Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar has opened just off Highway One in Pacifica, with a 140-seat, two-level dining room with outdoor patio, featuring ocean views. Jose Calvo-Perez of San Francisco's Pasion and the popular Fresca properties is owner and executive chef. A full service ceviche bar is a highlight, along with Peruvian cuisine meant to be served family style. Enrique Sanchez (La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Limon) heads up the pisco-focused bar. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar, 525 Crespi Dr., Pacifica, CA 94044, 650-733-7343.
Twenty-two-year-old Financial District white tablecloth enclave Palio d'Asti launched a separate cash-only takeout service called Palio Pronto in early April, located behind the restaurant with an entrance on Commercial Street. The Sicilian-pizza counter, inspired by single-dish-focused food trucks, features slices from a rotating selection of three daily pizzas and a choice of seasonal salads and cannoli for dessert. A few outdoor tables are available, along with beer, wine and sangría. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Palio Pronto, 640 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-395-9800.
Named for its cross streets, soon-to-arrive bistro Mason Pacific will bring seasonal California cuisine to the neighborhood crossroads of Nob Hill, Russian Hill and Chinatown. Executive chef will be San Francisco native Sean McTiernan (Delfina, Rose Pistola), and Eric Railsback, a former sommelier at RN74, will head up the wine program. Look for a May opening with dinner service initially, and lunch and breakfast further down the line. Dinner Tues.-Sun. Mason Pacific, 1358 Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94133, no phone.
Up in Sonoma, Bill Foley, owner of Healdsburg's Les Mars Hotel, and executive chef Shane McAnelly (Va de Vi) have opened Chalkboard restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Cyrus. Designers Catherine Macfee Interior Design have remodeled the 62-seat dining room --- new details include an open kitchen, new banquettes, large windows and wood floors, and other more casual elements such as a new communal dining table and chalkboard displaying specials. A Carrara marble-topped 20-seat bar adjoins the dining room. McAnelly's seasonal small plates menu is ingredient driven, many of which are culled from Foley's three-acre garden at his Chalk Hill Winery estate. Wines will play a large part in the Chalkboard experience, with ten flights showcasing a mix of local and European wines. Look for lunch service to begin in July. Dinner nightly. Chalkboard, 29 North St., Healdsburg, CA 95448, 707-473-8030.
Since restaurateur Anna Weinberg and chef Jennifer Puccio teamed up to open SoMa's modern, market driven brasserie Marlowe in 2010, their success has been unstoppable. Their second restaurant, Park Tavern on Washington Square in North Beach, opened in late 2011, and has remained a hot ticket ever since. Now the duo are venturing into the Union Square area with The Cavalier, a posh-yet-approachable London-style restaurant and lounge inside the new Hotel Zetta San Francisco. The restaurant is designed by Ken Fulk, and will feature an all-day menu of brasserie cuisine. The Cavalier has an opening target of late summer 2013. The Cavalier, Hotel Zetta, 55 Fifth St., San Francisco, CA 94103, no phone.
Roka Akor will open in June at the corner of Montgomery and Jackson streets in San Francisco's Jackson Square. The steak, sushi and seafood restaurant will focus on Japanese-style robata charcoal cooking and feature extensive wine, whiskey, premium saké and sochu lists. The contemporary space is nearly 8,700 square feet, and will comprise a 118-seat dining room orbiting the robata grill (where ten diners can opt for ringside seats), and a sophisticated bar and lounge with seating for 68. Leading the drinks menu is Daniel Hyatt, formerly of The Alembic. Executive chef is Roman Petry, who has worked at Zuma in London and Hong Kong and Roka Akor in Scottsdale. (There is a third Roka Akor in Chicago, and one coming to Skokie, Ill., later this year.) Dinner nightly. Roka Akor, 801 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94133, no phone.
