Where to Eat in SF Right Now
News of beloved restaurants and bars has been fraught lately -- since COVID-19 upended the world and swept our city, restaurant news seems to center on downsizing, pivoting, and heartbreaking closures. But where there’s food, there’s hope, and San Francisco’s brilliant food and drink community continues to give us ample reasons to work up an appetite: namely, these 20 restaurants, all of which have opened in 2020. From brand-new concepts to previews of long-awaited projects and delivery-only popups, these restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and in some cases, in-person outdoor dining. It’s worth remembering that, currently, San Francisco is allowed socially distanced outdoor dining so long as guests wear masks whenever they are not eating and drinking. Takeout remains an option at most restaurant concepts, and is often the only option. Stay safe, stay strong, and stay gold, San Francisco.
The gist: This long-awaited full-service restaurant from star pastry chef Belinda Leong has opened just down the block from her beloved B. Patisserie for weekend takeout.
The food: The opening menu boasts French classics like pork and swordfish rillettes, hearty mains of braised lamb shoulder and caramelized brisket, and a lobster grand aioli, featuring cold, poached lobster with miso-laced aioli for dipping. Desserts, which include chocolate mousse, a citrus panna cotta with summer berries, and financiers are not to be missed.
The cost: Starters and salads are $12- $16, with mains ranging from $18 (for whole-roasted cauliflower) to $45 for lobster. A three-course formule is also available at $39 per person.
How to order: Order online for pickup, available Friday to Sunday from 5-8:30pm.
The gist: Valencia Street stalwart Beretta has opened a second location in the formal Barvale Street on Divisadero.
The food: Beretta has been a staple for on-point antipasti, thin crust pizzas, and reliably excellent cocktails since 2008. All of that is on offer at the Divisadero location, along with a weeknight happy hour and weekend brunch.
The cost: Antipasti runs from $6-$14, pizzas from $14- $18, secondi are $19, and cocktails are $12. At happy hour, select wine and cocktails are $6, plus select antipasti for $4-$6 and margherita pizzas for $10.
How to order: Beretta on Divisadero is open for outdoor dining Monday-Friday, 4-10pm and Saturday - Sunday, 12-10pm join the waitlist for dinner here and make a reservation for brunch or happy hour here. Order takeout or delivery via Caviar and DoorDash.
The Barbican by Whitechapel
The gist: Steampunk gin palace Whitechapel has opened The Barbican, an outdoors, socially distant beer and cocktail garden, in their back parking lot.
The food: Find booze-friendly fare like chicken tikka masala-topped tater tots, falafel, and a half-pound burger. Weekend brunch offerings including breakfast poutine and naan chilaquiles. Cocktail offerings remain gin-heavy, with beer, wine, and brunch drinks.
The cost: Brunch dishes and afternoon and evening mains are $14-$18, cocktails are $13-$15
How to order: Reserve a table for a two hour window online. Order pickup via Tock, or delivery through multiple partners here.
The gist: Housed in the former Jardiniere space, Baia, a collaboration between Chef Matthew Kenney and Kyle and Tracy Vogt, was meant to open this past spring. Instead, the team is now offering a takeout concept called “A Taste of Baia” previewing the restaurant’s plant-based Italian fare.
The food: The menu, which changes weekly, offers vegan versions of Italian-American classics including cacio e pepe pasta and pizza, eggplant parmesan, fried mozzarella sticks, and garlic knots. Italian beer and wine, plus cocktails, are also available.
The cost: Appetizers are $10-$17, pasta and pizzas are $17-$25, mains are $26-$27.
How to order: Call 415-861-0625 for pickup, or order online for pickup and delivery.
The gist: The latest offering from the Absinthe group, Arbar has remade Arlequin Cafe, and its wonderful back garden, into a fast-casual restaurant with a low-key emphasis on plant-based offerings.
The food: Find comforting classics including chili cheese fries, mac and cheese, and a double cheeseburger alongside equally satisfying vegan options including a double patty bean burger loaded with garlic tahini sauce and a hearty slice of heirloom tomato. Wine is available on tap, and by the bottle from next door Arlequin Wine Merchant.
The cost: Small plates are $6-$10, salads and sandwiches are $8-$16.
How to order: Arbor is open for outdoor dining. Order online for pickup, or via DoorDash for delivery.
The gist: The much-loved Mexican restaurant from the Nopa family has opened a small takeout window on 18th Street in the Mission serving a limited menu of Nopalito classics and a few new offerings.
The food: Find Nopalito favorites, including a seasonal market salad and totopos tossed in salsa de arbol, plus a loaded rice and bean bowl including your choice of protein, Bi Rite soft serve topped with dulce de leche, and a whole pound of their melt-in-your-mouth carnitas available as a heat-and-serve meal kit.
The cost: Totopos are $9, meals are $12-$25, ice cream is $5-$8, carnitas meal kit is $30.
How to order: Order online for pickup and via Caviar for delivery.
The Vault Garden
The gist: Hi Neighbor Restaurant Group opened this fully outdoors, 100-seat socially distanced outdoor restaurant in the plaza of 555 California Street this June, outside of The Vault restaurant.
