The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
November 22, 2022

The glamorous new Bar Sprezzatura. Photo: Galdones Photography.


A Venetian classic: beef carpaccio. Photo: Galdones Photography.


You’ll have plenty of cocktails and spritzes to choose from. Photo: Galdones Photography.

~BAR SPREZZATURA~ just opened yesterday (Monday November 21st) from TableOne Hospitality (from Michael Mina, Patric Yumul, and Highgate), partner and barman Carlo Splendorini, and TableOne Hospitality’s director of beverage, Phil Collins (don’t sing “Sussudio” to him, I’m sure he has heard it before). This Italian bar takes inspiration from Venetian bar culture and bacaros (wine bars), with spritzes, cocktails, cicchetti (bar snacks), and larger plates.

We all know how Financial District businesses are suffering, but here’s hoping that if you build something glamorous enough, customers will come (I can’t wait to check it out). The swanky space was designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, inspired by Venice (Italy). There’s a marble bar featuring marbles in Rosso Alicante and Gallo Siena, with upholstered bar stools, and antiqued mirror inserts across the back bar. Lighting includes four large standing light features that look like modernist lamp posts, with smaller table lights on the bar and tables in the lounge area, which has club chairs and low-slung curving loveseats in mustard and dusty blue. (It’s kind of giving me a glam Harry’s Bar [in Venice] vibe.) There’s also an outdoor terrace.

It’s open for lunch, and transforms into an aperitivo, cocktail, and cicchetti bar at night. The cocktail list includes original cocktails, five Negronis, spins on some classic cocktails, spritzes, and zero-proof options—I just wish there was a classic Venetian spritz al bitter on there. Their play on a Bellini, the Ciao, Bella, combines ruby red grapefruit and pink peppercorn sorbet with Prosecco. Since they’re doing a Venetian theme, I’m also requesting a sgroppino. (I lived in Venezia for a year, so I have some special requests.) The wine list is coastal-inspired, focusing on natural, organic, and smaller family producers.

The all-day menu by executive chef Joseph Offner (The Bungalow Kitchen) features Laughing Bird shrimp with lardo and lemon; guanciale meatballs “Polpette Di Patrizio”; Venetian classics like baccalà mantecato (whipped salt cod) and carpaccio; some quality salumi (including culatello di Zibello); panini; Roman-inspired pizza al taglio; salads; and dishes like sepe al nero (Venetian for nero di seppie/cuttlefish with their ink) with polenta; and fresh bigoli with Liberty Duck ragù, orange, and clove.

Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm for lunch and dinner. One Maritime Plaza, 300 Clay St. #100 at Front.


Enjoy mana’eesh from Reem’s California (with a hibiscus rose cooler) at the new Ferry Building Marketplace kiosk. Photo: Jim Sullivan.


Delicious baked goods from Bernal Bakery. Photo via


An everything bagel from The Laundromat. Yelp photo by Andrea G..

Newly open at the Ferry Building Marketplace is another location of Reem Assil’s ~REEM’S CALIFORNIA~, offering some classic dishes (like the mana’eesh, or Arab flatbread, including the Classic with za’atar, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint, and the Pali Cali with sumac chicken, caramelized onion purée, arugula, and pickled onion), plus new dishes exclusive to the Ferry Building location (like the MLM, with Akkawi cheese, sujuk spicy salami, tomatoes, and arugula), and seasonal dishes inspired by ingredients from Foodwise Ferry Plaza Farmers Market vendors and Ferry Building merchants.

The kiosk will be focused on grab-and-go street food dishes (although there is a counter where you can sit), including housemade dips, freshly baked pita, savory and sweet pastries, cookies, and some beverages, too, like their cardamom cold brew. It’s a full-circle moment, since Reem’s got its start on the back plaza of the market seven years ago. Opening hours: Thu-Fri 11am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. 1 Ferry Building, Suite 19.

Back in October, I reported on the transformation of Saru Sushi Bar’s second location in Russian Hill into ~SARU HANDROLL BAR~, featuring temaki handrolls, and it’s now open. They mention they are still waiting on their alcohol license, so you are more than welcome to BYOB. No reservations. Open Wed- Sun 5pm-9pm. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Available this Wednesday November 23rd is a pre-Thanksgiving pick-up of goodies from ~BERNAL BAKERY~ in their new space! They wiil be open from 9am-1pm at 1501 Cortland Avenue, and Liminal Coffee will be serving up hot coffee (place your preorder with this link! Hello, gorgeous croissants.).