NorCal celeb chef Michael Chiarello (Bottega) has brought his signature style down from the Napa Valley to San Francisco with the high-profile opening of Coqueta on Pier 5. Chiarello's new waterfront restaurant (formerly Lafitte), opened April 13, 2013, and features Spanish cuisine, focusing on dishes from Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque region. A ten-seat tapas bar, 56-seat cocina dining area centered near the open kitchen and wood-fired grill, dramatic main dining room with 18-foot ceilings and bay-facing windows, glass-enclosed cocktail terrace and 16-seat outdoor patio are some of the highlights. A large communal table astride two authentic bull hides sits at the center of the main dining room, and waitstaff sport gaucho vests. Daily lunch coming soon. Dinner nightly. Coqueta, Pier 5, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-704-8866.
Spacious downtown Berkeley eatery BUILD Pizzeria Roma opened on April 16, 2013. On offer: personal, wood-fired, Roman-style pizzas customized for each diner, led by chef Brian Langevin, a vet of Tony Gemignani's Pizza Rock in Sacramento. Diners choose the dough, sauce and toppings on a production line, pay at the counter, and the gourmet size pizzas are fired and brought to the table. Ingredients are seasonal, organic and locally sourced, and gluten-free dough is available. The wide, high, contemporary space features room for 120 diners, and also boasts a roomy bar and lounge area with sofa seating. Along with the specialty pizzas, a high-end Italian small plates menu from chef de cuisine Clara Yun (Aqua, The Dorchester in London) augments the menu, as do 16 local craft beers and a notable 15 Northern California wines on tap as well as bottles. Scott Beattie consulted on the cocktail list. Look for lunch service to begin soon. Dinner nightly. BUILD Pizzeria Roma, 2286 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-898-1839.
Predominantly a bar focused on brown spirits, Charles Phan's new Hard Water on the Embarcadero in San Francisco is drawing large after-work crowds. The boxy, industrial-chic room with a long ovate bar and large, overhanging oval chandelier is well-lit and fronted by wide windows, allowing passersby a glance at the revelry within. Look for mostly standing-room-only accommodations with a food menu of rich, New Orleans-inspired bites: pork belly crackling, cornmeal-encrusted alligator. A backlit wall of liquor, mostly bourbons and whiskeys, invites high-end sampling, and cocktails are a big focus. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Hard Water, Pier 3, Ste. 3-102, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-392-3021.
Trattoria Da Vittorio will open in May 2013 in the old Cafe for all Seasons dining room in West Portal. The restaurant is from 15-year front-of-house vet and first-time restaurateur Vittorio D'Urzo. D'Urzo, a native of Italy's Calabria, came to the area initially to work at his uncle's Piazza D'Angelo in Mill Valley, then moved around to spots such as Ecco, Sapore Italiano, and was opening manager for Locanda Positano and Limone. He has Italian sommelier certification and plans to serve southern Italian specialties based on his native cuisine (and mother's cooking): veal scaloppine, eggplant Parmigiana, house-made pastas and potato gnocchi and other classic fare. Neapolitan pizza will also be available, with approachable prices throughout the menu. Chefs will be Filippo Cannone (AcquaPazza) and pizzaiolo Antonio Luongo. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sat.-Sun. Trattoria Da Vittorio, 150 W. Portal Ave., San Francisco, CA 94127, 650-504-7976.
Umami Burger has opened in Palo Alto. This is the second Bay Area location for the Los Angeles-based eatery, joining Umami Burger in San Francisco. On the menu: house-ground beef served medium rare and met with house-crafted condiments and rich toppings such as slow-roasted tomatoes, lardons, and truffled cheese. The signature burger here is the "All Nighter" with maple-glazed slab bacon and cheesy tot hash brown, smothered with a savory red-eye gravy. Lunch & Dinner daily. Umami Burger, 452 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650-321-862.
Spice Route Program at E&O Asian Kitchen
E&O Asian Kitchen features a new Spice Route program --- in which, every month until September, the Union Square restaurant will add to its regular pan-Asian menu one savory dish, one sweet dish and one handcrafted cocktail based on a particular spice traditionally associated with the ancient Asian Spice Route. May's is turmeric; June's is cardamom; July's is ginger; August's is star anise. Read more on GAYOT's blog. E&O Asian Kitchen, 314 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-693-0303.
