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Chef Michael Chiarello, Emmy-winning tastemaker behind NapaStyle and Chiarello Family Vineyards, and founding chef of Tra Vigne restaurant, is going to open a new signature restaurant in fall 2008. Located within the V Marketplace complex in Yountville, the yet-to-be-named restaurant will celebrate Chiarello’s signature cuisine and entertaining style as well as farm-to-table regional ingredients. V Marketplace is an historic retail complex featuring a collection of upscale specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, a wine cellar and tasting bar and the Napa Valley's original hot air balloon company. 6525 Washington St., Yountville.

Chez Papa Resto, the latest in the Bulow/Maktub portfolio, is now open in Mint Plaza. David Bazirgan has put together the menu of French Provencal bistro-inspired fare; there are also 23 wines by the glass, and 150 bottle selections on the list. The interior features a black and orange color scheme, plus Murano glass chandeliers, rosewood burl tabletops, a spacious bar, and a chef's table made of antique glass. There is also outdoor seating for 88 on the plaza—heat lamps are coming soon, lunch is too. Dinner nightly 5:30 p.m.–11 p.m. (10 p.m. on Sunday). Chez Papa Resto, 414 Jessie St. between Mission and Market near Fifth, San Francisco, 415-546-4134.

Local stalwart Moose’s recently underwent a big remodel, but now it’s becoming something else entirely. Joseph Manzare (Globe, Tres Agaves, Pescheria, Zuppa) and his business partner Eddie Maiello have bought the North Beach landmark, and are transforming it into their dream East Coast-style Italian restaurant, Joey & Eddie’s. Look for old-school classics like pastas with red or white sauce, stuffed artichokes, shrimp scampi, spaghetti and meatballs, and veal saltimbocca. The goal is low prices, but more food—and to create a place where you can eat with your family without spending a lot of money. While the actual launch of the new name and concept won’t happen until the end of April or beginning of May, Moose’s is remaining open. Moose’s, 1652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.

Geared toward those with a sweet tooth, a new dessert lounge called Candybar has just opened in the Western Addition neighborhood. The menu from pastry chef Jake Godby features bite-sized confections like chocolate brioche with balsamic caramel and spiced ice cream, along with suggested wine, microbrew and Blue Bottle coffee pairings. Candybar, 1335 Fulton Street at Divisadero, San Francisco, 415-673-7078.

Things are getting close for Anchor & Hope, the anticipated third project from the folks behind Town Hall and Salt House: Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal and Doug Washington. The opening of this upscale East Coast seafood house is looking like mid-April, and Sarah Schafer from the former Frisson will be running the kitchen, serving some classics like oysters and other shellfish and a lobster roll, plus some non-traditional dishes too. The space is like a big barn, with wood floors and rustic tables, with seats for 60–80, a communal table, and counter seating as well. Lunch and dinner will be served daily. Anchor & Hope, 83 Minna St. at First Street, San Francisco.

Thierry Clement, the former executive chef of Fringale in SoMa, opened his own project, L’Ardoise, in early March in the Castro neighborhood. The 38-seat corner bistro was designed by Michael Brennan. The tight menu will rotate dishes on and off the blackboard (that's what the name means), but for now, some specialties include seafood ravioli, salads, charcuterie, barramundi, duck confit, hanger steak and frites, and osso buco. Open Tues.–Sun. for dinner, 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m. L’Ardoise, 151 Noe St. at Henry, San Francisco, 415-437-2600.

A new sushi and sake restaurant has opened called Tataki Sushi & Sake Bar. The petite and sleek 25-seat space was formerly a Subway. The menu is more California-Japanese than traditional, with a variety of tataki and maki rolls, plus some premium sakes as well. Hours are Mon.-Thurs. 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m., closed Sunday. Lunch is coming soon. Tataki Sushi & Sake Bar, 2815 California St. at Divisadero Street, San Francisco, 415-931-1182.

Although chef Joseph Humphrey has left The Restaurant at Meadowood, you will be able to find him acting as the executive chef at the new restaurant Murray Circle, opening at Cavallo Point—The Lodge at the Golden Gate, in historic Fort Baker in Sausalito which is slated to open this summer. Taking Humphrey’s place at Meadowood is Christopher Kostow, the chef from Mountain View’s Chez TJ (938 Villa St., 650-964-7466).

Personality Hotels has signed a deal to partner with Food Network culinary star Tyler Florence to open a restaurant in Hotel Vertigo (currently the York Hotel). This will be Florence’s first restaurant, and is scheduled to open this summer in the hotel’s former Empire Plush Room space. The 97-room York Hotel is currently undergoing a $5 million renovation spearheaded by L.A.-based Thomas Schoos Design, Inc., and upon completion in Summer 2008, the York Hotel will be renamed Hotel Vertigo after Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak (Novak’s character lived in the York Hotel during the last half of the film). 940 Sutter St. at Leavenworth Street, San Francisco.

Craig and Anne Stoll are opening a second Pizzeria Delfina by May in the Fillmore District. It will be moving into the Zao Noodle Bar space—since it’s twice the size of the current pizzeria, it will have about 44 seats and a wood-burning oven will be installed in this location. Pizzeria Delfina, 2406 California St. at Fillmore Street, San Francisco.

The Dogpatch soul food-comfort food outpost, Hard Knox Café, is opening a second location in the Richmond by the end of March or early April in the former Greco Romana space. The menu will mostly be the same, but the venue will be twice as large as the current location, about 85 seats, and with the same roadhouse décor. Hard Knox Café, 2448 Clement St. at 26th Avenue, San Francisco.

Opening soon in the Fillmore is a new wine bar called Wine Jar in the former Trio Café space. The modern-looking wine bar and lounge will have about 150 wines, with 60 percent from California, mostly hard-to-find or smaller production wines, and the rest will be international. There will be 25 or so available by the glass, ranging from $7–$18, and a variety of half bottles, too. The wine director is Julie Henderson, who was a buyer at California Wine Merchant, and is also the GM and wine director of Wellington’s Wine Bar in Sausalito. Small bites will be served and desserts will be featured prominently. The bar will have room for 16, with another 20 or so seats for lounge-style seating with tables. Hours will be Tues.–Sun. 3 p.m.–11:30 p.m. or midnight. Wine Jar, 1870 Fillmore St. at Bush Street, San Francisco, 415-567-0843.

The owners of Isa in the Marina, Luke and Kitty Sung, will be opening Domo on March 18 in Hayes Valley. The casual neighborhood spot will feature a menu of traditional sushi. Luke’s high school friend, Ku Wa, will be the sushi chef. The petite place will have 20 seats, with room for eight at the bar. Look for lunch and dinner six or maybe even seven nights a week, and hours for now are 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Domo, 511 Laguna St. at Linden Street, San Francisco.

