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Cocktails and snacks at Sorella Hardy Wilson

The Hottest New Restaurants in San Francisco, December 2021

A curated list of San Francisco’s newest and buzziest restaurants to try

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Eater tipsters, readers, friends, and family usually have the same question: Where should I eat right now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s cool, and where their favorite chefs have landed — and with a host of highly anticipated fall openings, there are more restaurants to try than ever. To answer that question, here are 21 of San Francisco’s most exciting new restaurants, all which are open as of publication time. This should be enough to keep you going until next month, when we’ll update this list with the next class of buzzy openings.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Abacá

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2700 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 486-0788
Visit Website

Chef Francis Ang’s hotly anticipated first brick and mortar arrived in early August, bringing contemporary Filipino cuisine to a space on the ground floor of a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s perhaps not where you’d expect the face of the Bay Area’s modern Filipino food movement to set up shop, but the plant-filled restaurant is utterly drenched in sunlight and further brightened by sunflower yellow banquettes and woven baskets from the southeast Asian archipelago. On the menu: a selection of sharbale plates including sticky barbecue skewers, a light and refreshing tomato and peach salad, and, of course, a whole pastry case filled with fresh baked delights. And with a cocktail menu by Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven, Kona’s Street Market) the colorful concoctions demand attention, too. 

2. Norcina

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3251 Pierce St
San Francisco, CA 94123

Chef Kaitlynn Bauman (Cotogna, Presidio Social Club, Greens) previously owned a cafe under the same name, but the new Norcina is her first full-service, sit-down restaurant. And it’s a big pizza and pasta party in the Marina, with full flights of spritzes and torch-it-yourself s’mores.

3. Hilda and Jesse

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701 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133

A popular breakfast-for-dinner pop-up has gone permanent in North Beach. Hilda and Jesse is breaking brunch expectations with a three-course tasting menu, featuring savory porridges and lofty pancakes, all in a retro-cool space on a sunny corner of Washington Square Park.

4. Restaurant Nisei

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2316 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 827-6898
Visit Website

Californios alum David Yoshimura is channeling inspiration from his Japanese-American upbringing into Nisei, his ambitious debut restaurant where Japanese soul food gets the fine dining treatment. Yoshimura has taken over the former La Folie space, transforming it into a zen retreat with inky black walls and white booths. In the kitchen Yoshimura and his team pull shiny hunks of American-raised unagi off a binchotan grill and pack an explosion of banana flavor into tiny dorayaki topped with salty caviar. The 12-course tasting menu ends with a multi-component course called “ichiju sansa,” or “one soup, three sides.”

5. Empress by Boon

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838 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 757-0728
Visit Website

The Empress by Boon grandly reopened in June, bringing modern Cantonese fare to the historic banquet hall in Chinatown. Chef Ho Chee Boon is coming from Hakkasan, but this is his first solo project. He’s starting with a prix fixe menu for $68 to start, starring shrimp dumplings topped with caviar, crispy quail, hand-pulled noodles, and more.

Strawberry egg tart at Empress by Boon Patricia Chang

6. Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina Restaurant San Francisco

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252 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 417-3969
Visit Website

Michael Mina retired his eponymous fine dining restaurant downtown and replaced it with a new Greek seafood spot in September. Diners are digging into big platters of Mediterranean sea bass and grilled octopus, but should the array of fish options overwhelm, a dedicated fish sommelier can assist with your selection.

Whole-Roasted fish at Estiatorio Ornos David Varley/Mina Group

7. Sorella

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1760 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 359-1212
Visit Website

Sorella is the little “sister” of Acquerello, so she’s benefitting from that Michelin star cred, but more chill. Opened in December, the new casual Italian restaurant is digging into cocktails and cicchetti, aka snacks, including a hundred amaros, available by the flight; “cacio e pepe” potato chips with powdered pecorino and pepper; glazed and stuffed chicken wings; grilled and truffled anchovy toast; and a “fancy lasagna” or nine-layer dry-aged beef timballo.