Changes for Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Navio restaurant inside The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, underwent renovations and reopened in April with a new look and focus on seafood. Panoramic views from the luxury property's coastal setting have always provided a striking dining backdrop, but now the updated interior is more reflective of the sea, with subtle, nautical details and low-rise architecture, soft fabrics in oceanic hues, and modern orb chandeliers that together give the room a "comfortable beach estate" feel. Chef Sean Eastwood focuses on fish and seafood harvested from Pacific waters to create approachable, high-craft entrées with Mediterranean inflections: think wood-fired baby octopus and fish, bouillabaisse, fresh shellfish, diver scallops and jumbo prawns paired with fresh, local ingredients. Eastwood offers several savory meat preparations as well, such as grilled rib-eye, slow-roasted Jidori chicken and 48-hour-braised short ribs. Navio serves dinner nightly, breakfast Mon.-Sat., a Saturday lunch and retains its famous weekly Sunday brunch, a special occasion favorite. Navio, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, One Miramontes Pt. Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, 650-712-7040.
Seghesio Family Vineyards Wine Country Dinner Series
Summer in wine country will include a special chef's dinner series from Healdsburg's Seghesio Family Vineyards. Cuisine from executive chef Peter Janiak (Boulevard, Presidio Social Club) will be served al fresco within the vineyard properties. Locations will vary with the wine and ingredients being showcased, and shuttle service will be provided to and from the main winery. The first dinner in the series on June 8 will be served at the Passalacqua Ranch & San Lorenzo vineyard (look for the menu on the website), highlighting the 2011 Dutton Manzana Pinot Noir, 2011 Barbera, Old Vine Zinfandel and a library vintage of San Lorenzo. Each dinner is limited to 50 guests, and tickets are $200 per person. Each event runs from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.seghesio.com.
Summer Movie Series & Wine Tastings at Top of the Mark
For a luxe twist on the summer movie tradition, visit the Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco on Tuesday nights. The famous Nob Hill spot (with breathtaking views) will feature a different movie classic every week, from June 4 through September 3, including "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Bullitt," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and even "Jaws." Each film viewing is preceded by a wine tasting beginning at 5:30 p.m. For a complete list of participating wineries and featured movies, visit www.topofthemark.com. Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, 1 Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-616-6916.
New Negroni Hour at Poggio
Happy hour just got happier at Poggio. The Sausalito trattoria has launched its new Negroni Hour --- serving six different types of Negroni for just $5 each at its bar every Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Read more on GAYOT's blog. Poggio, 777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965, 415-332-7771.
Expanded Brunch at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana's executive chef Diego Oka has expanded the brunch menu, debuting a range of new entrées that merge cutting-edge creativity with a rich, diverse culinary heritage. Read more on GAYOT's blog. La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-397-8880.
Checking In On Charles Phan's Many Properties
Slanted Door chef Charles Phan has had his hands full lately. Phan's Wo Hing General Store will shutter at the end of March. Heaven's Dog remains closed for renovations after an October 2012 flood, and his once popular branch of Out the Door in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, also flooded last year, has closed to make way for an Asian art retail space. Out the Door on Bush Street and Out the Door at the Ferry Building remain open. Meanwhile, Phan's pending Pier 3 property, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant called Hard Water, formerly set to open in December 2012, opened in March 2013. His all-day café and bar inside the new SFJAZZ performance center --- also inspired by New Orleans flavors, and featuring bar bites and cocktails --- opened March 5, 2013, at 201 Franklin Street at Fell Street, San Francisco. Heaven's Dog, SoMa Grand, 1148 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-863-6008.
Fire Damages Chez Panisse
A fire in the early morning hours of Friday, March 8, 2013, caused damage to Alice Waters' iconic Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, and its upstairs sibling Chez Panisse Cafe. A front portion of the main restaurant's dining area was burned, though thanks to the sprinkler system most of the worst harm occurred to the building's exterior. Employees had gone home nearly two hours earlier, so no one was hurt, and the fire did not spread to surrounding businesses. The fire reportedly began around 3 a.m. in a sub-floor area and is under investigation. Chez Panisse and Chez Panisse Cafe will both be closed for repair until further notice, with June as an estimated reopening target. Check http://www.chezpanisse.com/reservations/restaurant/ for ongoing updates. Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709, 510-548-5525.