The Cottage Eatery in Tiburon is a first-time venture by the husband and wife team of Ed Carew and Jennifer Rebman. Carew previously cooked in New York at Gramercy Tavern (where he met Jennifer), Craft (sous chef) and Fiamma (chef d’ cuisine), and locally at Florio Cafe & Bar. Until recently, Jennifer was the general manager at ’wichcraft, Tom Colicchio’s upscale sandwich shop at San Francisco's Westfield Centre. The food highlights Carew’s experience in regional Italian and French cuisine, and draws on the fresh ingredients from local farmers markets and small specialty purveyors. The Cottage Eatery, 114 Main St., Tiburon, 415-789-5636.

San Francisco chef Yahya Salih has reopened his restaurant YaYa Cuisine—Nomad Style, this time in Burlingame. The restaurant includes indoor and outdoor courtyard dining, a full bar and a special events room. The dishes are inspired by the foods in the lands along the Mediterranean Sea traveled by the nomadic Bedouin tribes. The cuisine is served in the traditional way of more than one dish on each plate. Each nomad-style entrée is plated with three unique but complementary dishes paired with salata, which is a salad of diced cucumber, tomato, lettuce and radish dressed in sumac and rosewater vinaigrette. Several of his entrées from his previous restaurants will remain on the menu as well, like grilled eggplant with pomegranate sauce. Live music will be at the bar Friday and Saturday evenings, with no cover charge, and fortune tellers will be available for Turkish coffee grind readings on Sundays. The restaurant is open daily for lunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., dinner Sun.–Thurs., 5 p.m.–9 p.m. and Fri.–Sat., 5 p.m.–10 p.m., happy hour bar menu daily 4 p.m.–6 p.m., brunch Sat.–Sun., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. YaYa Cuisine—Nomad Style, 1108 Burlingame Ave. at California Street, Burlingame, 650-344-2860.

Anjan and Emily Mitra of Dosa will be opening a second location in the lower Fillmore, in a former bank that is across the street from the Kabuki. The opening is slated for the end of summer or fall in 2008. The 5,800-square-foot restaurant will have around 120 seats, and space for private dining. Dosa will serve dinner and weekend lunch, focusing on authentic regional Indian dishes, and will also have an expanded wine list. Dosa, 1700 Fillmore St. at Post Street, San Francisco.

Mono Restaurant, located in the Jack London Square area of Oakland, will open in February with breakfast and lunch. The lunch menu will feature house-made soups, sandwiches, salads, and box-lunch specials available for eat-in or take-away via a convenient sidewalk take-out window. Dinner service will begin in March with a globally inspired and seasonally changing small plates menu sourced from local purveyors. An exhibition charcuterie and cheese bar, plus a raw oyster bar will be featured. In case you were wondering, Mono means “monkey” in Spanish and is the executive chef/co-owner (and husband) Todd Wilson’s nickname for his wife, general manager/co-owner Eloisa Castillo. Wilson is the former chef de cuisine of AsiaSF and The Public, and Castillo is formerly of Myth and Cortez. Mono Restaurant, 247 Fourth St. at Alice Street, Oakland.

Luce, a celebrity wine restaurant at the new InterContinental San Francisco, takes its name from the well-known Frescobaldi Super Tuscan and will showcase the entire Frescobaldi portfolio of fine wines. Michael Mondavi, son of Napa Valley viticultural pioneer Robert Mondavi and founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners, has also been instrumental in the development of Luce. The concept is made possible through Mondavi’s new partnership with the InterContinental. Selected to run the kitchen at Luce is executive chef Dominique Crenn. Crenn has worked with pioneering chef Jeremiah Tower at Stars, and will offer a style of Californian farm fresh cuisine and traditional European techniques in her dishes. There will be a casual bite at Bar 888, a six-course tasting menu, and a four-course farm-to-table tasting menu. Look for alluring décor that is urban and sophisticated, yet inviting and unpretentious. There will be floor-to-ceiling windows dressed in sheer gold metallic curtains, tables dressed in fine mauve-hued Italian linen, bubble-like pendant lamps, hand-blown in Italy, and dark tropical wood accents, while walls are lined with artistic images of the Frescobaldi vineyards in Tuscany. In addition to the 130-seat restaurant is Bar 888, which will feature one of the most extensive selections of grappa in America, plus specialty grappa-based drinks created by master mixologist Francesco Lafranconi. Luce will have a 200-label list, overseen by sommelier Helen Roy, and will offer approximately twenty wines by the glass. Look for a late February opening, when the entire InterContinental opens. Luce, 888 Howard St., San Francisco, 415-616-6566.

Many Pacific Heights residents have wondered what will be moving into the long-empty Fillmore Grill space. This spring will bring the opening of The Long Bar & Bistro, a classic-looking establishment inspired by old-school hotel bars. Owner Alan Walsh was formerly a bartender at Campton Place Restaurant, Pebble Beach and the Park Hyatt. There will be a 30-foot mahogany bar, dark woods, ceiling fans, and other classic touches in the 80-seat dining room. There will also be outdoor seating under heated awnings. Details about the chef and menu are forthcoming. The Long Bar & Bistro, 1301 Fillmore St. at Clay Street, San Francisco.

Franck LeClerc, owner of Café Claude, is not only busy with his upcoming restaurant, Gitane (slated to open in April), but he now has a third project coming on Claude Lane: Cinque, Italian Wine Bar & Restaurant. (Cinque is Italian for five, which is the address of the wine bar.) Look for fresh pasta influenced by the Emilia-Romagna region, thirty wines by the glass, and both indoor and outdoor seating and a sleek look. Lunch and dinner will be served six days a week. The opening date has not been set yet, but for now, 2008. Cinque, Italian Wine Bar & Restaurant, 5 Claude Ln. at Bush Street, San Francisco.

A new addition in the Mission is Cava22, a Spanish-French-Latino fusion restaurant that moved into the former Bahia Restaurant space. Chef Roman Beltran has worked at Coco500, Dry Creek Kitchen and Splendido. The full bar has an impressive selection of fifty-plus tequilas, with even more handcrafted tequilas to come. The building was repainted, and the interior is spacious and rustic, with wood tables and warm tones. Owners are Ramon Valle, his brother Samuel Valle and Roger Magaña. Hours are Mon.–Thurs. 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., with brunch 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat.–Sun. The bar is open later Thurs.–Sat. Cava22, 3239 22nd St. at Mission Street, San Francisco, 415-642-7224.

The partners behind Salt House and Town Hall, brothers Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal and Doug Washington, are going to be opening a fish shack and raw bar called Anchor and Hope. The 88-seat space is in SOMA, in an old warehouse that is close to both restaurants. Look for an opening by spring. Anchor and Hope, 83 Minna St., at Second Street, San Francisco.

Open in the basement of Macy’s Union Square is Frontera Fresco, a new quick-casual spot from Chicago’s Rick Bayless, the chef-owner of both Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. This is Bayless’s first venture outside of Chicago. The menu of Mexican street food includes tortas, huaraches, handmade tamales, quesadillas, and fresh-made salsas and guacamole.

