San Francisco is home to many beautiful restaurants, thoughtfully designed by cutting-edge design firms and carefully curated by chef-owners with a distinct pride of place. Of the many new restaurants that opened this year, some trends emerged: Light natural wood, bright white paint, and over-the-top plants are all trademarks of 2019. But a few restaurants stood out with striking interiors that broke from the pack. From a huge multi-level food emporium and glittering chocolate factory to lunar lounges and wild wallpaper, here are the most stunning restaurants of the year.
Stepping into Nari, the stunning new Thai restaurant inside Hotel Kabuki, is like entering the jungle. Designed by Lundberg Design, it boasts high ceilings, exposed concrete, raw wood surfaces, and lush greenery. There’s a reason it won best restaurant design of the year.
Dandelion Chocolate Factory
Dandelion made dreams come true when it opened a spectacular chocolate factory the size of a city block this past spring. 30,000 square feet are filled with exposed brick and beams, antique touches, and modern machinery. But it’s not all industrial. At the center of the space, the Bloom chocolate salon gleams with gold, mirrors, and black-and-white tiled floors.
Ground control to cocktails and dumplings. Mister Jiu’s opened up its upstairs this year, introducing a swanky new cocktail lounge complete with high ceilings, oversized red velvet booths, sky blue marble table tops, and Chinatown lantern views.
Sure, Aaron London’s second restaurant has smoked salmon hot pockets and falafel corn dog bites. But have you seen the flamingo wallpaper in the bathroom? Can we talk about the huge windows with color-pop pink trim?
Looking up at ONE65 is like taking in an elegant black-and-white department store. D-Scheme Studio designed all six stories of this soigné French food emporium, from the patisserie and bistro to the cocktail lounge and fine dining room, including a dumbwaiter that slides silently between them all.
If anything could make the reopening of this favorite old fondue spot even more thrilling, it was definitely alpine lodge–inspired wood panels, a booth that’s actually a gondola, and cuckoo clocks.
Of all the restaurants playing with natural woods and ocean blues, Wildseed did it best this year. The new vegan restaurant hired ROY design studio for a full refresh, and from the turquoise tiles to the rows of plants, the space radiates wellness.
At the base of the Bank of America building, literally in a former bank vault, the Vault opened as an underground lair and cocktail lounge earlier this year. It’s dark and clubby, with lots of booths and leather, and clever lighting details. Who needs windows, really?
Disclosure: Carolyn Alburger, Cities Director for Eater, is married to chef Wildseed Blair Warsham. She has recused herself from involvement in any coverage of Warsham’s projects.