You may remember this pandemic pop-up from restaurant industry couple Daniella Banchero and Ryan Stagg, who started baking bread (and cinnamon rolls and cookies) in their home during lockdown as a way to pay the rent, and would lower the baked goods to customers on the sidewalk in a basket on a pulley! Well, they have scaled up significantly over the past couple years, with a stand at farmers’ markets around the Bay Area and lining up a number of wholesale accounts/grocery stores, and now they’re opening their very own bakery. While they won’t have a storefront for now, it seems that will change in time. Follow their Instagram account @bernal_bakery for updates.

My “marinara brother” @knucklesamwick brought me a warm and pillowy (read: huge) and golden-deeeeelicious bagel from the newly open ~THE LAUNDROMAT~ in the Outer Richmond, featuring bagels in the morning from Kevin Rodgers and Jenna O’Connell of Holey Roller (with really tasty schmears!), and salads and pizza in the evening, plus beer, wine, and vermouth drinks. What Now SF reported the CinemaSF owners (Jaimi Holker and Adam Bergeron) are partners on the project—they operate the beloved Balboa Theater across the street. Closed on Tue. 3725 Balboa St. at 38th Ave.

There’s a new coffee shop called ~MARIGOLD CAFÉ~ that opened in the Marigold flower shop in the Mission. Look for coffee from Heart Roasters, and pastries from Black Jet Baking Co. and Le Dix-Sept. Open Mon-Fri 7:30am-2pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 2681 21st St. at York.

There’s a new, teeny-tiny sake bar (like six seats and two tables!) serving craft sake, sashimi, and koryori (small plates of Japanese home cooking) called ~CHIKA AND SAKE~, now open near Japantown. (It was recently the short-lived Sushi Aoba, and for my fellow SF old timers, it was previously Kiss Seafood.) Open Tue-Sat 5pm-9pm, reservations recommended. 1700 Laguna St. at Sutter. [Via Eater]


The main room of Convivium Enoteca. Photo courtesy of Convivium.


The bar at Convivium Enoteca. Photo courtesy of Convivium.

I’m happy to see North Beach continue to percolate with new openings. Now open in the former Caffe Baonecci space is ~CONVIVIUM ENOTECA~, from Sofia Scarpone. In case her last name is familiar, she’s the daughter of Lorenzo Scarpone, known for his Italian wine importing company, Villa Italia, and an early supporter and ambassador of Slow Food, working closely with founder Carlo Petrini for 32 years. Lorenzo is from Abruzzo, and his children have grown up with the food and wine from the region, as well as being steeped in the values of Slow Food (good, clean, fair food). As originally reported in What Now SF, Sofia used to work at A16, and has lived and worked in Rome as well.

Rotating dishes on the menu will feature some Abruzzese classics, like arrosticini (skewers) and spaghetti alla chitarra, but will also highlight dishes from other regions, like a trofie pasta dish from Sicily. (The part-time chef is from Puglia.) But these won’t all be traditional dishes: there will be inventive small plates, like a savory cannolo with mortadella mousse (!), or filet mignon tartare with osetra caviar, and larger dishes, like eggplant parmigiana alla Convivium, with couscous, avocado, and tomato confit. Some Japanese and other Asian ingredients will also be making appearances.

Of course, the extensive wine list will feature Italy prominently, but there are also Californian wines, biodynamic wines, and more. Look for six-seven whites and reds by the glass (each), and 70-80 bottles.

Community and conviviality are a big part of this project—it’s important to the family to showcase and preserve Italian culture and history in North Beach. Sofia is passionate about involving the artist community, musicians, and more, and she is committed to creating a space of inclusivity, where everyone is welcome (even people who don’t drink—Sofia knows how to take good care of you!).

In fact, the space used to be home to Danilo Bakery (for 36 years, until 2005), and the Scarpones reused the former plank the bakers used to knead bread dough into a counter for the enoteca. There’s room for 25-30 guests, with a small room and bar in the front, and two private rooms in the back. Dava Guthmiller of Noise 13 (the local design shop that designed the tablehopper newsletter and website many years ago!) consulted on the design of the space and branding, and has been an amazing support.