A new restaurant, Ristorante Brio, has opened in downtown Burlingame in the former Pisces space. Pino Spinoso, a San Francisco restaurateur, is behind the eatery, along with partner Giuseppe Scoppetta and partner-general manager Gino LaMotta. The menu is focused on seasonal Italian cuisine prepared with fresh, often locally sourced and organic ingredients. Dishes include black peppered pappardelle with wild mushrooms and wild boar ragoût; saffron and porcini mushroom risotto with radicchio di Treviso and orange; and crispy chicken al mattone with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Virtually all the pasta served is house-made. The chef de cuisine is Giancarlo Bortolotti, who was most recently the chef-owner of Mangiafuoco. The international wine list is focused on Italian and California selections, with more than 300 options, and about 20 available by the glass. There is also a full bar. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. for lunch, and 5 p.m.–11:30 p.m. for dinner. Ristorante Brio, 1190 California Dr., near Broadway, Burlingame, 650-348-6615.

San Francisco’s Café Maritime has opened Maritime East in Berkeley, in the former Zax Tavern space, providing a casual yet sophisticated addition to the East Bay dining scene. Look for a menu of sustainable seafood, plus pizzas, and a raw bar with American caviar, Dungeness crab and seasonal seafood crudo. East Bay resident Sophina Uong is heading the kitchen—she opened as part-owner of Berkeley’s 900 Grayson. The menu is served late, until midnight Tuesday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on weekends (Sunday until 10 p.m.). There is also a pre-performance friendly “Easy Hour” in the bar from 5 p.m.–7 p.m. every night with all drinks served on coasters that are actual $2 bills. Maritime East will eventually be adding weekend brunch which will feature some of chef Uong’s signature fare such as wood-fired lobster Thermidor, grilled house-made seafood sausages and wood-fired egg dishes. Maritime East, 2826 Telegraph Avenue between Stuart and Oregon, Berkeley, 510-848-9299.

Bar Jules in Hayes Valley offers market-fresh and organic Cal-European dishes on a limited menu (there are just a few appetizers and entrées offered per night). The owner is Jessica Boncutter, who has worked at Zuni Café and Hog Island Oyster Company at the Ferry Building Marketplace; in the kitchen also is Carol Bever, a 20-year Zuni veteran whom Boncutter met while working there. The space has bright colored walls, imported woven bistro chairs and stools, and an open kitchen. Open Tues.–Sat. for dinner, and Sun. for a late-running brunch, with plans to open for lunch in January 2008. Bar Jules, 609 Hayes St. at Laguna Street, San Francisco, 415-621-5482.

Yoshi's, a 28,000-square-foot two-story club and restaurant, and sister to the Oakland location, is slated to open November 28 in San Francisco with much fanfare and of course, jazz. Executive chef Shotaro “Sho” Kamio’s seasonal menu of Japanese “creative” cuisine will comprise small plates and sushi, and will integrate many cooking styles, from robata to shabu-shabu. The pastry chef is Marisa Churchill, who many know from “Top Chef”—an example of her desserts includes warm cinnamon sugar Okinawan donuts with a Japanese whiskey milkshake. Dinner and jazz will be served up nightly. Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St., at Eddy Street, San Francisco, 415-655-5600.

Noe Valley will soon have Basso’s, a casual restaurant moving into the former Cybelle’s Pizza space, next door to Noe’s Bar. Two brothers, Wayne and Gaetano Basso, and Wayne’s two sons, are behind the project. There will be Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas, plus steaks, pastas (including homemade ravioli), salads, daily house-made soups, and fresh-made desserts. All ingredients will be organic, the meats are from Niman Ranch, and the seafood will be eco-friendly. Also look for daily specials, and a wine list with reasonable pricing. The restaurant is slated to open before Thanksgiving for lunch and dinner; breakfast and lunch will start a few weeks later. There will also be late hours, staying open until 11 p.m. on Sunday, midnight Mon.–Thurs., and 1 a.m. on Fri.–Sat. Basso’s, 3782 24th St. at Church Street, San Francisco, 415-285-3212.

O Izakaya Lounge has opened in Joie de Vivre Hospitality’s Hotel Kabuki. The executive chef is Nick Balla. Most of the shared plates are $9–$14, and there is a special bar menu with yakimono, like beef loin or chicken thigh ($4 each). Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat.–Sun., dinner nightly 5 p.m.–10 p.m., and bar until 1 a.m. O Izakaya Lounge, Hotel Kabuki, 1625 Post St. at Laguna Street, San Francisco, 415-614-5431.

Luke and Kitty Sung of Isa are opening a new sushi restaurant in Hayes Valley called Domo. The 20-seat casual neighborhood spot will have Ku Wa as the sushi chef, a high school friend of Luke’s; he was formerly at Osho in Millbrae, and was most recently in Hawaii, and downtown at Hana Zen. The opening is slated for late November—lunch and dinner will be served, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Domo, 511 Laguna St. at Linden, San Francisco.

Now that Mecca has reopened, expect things to move ahead with Best-O-Burger, the project from Mecca co-owner Steve Weber and executive chef Randy Lewis. The first location is opening by Christmas in Belden Lane, in a former Mrs. Field’s. There are stand-up counters, and perhaps some outdoor seating will be added too. Burgers will be 100 percent Angus beef and handmade, seared in cast-iron skillets, and then sandwiched in oven-fresh buns baked onsite daily. Look for tasty sides of rings and fries, and desserts too. Hours will be daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Best-O-Burger, 493 Pine St. at Belden, San Francisco.

A flower called Daffodil will be blooming in the former Vignette space in the Orchard Hotel. The executive chef is Russell Rummer of Roots Restaurant in the Orchard Garden Hotel, a sister hotel (he will be overseeing both restaurants). Look for a contemporary European small plates menu, with a local and seasonal focus. Wine from around the world will also be available. Open for dinner nightly 5 p.m.–10 p.m. Daffodil, 665 Bush St. at Powell Street, San Francisco, 415-956-2972.

Moving into the former Platanos space in the Mission is Craig’s Place, a casual restaurant serving breakfast items like omelets and scrambles, plus sandwiches, burgers, and salads for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will be open daily from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Craig’s Place, 598 Guerrero St. at 18th Street, San Francisco, 415-355-9191.

Horizon Restaurant & Lounge will open in North Beach in the former Sake Lab space. The vibe will be casual and upbeat, with a menu of classic American and Mediterranean fare. Look for a selection of charcuterie, skirt steak with fries, pastas like pappardelle with house-braised meat and tomato ragù, roasted chicken, seafood such as sea bass with chorizo, and an extensive burger menu featuring a multitude of meats, cheeses, and other toppings to choose from. The dessert menu will include warm cobblers with seasonal fruits and a root beer float made with Ciao Bella gelato and locally brewed root beer. The consulting chef is Ola Fendert of Oola Restaurant & Bar and the soon-to-open Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant. Mark Bright, sommelier of Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant and Oola Restaurant & Bar, hand-picked the restaurant’s wine list. The cocktail menu will feature freshly made cocktails, to be enjoyed in the lounge or in the dining area. The restaurant and bar will stay open until 2 a.m. every day. Horizon Restaurant & Lounge, 498 Broadway St. at Kearny Street, San Francisco, 415-576-1118.

