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San Francisco’s 14 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2018

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Here’s what to look for this year

Wursthall

Though 2017 included plenty of closures, San Francisco saw some big openings along the way, from China Live to Villon and International Smoke. Now 2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for restaurants in the Bay Area, bringing new restaurants from big names like Dominique Crenn and Joshua Skenes, and up-and-comers alike. Here are the openings to keep an eye on.


Luis Maldonado and Mourad Lahlou of Amara
Amara/Instagram

Amara

Location: 5800 Geary Blvd, Outer Richmond
Key Players: Mourad Lahlou, Luis Maldonado
Projected opening: Mid-May

Before chef Mourad Lahlou opened his polished namesake Mourad, there was Aziza, his ode to Moroccan cuisine in the Outer Richmond. After closing it two years ago, it will find a new life as an exploration of Moorish-Mexican cuisines and history. It will be helmed by Luis Maldonado, a former Aziza chef de cuisine, and influenced by both chefs’ cultural heritage: Mexico for Maldonado, Northern Africa for Lahlou. The food will be recognizably Mexican, but showcase some of the techniques and flavors that disseminated from the Spanish conquistadors, who’d been influenced by hundreds of years of Moorish reign in Spain.


Chaya
Future location of Angler

Angler

Location: San Francisco
Key players: Joshua Skenes
Target open: June

Saison chef Joshua Skenes is branching out, his first foray beyond his epic three-Michelin-starred SoMa restaurant. And this time, it will be lower barrier to entry, says Skenes. Angler, which will debut in the former Chaya space on the Embarcadero, will be seafood-focused, with tanks of live creatures and a wood-fired hearth for Skene’s signature cooking style. Expect a la carte, approachable dishes with plenty of vegetable options, as well. A Los Angeles outpost will open later in the fall.


Dominique Crenn
Patricia Chang/Eater SF

Bar Crenn

Location: 3131 Fillmore St., Cow Hollow
Key Players: Dominique Crenn, Juan Contreras, Matt Montrose
Projected Opening: February 20
Located directly next to (and sharing a courtyard with) the chef’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn, the food here will be inspired by recipes of chef masters, including Alain Ducasse. Small plates to share, low-ABV cocktails, and a wine list focused on old world producers (particularly natural and biodynamic), plus the opportunity to try Atelier Crenn’s tasting menu in an intimate setting. “This is more than a wine bar, it’s my living room,” Crenn told Eater SF.


Beehive

Location: 842 Valencia Street
Key klayers: Phil West, Arnold Eric Wong, Steve Werney, Carlos Yturria
Projected opening: February

It’s a project that’s close to home for Range chef-owner Phil West and his partners in The Treasury: Arnold Eric Wong (E&O Kitchen), contractor Steve Werney (Teutonic Construction) and bar manager Carlos Yturria, which will start buzzing in the former Range space soon. Mid-century playfulness is the theme, with drinks named after 60s icons like Marilyn Monroe, and the possibility of complementary menu items like fondue.


Birdsong
Studio SAINT/Birdsong

Birdsong

Location: 1085 Mission Street, SoMa
Key players: Chris Bleidorn
Projected opening: Late winter

Former chef de cuisine of Atelier Crenn Chris Bleidorn (also an alum of Benu, Saison and Alinea), is striking out on his own, with plans to open a restaurant in the former AQ location on a gritty block of SoMa. Birdsong is all about the Pacific Northwest, with fresh ingredients sourced from and inspired by Washington and Oregon in addition to the Bay Area. Expect mushrooms, berries, cold water shellfish and wild game like boar, elk or buffalo, and lots of wood-fired cooking and fermentation projects to come out of the open kitchen. Both a tasting menu and a la carte options will be available, making something of a statement in San Francisco’s tasting menu-forward, Michelin-stalking environment.


Josh Harris and Morgan Schick
BV Hospitality/Instagram

Bon Voyage!

Location: 584 Valencia Street, Mission
Key players: Josh Harris, Morgan Schick
Projected opening: February

From BV Hospitality comes a follow-up to Trick Dog, Josh Harris and Morgan Schick’s creative, biannually changing Mission cocktail bar. It’s opening in the former Urchin Bistrot space on Valencia, with what could be described as “inspired by midcentury style through the ’70s,” says Harris, “with a little glimmer of Palm Springs of yesteryear, and a glimmer of disco.” That translates to a herd of animal carvings, statues, and paintings, and many more vintage touches sourced from flea markets and beyond. Expect matching cocktails, and food to be served until 2 a.m.


Che Fico/Facebook

Che Fico

Location: 834-838 Divisadero Street, Divisadero
Key players: David Nayfeld, Angela Pinkerton, Matt Brewer
Projected opening: March

Gracing the anticipated openings list for several seasons in a row due to construction setbacks, Che Fico is now finally on the verge of opening in a former auto body shop on Divisadero. High ceilings, sky lights, and a rustic Italian vibe will be found on the second floor, where diners will have a view of an open kitchen with a wood grill, Italian pizza oven, and charcuterie room. Chef David Nayfeld is known for his handmade pastas, which he’ll construct in his behind-the-scenes, climate-controlled “pasta laboratorio.”

