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All the Restaurant Debuts Bay Area Food Insiders Are Looking Forward to in 2021

All the new restaurants and long-awaited reopenings that have us looking forward to the new year

Azalina Eusope’s Malaysian-Chinese coffee shop Uncle Sok Hee is one of the Bay Area’s most hotly-anticipated debuts. Until then, please content yourself with this photo of dishes from Mahila, Eusope’s Noe Valley restaurant.

We asked a group of local writers, restaurant industry voices, and other assorted, and uniformly brilliant, friends of Eater SF to weigh in on this past year in food (and what a year it was). We’ll share their answers to this, the annual “Year in Eater” survey, over the course of several articles over the next two weeks. Today, they’re sharing what restaurant debuts — or returns, given the wave of hibernations — they’re most excited about for 2021.

I, for one, can’t wait to go for some laksa and kaya toast at Uncle Sok Hee. — Eater SF food editor Luke Tsai

I’m crossing all fingers and toes that Outerlands comes back soon, because man, I miss it. And this isn’t really a reopening, but I never got a chance to go to Casements when they were open in full force — I want to belly up to that bar when it’s packed, drink too many of Gillian’s delicious cocktails followed by perfectly a perfectly poured Guinness and a shot or three of mezcal and dance all night long. — San Francisco food writer Lauren Sloss

Right now, San Francisco is missing two really important Mexican restaurants. I can’t wait for Californios to reopen in its big new home, and here’s hoping it’s the ambitious move that finally gets Val M. Cantu that third star. And I miss Cala, the beachy seafood spot in Hayes Valley. Remember how Gabriela Camara was having that banner year in 2019? The restaurant has been ominously quiet for months, so here’s hoping she actually comes back from Mexico City. — Eater SF reporter Becky Duffett

I’m looking forward to checking out the new brick-and-mortar locations for La Santa Torta and La Guerrera’s Kitchen next year. I was so glad to hear La Guerrera’s Kitchen, another family-run Mexican business, is taking over the former Tamarindo space in Old Oakland. And La Santa Torta’s birria tacos are dangerously good, so I’m liking that the restaurant isn’t far from — but also isn’t too close to — my house! — Berkeleyside Nosh editor Sarah Han

Isn’t the answer here simple? … All of them? — Resy editorial director (and Eater SF’s founding editor) Paolo Lucchesi

I just miss bars so much. I know, I know, I can get a to-go cocktail or — when outdoor dining resumes — a drink at a place that’s partnered with a restaurant, but sometimes I just want a drink by itself, not as part of a meal. So I’m looking forward to the reopening of longstanding dives like the Outer Sunset’s Pittsburgh’s Pub, which has been shuttered since the pandemic began. — Eater SF editor Eve Batey

Californios. — author, activist, chef, and Sankofa pop-up founder Selasie Dotse

I’m most excited to check out Routier as soon as they get to open for real. (Though takeout is available now!) Chef John Paul Carmona has been missing from the SF scene for a minute and he’s incredibly talented. And Belinda Leong can do no wrong. I took one look at the debut menu and was like “I want all the things.” Lobster grand aioli? Yessss. — SFist editor Jay Barmann