Fans of Pascal Rigo’s Boulange bakeries now have a new location to visit, in Hayes Valley, for fresh-baked bread, sweet treats and sandwiches. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Boulange, 500 Hayes St. at Octavia Street, San Francisco, 415-863-3376.

Former Chic’s Seafood Restaurant on Pier 39 has transformed into Fog Harbor Fish House. Expect bay views and fresh seafood, ranging from live lobster to cioppino, plus other touches like a fireplace, waterfall and full bar. Open daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fog Harbor Fish House, Pier 39, San Francisco, 415-421-2442.

Coming to the Marina in October will be Bin 38, a wine bar opening in the former Mi Lindo Peru space. There will be over 40 wines by the glass from South Africa, Argentina, Oregon and Washington, ranging in price from $7-$20, plus exotic beers and wine-friendly shared plates. The menu was crafted by consulting chef James Schenk of Destino, offering locally-focused, seasonal bar bites plus heartier fare, too. There is a spacious patio in the back, and there will be sidewalk seating as well. Bin 38’s partners are Don Davis of Uncorked Events, Peter Scully of Dolce and 38 NORTH, and Shaw Amirghassemkhany and David Sheridan, both from Shaw Management Group. Bin 38, 3232 Scott St., between Lombard and Chestnut, San Francisco,

Slated to open in early October is Fish & Farm, a Union Square restaurant focusing on California seafood, artisan meats and eco-friendly business. The intimate 42-seat restaurant will offer exclusive, small farm-sourced food—the greater majority of the food will be sourced from within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant. Chef Michael Morrison, previously executive sous chef at Ame, has a pedigree that includes stints at Michael Mina, Bizou and Fringale in San Francisco. The concept is from partners Frank Klein, and John Duggan and Elena Duggan of Original Joe’s. There will also be an affordable wine list, and cocktails, too.Sheri Sheridan of San Francisco’s Swallowtail Design (she designed Salt House) has created an American “vintage chic” feel for the dining room. The restaurant will be open for dinner six days a week, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday and Sunday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Fish & Farm, 339 Taylor St. at Ellis Street, San Francisco, 415-474-FISH (3474),

A new restaurant has opened in the Sunset called Sozai Restaurant & Sake Lounge, an izakaya from owner and executive chef Mari Takahashi of Mari’s Catering, Inc. The menu will offer authentic Japanese dishes with some California cuisine-inspired small plates, all served izakaya/pub-style. Beau Timken of True Sake has crafted the sake list. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sozai Restaurant & Sake Lounge, 1500 Irving St. at 16th Street, San Francisco, 415-681-7150.

In October, the Castro will have a new specialty market and café in the former Just Desserts space called Gustofino Fine Foods. Diners can either eat the gourmet goods on-premise, or do take-out, plus do some shopping with all the local and imported food items that will be available. The food will be home-style, with hot items like lasagna, plus panini, salads, desserts, and a variety of things to drink, from Blue Bottle Coffee to wine. The back patio is sure to be a hit, and with room for 40, it will be able to handle all that popularity. Gustofino will be open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Gustofino, 248 Church St. between 15th and Market Streets, San Francisco.

Tablespoon has morphed into Bar Johnny, a restaurant serving more casual fare and small plates. The contemporary American menu will include a variety of dishes, from small bites to larger servings, with dinner served until 11 p.m., and a bar menu until 1 a.m. Speaking of the bar, the topnotch concoctions here are worth the visit alone. Bar Johnny, 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo Street, San Francisco, 415-268-0140.

Opening in the former Monte Cristo Café space will be Sens Restaurant, highlighting cuisine influenced from the exotic Southern Mediterranean (North Africa, Greece and Turkey) made with locally sourced ingredients and a sustainable focus. Executive chef Michael Dotson (Evvia Estiatorio, Heirloom Restaurant, The Slow Club, and PlumpJack Café) is working with pastry chef Shuna Lydon (Aziza, Citizen Cake, Bouchon, The French Laundry and Gramercy Tavern), who both take their cues from fresh, seasonal produce from the farmers’ market. The wine list has been assembled by general manager and sommelier Saeed Amini (Michael Mondavi, Cetrella, and Kokkari) and promotes organic and biodynamic wines, plus a seasonal wines list. The great views and stonework of the spacious restaurant remain intact, including a large patio. The opening is slated for early October. Four Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, San Francisco, 415-362-0645.

Frisée, a new restaurant with a focus on healthy ingredients and inventive dishes, is moving into the former Malacca space on Market Street. There will also be a dinner to-go box program for busy workers in the neighborhood, and a wine list with a number of biodynamic and organic wines from California, Argentina, Northern Italy, Australia and France. The project comes from brothers Brett and Nathan Niebergall, and they intend to open the restaurant by mid-September. Frisée, 2367 Market St. at 17th Street, San Francisco, 415-558-1616.

By the end of September, Hayes Valley should have its very own Boulange location from Bay Bread/Pascal Rigo. The bright-green corner building will have outdoor seating and an array of baked goods and lunch items, too. It will be open daily 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Boulange, 500 Hayes St. at Octavia Street, San Francisco, 415-863-3376.

Folks homesick for some New Orleans cookin’ can now swing by Brenda’s French Soul Food, a cozy little café in the Lower Polk offering NOLA-influenced eats, from crawfish beignets to grillades to gumbo, plus a variety of classic breakfast dishes, like omelets and French toast. The chef-owner is Brenda Buenviaje, born and raised in New Orleans and formerly of Café Claude and DeLessio Market & Bakery. Open Mon.-Fri. for breakfast and lunch, and the brand-new Sat. brunch. Brenda’s French Soul Food, 32 Polk St. at Eddy, San Francisco, 415-345-8100.

Peter Osborne, the owner of MoMo’s, has opened Pete’s Tavern just across from AT&T Park, in the former Kingfish space. The menu feature affordable and hearty American tavern dishes, like steak sandwiches, salads, burgers and sides like curly fries and onion rings. There is also a full bar, and 12 beers on tap. Open 11 a.m.–midnight, bar until 2 a.m. Pete’s Tavern, 128 King St. between Second and Third Streets, San Francisco, 415-817-5040.

The Monk’s Kettle will be opening in the former Rasha and Kelly’s Burgers space in the Mission by early November. This craft-beer tavern will offer all kinds of styles of beer from around the world, with 24 taps and over 100 bottles. Local beers will also be a large part of the focus. Gourmet pub fare, like burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads will be available, plus some quality wines, too. The ambience is going to be historic American tavern meets European alehouse, with dark woods, earthy colors and soft lighting. Hours will be from 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m., serving food until late. The Monk’s Kettle, 3141 16th St. at Albion Street, San Francisco.

