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12 San Francisco Restaurants for 2017

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Barcha has a Mediterranean flair and specializes in small plates Barcha has a Mediterranean flair and specializes in small plates

By Dan Rosenbaum

San Francisco’s restaurant scene is always hot, and 2017 is no exception.

It can be a lot for even locals to keep track of. So where should you go to try the newest dish on the block? Here are a few delicious places you need to check out in the next year.

Atwater Tavern PicmonkeyATwater Tavern deck offers a great view of AT&T Park 

ATwater Tavern (295 Terry Francois Blvd.)

Specializing in "classic" San Francisco cuisine driven by seasonality and sustainability, ATwater Tavern offers American fare such as fried and seared calamari, cioppino and 100% grass fed tri-tip off the Santa Maria Grill. The restaurant is the ideal spot for date night, the perfect cap to your vacation, happy-hour patio bites or to celebrate a special occasion. In the growing Mission Bay neighborhood overlooking AT&T Park, ATwater Tavern won't be a secret much longer. www.atwatertavern.com

Salt & Straw (2201 Fillmore St.)

The much-adored ice cream emporium Salt & Straw is opening its first shops in the city this spring on Fillmore Street and in Hayes Valley. The San Francisco scoop spots will feature a menu of flavors created just for the city, and part of the profits will benefit local schools. Yes, they will still be bringing their much-beloved flavors down from Portland, too.

China Live (644–660 Broadway St.)

Chinatown is getting a huge new destination in 2017 from a team of partners, including George Chen, called China Live. The complex will clock in at more than 30,000 square feet. It will house a market, retail and the lively all-day Oolong Café on the ground floor and a craft cocktail bar, lounge and elegant restaurant.

In Situ (Inside the SFMOMA)

It's not every day that you have an award-winning chef running a restaurant in a museum, but not every museum is SFMOMA. Brought to you by three-Michelin-Starred chef, Corey Lee, In Situ's concept upends the traditional fine dining experience by “curating” benchmark dishes by over 80 chef-colleagues worldwide, including René Redzepi (Noma), Alice Waters (Chez Panisse), Thomas Keller (The French Laundry), Hajime Yoneda (HAJIME), Virgilio Martínez (Central), Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon), and Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons de Bricourt), among others. Think of it as a culinary journey across time zones.

Finn Town Tavern (2251 Market St.)

Described as a “tavern with a twist,” Top Chef alum Ryan Scott’s highly anticipated Finn Town opened in December 2016. Culinary tourists craving an “only in San Francisco” dining and drinking experience will discover a menu where the food is unpretentious and the drinks, described as “strong and satisfying," include a few named after individuals who once lived or worked here, including the "Call of the Wild", named for author Jack London, and the "Milkman", which honors the legacy of Harvey Milk. www.finntownsf.com

Barcha (28 Fremont St.)

Barcha is a new Mediterranean bistro with a Parisian flair, serving healthy, fresh and satisfying dishes with Turkish, Tunisian and Spanish influences. The focus is on mezze, which means a lot of small plates (so keep them coming). Definitely try the chicken croquettes, lamb meatballs, grilled duck kefta, and for your vegetarian friends, try the chickpea falafel, shakshuka or the fire-roasted eggplant. www.barcha-sf.com

Waxman's (900 North Point St.)

Calling Ghirardelli Square in Fisherman's Wharf home, James Beard Award-winning chef Jonathan Waxaman's newest namesake plays on the Bay Area’s seasonality and homegrown ingredients in simply prepared California- and Italian-inspired dishes. The menu offers ingredient-driven pastas, wood roasted farm stand vegetables, meats and fish and fresh salads.

Arsenal (715 Brannan St.) and The Hunted (445 Harriet St.)

Los Angeles-based food personality and forager Erik Sun has a few projects lined up in San Francisco’s SoMa. Arsenal will feature fresh-caught seafood and noodles (one preview pic shows a bowl of spicy beef noodle soup with aged sirloin, braised back ribs, and prime rib-eye), while The Hunted will focus on wild game. Sun is a hunter, sport fisher, and forager, as well as a partner and sometime chef at Bestia in Los Angeles.

Hitachino (639 Post St.)

International chef Noriyuki Sugie has been collaborating with Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery—which brews Hitachino Nest—for the past eight years, and will be opening a craft beer bar with them. Hitachino beers will be served on tap from kegs and there will be some exclusive San Francisco brews. Whether guests want snacks or a full meal, an izakaya-like menu will offer a range of options.

Alba Ray (2253 Mission St.)

From the minds behind Popsons, one of San Francisco's most drool-inducing burgers, comes their newest concept, a cajun restaurant. There will definitely be classics like boudin balls with pickled peppers and creole mustard, frog legs sauce piquant, shrimp and grits, and crawfish boils when in season. Even if you're not hungry, their bar will be the place to be, with N'awlins-style cocktails like the Sazeracs.

RT Rotisserie (101 Oak St.)

A casual spin-off from Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table comes RT Rotisserie, a fast-casual restaurant that will offer rotisserie chicken, as well as oysters, soups, sandwiches, salads, and other takeout-friendly food. Think counter service, beer, wine, and delicious, delicious food.

Babu Ji (280 Valencia St.)

Jessi and Jennifer Singh, the team behind the widely popular Babu Ji in New York City, bring their creative and fun approach to Indian dining to San Francisco’s Mission District, where the duo originally met. The food at Babu Ji is simple yet remarkable as it’s made from high-quality ingredients and offered in a creatively driven and regularly changing menu that spans Indian street food, cross-regional curries and tandoori specialties. They've even stocked the beverage fridges well, too.


Editor's note:  If you're planning a trip to San Francisco, first check out the listings in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Craft Beer purveyors and nearby Wineries.

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