The SF Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In San Francisco guide image

SFGuide

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 sanfrancisco@theinfatuation.com.

New to the Hit List (5/30): Suragan

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Suragan

Suragan review image

Suragan

$$$$

250 Hyde St, San Francisco
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Go to Suragan in the Tenderloin and you’ll end up learning more than a few facts about how to wash herring or store peaches in the winter. Every dish on the 12-course menu is based on ancient Korean cookbooks that date back to the 1600s. So naturally, with each course, you’ll get a card translating the corresponding cookbook text, and a description of how they modernized the version that’s now staring you in the face. Info cards aside, we love this place for the masterclass in subtle flavors that shine: pan-fried sea bream rests over a sweet soy-butter emulsion, and buckwheat mandu get a nice crunch from mild vegetable kimchi. Save dinner here for nights when you feel like blowing $200+ on an interactive meal that’s as educational as it is flat-out impressive. Suragan plans to highlight a different cookbook every couple of months until they catch up to the present day—so get here before they move on to the next concept.

Dumpling Zone will make you consider writing a show-stopping musical number dedicated to dumplings. Inside this casual Forest Hill spot—it’s so small you could traverse the entire space in just ten steps—you’ll find a range of dreamy versions that are steamed, boiled, and pan-fried. Go for the pan-fried pork bao, which are like puffy balloons full of pork-y soup, or the crab and pork xiao long bao highlighting delicate, chewy wrappers. Really, there’s no going wrong in their well-executed dumpling department, but know that the garlicky cucumber appetizer is also worth a trip here.

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photo credit: Prik Hom

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8.4

Prik Hom

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Prik Hom is a new spot in Laurel Heights putting out creative takes on Thai dishes that are unlike anywhere in the city. There's no pad thai or pad see ew here, but rather more seasonal, eclectic dishes, like a grilled beef wrap curry, and a fried branzino salad smothered in passion fruit dressing. Each dish oozes with flavor. The homemade aromatic curry with beef is so tender it'll instantly fall apart in your mouth. The scallop and lemongrass “shot” topped with chili jam will put you into a state of wistful limerence for the rest of dinner. And the smoked young coconut ice cream that comes in a glass dish with Thai incense is a next-level, multi-sensory experience. The vibe here is decidedly understated fancy. And because it’s on a part of Geary with not much foot traffic, it’s never packed. Run to this spot before everyone else figures out the secret. 

Here to add some much-needed zing to casual brunch-lunch is Xica. The newly relocated gluten-free Mexican spot smack dab in Levi’s Plaza (near the Embarcadero) is feel-good energy personified. It’s got big, bold murals, plants, upbeat music filling the high-ceilinged space, and a sunny patio next to a trickling fountain. Prepare for shrimp tacos on dragon fruit-infused tortillas, fried egg-topped chilaquiles, and extra bready chicken and waffles. Xica, unlike the news cycle and your inbox, is a happy place. So do the smart thing and come here with friends, co-workers, and anyone looking to jazz up a weekday morning. 

Popi’s Oysterette is here to remind you that you live in a city surrounded by water. It’s a castle of knockout seafood right in the middle of the Marina. The menu covers nearly everything that swims. You’ll throw back grilled and raw oysters topped with zingy yuzu tobiko, dive into creamy Dungeness crab sandwiches, and scoop cured trout dip with crisp saltines. One sleeper hit is the rich clam chowder that’s leveled up with gigantic chunks of bacon. The space gives off a mildly nautical vibe with ropes overhead, blue tiles, and tons of natural light from the Chestnut Street-facing windows. It’s a very pleasant spot to spend an afternoon alongside a cold glass of wine and half a dozen bivalves.