Mint Plaza continues to develop quickly: not only is Blue Bottle going to be opening a café, and Chez Papa opening a new location, but now Sushi Groove is launching another city location. It’s taking over the old El Balazo space, and will have a lounge that will be open late night, plus offer access to the spacious outdoor patio for lunch, dinner and drinks. Look for a mid-October opening. Lunch and dinner will be served seven days a week. Sushi Groove, 54 Mint St. at Fifth St., San Francisco.

In Hayes Valley, a new small-plates restaurant and lounge called Breezy’s has opened in the former Blue Muse space. Chef Rodney Boca has crafted a menu with French influences, which includes mains like roasted chicken breast stuffed with Boursin cheese, asparagus, wrapped in pancetta, with artichoke ragoût and sauce diable; or rib-eye au poivre, with potato fries, roasted root vegetables and spicy natural jus. Breezy’s, 409 Gough St. at Hayes Street, San Francisco, 415-552-3400.

The latest project from the Maktub Group is Bossa Nova, a lounge and late-night restaurant that opened in the end of July in SOMA. The menu is focused on Brazilian small plates, ranging from seafood to a hearts of palm salad to meat skewers. It is served until midnight nightly, and the bar keeps going until 2 a.m. Bossa Nova, 139 Eighth St., between Minna and Mission Streets, San Francisco, 415-558-8004.

Spruce, the latest project from the Bacchus Management Group, is now open. (Bacchus is also behind The Village Pub in Woodside and various Pizza Antica locations). The historical building was an old car garage from the ’30s, with soaring glass and steel ceilings with large steel trusses and a long skylight. Mark Sullivan, from The Village Pub, is the executive chef, crafting a seasonal menu with Mediterranean influences that is matched nicely by a 1,000-bottle wine list—there is also a full bar that offers a variety of cocktails. Spruce’s hours are Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 5 p.m.–11 p.m. Spruce, 3640 Sacramento St. at Spruce Street, San Francisco, 415-931-5100.

Metro Kathmandu is serving Nepali small plates with Indian influences—this new restaurant moved into the former Le Metro Café space on Divisadero Street. Nothing is over $10, and the restaurant is open Tues.-Sun. until 1 a.m. Drinks include an international wine list, plus tap beer and soju and saké cocktails. The back patio is also open for alfresco dining. Metro Kathmandu, 311 Divisadero St. at Page Street, San Francisco, 415-552-0903.

By October 2008, the new Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco will have a full-service restaurant and café under the direction of Loretta Keller of Coco500 and Charles Phan of Slanted Door fame. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, with a menu focused on local, sustainable, and organic ingredients. The café will have food that’s kid-friendly, healthy, and multicultural. More details, like the names of each establishment, and menu items, will be revealed in coming months.

By the end of the year, Blue Bottle Coffee will be opening a café in a historic building adjacent to the developing Mint Plaza, on Jessie Street. Full coffee service will be on offer, plus granitas, breakfast and lunch items like cheese and charcuterie, plus wines chosen by Paul Einbund of Coi. Blue Bottle Coffee, 66 Mint St., San Francisco.

Sudachi opened at the end of June in the old Juni space on Sutter Street, serving sushi, sashimi and Mediterranean-Asian fusion tapas, plus live jazz late into the evening. The beverage program will be highlighting quality sojus, wines and sakes. The 3,400-sq.-foot space will have a 12-seat cocktail lounge and a custom sushi bar, plus three or four tatami tables and a private tatami room. Dinner only will be served, with a late-night menu until 1 a.m. Sudachi, 1217 Sutter St. at Polk St., 415-623-8625.

Bernal Heights will have a new restaurant to add to its roster by mid July called Tinderbox Restaurant. This “experimental American bistro with a foundation on sustainable food and wine” will have some playful elements, like the Tinderbox Special, a nightly deluxe appetizer that is a tasting of three items presented in a steel box, and a specially priced prix-fixe menu called “Keeping It Bernal.” The wine list will be overseen by Omar White from Pizzaiolo, who will also be the GM, while the co-chefs (and partners) are Ryan Russell and Blair Warsham. The 40-seat space will have a clean and modern style, with a private room as well. It will be open for dinner, 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m. Tue.–Sun. (until 11 p.m. Fri.–Sat.) and serving wine and beer until midnight. Tinderbox Restaurant, 803 Cortland Ave. at Ellsworth St., 415-285-8269.

Lagosia, a unique restaurant and bar offering authentic West African and fusion cuisine, opened in Berkeley on June 20. The menu will feature exotic and exciting flavors that will take diners from California to the coast of West Africa. The name comes from the Nigerian city of Lagosa–a cultural hub of West Africa and the homeland of the owners. Lagosia serves lunch and dinner Tue.–Sun., with American breakfast service on weekends. Lagosia, 1725 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-540-8833.

Come early August, SOMA will have a completely new concept for a wine bar in its environs: South, a modern Australian food and wine bar. The project will have chef-partner Luke Mangan crafting a contemporary and wine-friendly menu that will highlight Aussie and New Zealand gourmet products; Mangan is from Glass in the Hilton Sydney, Bistro Lulu, and Salt, and also consults for Virgin. Mangan’s partners in the venture are Anna Weinberg and Liz O’Connell, who both have families with wine backgrounds. The South wine list will emphasize boutique and family-owned wines from Australia and New Zealand. The 50-60-seat space will be open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and dinner nightly, until midnight Fri.-Sat. and brunch a little later. The stylish space will include light cork tile for the flooring, jarrah (an Australian wood) for the tables and bar, a communal table, an 18-seat bar with red and white tiles inspired from Maori carvings, and artwork from modern Aussie artists. South, Fourth St. at Townsend, San Francisco.

Mexico DF, a new Mexico City-style restaurant in SoMa, in the former LongLife Noodle Co., opened just above Shanghai 1930. Felipe Sandoval, the owner of Maya, has partnered with Victor Hugo Juarez, who owns some taquerias (both are originally from Mexico City)—they brought on David Rosales as executive chef. He was formerly at Fonda Solana in Albany, and most recently in Oregon. The menu will have Mexico City-inspired dishes made with organic ingredients—expect ceviches, crudos, and suckling pig carnitas by the pound. At night the space will transform into a lounge (there is a full liquor license), and a late-night menu will be available from 10 p.m. until close. Lunch will be Mon.–Fri., with dinner nightly, and brunch eventually. A to-go program is also in the works for daytime diners from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Mexico DF, 139 Steuart St. at Howard Street, 415-808-1048, San Francisco.

Moving into the former Pizza My Heart space in the Marina is Laïola, a project from Joe Hargrave and Andrew McCormack of Frisson, slated to open in early July. They have tapped Mark Denham (formerly of 42 Degrees, Manresa, and Chez Panisse) to be the executive chef—expect a menu with a strong locally-sourced and nose-to-tail sensibility, offering around 20 plates of charcuterie, plus whole-roasted lamb, suckling pig and an array of seafood. The 45-seat space will have a rustic look and a long and spacious Spanish-style counter. The wine program is almost 100 percent Spanish, with wine offered by the carafina instead of the glass (it comes out to about a glass and a half). Dinner will start at 5 p.m. nightly, staying open until 10:30 p.m., and until 11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Laïola, 2031 Chestnut St. at Fillmore Street, San Francisco, 415-346-5641.