“Fancy lasagna” at Sorella Hardy Wilson

8. Sushi Sato

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1122 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 851-8830
Visit Website

The Mins group (Sushi Hon, Sushi Hakko) continues to expand with their biggest project yet: Sushi Sato opened with affordable tastings and whiskey cocktails at the beginning of November. But it’s only the first of three restaurants in this warm and minimalist space, as Kuro upscale omakase and Bar Kuro whiskey bar are still to come.

9. Chao Pescao

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272 McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 621-2200
Visit Website

Chao Pescao is a new restaurant that’s taken over the Soluna space. It’s from the same owner, but more casual and colorful. The restaurant blasted open in June, serving a mix of Colombian and Cuban comforts, including arepas and empanadas filled with garlicky pork and plantains or sweet potatoes and beans.

Exterior of Chao Pescao Chao Pescao

10. Automat

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1801 McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94115

Former Lazy Bear sous chef Matt Kirk tried to quietly open his highly anticipated new all-day cafe, but fans went wild for those pillowy soft “Wondermat” sandwiches. After a brief regroup, the Automat will open for real on December 8. Fighting against the sourdough tide, Kirk is known for that soft white sandwich bread, but yes of course he’s still got crusty country loaves, chewy pretzels, cookies, and doughnuts, and espresso and wine to wash it all down.

A sandwich wrapped in paper on a blue plate sits on a wooden table. Lauren Saria

11. SSP Beer & NFT Gallery

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59 9th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

The Lee brothers of the Namu Restaurant Group have taken the former Perennial space and transformed it into not just a home for Sunset Square Pizza, but also a beer hall with several different menus, as well as a digital art gallery. Choose from Sunset Squares’ sourdough pizza, Namu Stonepot’s sizzling rice and veggies, and Uncle Tito’s silog specials, as well as dank local beer.

SSP Beer Hall Patricia Chang

12. Le Fantastique

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22 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 432-7888
Visit Website

The Bird Dog team from Palo Alto opened a new seafood slash wine bar in Hayes Valley in August, spinning caviar eclairs and luxe bubbles into the neighborhood. The menu features small plates of raw and cured fish, alongside pours of rare white wines from France, while vinyl plays through the speakers. 

13. Miller & Lux Restaurant

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700 Terry A Francois Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94158
(415) 872-6699
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Celebrity chef Tyler Florence opened a handsome new steakhouse near Chase Center at the end of September. A generous 7,000 square feet and 147 seats, acclaimed designer Ken Fulk kitted it out in tan-and-gold mid-century style, and it’s now serving dry-aged Black Angus steaks with tableside-tossed Caesar salads.

Burger at Miller & Lux Miller & Lux

14. Fiorella Sunset

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1240 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 404-6997
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Fiorella has brought its popular pasta and pillowy pizza to the Inner Sunset, with a new third location close to Golden Gate Park, which might truly be the latest and greatest, featuring a full bar, wood-burning fireplace, and foggy fresh rooftop deck. Never fear, the burrata pie is here, as well as some fresh menu items, including a new housemade farfalle with octopus ragu and king salmon crudo. 

The rooftop at Fiorella’s Inner Sunset location Hardy Wilson/Fiorella

15. Copas

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2223 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114

Copas quietly opened in September as a colorful new cafe and bar on Market, serving sesame avocado toast and pillowy potato dumplings all day, from morning cappuccinos to evening cocktails. The chief of staff for the Saison team opened it as her first solo project, and the name is inspired by the warm feeling of gathering around a table to raise a glass and play cards.

A table of colorful plates of food from Copas on Marker Liz Barclay/Copas

16. LUNA American Brasserie

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694 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 737-0908
Visit Website

Luna is a new restaurant that’s moved into the old Luna Park, bringing back brunches and happy hours to the long-empty spot on Valencia Street. The team is partially coming from Wayfare Tavern, and they’re calling Luna an American brasserie, serving oysters and bone marrow, burgers and mac and cheese, and riffs on classic cocktails.