Theorita

Location: 834-838 Divisadero Street, Divisadero
Key players: Angela Pinkerton, David Nayfeld, Matt Brewer
Projected opening: Summer

The casual, luncheonette-style restaurant will occupy the ground floor, below Che Fico, and will serve a decidedly different menu than its Italian counterpart. Driven by a focus on sweet pies from Pinkerton, the accompanying food menu will be filled with comforting items like a fried chicken sandwich, pot roast, and savory pies options could include roast chicken with sweet potato and thyme. Beer and wine will also be on offer at the restaurant, which will save space for walk-ins in booths, and at the counter.


Amanda Lynn

Merchant Roots

Location: 1365 Fillmore St., Fillmore
Key players: Ryan Shelton, Madison Fraser
Projected opening: February

Another victim of massive construction delays, the Fillmore District restaurant and retail space is finally nearing completion. Partners Ryan Shelton (chef) and Madison Fraser (general manager) are building a hybrid model of dining and provisions where three nights per week, Shelton will cook a rotating tasting menu for the “Chef’s Table at Merchant Roots.” Meanwhile, the space will operate as a craft grocery with packaged foods, special pantry items, wine, and beer. The Chef’s Table tasting menus will combine Shelton’s French-Italian style, which extends to the handmade items in the grocery, like pastas and charcuterie.


SFO
International Terminal at SFO

Manufactory Food Hall at SFO

Location: SFO International Terminal
Key players: Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt (Tartine), Gabriela Cámara (Cala), Pim Techamuanvivit (Kin Khao)
Projected opening: Summer 2018

Tartine chef-owners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Roberston will open a food hall in the busy International Terminal of San Francisco International Airport, with the help of star chefs Gabriela Cámara of Cala and Pim Techamuanvivit of Kin Khao. It’s a multi-faceted dining behemoth, with all food prepared off-site at a Tartine commissary to ensure quality. “This is not us licensing our names out — this is us cooking and serving the food,” Techamuanvivit told Eater SF. The Manufactory-esque operation will occupy more than 3,200 square feet near boarding area A, with quick-service dining experiences from the chefs, grab-and-go options, a full bar, coffee, and a pantry of Bay Area products for purchase.


Sorrel Sorrel

Sorrel

Location: 3228 Sacramento
Key players: Alex Hong, Colby Heiman
Projected opening: April

Weekly tasting menu pop-up Sorrel is entering the world of brick-and-mortar as it moves into Nico’s Sacramento Street digs. It’s run by chef Alex Hong, who brings experience from Quince and Jean-Georges, and managing partner Colby Heiman, and will serve New American cuisine with Italian influences. Heiman tells Eater SF to expect a full a la carte menu of small plates, pastas, and large plates for one or two people, “as well as the four-course tasting menu that our customers have come to love at the pop-up.”


Unnamed Tartine Project

Hotel G
Hotel G

Location: Hotel G, 398 Geary Blvd, Union Square
Key players: Chad Robertson, Liz Prueitt, Team Tartine
Projected opening: TBD

After plans to open a cafe with chef April Bloomfield in the space were scrapped, Tartine co-founder Chad Robertson and his team are rethinking what will open in the bottom of the boutique Hotel G. “I only want to work with chefs that I really respect, and that complement each other,” Robertson told. “That space was really tied to that partnership.” Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.


Verjus

Location: 528-555 Washington Street, Jackson Square
Key players: Michael and Lindsay Tusk
Projected opening: Spring 2018

The third project from the Tusks will focus on France, from the food and wine to the redesign of the former Chiaroscuro space. Primarily a wine bar, it will be a laid-back affair, with an accompanying retail component featuring wares picked up by the Tusks on their travels and beyond. The wine bar itself will offer an all-day menu of French cuisine with produce from Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas, from small plates to larger share items, and a hearty selection of wines by the glass.


Chicken schnitzle at Wursthall
Wursthall

Wursthall

Location: 310 Baldwin Ave, San Mateo
Key players: J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt, Adam Simpson, Tyson Mao
Projected opening: February

The very anticipated restaurant and biergarten from internet food guru J. Kenji López-Alt, will be a German/Austrian-style beer hall, serving California takes on classic fare, beer, and craft cocktails. (Full menu is here.) Upstairs will be a full-service beer hall with food, while downstairs will offer beer, wine, and cocktails only. Expect pretzels, wursts, and fried potatoes (bratkartoffen) with toppings like currywurst, pulled pork, and mushrooms, plus a vegetarian doner kebap using Impossible Foods plant-based meat.


Other exciting openings include:

4505 Burgers and BBQ Oakland, Range Life, Obispo, Stockhome, Brown Sugar Kitchen Uptown, August Hall/Fifth Arrow, Kantine

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