union Square spot immediately to experience the funky, spicy dishes that’ll draw you in like a moth to a flame. Sticky tamarind and Sriracha-glazed wings pack heat from a smattering of bright Thai chilis. Thick chunks of caramelized pork belly pair perfectly with tangy charred squid and sticky rice. And even a simple bowl of garlicky stir-fried bok choy will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about the vegetable. The minimalist dining room is where you want to be for dates and group catch-ups over family-style dishes and cocktails spiked with prik laab and galangal honey.
Arepas Latin Cuisine
Go to Arepas Latin Cuisine on special events nights, and you can dance to live salsa and merengue music, drink $25 bottomless mimosas, or watch soccer matches on TV over discounted wine and beer. Even if you head to the casual Venezuelan spot in the Mission on non-themed evenings, dinner will always add up to a fun time. The arepas are fried or grilled handheld behemoths well-stuffed with things like shredded beef, carne asada, and tender cochinita pibil. And the eye-catching tostones are topped with tangy red cabbage and seasoned shrimp. There are also cachapas filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, pabellón criollo plates, and Venezuelan burgers, too. And if you want, snag some Venezuelan snacks from their mini market on your way out.
photo credit: Carly Hackbarth
At this casual pizza shop in the Tenderloin, parmesan-dusted slices are the size of an average adult face, and served on plastic trays, like a school lunch but one you’ll actually want to eat. We’ve been shouting from the rooftops about Outta Sight’s show-stopping pies since their pop-up days, and aren’t about to stop—eating just one slice of mushroom, pesto, or pepperoni will leave you reminiscing about the crispy, charred crust for approximately five days straight. One you should clear your schedule and chase after is the Lunch Lady (they only make about 20 slices of it a day). It’s a special with slightly sweet vodka sauce, globs of gooey mozzarella, and a thick crust. So take this as your excuse to get here, now.
photo credit: Carly Hackbarth
A new casual date spot has touched down in Nob Hill, and it happens to serve excellent Nepali small plates. There are momos with pork filling that’s so tender it practically melts in your mouth, spicy, lime-y chatpate, and delicate pani puri. Smaller shareable dishes aside, they also have lettuce wraps and chicken bowls for something more filling, and refreshing soju cocktails and wine that pair perfectly with anything off the dinner menu. If you’re not already convinced to come here for a second date with someone you swiped right on, know that they also do $2 oysters every day.
photo credit: Taishoken
There aren’t many places to get tsukemen in the city—so excitement surrounding Taishoken’s opening in the Mission rivaled that of a Telfar Rainbow drop. Luckily, the dip ramen coming out of this spot lives up to the hype. The housemade noodles are chewy and thick, and the rich, umami-packed broth clings beautifully to each one. And when you’ve finished devouring your noodles, staff will pour dashi into any leftover broth so you can drink it straight from the bowl. The other ramen options, loaded with things like chashu or lobster, feature thinner noodles and are worth getting equally jazzed about.
photo credit: Melissa Zink
Ancora is a buzzy restaurant that highlights local seafood with the same laser focus we imagine Rihanna dedicates to her evening skin care routine. A night at this upscale Mission spot—which has tiny fish painted all over the walls to really drive home the nautical theme—should most definitely involve their pan con tomate topped with salty SF anchovies and bright green plankton tagliolini in a decadent caviar and leek fondue sauce. And don’t miss the show-stopping halibut, which is presented like a rack of lamb and comes with a smoky seafood sausage and chermoula. Everything from the appetizers to the heartier entrées are simply and beautifully executed, making this a place that works just as well for an impromptu pre-dinner snack and glass of wine at the bar, as it does for a date night you plan a couple of weeks out.