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San Francisco’s 17 Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings, Fall 2018

Including restaurants from the teams behind Saison, Mourad, Marlowe, Trick Dog, and more

Commons Club
| Virgin Hotels

Following a relatively slow summer for openings, fall is bringing the heat with some major hotspots. Cocktail bars with playful food menus, Middle Eastern influences, ambitious projects from well-known players, and more are part of the lineup, which stretches from September through the end of the year. Here’s your guide to the most exciting openings of the season.


Location: 5800 Geary Blvd, Outer Richmond
Key Players: Mourad Lahlou, Luis Maldonado
Projected opening: Late October

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.


Location: 132 The Embarcadero
Key Players: Joshua Skenes
Projected Opening: September

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, giving diners the chance to dine sans tasting menu. Angler will debut in the former Chaya space on the Embarcadero, with tanks of live sea creatures and a custom-built wood-fired hearth for Skene’s signature cooking style. Expect a la carte dishes with plenty of seafood and vegetable options, served alongside Saison Group’s signature high-level hospitality.

Bon Voyage!

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

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.

Commons Club

Location: 250 Fourth St., Virgin Hotels SF
Key Players: Adrian Garcia
Projected Opening: November 15

A stylish new hotel begets a stylish new restaurant as the Virgin Hotel arrives in town. Fine dining chef Adrian Garcia (Quince, Benu) will be on board to create the menu, which is still under development (though if it’s anything like its sister restaurant in Chicago, it will be “American”). There’ll also be a rooftop for eating and drinking, giving more fuel to SF’s growing number of aerial hangouts.

Freds at Barneys New York

Location: 77 O’Farrell St, Barney’s New York
Key Players: Mark Strausman
Projected Opening: September

A new power lunch destination is headed to town, as NY’s classic eatery Freds at Barneys New York hits the scene. It’ll perch on the sixth floor of the Union Square department store, serving its famed chopped chicken salads alongside some SF-inspired menu items, wine, beer, and cocktails.

Hina Yakitori

Location: 808 Divisadero St.
Key Players: Tommy Cleary, Tan Truong Geoffrey Lee
Projected Opening: Early November

Chef Tommy Cleary has partnered with the team behind omakase destination Ju-Ni on his latest project, a follow-up to now-closed Hina Yakitori in Oakland. Cleary and a sous chef will lead the charge, serving each diner half of a pasture-raised heritage chicken that’s been divided into 12 courses of various chicken parts, grilled over binchotan charcoal, plus additions of wagyu and uni. There’ll be wine pairings, soake, and shochu to accompany the fixed prixed menu.


Location: 1838 Union St.
Key Players: John Park
Projected Opening: September

Cow Hollow is broadening its horizons with the impending opening of Kaiyo, a restaurant and bar focused on the food and drink of the Japanese diaspora in Peru, Nikkei cuisine. There’ll be plenty of Japanese whisky, Peruvian pisco, and a menu of food to accompany. It’s from one of the co-founders of Novela and Whitechapel, John Park, so expect an extensive — and adventurous — cocktail menu.

Moon Gate Lounge

Location: Second Floor, 28 Waverly Pl.
Key Players: Brandon Jew
Projected Opening: Early October

Soon Mister Jiu’s will have a lively and playful sibling operating on the floor above it. Moon Gate Lounge will extend the laid-back cool vibes of chef Brandon Jew’s Chinese cuisine with dim sum, large format cocktails, and way more space to linger over dumplings and drinks. Expect some stunning and surprising architectural components, all of which are an homage to the space’s past as a banquet hall.


Location: 2001 Fillmore St.
Key players: Laura Ozyilmaz, Sayat Ozyilmaz, John Litz
Projected Opening: Late fall

A highly-pedigreed chef couple will turn their pop-up, Istanbul Modern, into a permanent fixture by late fall. Their experiences at fine-dining meccas like Saison, Mourad, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns is influenced by “really good Californian ingredients with this amazing Middle Eastern perspective,” says Laura. But, don’t expect “tweezer food” as part of their new venture. The couple says’ they’re burned out on Michelin food, and want to take a break. There’ll be freshly baked pita, falafel, Turkish pide, small mezze plates, kebabs, and other dishes influenced by the Ottoman Empire. “Homey food, that’s what we want,” says Sayat.

