Townie restaurant and bar has opened on University Avenue in downtown Berkeley, offering dinner until midnight six nights a week. Executive chef is 27-year-old Dana Ryan, a native Bostonian, who has worked at State Bird Provisions, Gather and RN74. Owner and manager is Nima Shokat of popular Berkeley local hangout Missouri Lounge. The restaurant features seasonal small plates and a strong cocktail focus, as well as 16 draft beers and an international wine list. The dining room seats 75, with several communal tables. Free parking is available in the rear of the building. Dinner Tues.-Sun. Townie, 1799 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94703, 510-356-4903.
Michel Bistro is a new Provencal-style brasserie/gastropub in Oakland's Grand Lake district from the team behind Amelie wine bars in San Francisco and New York City, Germain Michel and Samie Didda, together with Jean-Michel Fabregon. Executive chef is Anthony Salguero (Plumed Horse, Commonwealth, Saison). The 60-seat restaurant and full bar features typical French brasserie cuisine and a drink focus on pastis. Brunch highlights are oysters and savory French fare such as croques monsieur. Dinner Tues.-Sun., Brunch Sat.-Sun. Michel Bistro, 3343 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 94610, 510-836-8737.
Michael Mina has opened not one but two new restaurants inside 101 California Street in San Francisco's Financial District, both in partnership with chef Ken Tominaga of Sonoma County's Hana Japanese Restaurant. The first is Pabu, a refined, modern Japanese izakaya and sushi bar. Featuring an atmosphere both rustic and urbane, the restaurant has a full bar, 22-seat sushi bar and omakase experience from chef Tominaga and young sushi chef Yoji Harada (Pabu Baltimore), and a warm dining room built to welcome sophisticated FiDi diners. Lunch at Pabu is served Monday through Friday, and dinner nightly. The Ramen Bar offers a fast-casual Tokyo-style ramen experience for lunch Monday through Friday, with some outdoor terrace seating. Pabu & The Ramen Bar, 101 California St., San Francisco, CA 94111, Pabu: 415-668-7228; The Ramen Bar: 415-684-1570.
Chef Alexander Alioto, former chef and partner of Seven Hills in San Francisco, will open Plin in San Francisco's Mission District. Alioto will serve mainly Italian seafood and handmade pasta dishes at this neighborhood restaurant. Chuck Furuya and Alioto's father, Nunzo Alioto Jr., will be in charge of the wine program, which will feature wines from Nunzo's own cellar. Plin will also serve cocktails made with hand-pressed juices and house-made infusions. In addition to seafood and pasta, the menu will feature a host of vegetarian options, meat, game and poultry. Alioto's mother, Joanne Alioto, will oversee the design of the restaurant's interior, which will have a warm, contemporary feel and incorporate earth and sea elements. Plin, 280 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94103, no phone.
Big 4 Restaurant in The Scarlet Huntington got a refresh under new owners the Puccini Group, and has a new chef in Kevin Scott (Jardinière, Hog Island Oyster Co., Paragon Restaurant). Longtime fans should find the spot updated but mostly unchanged --- the piano, deep booths and white tablecloths remain. Hog Island Oyster Co. reopened in expanded digs within the Ferry Building, taking over the adjacent, former Ferry Plaza Seafood space. The roomier interior features double the seating and a new, large oyster bar. On the brand-new list, Trou Normand has caused quite a stir since its March unveiling. Run by Bar Agricole's team, the 50ish-seat bar and restaurant sits within the 1925 Pacific Telephone building at 140 New Montgomery, also home to an upcoming project from Aziza's Mourad Lahlou. Chef is Salvatore Cracco (Adesso, Bar Agricole), cuisine leans country French, and charcuterie is a strong focus (as are cocktails and trou Normand spirits). On the fun side, the Mission District's new Urban Putt caters to a hip, mini-golf-loving crowd, with 14 indoor holes, cocktails and American food.
Long a Haight Street favorite, Dave McLean's Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery expanded this spring with a brand-new brewing facility and barbecue restaurant, Smokestack, in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood south of AT&T Park. Comprising an 80-seat corner of the new, 11,000-square-foot brewery, Smokestack features between 12-15 Magnolia brews on tap, including cask conditioned ales, as well as predominantly American whiskeys, boilermakers and cocktails, and barbecue under the vigilant care of Namu Gaji's executive chef Dennis Lee. The kitchen includes two wood-fired smokers and two grill pits, with a selection of seven different meats offered nightly. Additional sides include house-made pickles and Lee's famed family kimchi recipe. Food is served counter-style and by the pound. Look for lunch in the coming weeks. Dinner nightly. Smokestack, 2505 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94107, 415-864-7468.
