2018 seemed like the year that would never end, across the board. In San Francisco’s dining world, there was plenty of big news to share, from openings to closings to celebrity sightings, and as always, Michelin-starred news. The following ten stories were the most read, outside of maps and roundups (the heatmap will always win that contest).
It’s clear that Japanese dessert chains, celebrities, Michelin news, and burgers stole the hearts of readers throughout the year. Check it out below:
Bake, a Hokkaido-based Japanese cheese tart chain, opened in Westfield Center in downtown SF to extremely long lines of sweet-seekers. As the first US location of the chain, it quickly became a destination for Japanophiles looking for a taste of Japan.
Though it still hasn’t opened, news of an Hmart in SF thrilled Eater SF readers. We’re still tracking the opening of this very popular Asian grocery store, so stay tuned.
The pre-cursor to Michelin’s star announcement still gets a lot of attention, partially because it’s a indicator of who might gain a star, and partially because it’s a mostly-affordable list of more casual options that have earned its stamp of approval.
This city loves a good celebrity sighting, and Anderson Cooper broke the internet with his silvery appearance at the newly-opened Divisadero hotspot Che Fico. He ordered the pineapple pie with fermented chiles, and posted it to his personal Instagram account as evidence.
Former Eater SF critic Rachel Levin bestwoed a three-star review upon the aforementioned Che Fico (not influenced by Anderson Cooper). Excellent pizza and pasta, a menu of Jewish-Roman fare, great cocktails, and a buzzy vibe made her proclaim it one of SF’s most exciting dining destinations of the moment.
Serious Eats co-founder J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has captured a vast corner of the internet with his science-y approach to cooking (and his many hot Twitter takes on topics of all kinds). An actual restaurant with a menu of sausages and Austrian fare from the food guru brought diners out of the woodwork all over the Bay Area, all of whom were anxious for a taste of Lopez-Alt’s cooking irl.
Alas, Ayesha Curry’s restaurant with Michael Mina did not live up to the hype, according to former critic Rachel Levin. It received a one-star review despite the indisputable star power of Curry, due to missteps with food and service.
News of another Japanese dessert chain sent readers into a tailspin. Yes, one of the most-read stories of the year was about Gram Cafe & Pancakes, a souffle pancake restaurant slated to open in Stonestown Galleria. Stay tuned for more, and expect opening lines akin to the Beatles first U.S. tour.
The Bay Area went wild for chains this year. This time though, it was a little NY-based operation called Shake Shack that sent diners into a frenzy. Shack burgers with Tartine Bakery buns, concretes made with Manresa Bread cookies, crinkle fries, and local beer and wine created early morning lines for a taste of the cult-favorite burger purveyor. Another location is set to open in Cow Hollow in 2019, so prepare accordingly.
It was a huge year for Michelin in San Francisco, as restaurants here netted 87 stars, with eight three-starred restaurants among them. The fine-dining scene in SF beat out NYC, which boasts five three-starred restaurants.
That’s all, folks. Cheers to another year in the books, and looking forward to more news in 2019.