Moving into the former Buca Giovanni space in North Beach will be La Trappe, a two-level space serving Belgian beers and pub-style food with continental flair to accompany the beer, like mussels and fries, fish ‘n’ chips and coq au vin cooked with wine and Belgian ale. The chef is Darrell Simon, who has some Louisiana cooking in his background. La Trappe will be open in mid-July, serving dinner in the evenings to start, but eventually the plan is to be open continuously from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and until midnight on the weekends, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch. La Trappe, 800 Greenwich St. at Mason Street, San Francisco.

The Blupointe restaurant and bar in Claude Lane is being taken over by Franck LeClerc of Café Claude, who is transforming it into Gitane (French for female gypsy). The space is slated to reopen in late August, will have 30 seats inside on the mezzanine, with room for 15 at the bar, and 30 seats outside on a heated terrace. The look with be funky ’50s Euro, and will also have a late-night scene since there is a full liquor license. The chef is Lisa Eyherabide, who is crafting a Mediterranean menu with southern French and Portuguese influences, plus touches from her native Basque region. Café Claude, 6 Claude Lane at Bush, San Francisco.

Local landmark (since 1922) Julius’ Castle has reopened on Telegraph Hill after a long renovation. The dinner menu from chef Michael Hammonds is full of classics, like clams casino and filet mignon, while weekend brunch has Monte Cristo sandwiches and crêpes Suzette. Dinner nightly 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., and weekend brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Julius’ Castle, 1541 Montgomery St. at Union Street, San Francisco, 415-392-2222.

Over in Berkeley, Russell Moore, the chef and produce buyer of Chez Panisse, has finally found a home for his restaurant concept, Camino—he is opening it with his partner Allison Hopelain. The name means “fireplace” in Italian, and most of the menu items will come from the eight-foot-wide stone fireplace. The cozy restaurant won’t be opening until early 2008 at 3917 Grand Ave. in Oakland in the former Country Home Furniture space.

More East Bay news: by late summer, Flora should be opening in downtown Oakland from the partners behind Doña Tomás. The cuisine will be more California comfort (think chowder and hamburgers), and less Cal-Mex. There will also be a lounge area serving cocktails. The space is in an historic Art Deco building at Telegraph and 19th Street, across from the Fox Theatre.

A new wine bar, Uva, will be opening in the Lower Haight around October in the old Horseshoe Coffeehouse space. Uva will also serve a variety of dishes off an enoteca-style menu—a variety of antipasti, with many under $10, served family style. Expect a selection of 12-15 cheeses, salumi, panini, bruschettas, tramezzini, piadine and a few desserts, too. The project comes from Boris Nemchenok and Ben Hetzel. Nemchenok worked as a sommelier and manager under Mario Batali at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in New York, while Hetzel is a Johnson & Wales graduate who has been a cook, captain and cheese buyer for The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco. The look will be rustic and clean, with lots of wood and a marble-topped bar. The wine list is all Italian, and 20-25 wines will be served in 3 oz. tastings or by the quartino in an 8 oz. decanter. It will be open nightly, with weekend brunch. 568 Haight St. at Fillmore Street, San Francisco.

San Francisco’s Levende Lounge is heading east and opening a second location in early June, Levende East, in Old Oakland. Owners and East Bay natives Kiri Eschelle, Dirk Kahl and Ben Doren, along with executive chef Arren Caccamo, are revamping a beautifully historic Old Oakland space, giving the new establishment a similar casual elegance to the original, with updated elements including custom chandeliers, viewable wine storage, and even an outdoor dining area. Caccamo’s cooking will combine flavors from Asia, Latin America and Europe creating a menu of distinctive world-fusion cuisine, with dishes like grilled jumbo white shrimp on roasted garlic-truffle bruschetta with sherry lobster bisque sauce and grilled asparagus. The unique wine list will highlight a variety of new- and old-world wines, with over 100 bottles and an additional 30 by the glass selections. The 68-seat open main dining room evokes an inviting feeling with brick and earth-toned walls, and solid walnut floors and furnishings. Dinner will be served Monday–Saturday 5 p.m.–11 p.m., with full bar service from 5 p.m.–2 a.m. nightly. Lunch is served Monday–Friday 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and the “Boogie Brunch” service will be offered on Saturdays 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Levende East, 827 Washington St. at Ninth Street, Oakland, 510-835-5585.

Pâtisserie Philippe has opened near the roundabout in SoMa in the design district. The owner, Philippe Delarue, was formerly with Bay Bread in San Francisco. Open for breakfast and lunch, a variety of items will be offered, including sandwiches, salads, quiches and all kinds of pastry, from cookies to teacakes. Open Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pâtisserie Philippe, 655 Townsend St., between Seventh & Eighth Streets, San Francisco, 415-558-8016.

Two Restaurant

After a quick remodel, Hawthorne Lane reopened on January 11 as TWO, with a new-yet-retro look and an entirely new menu format. Owner David Gingrass collaborated with executive chef Bridget Batson, crafting a more casual and simple approach, with seasonal dishes like roasted pork with braised Belgian endive and apples, and cast iron-pan chicken with a quinoa salad. The dining room now has a large communal table, where guests can enjoy a prix-fixe two-course menu along with a terzo of wine (about 1½ glasses) for $25. Happy hour in the lively bar area will continue to run weekdays, 4 p.m.-6 p.m., with bar bites priced at $2 each. Open Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. on weekends. TWO, 22 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, 415-777-9779.

New wine bars are popping up all over San Francisco, but the Marina's new JoVino will also specialize in gourmet coffee–hence its name: "Jo" for coffee, "Vino" for, well, vino. Menu items will include notable chef Joanna Karlinsky's Meetinghouse biscuits, named for her previous venture in the space that now holds Quince, as well as a selection of homemade scones and preserves, sandwiches and salads. One or two hot dishes such as beef stew or macaroni and cheese will be available for light dinner fare. Ken Lowe, owner of Ace Wasabi, has transformed the Union Street spot that previously hosted La Nouvelle Pâtisserie into a warm, modern café built for lingering and mingling. The café will be open 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Wines will cost $6-$12 a glass. JoVino, 2184 Union St. at Fillmore St. No phone number yet.