Piattini has opened in the Mission District, featuring small plates of Italian cuisine from Venice-born chef Gino Assaf (Ristorante Ideale, Gondola and Specchio in San Francisco). The dining room seats 90 and features a modern design --- communal table in the lounge, wood-topped bar, cement floor, sculpture, art and chalk-written prose on the ceiling. Italian movies are screened nightly above the open kitchen. Beverages include 50 Italian wines with roughly 25 by the glass, and a bar menu that includes imported Italian beers. Small plates run from $4-$12, and include bites such as baccala mantecato, wild boar meatballs and ricotta gnocchi. Neapolitan-style pizzas as well as heartier mains are also available, including cioppino. Look for all-day happy hour specials Monday through Thursday. Dinner nightly. Piattini, 2331 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-956-5528.
Formerly the InterContinental Mark Hopkins’ club room but now open to the general public, the Nob Hill Club serves memorable meals in a redesigned space with mellow city views, a gourmet children's menu and wittily elegant attributes that make it a handy spot for business meetings, Nob Hill dates and quietly upscale family meals. Deft and creative executive chef Nenad Stefanovic should be included in any conversation about Bay Area chefs: his indulgent triple-truffle burgers, crispy french-fried smelt, daring black cod brioche, creamy-tangy Humboldt Fog agnolotti, and rhubarb-flanked rack of lamb are satisfying eye-openers. Nob Hill Club, InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, 999 California St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-392-3434.
After gaining fame with her popular food truck --- which was also named Brass Knuckle --- and after a stint on TV, chef Shellie Kitchen opened this small Tenderloin shop. The same sandwiches for which San Franciscans habitually waited in long lines to be served through the truck's window are made fresh, along with several new ones. Fryin' Maiden is buttermilk-fried chicken with house-made apple-jalapeño slaw and sriracha aïoli; Notorious P.I.G. is ham, bacon, Swiss cheese, aïoli and powdered sugar between two of Brass Knuckle's huge, fluffy, house-made signature savory waffles. Brass Knuckle, 749 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA 94109, 415-374-7340.
The space that housed North Beach classic Washington Square Bar & Grill on and off under various owners from 1973-2010 saw some new life this spring. Chef-owners Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara (Sons & Daughters, Sweet Woodruff) opened The Square restaurant and bar in the historic building off Washington Square Park, and offer straightforward, approachable American cuisine and cocktails made with high-quality ingredients. The Square, 1707 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94133, 415-525-3579.
Sachin Chopra, chef of Peninsula favorite All Spice, will bring his cuisine to San Francisco with Game in the former Masa's space inside the Executive Hotel Vintage Court. On board as executive chef is Zack Freitas, current chef de cuisine at All Spice, and Chopra's wife and business partner Shoshana Wolff is co-owner and wine curator. Chopra is known for his California-Indian cooking but this first San Francisco venture will feature food dubbed "new American exotic" --- namely game animals such as bison, Guinea hen, pheasant and venison alongside more conventional cuts of grass-fed beef and wild fish, blended with innovative ingredients and spices. Look for an opening in the coming months. Game, 650 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-392-4666, 888-388-3932.
"The Hundred-Foot Journey" Film Opens August 8
From Lasse Hallström, director of "Chocolat," "The Hundred-Foot Journey" opens in theaters on August 8, 2014. Helen Mirren stars alongside Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon in this lighthearted tale of love and food set in the South of France. Read the full film review on GAYOT's blog
SF Chefs Returns as Eat Drink SF
Eat Drink SF (formerly SF Chefs) will take over the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco the weekend of August 1, 2014, bringing together more than 140 of the Bay Area's biggest industry names. Four grand tastings over the course of three days will showcase more than 35 restaurants each, along with more than 60 breweries, wineries, bars and local spirits. Cooking and cocktail demos, special dinners and small class opportunities will round out the experience, as will nightly DJs. There are several preview parties planned, including an organized "bar crawl" through many of the city's most popular spots. All events are 21 and over. Visit www.eatdrink-sf.com for all information and tickets.
Quince Closed for Renovations July 25-September 19
Chef-owners Michael and Lindsay Tusk have temporarily closed Quince restaurant for renovations as of July 25. Changes led by designer Douglas Durkin will include a new sheltered entryway crafted in glass and metal; an elegant "Champagne bar and lounge" with tableside cocktail preparations, Champagne and caviar service and dedicated full dining options; two new private dining rooms; a renovated kitchen with added Chef's Counter seating, as well as new furnishings, art and décor throughout the dining rooms. According to Lindsay Tusk, the improvements will help create, "a more intimate, warm dining environment," while enhancing comfort. Quince, 470 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133, 415-775-8500.