Roast chicken at Luna Patricia Chang

17. SAN HO WON

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2170 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 868-4479
Visit Website

San Ho Won, the highly anticipated new restaurant from star chef Corey Lee (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin), finally opened at the beginning of November. The smoky and soulful menu digs into Korean barbecue and home comforts, from ribeye and galbi folded into lettuces to pig ear salad and jook with abalone. 

San Ho Won’s spring bibimbap with ramps, fern, cordyceps, and pea leaves San Ho Won

18. Penny Roma

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3000 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 826-7004
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The Flour + Water Group opened the new Penny Roma in the former Central Kitchen space on October 11. It’s a simple but classic menu of regional Italian pastas, crudos, and woodfired ribeye, so you can now satisfy cacio e pepe cravings in a cozy heated courtyard, any night of the week in the heart of the Mission.

Patricia Chang

19. DONAJI

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3161 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 792-6066
Visit Website

Taking over a prime location on 24th Street (the former Great Gold), Donaji Oaxacan restaurant debuted in the Mission in October, with a menu that’s all about fresh masa, folded into tamales, tacos, sopes, and enchiladas smothered in richly spiced mole negro.

A tamalito on a plate topped with a vegetable slaw. Stephanie Pass

20. Village Rotisserie

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4063 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 660-7852
Visit Website

That new Australian-style chicken shop opened on 24th Street in September, to the delight of busy parents, tech personalities, and everyone else who would really rather not cook dinner tonight in Noe Valley. From a brother-sister duo who both live in the neighborhood, it’s now spinning rotisserie chickens, duck-fat potatoes, and lemony broccoli salad. Get it to go from the front counter, or slide to the back and kick it under fringe umbrellas on stripy deck chairs.

Rotisserie chicken dinner with sides at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

21. Chīsai Sushi Club

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3369 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

The opening of Chisai Sushi Club is a bit of a homecoming for chef Erik Aplin, who formerly worked as chef de cuisine at Ichi, the Mission Street sushi restaurant once located in the sliver of space Chisai now calls home. But Aplin is setting a new tone with his self-described affordable omakase menus: he infuses Western influences into his open-face temaki filling sheets of nori with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado and offers a “deli-style” hand roll with cured carrot “lox” on the restaurant’s vegetarian tasting menu. If you nab a reservation in the tiny dining room, take a moment to gaze up at the painting of Ocean Beach and the Cliff House of a bygone era. 

Uni carbonara made with udon noodles, bacon, uni cream sauce, and a layer of raw uni Darren Samuelson/Chisai Sushi Club

1. Abacá

2700 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Chef Francis Ang’s hotly anticipated first brick and mortar arrived in early August, bringing contemporary Filipino cuisine to a space on the ground floor of a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s perhaps not where you’d expect the face of the Bay Area’s modern Filipino food movement to set up shop, but the plant-filled restaurant is utterly drenched in sunlight and further brightened by sunflower yellow banquettes and woven baskets from the southeast Asian archipelago. On the menu: a selection of sharbale plates including sticky barbecue skewers, a light and refreshing tomato and peach salad, and, of course, a whole pastry case filled with fresh baked delights. And with a cocktail menu by Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven, Kona’s Street Market) the colorful concoctions demand attention, too. 

2700 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Norcina

3251 Pierce St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Chef Kaitlynn Bauman (Cotogna, Presidio Social Club, Greens) previously owned a cafe under the same name, but the new Norcina is her first full-service, sit-down restaurant. And it’s a big pizza and pasta party in the Marina, with full flights of spritzes and torch-it-yourself s’mores.

3251 Pierce St
San Francisco, CA 94123

3. Hilda and Jesse

701 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

A popular breakfast-for-dinner pop-up has gone permanent in North Beach. Hilda and Jesse is breaking brunch expectations with a three-course tasting menu, featuring savory porridges and lofty pancakes, all in a retro-cool space on a sunny corner of Washington Square Park.

701 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94133

4. Restaurant Nisei

2316 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Californios alum David Yoshimura is channeling inspiration from his Japanese-American upbringing into Nisei, his ambitious debut restaurant where Japanese soul food gets the fine dining treatment. Yoshimura has taken over the former La Folie space, transforming it into a zen retreat with inky black walls and white booths. In the kitchen Yoshimura and his team pull shiny hunks of American-raised unagi off a binchotan grill and pack an explosion of banana flavor into tiny dorayaki topped with salty caviar. The 12-course tasting menu ends with a multi-component course called “ichiju sansa,” or “one soup, three sides.”

