More than a year after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, chef Melissa Perello’s Pacific Heights neighborhood restaurant Octavia will finally welcome diners back into its bright, window-fronted space on Tuesday, June 29.
Both of Perello’s restaurants, the original Frances and slightly larger Octavia, have been closed for more than a full year: The chef was out of town opening her third restaurant, M. Georgina at The Row development in Downtown Los Angeles at the outset of the pandemic and “got stuck” in Southern California for several months. That meant missing the boat on doing takeout at either of her Bay Area restaurants, though now, looking back at the many restrictions restaurants had to navigate during 2020, Perello told Eater in March it may have been a blessing in disguise.
As of today, customers will once again be able to linger over some of the city’s best desserts after a dinner featuring the chef’s famed deviled eggs and new Californian cuisine, just in time for local king salmon season. The restaurant — which earned one Michelin star in 2019 — will initially open for dinner service Tuesday through Saturday starting at 5 p.m. with the last seating at 9 p.m., Octavia’s social media manager Samantha McCurry told Eater SF on Monday afternoon.
Nico Pena will be stepping in Octavia’s new chef de cuisine. Pena previously headed up the kitchen at Tartine Manufactory after working at top restaurants including Quince, Cotogna, and Verjus, as well as Nightbird and Rich Table.
With Octavia now emerging from its long slumber, fans can expect a brand new menu, which can be viewed on the restaurant’s website. McCurry noted highlights including a soft shell crab fritto served with shio koji tartar sauce and an expanded selection of pastas. Some of the options include sonora wheat campanelle with fava bean pesto, mint, and ricotta salata and shell-shaped lumache with pork sausage ragu.
As for Perello’s first restaurant, Frances, the timeline for reopening is still “a little fuzzy,” McCurry said. The restaurant is still “in the construction phase,” but expected to reopen sometime this summer. After the long closures both restaurants required quite a bit of work to get them back up and running — including hiring an entirely new staff, Perello said in March.
Reservations for Octavia, which open 30 days in advance, open now and can be made online. There’s still some seating available, though things are filling up fast.