The food: Chef Robin Song has created a menu of high class comfort food, with a slight emphasis on seafood. Find everything from a fried chicken sandwich on a sourdough English muffin to a sashimi-topped rice salad and clams baked with XO sauce (plus caviar and oysters for good measure). Brunch offerings include rice porridge seasoned with truffle, ginger, and scallion, and chicken fried steak served with country gravy.
The cost: Dinner mains are $19-$32, brunch dishes are $16-$27.
How to order: The Vault Garden is open for outdoor dining. Make reservations on OpenTable.
The gist: Married couple Monica Wong and Dennis Cantwell, previously of San Francisco staple restaurants including Zuni, Nopa, and A16, opened this low key neighborhood bottle shop selling beer, natural wine, and stellar sandwiches that have quickly earned a following far beyond the outer avenues.
The food: Loaded, delicious hoagies, all served on custom-made sesame seed-topped rolls from Rosalind Bakery, are the name of the game here, with options including crispy fried chicken cutlets topped with caesar salad or roasted seasonal vegetables. Meat-eaters won’t want to miss the Italian American, a pile of thinly sliced mortadella and and finocchiona topped with arugula and cheese on an 'nduja mayo-slicked roll, or the garlic roast pork hoagie, a California take on a Philly classic, boasting meltingly tender meat, broccoli rabe, and Toma cheese from Point Reyes Farmstead. This is also a fine place to pick up wine for a beach or park picnic.
The cost: Hoagies are $16-17.
How to order: Order online for pickup here.
The gist: Reem Asil opened the San Francisco location of her Oakland-based bakery in the former Mission Pie space in March, just before San Francisco’s lockdown began. But the bright, airy cafe is open for takeout, with a full menu of hot, prepared food, sweet and savory pastries, and beer and wine available.
The food: Fresh-baked man’oushe, or flatbreads topped with everything from za’atar to sumac-spiced chicken and seasonal vegetables, are on offer, along with a selection of mezze, salads, and ka’ik, toasted sesame bread sandwiches loaded with slow-cooked lamb and Oaxacan cheese, falafel and house-made pickles, and more. Don’t forget to peruse the selection of pastries and pantry items, including a shakshuka kit and trays of take-and-bake knafeh, a delicious, decadent Palestinian dessert of melty cheese encased in shredded phyllo dough topped with orange blossom syrup and pistachios.
The cost: Individual breads, pastries, and flatbreads are $3.50-$15, mezze are $8-$10, salads and topped ka’ik are $10-$15. Take-home meals are $16-$18, knafeh is $20-$35.
How to order: Order online for pickup or delivery.
The gist: The owner of hugely popular, now shuttered Oakland Burmese restaurant Grocery Cafe opened herbal in the Tenderloin slinging similarly affordable, flavorful Burmese fare.
The food: Slow-cooked meat mains, including a pork and mango chutney stew, oxtail, and a whole lamb shank cooked in red curry, are on offer, along with vegetarian fare like tea leaf salad and falafels and samusas.
The cost: Falafels and samosas from $7, to a $15 lamb shank.
How to order: Call 415-896-4839 to order, or order online.
Los Guisados Del Patron
The gist: Wildly popular taqueria Tacos El Patros, purveyors of San Francisco's most beloved queso birria taco, has opened another taco spot down Van Ness specializing in slow-cooked, saucy guisado stews.
The food: Find 24 guisado varieties available, including chicken tinga, chicken mole, and yes, birria, plus offal-filled versions including liver, tripe, and blood sausage. All guisados are available as tacos on corn tortillas, on crispy tostadas, wrapped in a small burrito, and served on rice.
The cost: Tacos are $3.25 a piece.
How to order: Open for takeout.
Ernest At Home
The gist: Chef Brandon Rice, the former Chef de Cuisine of much-lauded Rich Table, had been gearing up to open his own restaurant, Ernest, when the pandemic hit. While the official opening is on hold, Rice is offering Ernest at Home, a limited takeout option featuring a weekly changing menu.
The food: Past menus, which include both a la carte and family-style options, include everything from dry-aged Chateaubriand to miso-marinated local king salmon, plus miso chocolate chip cookies or cheesecake for dessert.
The cost: Prices vary per week; family-style menus could be $49 per person, $98 for two, or $150 for two to three, while a la carte options range from $17 for a chicken liver terrine to $43 for a rack of barbecue baby back ribs.
How to order: Ernest is in the process of moving into its restaurant space on Bryant Street (Rice expects to be up and running in the immediate future); follow them on Instagram or sign up for their mailing list for updates.
San Ho Won
The gist: Chef Corey Lee of Michelin-starred powerhouse Benu is offering preview menus of his forthcoming restaurant San Ho Won, which will showcase his iteration of traditional Korean fare.
The food: Prix fixe menus include dishes like slow barbecued beef galbi, seasonal bibimbap, fried Cornish game hen stuffed with bacon and yellow chive rice, beef short rib soup with rice cakes and dumplings, and hwedupbap, raw fish with vegetables and steamed rice, plus banchan and kimchi.
The cost: Menus are $47-$48 per person, with possible add-ons including dessert, jarred kimchi, and drinks.