Rendering of ONE65 Bistro


Location: 165 O’Farrell
Key Players: Claude Le Tohic, Alexander’s Steakhouse Group
Projected Opening: Late Fall

A six-story temple of French cuisine will add to the attractions in Union Square come fall, with four concepts from renowned chef Claude Le Tohic and the group behind swanky Alexander’s Steakhouse and newly opened ALX Gastropub. Two concepts will debut in the fall: ONE65 Patisserie, will be ground-level and serve petit gâteaux, pastry, quiche, coffee, and more and a casual third-floor restaurant called ONE65 Bistro will serve “California/French comfort food.” Eventually a fourth floor cocktail and wine bar called ONE65 Lounge, and fifth and sixth floor fine dining restaurant, O’, will join.

Piri Pica

Location: 590 Valencia Street, Mission
Key Players: Telmo Faria, Khalid Mushasha
Projected Opening: September 4

Portuguese chef Telmo Faria is honing in on one of the most popular menu items at his year-old restaurant, Uma Casa, bringing piri piri chicken to the Mission. He’s partnered with restaurateur Khalid Mushasha (Black Cat) to make it happen in the former location of Frjtz on Valencia St. It’ll be quick-service and takeout focused on the spicy chicken, and other sides.


Location: 3431 19th Street
Key Players: Anthony Strong
Projected Opening: Late September

Anthony Strong, longtime Delfina group culinary director and executive chef at Locanda, is back in the Mission with Prairie in the old Hog & Rocks space. His Italian-inflected menu will be intended for “grazing,” per the name, with dishes fueled by a big A J&R Woodshow Broiler and a Spanish Josper grill. “My favorite food experiences from Italy — or anywhere, really — have all been free-flowing with little formality,” says Strong. “I wanted to create that kind of environment and let people go to town.”

Tartine 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: Late Fall

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.

The bar at Trailblazer Tavern
Trailblazer Tavern

Trailblazer Tavern

Location: 350 Mission St., Salesforce East Building
Key Players: Michelle Karr-Ueoka, Wade Ueoka, Michael Mina
Projected Opening: November

Named after a Salesforce avatar, a pair of star chefs from Hawaii have partnered with Mina to bring a menu of Hawaiian comfort food like housemade spam musubi and a “plate lunch sandwich” with Korean fried chicken, kalbi, and spicy pork to the busy lobby of Salesforce East. There’ll be seating on the mezzanine of the lobby, inside the dining room, and on an outside patio, making it an easy place to stop for tropical cocktails and business talk.


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

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.

Zombie Village

Location: 441 Jones St.
Key Players: Daniel Parks, Futurebars
Projected Opening: November

The second tiki bar from the talented Futurebars crew (Pagan Idol, Bourbon & Branch) will take over the former location of American speakeasy Tradition. It’s an homage to a historic Bay Area tiki bar of the same name, with a hint of dark intrigue and a menu of modern tiki drinks made with mezcal, pisco, and so much rum. The interior is under construction by some seriously talented tiki artists, and will include enormous hand carved idols, bamboo, and more.

Other openings to know about: Cow Marlowe, Mauer Park, Magnolia Dogpatch, Tsuta, Palette, Luke’s Lobster


FOB Kitchen

Location: 5179 Telegraph Ave.
Key Players: Brandi and Janice Dulce, Cali gold
Projected Opening: Early September

Filipino food and cocktails will rule at FOB Kitchen, taking over the former home of Juhu Beach Club. It’s the permanent iteration of the duo’s pop-up that operated out of SF’s Gashead Tavern, serving Janice Dulce’s interpretation of her Filipino and Bay Area roots. Cali Gold will create a menu of creative cocktails with Filipino flavors.

More Oakland openings to track: Bardo, Boichik Bagels, Cafe Ohlone