Francophiles, oenophiles and/or both are converging on a brand new Polk Gulch wine bar and small-plates restaurant. Amelie stands out in the otherwise gritty neighborhood for its design-rich interior with lipstick-red walls, moody French music, a long bar and low, modern lounge seating. Date-size dining tables keep things intimate in back. Around 150 French and California wines are offered, including twenty or so by the glass, as well as a menu of inventive soju, Champagne and Lillet cocktails. Partners Samie Didda and Germain Michel are veterans from Chouchou in Forest Hill (Didda, Chouchou's owner, also owns a pastry shop in Paris; this is Michel's first venture). The team has put together a simple menu of bistro bites including escargots, foie gras torchon and Gruyère raviole du Royans. Dinner is served 5 p.m.-1:30 a.m. every night except Monday. Amelie, 1754 Polk St. at Washington St., 415-292-6796,

In a citywide game of restaurant musical chairs, Avenue G on Clement Street closed and reopened at the old La Felce location in North Beach on February 14. Meanwhile, the Richmond District space has reopened as a spruced-up version of its former incarnation, Pho Tu Do. The Vietnamese noodle house once again serves generous, inexpensive pho soups and other noodle dishes, as well as heartier Vietnamese fare such as garlic-roasted crab. Avenue G's more eclectic, fusion menu of dishes such as Filipino adobo pulled-pork profiteroles, Oaxacan rib-eye and Guinness-braised lamb shank can now be found at 1570 Stockton St. near Washington Square (415-989-0399). Pho Tu Do, 1000 Clement St. at Eleventh Ave., San Francisco, 415-221-7111.

A new restaurant, Avenue G, opened on Clement St. in early July. The cuisine is focused on representing the many international players in San Francisco cooking, from sashimi to Dungeness crab and potpie to Brazilian feijoada. The chef/owner worked at Chaya and Betelnut, so he’s more than familiar with eclectic menus and tastes. The sleek space will be serving dinner nightly until late into the evening (midnight, or even later on the weekend). Avenue G, 1000 Clement St. at 11th Avenue, San Francisco, 415-221-7111.

Moving into the vacant Maroc space on Haight St. will be The Alembic, a bar/restaurant from the owner of Magnolia Pub and Brewery. The philosophy is to highlight the artisanal and micro-distillery scene, like the Bay Area’s local producers, and beyond. The chef is Eddie Blyden, formerly of Sneaky Tiki and 21st Amendment (he has also now taken over the kitchen of Magnolia). The American menu will focus on using organic, local and sustainable ingredients. The 40-seat space will be cozy classic, utilizing reclaimed woods for the floors, bar, tables and chairs. The plan is for a fall opening. 1725 Haight St., San Francisco.

Many have been surprised to hear that French Laundry’s famed chef, Thomas Keller, pictured, is opening a casual, temporary restaurant in the former Wine Garden space in Yountville, just down the street from French Laundry. By fall, Ad Hoc will begin serving a set four-course prix-fixe dinner of comfort food, with a choice of main dishes like fried chicken and beef stroganoff, averaging around $45 (instead of $450). Even more surprising is his master plan to then re-open it as a burger joint six months later. The world’s most perfect burger may be close.

Opening this September in the Financial District’s former Gold Coast space will be Perbacco, a restaurant project from Staffan Terje, the former executive chef at Scala's Bistro and Umberto Gibin, a former director of operations at Grand Café, Masa's and Fifth Floor. The restaurant will feature a seasonal Italian menu focused on the northern Piedmontese region, with homemade stuffed pastas, and classic regional dishes. The two-level space is being designed by Cass Calder Smith, and will be hip and urban, yet still evocative of its turn-of-the-century history, with an original brick wall, carpeted floors and marble touches. They will serve lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday. 230 California St., San Francisco.

The current location of Cozmo's Corner Grill in the Marina will be closing in July or so for a remodel from designer Michael Brennan (Boca, Cortez, Tartare), reopening as Circa in August or thereabouts. The space will feature much more of a lounge sensibility, with elegant touches like chandeliers and plush booths. The executive chef, Erik Hopfinger, is staying on and creating a menu of small and shared plates, like Dungeness Crab Tater Tots and Moroccan Spiced "Lolly Chops." Mark Bright was hired as the consulting sommelier. 2001 Chestnut St., 415-351-0175.

Dolores Park Café

The owner of Dolores Park Café is opening a café on the corner of Duboce and Sanchez Streets in July called Duboce Park Café. The organic ingredient-centric menu will feature sandwiches, salads and soup, plus coffee, smoothies and even wine. There will be outdoor seating and large windows looking out onto the park. It will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and a light dinner, 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

A new restaurant will be opening in the outer Mission called The Front Porch from the chef of Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, Sarah Kirnon; Kevin Cline, the GM from Bix; and Josie White, a waitress and manager of Emmy's. It’s moving into the former home of Dominic's Club, which dates back to 1933. The space will have an eclectic and homey/neighborhood feeling, with retro and vintage touches throughout. The menu is inspired by the British “gastropub” phenomenon and will offer simple fare that will have a Caribbean influence (Kirnon is from Barbados). The food is designed to be affordable, and there will be a number of delicious and reasonably priced wines to pair with the food as well. The opening is planned for July, with dinner nightly, and a lunch/brunch on Saturday. 65A 29th St., San Francisco.

Opening on September 28 is the Westfield San Francisco Centre. There will be a number of restaurant projects moving into the space, including Lark Creek Steak from Bradley Ogden and restaurateur Michael Dellar; ‘wichcraft from New York’s Tom Colicchio; another location of Charles Phan’s Out the Door from Slanted Door; Chris Yeo’s Straits Café will be closing its Geary Street location in July and moving in here as Straits Restaurant; plus Zazil from the folks behind Colibri Mexican Bistro; a high-end patisserie called Cocola Bakery; the Dome Café under the historic Emporium dome; and a Food Emporium with 15 fast-casual eateries and a Bristol Farms market. There will also be a Bloomingdale’s, Century Theatres and a Burke Williams Day Spa and Massage Center. Westfield San Francisco Centre is at 865 Market Street, with separate entrances on Market, Mission, and Fifth Streets as well as two entrances from the BART and Muni Powell Street Station. For more information, visit or call 415-512-6776.

A former bar in North Beach called VXN is being transformed into a restaurant called Byblos Bar and Grill come July. It will have a Cal-Med menu, with some Lebanese specialties. Byblos will be open for lunch and dinner, after which the bar area will come alive. They intend to have belly dancing a few nights a week and some live entertainment, perhaps by the owner, Toufic Mahfouz, who incidentally is a recording artist. Byblos Bar and Grill, 270 Columbus Ave.

Yoshi's East Bay

A huge project is underway in the Historic Fillmore Jazz District, centered around the Fillmore Jazz Heritage Center slated to open in Spring 2007. The largest restaurant to open will be the second location of the East Bay’s Yoshi’s: Yoshi's World Class Jazz House & Japanese Restaurant. The chef will be the popular and talented Shotaro (Sho) Kamio, formerly of Ozumo. The 26,500 square-foot, two-story jazz club will have 420 seats, while the restaurant and lounge will have room for more than 300. Yoshi's will feature the best of local, national and international jazz artists. The restaurant is due to open in March 2007 on Fillmore St. at Eddy St.

