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These New Restaurants Excited Bay Area Food Insiders the Most in 2020

These are the newcomers Bay Area dining experts loved the most

Clams from Anchovy Bar
The Anchovy Bar ranks among thrilling newcomers to the Bay Area food scene.
Patricia Chang

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 newcomers to the local food scene excited them the most, from traditional brick-and-mortar operations to Instagram-based pop-ups.

SF New Deal and Frontline Foods. The way that these organizations forged the connections between restaurants and communities in need was amazing, and I hope that mindset is lasting. (But also, shouts to Arepas En Bici.) — Resy editorial director (and Eater SF’s founding editor) Paolo Lucchesi

Can I say my own? (Sankofa, haha.) If not, my homie Gustavo and his pop-up Tavo’s Joint — Author, activist, chef, and Sankofa pop-up founder Selasie Dotse

June’s became my favorite East Bay pizza maker basically overnight; every time I raved about it on Instagram, I was conscious of the fact that I was decreasing my own future chances of snagging one of their limited number of pizzas, but, that’s the circle of life. And there’s no question that, in my neighborhood, the star of the pandemic is Mujiri Nigiri: a two-person operation, only a few months old, serving up 7-piece nigiri sets that gleam like gemstones. It is truly something special, and it’s brought so much happiness to my household. — East Bay-based novelist Robin Sloan, the author of (among others) Sourdough and The Strange Case of the New Golden Gate

We at Churn launched our baking program this year with our Lead Baker, Aimee Arcilla. She and her partner Brett also run HunnyBee, a weekly Instagram-based pop-up focusing on a rotating four course Filipino inspired menu and beer pairing. They’re a super talented couple that comes from fine dining backgrounds and knows how to hustle. Find them on @hunnybeesf. — San Francisco restauranteur Rica Sunga-Kwan, the owner of Portola District ice cream shop Churn Urban Creamery

Haight Loaves, which began as a social media-based pandemic pop-up from baker Joseph Norton, has taken root every weekend inside Wine Kitchen at 507 Divis. This is a big deal to me not just because Norton makes some of my favorite pizza in the city, but because he’s now dropping bakes that include the occasional pie, babka, and bomboloni. Oh, and he also makes fantastic bread. This is one to watch. — Eater SF editor Eve Batey

I haven’t even eaten it yet, but Sunset Squares for sure. It looks and sounds like everything a girl could want in a pizza. — SF food writer Daisy Barringer

I know I’m not the only person who was pretty jazzed about Horn Barbecue’s long-awaited arrival — but yes, Horn Barbecue. — Eater SF food editor Luke Tsai

As mentioned (before), Pizza Leah in Windsor opened during the pandemic and we were hearing such great things. They were not wrong, her dough is really well crafted. The thin crust has a great crisp but chewy crust and the pan pie is the lightest airiest pan pie I have had in many years. Also, have not had a chance to go yet BUT Lion Dance Café from the S&M Vegan folks looks very very good!! Can’t wait to try it. — Chef, activist, and author Preeti Mistry

I would like to take credit as the number one fangirl for several sweet new bakeries: Hahdough, the only dedicated German bakery in SF, with so many pretty cakes. Maison Danel, that sparkling new patisserie and tea salon, with glasses of champagne and smoked salmon sandwiches. And Le Dix-Sept, which has so many beautiful botanically inspired pastries and perfect canelés de Bordeaux. — Eater SF reporter Becky Duffett

The Anchovy Bar is a hands-down delight, and for the few weeks that they were able to do outdoor dining I had a late afternoon lunch there that transported me to Spain and was everything I hoped for — and a bowl of chips, with trout roe dip. — SFist editor Jay Barmann

I’m far from alone in this, but Palm City Wines has really made a shitstorm of a year a lot better, especially for those of us lucky to live in the neighborhood. In addition to always having on point wine recommendations, those hoagies are not fucking around. I used to live in Philly, so any hoagie presence makes my heart extra happy; Palm City’s happen to also be next-level delicious. — San Francisco food writer Lauren Sloss

I love what Magnolia Mini Mart is doing — they’re hosting so many fun and intriguing new food makers at the O2 Artisan Aggregate space in West Oakland and now at Classic Cars West. One of those being Ono Snax, which recently opened Ono Bakehouse, a Hawaiian bakery in Berkeley. I haven’t been yet, but I’m really excited to check it out. — Berkeleyside Nosh editor Sarah Han

Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom. It’s a level of dining that is very much needed in this area of Sonoma, the food and cocktails are inventive and delicious, and there’s literally something for everyone—I don’t care if this is a cliche, it’s true! — Napa food writer Jess Lander