Things are a little wonky with hours this week because of the holiday, but they will be open Wed-Sun 5pm-10pm (except Thursday/Thanksgiving this week). 516 Green St. at Grant.

Now open in the former Franchino is ~ELENA~, a Mediterranean restaurant from Nader Parhizgari of Nature Stop grocery. This interview on Joe Content mentions the menu spans Turkey, Greece, and Spain, featuring halal meats, and the wine list is focused on small producers. Open Sun and Tue-Thu 5pm-9pm, and Fri-Sat 11am-3pm for lunch and 5pm-9pm for dinner. 347 Columbus Ave. at Grant.

A tablehopper reader wrote in with a tip that ~LUKE’S LOCAL~ appears to be opening another location of their popular grocery store (also known for their deli and prepared foods) on Green Street (What Now SF spotted the permit filing back in September). I was able to get confirmation that they’re opening in winter 2023—additional details are coming soon. 580 Green St. at Stockton.


Mr. Gumbo: Dontaye Ball of Gumbo Social is opening his first brick-and-mortar location in Bayview. Photo via Facebook.


The Farming Hope team announced the new home for Refettorio SF while at an event at the Italian Consulate. Photo: Lisa Frare.

Big congrats to Dontaye Ball, aka Mr. Gumbo, the chef-owner of ~GUMBO SOCIAL~, who has the keys to his first brick-and-mortar location in Bayview (the former Frisco Fried)! Ball is an Outer Sunset farmers’ market favorite, as well as at the Soma West Farmers Market on Saturdays, and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Thursdays. He’ll be bringing build-your-own gumbo to this new location, as well as other soul food favorites, including five po’ boys, and vegan options, like his California Greens dish. He’s hoping to open in March 2023, and just launched a Kickstarter to help get some wind beneath his wings. Please read his personal note and support this Black-owned, family-operated business! 5176 3rd St. at Thomas.

I went to an event last week at the Italian consulate with Farming Hope, who announced some big news: ~REFETTORIO SAN FRANCISCO~ is moving from their location at the former Cala in Hayes Valley to their new permanent home: the former San Francisco Cooking School at 690 Van Ness! It will house their job training kitchen and community food hub, helping individuals overcome barriers to employment while feeding it forward to the community. In a follow-up email, they mention: “We’re so excited to shepherd Jodi and Tony’s amazing vision for the space into its new life helping train a new population of the community in the culinary jobs while feeding our communities in need. To help kickstart our fundraising for the move, we launched our Harvest Club and invite everyone to join as our founding members in support of Farming Hope’s work.”

They will probably be moving into the new space in January. In the meantime, get tickets for their next guest chef dinner on December 5th with Penny Roma and Flour + Water’s culinary team. Tickets are available here.

The former Mozzeria in the Mission is going to be ~ANGIE’S PIZZA~, offering wood-fired pizza from John McCloskey, an alum of Pizzetta 211 and Pizza Hacker. Opening December 2nd. 3228 16th St. at Guerrero. [Via Eater]

Eater reported on a second location of ~THE COFFEE MOVEMENT~ (known for their inventive coffee drinks) coming to the former Orson’s Belly space at 1737 Balboa Street on December 1st.

November 8, 2022

(At Akiko’s.) Chef-owner Ray Lee always sources the most sublime uni. Photo: ©


Aloha. The first thing you’ll see at Liholiho Yacht Club. Photo: ©


Roman-style pinsa and plenty of Italian wine await at Pinsa Rossa on Fillmore Street. Photo courtesy of Ken Lowe.


Duck glazed in honey with figs, Jerusalem artichoke, tonka bean at the new Gilda’s Salon at the Proper. Photo: ©

I’ve been avidly watching the Instagram account of Ray Lee of Akiko’s, one of my top top sushi bars in SF (sidebar: I’m super-excited for their upcoming reopening in a brand-new location later this year on Avery Lane on Folsom, more on that soon), but in the meantime, it looks like his exclusive, 10-seat omakase counter ~FRIENDS ONLY~ is currently and softly open. (Check out some Instagram Stories here, the seafood selections are exquisite!)