Executive chef Banks White will depart Berkeley's FIVE restaurant at the end of May to be opening chef de cuisine at Richard Parsons' newest project Minton's, a Harlem, NY, restaurant and jazz club. White has been with FIVE since 2009, when he and Scott Howard opened the restaurant. (Howard is no longer involved with the project.) A search for a new executive chef is underway while sous chefs Michael Binder and Geoffrey Phan helm the kitchen in the meantime. FIVE, Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-845-7300.
Thomas Keller's The French Laundry has a new chef de cuisine in David Breeden, formerly executive sous chef of Keller's Per Se in New York City. The French Laundry's current chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth will pursue his own projects in Los Angeles. Hollingsworth has been with the restaurant since 2001, and has been chef de cuisine since 2009. Breeden first started with Keller at The French Laundry as a chef de partie in 2005, before moving to Per Se in 2007, where he rose to sous chef after two years. Before 2005, Breeden, a native of Tennessee, worked at Charleston Grill, the Woodlands Resort & Inn and McCrady's. The French Laundry, 6640 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599, 707-944-2380.
Dio Deka's Marty Cattaneo has moved on, and former chef de cuisine Jeff Fitzgerald has been promoted to executive chef. Fitzgerald, a San Jose native, started in pastry at Dio Deka while studying at the California Culinary Academy, and after graduation moved up through the kitchen ranks. He became chef de cuisine in 2009. Dio Deka, Hotel Los Gatos & Spa, 210 E. Main St., Los Gatos, CA 95030, 408-354-7700.
Parallel 37 in The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, has a new chef de cuisine. Michael Rotondo comes to the Bay Area from Chicago, where he was executive chef at Charlie Trotter's. There he spent eight years climbing the kitchen ranks, and received the United States Bocuse d'Or award for most promising chef in 2008. Before Charlie Trotter's, Rotondo cooked at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida, and staged in Europe for two years. Rotondo's approachable new menu is organized by primary ingredient from lighter to heavier items, or guests may opt for an eight-course tasting menu for $135 per person, with wine and beverage pairings for an additional $75. Parallel 37, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-296-7465.
One of San Francisco's most opulent dining rooms closed at the end of March. Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise, a luxe enclave filled with antiques and designed to look like "the sitting room of a Chinese empress," was a celebrity and VIP destination in its heyday, and had a great run --- 27 years. Original owner, iconic character and consummate host Tommy Toy, who began his restaurant career at the Imperial Palace and opened Toy's in 1985, passed away in 2008 at age 72. The restaurant was then run by co-owner and Toy's partner of 40 years, Alon Yu. Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise, 655 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94111, no phone.
Opened in 1983 by Auberge du Soleil's chef Masataka ("Masa") Kobayashi, Masa's reputation persevered for three decades as among the most formidable in San Francisco, with a lifetime roster of chefs that includes Richard Reddington, Ron Siegel and Julian Serrano. Its final stage under chef Gregory Short beginning in 2004 saw continued prestige, even as other fine dining standouts succumbed to the changing economy. Though still among the top, the restaurant closed in February to make way for a more casual enclave, and sources say Short will shift from restaurant to corporate chefhood. We will miss the handsome dining room, expert service and consistent excellence. Masa's, Executive Hotel Vintage Court, 648 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108, no phone.
Fog City Diner closed in early March. The chrome-heavy eatery opened to much success in 1985 with Cindy Pawlcyn at the helm, and always looked camera ready, thanks to its vintage diner design and pretty Embarcadero location near the Filbert Steps (and in fact was featured in several movies and commercials). Once a California cuisine destination, chef changes over the years had turned the spot inconsistent and mainly tourist heavy. Fog City Diner's owners have announced plans to renovate over six to nine months, and eventually reopen as simply "Fog City." Fog City Diner, 1300 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-982-2000.
View archived news: 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