Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

News for Restaurants in San Francisco
January 2009 Archive

Search / Openings / Closings / Chef Shuffle / News Bytes / Sign up for our free, monthly newsletter / News Archive

Want to know who's doing what in your city? Gayot has the restaurant news you want to read on openings, closings, special events, and more. Learn everything you need to know about the restaurants in San Francisco here.



Pho fans will be happy to see new restaurant Pot de Pho in the Geary Boulevard space that formerly housed Spanish Fly and, previously, the original Straits Café. Owned by Vietnam-born chef Khai Duong (Ana Mandara), the traditional Vietnamese soup restaurant features long-simmered, savory, combinations of fresh, organic broth, vegetables, meats and house-made rice noodles, topped with fresh herbs, chilies, pickled onion, lime and Thai basil and served with an array of sauces in varying levels of heat. Vegan pho is also available, as well as additional Vietnamese starters, salads, sides and mains (rolls, barbecued meats, crêpes). The airy, mustard and soft green interior soars with tasteful art, cloth-covered light fixtures, decorative birdcages and a 1960s-era pho street cart, and features communal tables as well as an alcove with leather chairs and ottomans. Pho is served in traditional green jade bowls. Lunch & Dinner daily. Pot de Pho, 3300 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94118, 415-668-0826.
Charles Phan's newest venture opened on January 17 inside the SOMA Grand luxury apartment complex. The eclectic cocktail lounge, noodle shop and Chinese restaurant---called Heaven's Dog & Noodle Shop---features upscale Chinese goodies such as pork dumplings, salt-and-pepper squid, roast duck with hoisin sauce, and noodle stir-fries. The space also features a luxe bar and more casual noodle eatery for lunch. Cocktails will be a highlight, with consulting mixologists from Slanted Door (Erik Adkins, bar manager), Thad Vogler (Beretta), Jackie Patterson (Zinnia) and others. An outdoor patio provides seating for about two dozen diners. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly. Heaven's Dog & Noodle Shop, SOMA Grand, 1148 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-863-6008.
The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco has an elaborate and contemporary new food court, courtesy of eclectic chef and business owner Joanna Karlinsky (Meetinghouse Biscuits, Hotel Utah) and her partner Victoria Smiser. The ground floor of the choice piece of real estate at Presidio and California streets in Pacific Heights now features a smorgasbord of small foodie concepts, including a gourmet pizzeria, prepared-foods counter, upscale bakery, ice cream stand, fresh juice counter, and pressed-sandwich station using local artisanal cheeses. Soon to be included will be Karlinsky's Meetinghouse full-service catering company and biscuit shipping service. 3200 California St. Open daily.

News Bytes

One For the Hopheads
Kiss January's "firm" New Year's resolutions goodbye as San Francisco's Beer Week chugs across the Bay Area from February 6-15. Featuring more than 150 beer-centric events and activities, the festival will celebrate craft beer's long heritage in the region, highlighting famed local brewers such as the Anchor Brewing Company (arguably the father of the artisanal beer movement) and welcoming special guest brewers from the rest of the West Coast and beyond. Events, tastings, speakers, complementary dinners of all sorts (beer isn't picky), classes, competitions, nightly specials and even a bicycle Beer Ride will be on offer in venues from Petaluma to San Francisco, Oakland to Santa Cruz; check to see if your favorite ale or establishment is on the calendar.
Wine & Dine in 2009
Spruce has announced monthly winemaker dinners for 2009, beginning the night of February 24 with old- and new-world wines from Drouhin winery (the longstanding French company owns vineyards in Oregon). Set to occur one weeknight each month in the restaurant's private dining room, Spruce winemaker events will feature five courses prepared by chef Mark Sullivan to complement that night's producer. Future participants will include Gros, Talley, Pahlmeyer and Martinelli wineries. February's event will cost $130 per person, excluding tax and gratuity; Laurent Drouhin will choose the wines and play co-host to the experience. Check the website for subsequent dates and producers or to make a reservation. Cost varies for each event. Spruce, 3640 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118, 415-931-5100.
The First Pairing
Congratulations to Napa Valley's Duckhorn Vineyards on being selected for service at President Barack Obama's inaugural luncheon on January 20. (Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and San Francisco native senator Dianne Feinstein may have had a hand in the choice.) On the menu: seafood stew with Duckhorn Vineyards, 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley; the company's Goldeneye, 2005 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, paired with a brace of pheasant and duck served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes.
Growing Popularity
Executive chef Jonnatan Leiva of Jack Falstaff celebrates farm-to-table dining with an ongoing series of Growers Dinners throughout 2009. Each event will feature special guests, including notable chefs, local farmers and artisanal producers, as well as wine and beer-makers. Dinners are prix-fixe and served communal style, with multiple courses and pairings focused on a particular agricultural region. The first dinner of the series was held on January 19 and featured Cavedoni balsamic vinegar and producer Paolo Cavedoni. Future events can be found on the restaurant's website, Jack Falstaff, 598 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107, 415-836-9239.
Get Cracking
A weaker than usual opening to Dungeness season (it started mid-November) won't deter top local chefs from celebrating the area's favorite creepy-crawly crustacean during Dungeness Crab Week from February 19-March 1. Though arguably best enjoyed with a simple loaf of sourdough and bottle of wine, fresh cracked crab will be the star ingredient in all manner of preparations at 54 participating Bay Area restaurants such as Bix, Incanto and Delfina. Festival highlights will include a celebrity crab-cracking contest in Union Square on Saturday, February 28, featuring local chefs, San Francisco 49ers and notable personalities, as well as a commemorative cookbook. The event is one of a series of ingredient-driven celebrations leading up to SF Chefs. Food. Wine. in August. For a complete list of participating restaurants during Dungeness Crab Week or to learn more, visit