Back in August, Eater reported on this project coming to Lower Nob Hill that was going to serve as Lee’s R&D kitchen for Akiko’s, serving four nights a week. The omakase menu highlights an aging program of top-quality seafood from Japan, with cocktails and vintage Champagnes and more. I’m thrilled to be checking it out this week, stand by for details from me on this exciting project. Welcome back, Ray and team. 1501 California St. at Larkin.

I was happy to receive an invite to the reopening of ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ this month, which many folks have been eagerly anticipating since the restaurant has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. It reopens November 22nd, with some light updates to the space and menu, here’s a look at what’s coming: [The Chronicle]

Fabulous tablehopper media researcher Rebecca tipped me off that ~PINSA ROSSA~, the new place from Ken Lowe of Ace Wasabi Sushi that I mentioned was opening in the former Santino’s Vino (previously Dino’s) is now open! He has been working with the Santino’s team to get this new Roman pinseria concept open; the chef is Leo Cugnata, who previously worked at Montesacro and Gusto Pinsa Romana.

The menu includes 16 kinds of pinsa (!), including prosciutto and stracciatella di burrata, carbonara, and an Italian sausage and potato pinsa. Of course, I’m curious about the Calabrian Cotto (smoked scamorza cheese, prosciutto cotto, shredded mozzarella, Calabrian chile spread, fresh parsley). The dough features a high-protein blend of rice, soy, and wheat flours, which comes out airy, crisp, lighter on gluten, and is therefore easier for some to digest (we have Montesacro to thank for educating us on this style). There are also some antipasti, salads, and a couple pasta dishes (lasagne bolognese and gnocchi). The wine list is primarily Italian, with a few Californian and Greek selections (yamas, Dino!). Open Tue-Thu 4:3pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-10pm, Sun 4pm-9pm. 2101 Fillmore St. at California.

Opening this Thursday November 10th on Broadway in North Beach (many years ago, it was the former Vanessi’s) is ~KEYS JAZZ BISTRO~ from jazz educator, pianist, and co-owner Dr. Simon Rowe, as well as co-owner Matt Mullenweg (who co-founded WordPress!) and Eric Vance will oversee general operations. “Keys” will present music and dinner four nights a week, with two sets and two seatings, and three sets on Fridays and Saturdays. A casual, seasonal menu with signature cocktails and non-alcoholic options will be available. The 4,000-square-foot space will seat 125, and features a state-of-the-art sound system, a Yamaha Concert grand piano, and a resident Hammond B3 organ. Check out their opening lineup and make a reservation for a night on the town with some live jazz. 498 Broadway at Kearny.  

Was happy to see plant-based Italian restaurant ~BAIA~ in Hayes Valley is reopening on November 16th after suffering damage from a fire that was started by an arsonist back in August.

I’m going to be posting pics about this very soon at @tablehopper on Instagram, but in case you’re looking for the perfect private room for a group dinner, or an exciting communal dinner experience with strangers on Fridays, check out the new Gilda’s Salon Dinners at the Proper Hotel.

Chef Jason Fox has crafted an 11-course tasting menu ($220) that is served in Proper’s glam private salon, Gilda’s. The textured room is simply gorgeous, with wallpaper and vintage furnishings and sexy lighting from style queen Kelly Wearstler. (I was beyond obsessed with the Eastern European china.) Chef Fox’s love of Japanese cuisine and seafood really shines, with seasonal dishes like Mendocino sea urchin with sesame tofu and dashi; Japanese firefly squid kissed over the coals; and sweetbreads cooked in beeswax with chestnut and truffles. And the wine pairings ($100) are so fabulous. The whole experience will make you swoon, for many reasons, so be sure you take a cab. 10 seats. Fridays only (for now), 7pm. San Francisco Proper Hotel, 1100 Market St.


Upstairs at Zero Zero; photo by Blair Sneddon Photography.


Look what you can get for lunch from Zero Zero: housemade casareccia pasta with prosciutto, Grana Padano, arugula, Straus butter, and bread crumbs. Photo via Facebook.


The exterior of Manresa (2015). Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos.