2316 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

5. Empress by Boon

838 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108
Strawberry egg tart at Empress by Boon Patricia Chang

The Empress by Boon grandly reopened in June, bringing modern Cantonese fare to the historic banquet hall in Chinatown. Chef Ho Chee Boon is coming from Hakkasan, but this is his first solo project. He’s starting with a prix fixe menu for $68 to start, starring shrimp dumplings topped with caviar, crispy quail, hand-pulled noodles, and more.

838 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94108

6. Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina Restaurant San Francisco

252 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Whole-Roasted fish at Estiatorio Ornos David Varley/Mina Group

Michael Mina retired his eponymous fine dining restaurant downtown and replaced it with a new Greek seafood spot in September. Diners are digging into big platters of Mediterranean sea bass and grilled octopus, but should the array of fish options overwhelm, a dedicated fish sommelier can assist with your selection.

252 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

7. Sorella

1760 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
“Fancy lasagna” at Sorella Hardy Wilson

Sorella is the little “sister” of Acquerello, so she’s benefitting from that Michelin star cred, but more chill. Opened in December, the new casual Italian restaurant is digging into cocktails and cicchetti, aka snacks, including a hundred amaros, available by the flight; “cacio e pepe” potato chips with powdered pecorino and pepper; glazed and stuffed chicken wings; grilled and truffled anchovy toast; and a “fancy lasagna” or nine-layer dry-aged beef timballo.

1760 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

8. Sushi Sato

1122 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109

The Mins group (Sushi Hon, Sushi Hakko) continues to expand with their biggest project yet: Sushi Sato opened with affordable tastings and whiskey cocktails at the beginning of November. But it’s only the first of three restaurants in this warm and minimalist space, as Kuro upscale omakase and Bar Kuro whiskey bar are still to come.

1122 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94109

9. Chao Pescao

272 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Exterior of Chao Pescao Chao Pescao

Chao Pescao is a new restaurant that’s taken over the Soluna space. It’s from the same owner, but more casual and colorful. The restaurant blasted open in June, serving a mix of Colombian and Cuban comforts, including arepas and empanadas filled with garlicky pork and plantains or sweet potatoes and beans.

272 McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94102

10. Automat

1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94115
A sandwich wrapped in paper on a blue plate sits on a wooden table. Lauren Saria

Former Lazy Bear sous chef Matt Kirk tried to quietly open his highly anticipated new all-day cafe, but fans went wild for those pillowy soft “Wondermat” sandwiches. After a brief regroup, the Automat will open for real on December 8. Fighting against the sourdough tide, Kirk is known for that soft white sandwich bread, but yes of course he’s still got crusty country loaves, chewy pretzels, cookies, and doughnuts, and espresso and wine to wash it all down.

1801 McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94115

11. SSP Beer & NFT Gallery

59 9th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
SSP Beer Hall Patricia Chang

The Lee brothers of the Namu Restaurant Group have taken the former Perennial space and transformed it into not just a home for Sunset Square Pizza, but also a beer hall with several different menus, as well as a digital art gallery. Choose from Sunset Squares’ sourdough pizza, Namu Stonepot’s sizzling rice and veggies, and Uncle Tito’s silog specials, as well as dank local beer.

59 9th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

12. Le Fantastique

22 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

The Bird Dog team from Palo Alto opened a new seafood slash wine bar in Hayes Valley in August, spinning caviar eclairs and luxe bubbles into the neighborhood. The menu features small plates of raw and cured fish, alongside pours of rare white wines from France, while vinyl plays through the speakers. 

22 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102

13. Miller & Lux Restaurant

700 Terry A Francois Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94158
Burger at Miller & Lux Miller & Lux

Celebrity chef Tyler Florence opened a handsome new steakhouse near Chase Center at the end of September. A generous 7,000 square feet and 147 seats, acclaimed designer Ken Fulk kitted it out in tan-and-gold mid-century style, and it’s now serving dry-aged Black Angus steaks with tableside-tossed Caesar salads.