Chef Shuffle

Located adjacent to the Sir Francis Drake hotel, upscale Scala's Bistro has marked the bustling Powell Street entrance to Union Square for more than a decade; the clubby dining room should now draw more traffic than ever as former "Top Chef" contestant Jennifer Biesty (London's The River Café, Jardinière, Coco500) has taken over as executive chef. Biesty's freshened menu includes a daily crudo and a wide array of artisanal, house-made ingredients, from pastas and cheeses to baccala and duck prosciutto. She joins veteran pastry chef Tim Nugent on the Scala's team. Scala's Bistro, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 432 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-395-8555.
Chef Anne Gingrass-Paik (Hawthorne Lane, Postrio, Spago) has taken over the kitchen at Brix Restaurant & Gardens in Napa Valley, which recently returned to its original name after a brief stint as 25-Degrees Brix. Renovations in 2008 transformed the Yountville restaurant (hence the temporary name change); Gingrass-Paik plans to craft contemporary, French-accented, farm-to-table cuisine for the revamped space, drawing from the restaurant's own surrounding gardens and seasonal ingredients from throughout Wine Country. Brix Restaurant & Gardens, 7377 St. Helena Hwy., Hwy. 29, Napa, CA 94558, 707-944-2749.
In a surprise move, chef George Morrone (Aqua, Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, Redwood Park) has taken over the kitchens at the Cliff House (also known as Sutro's). Perched above the Pacific, the restaurant is better known for its spectacular views than its food and service, which are both fairly lackluster. Hopefully, with the arrival of Morrone, that will all change quickly and permanently and diners can enjoy the best of both. Sutro's, The Cliff House, 1090 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121, 415-386-3330.


Longtime Castro destination Mecca shuttered on January 22, 2009. Though few details have been released, the once hopping restaurant and lounge was no doubt yet another victim of the suffering economy.
Several beloved Bay Area neighborhood standouts have shuttered over the past few weeks, among them Baraka in Potrero Hill, JoJo's in Oakland and Cafe de la Paz in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto. Also of note in these tough economic times: Cetrella in Half Moon Bay has parted ways with chef Blair Warsham, and the restaurant will be closed through April 30, 2009.

Want to
learn to cook? Try new dishes? Meet a foodie friend for fun? Check out our compilation of culinary events in your area.

View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in San Francisco

Discover the top restaurants in the San Francisco/Bay Area for various cuisines and categories like sushi, steakhouses, happy hours, romantic dining and even gourmet food trucks. Find the best restaurants in SF here!

Discover the best restaurants in San Francisco for sushi, steak, a romantic night out and more


View archived news: November 2021 | September 2021 | August 2021 | November 2020 | September 2020 | August 2020 | June 2020 | March 2020 | January 2020 | October 2019 | September 2019 | August 2019 | July 2019 | June 2019 | May 2019 | April 2019 | March 2019 | February 2019 | January 2019 | December 2018 | October 2018 | July 2018 | June 2018 | May 2018 | April 2018 | March 2018 | February 2018 | January 2018 | December 2017 | November 2017 | September 2017 | August 2017 | July 2017 | June 2017 | April 2017 | March 2017 | February 2017 | January 2017 | December 2016 | November 2016 | October 2016 | September 2016 | August 2016 | July 2016 | June 2016 | May 2016 | April 2016 | March 2016 | February 2016 | January 2016 | December 2015 | November 2015 | October 2015 | September 2015 | August 2015 | July 2015 | June 2015 | May 2015 | April 2015 | March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015 | December 2014 | November 2014 | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | 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


GAYOT's Wine & Spirits Editor presents the
Wine of the Week, featuring tasting notes as well as history on the vineyards and winemaker.


The charm of Provence right on your table.

Read the article and see photos.

Proper Hotel Santa Monica RooftopThe view is not the only reason to dine at Calabra in Santa Monica, CA.

Read the review and see photos.