I hate writing about every single restaurant closure, but some are definitely tough when it’s an operator you really admire and respect. In this case, it’s the one and only Bruce Hill, who’s closing the trail- (and wood-) blazing ~ZERO ZERO~ in SoMa after 12 years of business. The “Calipolitan” pizzas that came out of Hill’s wood-fired Mugnaini oven were part of the early wood-fired pizza wave in SF, and his soft-serve ice cream drizzled with olive oil and sea salt was also new to our culinary scene (he pioneered that one back in 2005). Zero Zero was a great neighborhood restaurant and the perfect answer when you wanted a cocktail and a seasonal salad and hearty bowl of pasta for dinner.

As we all know, the pandemic has been particularly rough on SoMa—no convention business and no office workers coming by for techy lunches and dinners and drinks made things extremely challenging, and delivery and frozen pizzas were not going to make up for it. It has been a tough decision after fighting so hard to keep going, but it was time to call it. Hill has retained employees for ten years and more, including his chef Jose Canto, who has been there since day one. Hill will continue as executive chef/partner at Bix, and his Chef’s Press is also keeping him busy. In case you’re on the hunt for a space, there are eight years on the lease—Hill is looking for a buyer.

Come by for a final pie and stoner garlic bread and goodbye this week. The last service will be Saturday November 12th. Sending them off with a great week of sales would be nice—you can book a reservation on Tock. Best wishes and thanks to the team for all the tasty carbs (and Negronis).

Over in Los Gatos: I received word that chef David Kinch and the ~MANRESA~ team have announced their final month of service will be December, closing out this singular restaurant’s 20-year-run on New Year’s Eve. December reservations will be released at 12am midnight (Pacific time) on November 14th on Tock. Manresa’s signature tasting menu ($595 tasting menu; $255 optional wine pairings) “will change and showcase in high style the expertise and dedication amassed over the past 20 years.” (Time for one last Into the Vegetable Garden.) On New Year’s Eve—Manresa’s final night of service—the “no-holds-barred menu” will be $725, with $325 optional wine pairings. That is going to be quite a night! In 2023, you’ll still be able to see Kinch at The Bywater, Mentone, and Manresa Bread (from founder and head baker Avery Ruzicka). Congrats on such a great run.

SF Standard broke the news that ~SEVEN STILLS BREWERY AND DISTILLERY~ has closed three years after opening their massive space in Dogpatch. Such tough timing on that one.

SFGate reports on the closure of ~PLOY II THAI CUISINE~ in the Haight, after 33 years.

I saw a post on Nextdoor that old-timer ~EXTREME PIZZA~ on Fillmore Street has closed after 28 years at that location. Other locations remain open.

October 25, 2022

A look at Delfina’s new dining room. Photo: Albert Law.


A section of Delfina’s new private dining room. Photo: Albert Law.

Back in 2021, I remember running into Delfina chef-partner Craig Stoll at an event, and he was telling me about the big changes he and his wife Annie were making to ~DELFINA~ in response to the extra-challenging business conditions in SF (and it was time for the well-loved restaurant to have an update). After closing Locanda in the beginning of the pandemic, they transferred the liquor license over, and decided to consolidate Delfina’s space and the skinny Pizzeria Delfina (I remember when it was Krims Krams Palace of Fine Junk!) into one. Sounded like a genius move to me: cocktails, pasta, pizza, more seats, updated décor, a new private dining room, yes! And boy, did they do it right.

The space is quite gorgeous, complimenti to Sarah Fucinaro (Fucinaro Architecture), Roy Hospitality, and Cookline on the oh-so-stylish update. I was sorry to be out of town for their open house party on Sunday, so I could see it with my own eyes, but take a look at this piece in Eater for some pics, design details, and the menu (which includes a couple pizzas, but note the rest are to go). It’s wonderful to see this iconic SF restaurant have a grand makeover one year ahead of their 25th anniversary. Auguri!

Delfina is reopening this Wednesday October 26th, serving dinner Wed-Mon starting at 5:30pm (5pm on Sundays). Aperitivo Hour (featuring an inventive spritz menu from Colin Gallagher, with complimentary bites like cacio e pepe potato chips, arancini, and more) will be Mon and Wed-Fri 5pm-6pm. 3621 18th St. at Guerrero.