How to order: Orders are released on Friday for the following week; order online for pickup or delivery via Tock.
The gist: San Francisco chefs and friends Brandon Jew (of Mister Jiu’s) and Rupert Blease (of Lord Stanley) launched a collaboration called, fittingly, Lord Jiu’s, a five-course prix fixe menu available for pickup and delivery.
The food: The menus change weekly and include instructions for reheating, assembling, and plating the meal at home. A recent menu included green cabbage salad with grilled wakame, confit kombu and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, grilled Wagyu steak, and chocolate mousse for dessert. A vegetarian menu, plus wine and cocktails are, also available.
The cost: The prix fixe is $80-$100 per person, not including beverages.
How to order: Order online for pickup or delivery via Tock.
The gist: The team behind Wise Sons launched Lev, a delivery-only restaurant dedicated to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food of the Levant.
The food: The simple, streamlined menu offers wraps, rice bowls, and salads, that come with your choice of chicken shawarma or Impossible meat kofte. Family meals meant to serve four are also available.
The cost: Dishes are $11-$16.
How to order: Order online for delivery via Caviar or DoorDash.
The gist: A takeout-only restaurant within a restaurant, Hetchy’s Hots is the fried chicken sandwich-centered project courtesy of Square Pie Guys, one of the city’s preeminent purveyors of Detroit-style pizza. Three percent of all of their proceeds are donated to One Fair Wage, Frontline Foods, and Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
The food: Find five riffs on a spicy fried chicken sandwich, all of which are doused in chili oil before being tossed in specific spices which include taco, calabrian, schezuan, and ranch powder (the signature Hetchy’s Hot is tossed in flamin’ hot dust and topped with hot Cheetohs). Other options include fries, a fried chicken-topped salad, and pints of Double Rainbow Ice Cream.
The cost: Sandwiches are $13.13-$14.18, fries are $5.25-$6.30, salad is $15, ice cream pints are $10.75.
How to order: Order online for takeout and delivery.
The gist: Aria Korean Tapas, a pocket-sized shop in the Tenderloin that’s been slinging some of the city’s best fried chicken for years, has launched a delivery-only restaurant dedicated Mexican-Korean mashups out of a SOMA ghost kitchen.
The food: Aria’s juicy-crisp Korean fried chicken is still available, but the real draw here is the Mexican and Korean combinations, including gut-bomb burritos combining fried chicken, carne asada and/or bulgogi with kimchi fried rice (and two breakfast burrito options!), plus tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, fried rice, and tater tots topped in similar stoner-dream combinations, all doused in Aria’s special secret sauces.
The cost: Burritos are $10-$13, tacos are $5.50 each, rice bowls are $12-$12.
How to order: Order online for delivery via Uber Eats.
The gist: San Francisco’s first konditorei, or German bakery specializing in cakes, opened at the end of February. Chef-owner Ha Do is keeping the sweet stuff coming -- the bakery is still selling ample baked goods and coffee to go.
The food: Berliner donuts, fresh-baked pretzels, and croissants are all on offer, along with a variety of pies and cakes, available whole or by the slice. Cake types change regularly, and seasonally, but regular standouts include brandy-soaked Black Forest cake, honey and almond-topped Beesting cake, and kasekuchen, cheesecake made with homemade quark cheese.
The cost: Cake slices are $7.50-$8.50, berliners are $3.75, pretzels are $3.50, croissants and turnovers are $4.50. Whole cakes are $28-$104, depending on size and type.
How to order: Order whole cakes or select baked goods by the dozen online; order to-go in person at the shop.
The gist: Casements, a modern Irish bar opened by Gillian Fitzgerald, Chris Hastings, and Sean O’Donovan in January, has recently upped the ante on their outdoor dining options with a brand-new pack patio, complete with a mural featuring Bob Ross, in addition to their Mission Street tables.
The food: In addition to stellar cocktails and the best proper Guinness in town, Casements has became a go-to for hearty, thoughtfully done pub fare, including warm soda bread with butter, savory hand pies from Revenge Pies, beef stew and chicken curry, and, most recently, fresh caught local halibut battered in Guinness and fried for a proper plate of fish and chips.
The cost: Snacks are $5-$10, pies are $14-15, curry and stew are $15, and fish and chips is $18.
How to order: Casements is open for outdoor dining. Order large-batch cocktails, curry, stew, and soda bread for delivery online.
The gist: If Mister Jiu’s is Chef Brandon Jew’s Michelin-starred interpretation of classic Chinese banquet fare, Mamahuhu is his ode to Chinese American takeout, made with top-notch ingredients and serious chef skills. The restaurant opened in January, and pivoted to pickup and takeout only with the onset of COVID-19.
The food: Flavor-forward and texturally satisfying iterations of classic takeout fare including sweet and sour chicken, broccoli beef, and mapo tofu are all standout, with side dishes including shrimp and pork fried rice, egg rolls, and chili oil-laced cucumbers more than holding their own.
The cost: Main dishes are $15-17, combo for one, with rice and vegetables, is $14, and a family meal that generously serves 3-4 is $65.
How to order: Order online for pickup and delivery.