This time last year, Eater SF was reminiscing about the most stunning new restaurants that opened in 2019. We were gawking at multi-level food emporiums, glittering chocolate factories, and lunar lounges. Well, true to 2020, that looks a little different this year. Now, we’re just hoping that restaurants can make it through the winter, so we can actually see the wallpaper in the dining room once more.
But even boxed in and sized down, creativity abounds. At the beginning of the pandemic, when everyone was wildly swiveling to takeout and delivery, we published a big beautiful slideshow of the prettiest packaging in San Francisco. Well, nine months later, chefs have had no choice but to embrace the boxes and bags, and dare we say, the takeout containers have only gotten more eye catching. Building on the theme, here are ten more of the most striking takeout options in San Francisco in 2020.
Paté en croute from Maison Nico
After a couple of hard pivots, Maison Nico reopened as an epicerie and patisserie, serving elaborately packed patés wrapped in pastry, as well as many-layered brioche feuilletée twisted into a serpentine.
Sushi boxes from Robin
The sushi spots immediately excelled takeout, and we previously acknowledged Ju-Ni for gorgeous chirashi bowls, and the Shota for cute inari pockets. Robin also later introduced a gasp-worthy sushi box, with lots of little compartments for rolls, sashimi, and noodles topped with truffles.
Charcuterie spreads from Absinthe
Snack dinner was a meaty trend in 2020, and it may have even gone too far at this point — does anyone really need a charcuterie chalet? But in beautiful spreads, Absinthe stood out, with a box filled with artfully ruffled and arranged meat and cheese.
Bento boxes from Rintaro
Rintaro has already been mentioned, but is making this list again, because it kept iterating on bento boxes throughout the year, changing them out week to week, and culminating in those luxe New Year’s boxes, which sold out within minutes.
Spam trays from Liholiho Yacht Club
Liholiho always kept the takeout menus and packaging fresh this year, from jello shots to spam buns, cheese-oozing katsu sandwiches to pineapple-shaped hand pies.
Family-style platters from Farmhouse Kitchen Thai
Farmhouse Thai became a social sensation this year thanks to the “Little Lao” takeout platter, stuffed with fried chicken, penang curry, noodles, and more. Even more extra, they’re throwing in a lobster and a couple of beers for the holidays. And an honorable mention must be given to sister restaurant Son & Garden for that over-the-top afternoon tea party.
Lobster grand aioli from Routier
Also in lobster news, Routier, the new French restaurant from the B. Patisserie team. served up a lobster grand aioli with lots of lush colorful vegetables and cracked crustacean for dunking in creamy dips.
Diwali holiday boxes from Besharam
There have been so many beautiful pastry boxes this year, especially during the height of cookie season. Chef Heena Patel from Besharam put out a colorful box of sweets for Diwali, which hopefully becomes an annual tradition.
Afternoon tea from Maison Danel
The sparkling new patisserie and tea salon was always planning to have pretty boxes and bags, although they probably weren’t expecting to have to rely on them entirely. Still, Maison Danel has managed to fit the entire tea room experience into a box, layered with smoked salmon sandwiches, mini croissants, sweets, and bubbles.
Tasting menu with wine pairings from Lazy Bear
Lazy Bear has been swinging high and low throughout the pandemic, recreating a luxe tasting menu experience complete with wine pairings, as well as letting eaters walk up for fried chicken sandwiches and cookie dough. Either way, the packaging is campy and fun, complete with flannel-inspired wrapping and bear paw stickers.
Pony bottle cocktails from Horsefeather
If there’s anything cuter than a baby bottle, it’s a baby bottle filled with a colorful cocktail, with a pony pegasus on the label. Horsefeather really spread those wings with the pretty drinks during the pandemic.