Welcome to Nob Hill, Ciccino. Photo courtesy of GianMarco Cosmi.


Exterior of the new Ciccino in Nob Hill. Photo: Rebecca Kinney.


Back to Back is open in the former Venticello space on Nob Hill. Photo courtesy of Back to Back.


The cheerful patio at Rosemary & Pine. Photo: Joseph Weaver.


Grilled otak-otak (spiced coconut fish cake grilled in banana leaves) at Damansara. Photo: Aron Pruiett.


Dashi-based ramen at the new Hinodeya Ramen. Yelp photo by Keiko N.


A photo of some of the AYCE dishes you can order at the new Zajang Grill. Photo courtesy of Zajang Grill.

You ready for your dream Italian brunch/lunch menu? Check out the goods at the newly open ~CICCINO~ in Nob Hill, from Italian Homemade Company’s GianMarco Cosmi. He was the opening chef there for five years (working with his brother, Mattia), and during the pandemic, he was at Rich Table and Acquerello. At Ciccino, he wants to represent the way Italians really eat, and feature some dishes from his home region of Emilia-Romagna, with local and seasonal ingredients.

The menu here has a touch of upscale ingredients on it, like the caviar on the spaghetto freddo. There are a few fried dishes (fritto misto, pork cutlet, cod) and some cold dishes, like steak tartare and a halibut crudo, as well as seafood skewers (scallop, squid, shrimp) grilled on binchotan charcoal. The passatelli sound amazzzzzzing (breadcrumb, egg, and Parmesan pasta, with porcini mushrooms and a balsamic reduction). Ravioli carbonara, sign me up. He will eventually add a tasting menu in six months or so.

Ciccino opened in the former Thai Thai Noodle—Cosmi’s wife, Lynsey Rose, is behind the redesign. You’ll note some copper elements that Cosmi made and installed, an homage to his family of plumbers. As for the name Ciccino, it all started with his grandfather, who was nicknamed “magna ciccia” over the steak sandwiches he’d bring to work (ciccio is an affectionate term for fat). The name stuck with Cosmi’s father, and brothers/sons GianMarco and Mattia were called “ciccino” (little ciccio) in their youth.

Since their beer and wine license won’t arrive for a few more weeks, he’s starting with lunch/brunch Wed-Fri 11am-3:30pm and Sat-Sun 11am-4pm. He’s planning to offer some Fri-Sat dinner service very soon, check their Google or Yelp page for updates. I’ll keep you posted on when full dinner service begins and the wine is on the shelves. Cin cin! 1400 California St. at Hyde.

I broke the news earlier this year about the wood-fired pizza, natural wine, and hi-fi vinyl bar opening in the former Venticello, ~BACK TO BACK~, from siblings Monica and Randall Hom, and thanks to a reader, I learned they are softly open right now. Take a peek at the soft-opening menu here from chef Stephen Chan—it’s the perfect season for braised short ribs, and the 12-inch pizzas sound savory and built for wine. Speaking of, Louisa Smith, the talented wine director of Turntable at Lord Stanley, helped with their list—you’ll find 10 by the glass and 57 bottles of juice to choose from.

They’ve been offering limited pizza service through their to-go window, and now they’re taking reservations for their expanded soft opening this week, Wed-Sat 5pm-8:30pm. They’ll have limited bar seating for walk-ins. 1257 Taylor St. at Washington.

Now open in the Design District/Showplace Square is ~ROSEMARY & PINE~ from the Omakase Restaurant Group (Niku Steakhouse, Omakase, Dumpling Time) in the former Skool. Chef Dustin Falcon’s menu is a departure from the group’s Asian concepts and here is modern American, with some Italian American dishes inspired by his youth. He is still the chef at Niku, and previously worked at Lazy Bear, The French Laundry, and The Corner.

There are house-baked breads like focaccia and flatbreads; creative pastas like tortellini americana (bologna, tennessee ham, vella dry jack cheese); slow-braised and woodstone oven-cooked meats, seafood, and a great-looking, crispy bone-in veal chop, with tomato, crushed garlic, mozzarella, and basil. Check the menus on their site—there’s also brunch and lunch, with late-night bar dining. Cocktails from Michael Hart (Spin, 25 Lusk) are also seasonally driven, and the wine and beer lists are exclusively Californian. Enjoy the sunny and spacious patio while you can—the interior was redesigned by Aya Yanagisawa. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2pm, dinner Thu-Sun 5pm-9:30pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm (cocktail hour: 4pm-closing). 1725 Alameda St. at Rhode Island.