700 Terry A Francois Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94158

14. Fiorella Sunset

1240 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
The rooftop at Fiorella’s Inner Sunset location Hardy Wilson/Fiorella

Fiorella has brought its popular pasta and pillowy pizza to the Inner Sunset, with a new third location close to Golden Gate Park, which might truly be the latest and greatest, featuring a full bar, wood-burning fireplace, and foggy fresh rooftop deck. Never fear, the burrata pie is here, as well as some fresh menu items, including a new housemade farfalle with octopus ragu and king salmon crudo. 

1240 9th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122

15. Copas

2223 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
A table of colorful plates of food from Copas on Marker Liz Barclay/Copas

Copas quietly opened in September as a colorful new cafe and bar on Market, serving sesame avocado toast and pillowy potato dumplings all day, from morning cappuccinos to evening cocktails. The chief of staff for the Saison team opened it as her first solo project, and the name is inspired by the warm feeling of gathering around a table to raise a glass and play cards.

2223 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114

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16. LUNA American Brasserie

694 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Roast chicken at Luna Patricia Chang

Luna is a new restaurant that’s moved into the old Luna Park, bringing back brunches and happy hours to the long-empty spot on Valencia Street. The team is partially coming from Wayfare Tavern, and they’re calling Luna an American brasserie, serving oysters and bone marrow, burgers and mac and cheese, and riffs on classic cocktails.

694 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

17. SAN HO WON

2170 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94110
San Ho Won’s spring bibimbap with ramps, fern, cordyceps, and pea leaves San Ho Won

San Ho Won, the highly anticipated new restaurant from star chef Corey Lee (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin), finally opened at the beginning of November. The smoky and soulful menu digs into Korean barbecue and home comforts, from ribeye and galbi folded into lettuces to pig ear salad and jook with abalone. 

2170 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94110

18. Penny Roma

3000 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Patricia Chang

The Flour + Water Group opened the new Penny Roma in the former Central Kitchen space on October 11. It’s a simple but classic menu of regional Italian pastas, crudos, and woodfired ribeye, so you can now satisfy cacio e pepe cravings in a cozy heated courtyard, any night of the week in the heart of the Mission.

3000 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

19. DONAJI

3161 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
A tamalito on a plate topped with a vegetable slaw. Stephanie Pass

Taking over a prime location on 24th Street (the former Great Gold), Donaji Oaxacan restaurant debuted in the Mission in October, with a menu that’s all about fresh masa, folded into tamales, tacos, sopes, and enchiladas smothered in richly spiced mole negro.

3161 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

20. Village Rotisserie

4063 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Rotisserie chicken dinner with sides at Village Rotisserie Patricia Chang

That new Australian-style chicken shop opened on 24th Street in September, to the delight of busy parents, tech personalities, and everyone else who would really rather not cook dinner tonight in Noe Valley. From a brother-sister duo who both live in the neighborhood, it’s now spinning rotisserie chickens, duck-fat potatoes, and lemony broccoli salad. Get it to go from the front counter, or slide to the back and kick it under fringe umbrellas on stripy deck chairs.

4063 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

21. Chīsai Sushi Club

3369 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Uni carbonara made with udon noodles, bacon, uni cream sauce, and a layer of raw uni Darren Samuelson/Chisai Sushi Club

The opening of Chisai Sushi Club is a bit of a homecoming for chef Erik Aplin, who formerly worked as chef de cuisine at Ichi, the Mission Street sushi restaurant once located in the sliver of space Chisai now calls home. But Aplin is setting a new tone with his self-described affordable omakase menus: he infuses Western influences into his open-face temaki filling sheets of nori with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado and offers a “deli-style” hand roll with cured carrot “lox” on the restaurant’s vegetarian tasting menu. If you nab a reservation in the tiny dining room, take a moment to gaze up at the painting of Ocean Beach and the Cliff House of a bygone era. 

3369 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Related Maps