Amid the sea of high-end restaurants in SF, Copra stands out. The Fillmore spot (from the people behind Ettan in Palo Alto) is turning out new takes on South Indian classics that feel downright celebratory. Slow-cooked octopus is brightened up with pomelo and dill. Chutneys that range from wild gooseberries to ghost chilies are deeply flavorful (and nose-clearing). And delicate rasam poori are refreshing with the subtlest hint of tangy passionfruit. Plus, at what other upscale spot can you get down and dirty over a bowl of extra-napkins-required, shell-on crab curry? Even the inside of this place is a party. It looks like a spot where you'd host a wedding reception with its Tulum-core-beach-house aesthetic. Macrame, hanging plants, and shelves full of baskets and ceramic pots are everywhere. Lean into this over-the-top feel. After all, you’re here to celebrate in a place that’s as impressive as the meal. 

For anyone whose ideal midday activity includes covering every square inch of a table with perfect baked pork buns and bowling ball-sized portions of crispy seafood noodles (and then promptly devouring it all), a visit to this newly reborn dim sum spot should be a top priority. The salmon-colored restaurant, formerly Hong Kong Lounge II in the Richmond until it burned down in 2019, officially reopened in SoMa under a new name, and in a cozier space. The Cantonese classics are still worth following this place across town for. Hone in on the steamed section, where you’ll find meaty and flawless siu mai and xiao long bao that are delicate soup bombs. And don’t skip the fried sesame balls for dessert—they’re the ideal crispy finisher. 

Listen up, Japanese curry fans—or, really, anyone interested in finding a new go-to quick dinner spot—hyperfixate on Yoma Cafe in the Sunset. The very casual counter-service spot is built for low-effort weeknight meals or catch-ups with coworkers you can only spend 45 minutes max with before running out of stories about your shared work nemesis. We love this place because it’s efficient—and because the aforementioned curry, a centerpiece on every table, is rich and flavorful. Get it poured over crispy chicken katsu, which is fried to a crackly golden-brown, and served atop rice and pickled vegetables for an extra bright touch. Then make a mental note to “forget” to go grocery shopping next week so you have an excuse to come back. 

There’s a new contender for best easy lunch in the Mission: Bobop. The counter-service Korean spot specializes in yubu chobop, or handheld tofu skin pockets filled with perfectly vinegared rice and topped with flavor-packed meats or vegetables. While getting any of the dozen-ish chobop is a foolproof path to lunch success, you’d be missing out if you didn’t go for the miso pork, which explodes with umami and is crowned with spicy-sweet pickled jalapeño, or tender chopped-up bulgogi. Ordering one chobop (or a set of three or five) will leave you cheerier than you were when you walked in, as will simply soaking in the colorful space with a neon purple “Good Vibes Only” sign and music videos playing in back. There's also boba and canned drinks, plus Turtle Chips, seaweed, and banchan you can take to go. 

You’re coming to Piglet & Co. to get pumped up on shrimp toast and flat-out decadent chashao—the pork belly is sticky-sweet and rich, and one of the many outstanding dishes you’ll encounter at this Mission spot. While Piglet & Co is inspired by Taiwanese night markets, the menu goes broad. You’ll see well-executed Asian comfort dishes, like charred cabbage that will make you rethink everything you know about cabbage, and mala miso-glazed pork ribs with meat that falls right off the bone. Red lanterns swaying overhead and a moody purple glow from the neon lights add to the night market vibes. Use this place for sexy date nights and group hangs over wings and steamed trout. 

Akikos, the Union Square omakase spot, just moved into a swanky new location in the East Cut—so good news for anyone who expects the same fantastic sushi this place is known for. What you might not expect: smoky mackerel sashimi served atop a white ceramic fedora wrapped in a garland of leaves. Yes, a ceramic fedora. It’s one of the many over-the-top (if not slightly quirky) presentation touches that make Akikos stand out. Scallops are served in glass clamshells. Nigiri is placed directly on the gleaming U-shaped wooden bar for you to admire (then eat). And aged fish hang from see-through fridges in the dining room like fancy coats on display. At $250 for 18 courses (or $150 for a slightly abridged menu at lunch), this is a meal worthy of big birthdays, extra-fancy date nights, or any occasion that's highlighted in neon yellow on your calendar.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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