Over in Hayes Valley, ~LOQUAT~ has opened in the former 20th Century Cafe. As previously mentioned in tablehopper, this daytime bakery and (eventual) evening wine bar is from Tal Mor and Jodi Geren, partners in The Mill and Four Barrel Coffee.

The Chronicle reported they teamed up with former pastry chef Kristina Costa from Tartine Bakery, who is making “baked goods inspired by the Jewish diaspora and Levantine flavors,” from laminated cinnamon-date babka to savory bourekas (like fried sage and Double 8 Dairy ricotta, and potato baharat and caramelized onion), pistachio cookies, and labne cheesecake with honey-roasted figs and orange blossoms. If you look at their Instagram Stories and Highlights, you’ll see some beautiful creations. There will also be pantry items for sale. Open Thu-Fri and Mon starting at 7am, Sat-Sun at 8am, closed Tue-Wed. 198 Gough St. at Oak.

I’ve been tracking the opening of chef-owner Tracy Goh’s ~DAMANSARA~ in Noe Valley, and she just opened her first brick-and-mortar, 48-seat Malaysian restaurant on October 19th. The name refers to her hometown of Damansara Utama, near Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur—she moved to San Francisco for work in 2012. After hosting pop-ups and dinner parties, she was accepted in La Cocina’s food business incubator program in 2019.

Her edited menu features Malaysian street-style dishes like grilled otak-otak (spiced coconut fish cake grilled in banana leaves); cereal fried chicken (fried chicken topped with salted egg sauce and savory cereal) that comes with her nasi lemak coconut milk rice plate (or you can choose sambal calamari or beef rendang); and Damansara laksa, with more than 24 ingredients. Pics of the dishes on Yelp look fantastic. There are also vegan dishes, local wine and beer, and sake and soju cocktails. Dinner service is Wed-Sun 5pm-10pm, but the team was a bit overwhelmed last week and decided to close this Wed and Thu to catch their breath and regroup. 1781 Church St. at 30th St.

~HINODEYA RAMEN BAR~ just opened their third SF location—this time it’s in Union Square, and open late! Like, 2am nightly late! YAY. They’re known for their house ramen with a traditional Japanese dashi-style soup made from bonito, kombu, and scallop, served with whole wheat noodles. (They also offer spicy miso, hamaguri clam ramen, and a vegan ramen.) Open daily 7am-2am. I know, those are some crazy hours, let’s support them so we have late-night ramen. 219 O’Farrell St. at Powell.

Over in the Inner Richmond is a new AYCE Korean BBQ spot called ~ZAJANG GRILL~ that opened in the former Carbon Grill. For $40.99, you have 90 minutes to make your way through the menu of ready-to-eat appetizers and items you’ll grill at your table (like calamari, river prawns, kalbi short ribs, spicy pork belly)—go with a group in order to be able to try more items. You’ll order via your phone with a QR code, so make sure it’s charged. Open nightly 5pm-11pm. 852 Clement St. at 10th Ave.

Coming to Rincon Center in early November is another location of ~NICK THE GREEK~—there’s one in Daly City and another in South San Francisco, plus other locations around the Bay Area. Known for their gyros and souvlaki, they also make plates, burgers, bowls, salads, and sides. Look for an opening in early November. 121 Spear St. at Howard.


Exterior of Leopold’s. Photo by Daniel Azarkman.

Earlier this month, an eagle-eyed tablehopper reader let me know there was a public notice in the window for an alcohol license at the former ~LEOPOLD’S~, and sure enough, an ABC license type 41 (beer and wine—eating place) is pending, listing Michael Lamina and Carla Anne Suntjeans. Lamina was formerly a chef at Leopold’s (I have been a fan of his charcuterie since his days at Cav Wine Bar, and he was the chef at Taps). In this SFGATE piece, Lamina confirms they’re trying to relaunch the restaurant, originally opened by Albert and Rainer Klaus back in 2011 (Lamina was the opening chef). Stand by for updates in coming months. 2400 Polk St. at Union.

