By Virginia Miller
San Francisco is a city where new spots to dine continue to open up every week. Even those of us who spend many a night dining out on the town can’t keep up. We’ve got six standouts here worth visiting, from modern French fine dining to Japanese curry.
O' by Claude Le Thoic
Open Summer 2019 in the new multi-floor French food complex, ONE65 (our review of the more casual ONE65 Bistro & Grill here), O' by Claude Le Tohic is chef Le Tohic’s ambitious fine dining restaurant which marries French and California ethos. The quiet space employs elements of water, fire and earth in its design and menus alongside impeccable wine pairings and attentive service.
Eat This: Thankfully, the ten course menu ($250 plus $150 for standard wine pairing or $350 for grand wine pairing) delights with elegant moments of caviar three-ways — over unagi and farm egg sabayon — and gorgeous vegetable courses like zucchini cannelloni accented with pumpkin seeds, olive, lemon confit and tempura-fried squash blossoms. Cheese and mignardise carts wow, all decadent without feeling too heavy.
Red Sauce Italian-American Goodness: Great Gold
Though we already miss hip Korean restaurant Foxsister, the same owners — chef/partner Brandon Kirksey and David Steele — returned to their Flour + Water roots in August 2019, transforming the space into an Italian restaurant, Great Gold. Admirably, their restaurant participates in Anthony Myint’s climate change fighter, Zero Food Print.
Eat This: Chef Kirksey and chef de cuisine Timmy Malloy (formerly Radhaus) do right by classic spaghetti and meatballs or eggplant Parmesan. Housemade pastas include highlights like cavatelli with sweet corn in brown butter cacio e pepe sauce, or try vibrant small plates like charred Jimmy Nardello peppers in almonds, parmesan and nardello pepper spread.
Chic Burmese... with Cocktails
Burma Club has elevated the look for the iconic Burma Superstar group since their opening in Spring 2019. A far cry from the original humble restaurant which opened in the Inner Richmond in 1992, this Mint Plaza locale steps up the game with midcentury-meets-modern design in a lofty space, a sweeping bar serving quality cocktails and an upscale Burmese food experience rare anywhere.
Eat This: Go for full Myanmar/Burmese flavors in dishes like mohinga (“the national dish of southern Burma”), a noodle dish laden with catfish, onion, garlic, ginger, eggs, turmeric and lemongrass. Or side with the spicy shrimp in Myanmar chutney broth, vibrant with onions, chilies, shrimp paste and fish sauce.
Heartwarming Japanese Currry: Konomama
Spare and bare-bones, Konomama — open September 2019 in the Inner Richmond — serves gourmet Japanese curry platters in pork katsu, egg or vegan versions. They also have an Asahi draft beer machine and a small vinyl collection they rotate through.
Eat This: The original egg swirl-pork katsu curry is the star, with accents like a touch of beet “hummus” and house-fried chips resulting in a hearty platter of varying flavors.
Halal Fried Chicken: Chicken N Waffle Place
Low-key Chicken N Waffle Place opened summer 2019 on Lombard St., admirably sourcing exclusively halal chicken from Restaurant Depot. The space and plating is humble and hearty.
Eat this: There are chicken and waffle platters and breakfast items but the fun is had with massive chicken and waffle sandwiches: folded waffles loaded with fried chicken and, in the case of the “Zesty” version, also mac ‘n cheese, cheddar cheese and pepperoncinis.
Casual Korean: Purple Rice
A simple dining room houses heartwarming Korean food at Lower Haight’s new Purple Rice, opened August 2019, where ingredients and banchan (small bites) are fresh and flavorful.
Eat This: While portions of bulgogi meat are small and a bit lackluster in signature bibimbap or dolsot (stone pot) bibimbap rice bowls, spot-on kimchee or seafood pajeon (Korean savory “pancakes”) shines. Also try their tteogbokki (chewy, gnocchi-reminiscent wheat “cakes”) and jhap chae (stir-fried glass sweet potato noodles).