Manresa Closed Due To Fire
Chef-proprietor David Kinch's Los Gatos restaurant Manresa has closed due to extensive fire damage. The blaze reportedly began early in the morning on Monday, July 7, 2014. No one was hurt, but structural damage includes much of the roof and one side of the restaurant. "What happened in the early morning hours [on July 7th] was a setback," said Kinch in an official statement. "Manresa was a restaurant but it was much more than that. It is a family to us, one of shared vision, and of the pleasures and conviviality of the table, a gathering place of friends and family to share." Kinch thanked the Santa Clara County Fire Department for their quick response, and members of Manresa's local and international community of friends, guests and colleagues for their support. "We believe our mission as a team and our small contribution to the industry is much larger than this setback," Kinch continued. "We will be back, not just in this building but in many other ways." Manresa, 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030, 408-354-4330.
Acquerello Celebrates 25 Years, Welcomes Back Alumni
Heralded alumni of Acquerello's kitchen will return this summer for a series of six tribute dinners celebrating the restaurant's 25th anniversary. The first dinner featured Liza Shaw in tandem with Acquerello's executive chef Suzette Gresham, as well as pastry chef Tim Nugent and baker Michael Shwe. Portions of the night's proceeds benefitted Shwe's nonprofit New Door Ventures, offering job training for disconnected youth. Future anniversary dinners will occur throughout June and July, featuring chefs such as Massimiliano Conti, Kim Alter and Nathan Lockwood. For reservations call 415-567-5432, and for a complete list of dinners visit the special events page at www.acquerello.com. Acquerello, 1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109, 415-567-5432.
Slanted Door Honored at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards
Slanted Door in San Francisco was named Outstanding Restaurant at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. Read GAYOT's coverage of the annual awards ceremony. Slanted Door, Ferry Building Marketplace, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-861-8032.
Gather in Berkeley has a new executive chef. Charis Wahl has taken over from owner Sean Baker, who departed Gather's kitchen to focus on his new San Francisco project, Verbena. Wahl was opening sous chef at Gather and rose to chef de cuisine. She has also worked at Rivoli Restaurant and Ozumo. Gather, 2200 Oxford St., Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-809-0400.
Kevin Tanaka has been made restaurant chef of Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, replacing Sean Eastwood. Tanaka, who started as a kitchen intern with the restaurant in 2005 and quickly moved up the ranks, is a native of Hawaii, and calls his cooking, "French meets Pacific Rim, with a California farmer's market influence." He plans to continue the restaurant's high standards for seasonal coastal cuisine met with farm-fresh ingredients. Navio, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, One Miramontes Pt. Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, 650-712-7040.
The St. Regis San Francisco has appointed Olivier Belliard to the position of executive chef. He will oversee the hotel restaurant Vitrine as well as private dining, catering and special events. The St. Regis San Francisco, 125 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-284-4000.
Loretta Keller's nine-year-old Coco500 closed after dinner service on July 9, 2014. The elegant little SoMa small plates restaurant was beloved for much more than its cocktail program and deep-fried green beans; Keller's cuisine (as at Bizou, her previous restaurant in the same location) stayed ahead of, and often sparked, trend. In a stroke of symmetry, Keller has turned the space over to another strong female restaurant team --- chef Jennifer Puccio and restaurateur Anna Weinberg, who together with Weinberg's husband James Nicholas own Marlowe, Park Tavern and The Cavalier. Marlowe will move into the new, roomier location in the fall of 2014, and remains open for business until then. Keller's remaining San Francisco restaurant is Seaglass inside the Exploratorium. Coco500, 500 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94107, no phone.
It's time for San Francisco to say goodbye to the romance and luxe tasting menus of 28-year destination restaurant Fleur de Lys, scene of countless proposals and anniversaries over the decades. Chef Hubert Keller and his wife and partner Chantal shuttered the restaurant after dinner service on June 28, 2014. Chef Keller's youthful dynamism (a regular media personality, he is also an enthusiastic live DJ) always provided charming contrast to Fleur de Lys' opulent, tented ambience --- but it was that same sense of showmanship that made his new French cuisine sparkle, and why the restaurant continued to flourish even after a devastating fire and total revamp in 2002. We look forward to whatever Keller has next up his sleeve. San Francisco's Burger Bar, Burger Bar Las Vegas and Fleur by Hubert Keller, also in Las Vegas, remain open. Fleur de Lys, 777 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94109, no phone.
View archived news: July 2014 | June 2014 | May 2014 | April 2014 | March 2014 | February 2014 | January 2014 | December 2013 | November 2013 | October 2013 | September 2013 | August 2013 | July 2013 | June 2013 | May 2013 | April 2013 | March 2013 | February 2013 | January 2013 | December 2012 | November 2012 | October 2012 | September 2012 | August 2012 | July 2012 | June 2012 | May 2012 | April 2012 | March 2012 | February 2012 | January 2012 | December 2011 | November 2011 | October 2011 | September 2011 | August 2011 | July 2011 | June 2011 | May 2011 | April 2011 | March 2011 | February 2011 | January 2011 | December 2010 | November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008