It looks like The Handroll Project has unleashed a local sushi trend: Yonsei Handrolls opened in Uptown Oakland earlier this month, and now Saru Sushi Bar’s second location in Russian Hill is reopening as ~SARU HANDROLL BAR~—they are targeting the second week of November for the opening. It was originally the Kinjo space, and then Saru took it over in September 2020, but then they closed in May 2021 for renovations. Saru Sushi Bar in Noe Valley will remain the same. I’ll share more details and a menu when they’re about to open. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Great news for residents of Russian Hill and Polk Gulch: ~BI-RITE MARKET~ is taking over the Real Foods Co. location on Polk. According to a press release, “The location has been a neighborhood staple since 1976 and Bi-Rite is excited to honor the legacy of Kimball and Jane Allen, Real Foods Co. founders, by continuing to ensure the community has access to fresh, delicious, nourishing food from socially responsible farmers, ranchers, and makers.” They’ll take over the space in early 2023—Steffan Morin, a 16-year Bi-Rite veteran and most recently general manager of Bi-Rite Market 18th Street, will become general manager, and they will offer paid training to the staff at Real Foods Co. and shifts at other Bi-Rite Markets. This will be Bi-Rite’s third neighborhood grocery store. 2140 Polk St. at Vallejo.


A Martini at The Piano Bar at The Vault Steakhouse. Photo courtesy of The Vault Steakhouse.

A couple new additions for you: ~AZIZA~ is now open for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 2pm. Dishes include Moroccan-inspired twists on brunch classics, including saffron beghir (Moroccan semolina pancakes) with raw honey and sea salt smen, bee pollen, and citrus water honey; shakshuka; soft-boiled Jidori eggs; fire-grilled prawns and Anson Mills polenta with red charmoula, harissa, black garlic; and more. They also have a specialized brunch cocktail menu, with three different bloody Marys, three different spritzes, and other choices. 5800 Geary Blvd. at 22nd Ave.

Downtown, the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group has debuted The Piano Bar as an extension of ~THE VAULT STEAKHOUSE~. There’s a new happy hour menu with live music and $10 cocktails (including a classic Martini, Manhattan, and Old-Fashioned, as well as a contemporary Sherry Negroni and French 75), available Tue-Sat 4pm-6pm, with live music 5pm-9pm. There are also fun modern interpretations of throwback dishes, like shrimp cocktail, potato pave tots with smoked trout roe, and prime rib sliders with caramelized onions. Order the “Afternoon Delight” for a tower of chef-selected items. 555 California St. at Kearny.


The dining room at Padrecito. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

Some unfortunate closures include the upcoming shuttering of ~OLD DEVIL MOON~, after six years of hospitality and good times in Bernal—their last day is Saturday November 19th. You can read their farewell note here and more in this follow-up from SFGATE—they’d love to see you for some final pints and po’boys. 3472 Mission St. at Cortland.

Over in Cole Valley, ~PADRECITO~ abruptly closed after almost 10 years in the neighborhood. SFGATE shared excerpts from owner Nate Valentine’s post in a neighborhood Facebook group: “It’s is a story of the economics not working for Padrecito in this new restaurant climate.” At least it wasn’t the story of a lousy landlord raising the rent or squeezing them out. But the rising cost of doing business in SF is going to continue to negatively impact the viability of casual neighborhood spots, even for seasoned operators. It’s hard to watch. 901 Cole St. at Carl.

Hoodline has the story on the closure of longtime Cow Hollow sandwich shop ~MARINA SUB~. The beloved owner Q is retiring after 36 years (!)—the new owners are reportedly keeping some things in place, but adding some new items as well. No word if the name will remain the same. 2299 Union St. at Steiner.

The founders of Boba Guys are once again embroiled in a conflict with their employees—this time, Mission Local reported management drastically reduced the flagship Mission store’s workers’ hours and reportedly have been suspending and firing employees who have retaliated and/or shared information about unionizing. There’s more in this piece in The Chronicle. The Mission shop is closed for now. Clean up in aisle seven! 3491 19th St. at Valencia.