Another big opening will be the Blue Mirror Restaurant & Lounge, a project from chef/owner David Lawrence (formerly of the Carnelian Room for seven-plus years) and his wife, Monetta White. The name comes from one of the popular jazz clubs that used to populate the area, which had an especially vibrant jazz scene in the 1950s. An American-Californian menu with a French soul influence, plus a late-night menu, will be offered in the classy yet casual space. It will seat 75-80 people, and will include a private dining room, a lounge and a bar area with room for more guests. 1300 Fillmore St. at Eddy St.

A third restaurant to open in the area will be the Fillmo' Betta Restaurant and Lounge, a project from Joseph Manzare (Globe, Zuppa and Tres Agaves), Gary Banks, and Keith Jackson. The boutique restaurant and lounge will evoke a late-night Chicago jazz-club vibe, and is slated to open in March 2007. The menu will be focused on modern comfort food, with some Southern touches. Expect to find an array of smoked meats, plus buttermilk fried chicken, salmon croquettes and marinated lamb riblets. Mark Bright of Michael Mina is the consulting sommelier, and Greg Washington, the GM of Globe, is assisting with the launch. 1520 Eddy St. at Fillmore St.

This June, the Castro will have a sleek lounge/restaurant called Crave, serving dishes designed to be shared, late into the night. Executive chef Matthew DuTrumble was the opening chef at Geranium, a vegetarian restaurant in Bernal Heights, until early this year. He was also a chef/instructor at the CCA. Crave’s American/International menu will feature approachable dishes, like New York sliders, grilled prawns and back-back ribs. A number of the dishes will integrate potions and libations from the bar, like vermouth in a salad dressing and vodka in a pink cream sauce over penne. Open until 3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, the space will feature an LED light display, a DJ, a mezzanine level above the bar and a modern and slick décor. Crave, 2367 Market St., 415-865-0192.

Come June or so, the gents from Town Hall, brother-chefs Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal and Doug Washington, will be opening the Salt House, a contemporary tavern in a former printing press. The cozy space will feature brick walls and wood floors and seat 65. The menu is currently in development, but expect dishes like a signature hamburger, raw fish and putin, a French Canadian dish of fries covered in a thin gravy with cheese. 545 Mission St. (between 1st St. and 2nd St.).

A new restaurant will be opening in Noe Valley, Bistro 1689, in the old Chinese Long Island Restaurant space. Chris Pastena, the former chef of Bruno's, was hired to consult on the recipes and the menu full of French bistro classics like mussels with tarragon white wine, plus some bigger ticket items, like a caviar plate, and filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. It will be a cozy space, and will have a wine bar serving French wines. Open nightly for dinner in late May. 1689 Church St.

Opening in the old Watercress space in the Mission on May 22 will be Senses Restaurant. The menu will feature contemporary cuisine with French and seasonal influences. Chef Sophiane Benouda has trained and worked with Paul Bocuse for three years and was a chef at the Michelin-rated French restaurant, Chez Alain. Designer Dava Guntmiller promises a sleek and chic interior that will still maintain a neighborhood vibe. Dinner nightly, Sunday-Thursday 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. 1152 Valencia St., between 22nd St. and 23rd St., 415-648-6000.

Just in time for the warmer months, a second Samovar Tea Lounge location has opened in the upper terrace at the Yerba Buena Gardens. It features a spectacular view of the park that can be enjoyed over a cup of one of their many teas at breakfast, brunch, lunch, high tea or dinner. Samovar Tea Lounge, Upper Terrace, 730 Howard St., 415-227-9400.

A Crepevine is opening in the old Leticia’s space on Fillmore St. The interior went through extensive renovations, and the new restaurant will offer a casual atmosphere for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Since the space has a liquor license, diners can enjoy a Bloody Mary over brunch. Open daily 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (later on the weekend). 2301 Fillmore St. at Clay St.

Fans of the healthier Mexican food at Papalote Mexican Grill in the Mission district are now happily eating their fish tacos across town in the Western Addition. A second location opened at 1777 Fulton St. at Masonic St., San Francisco, 415-776-0106.

Nick Fasanella, who is the famous Nick behind Nick’s Crispy Tacos has opened a modern pizza place next door called “Nicky’s Pizzeria Rustica.” He is no longer involved with the tacos (legal issues with his former partner), so his full attention will be on his pizzas. Expect a thick focaccia-like crust, with a number of organic and local ingredients on top (even the flour in the dough is organic). Pizza is available by the slice, along with salads, beer and wine. 2109 Polk St. at Broadway, 415-771-4222.

Nopa, a restaurant named after and located in the North of the Panhandle neighborhood, has opened. The large space was formerly a laundromat and features industrial touches like a concrete floor, a poured-concrete bar and exposed rafters. A large communal table, a mezzanine and the bar provide ample seating. The partners (Laurence Jossel, Jeff Hanak, and Allyson Woodman) are all alums of Chow, and the sous chef is the former chef of Andalu, Marcella Lew. The Cal-Southern Med menu is driven by the rotisserie, wood-fired grill and pizza oven, and features organic and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant has a full liquor license, and stays open until 1 a.m. Nopa, 560 Divisadero St. at Hayes St., San Francisco.

Chef Daniel Patterson's highly-anticipated restaurant, Coi (say "kwa"-it's an archaic French word that means "calm" or "tranquil"), has opened. The intimate, 30-seat space is in the former home of The Great Water Bar & Café and Route 66, just where the Financial District meets North Beach. Scott Kester, the talented man behind Patterson's former project, Frisson, designed the space. The size is of a very different scale from Frisson, and the cooking style a slight departure from the El Bulli-esque/avant-garde concepts people came to expect of him. Either four- or nine-course tasting menus of his elegant French-California cuisine will be offered for dinner, Tuesday-Saturday. Coi, 373 Broadway St., between Montgomery and Sansome Streets, San Francisco, 415-393-9000.

Construction is still underway on the Woodhouse Fish Company, in the former home of World Sausage Grill in the Castro. The space will have a New England diner look, with a fast-casual menu serving up crab, lobster, prawns and other seafood deliciousness. The owner, Dylan Woodhouse MacNiven, comes from four generations of fishermen, and his father owns the kitschy Buck’s of Woodside not too far South from San Francisco. 2073 Market Street at 14th Street.

Mixt Greens, a new lunch destination, is slated to open in the Financial District on April 18. Diners can order from a list of ten tossed-to-order salads made with gourmet and organic ingredients. The executive chef, Andrew Swallow, was a former manager of Restaurant Gary Danko. Not only are the ingredients green but the building is too: they followed green building practices during its construction. Even the take-away packaging is 100% compostable. Mixt Greens also offers online ordering and pre-packaged take-away salads. 120 Sansome St. at Pine St., San Francisco, 415-433-6498.

Another gourmet destination will be gracing the Fourth Street area in SoMa: this fall will bring Orson (named after Orson Welles). The restaurant is a project from Elizabeth Faulkner of Citizen Cake and her business partner, Sabrina Riddle. The former Red Dot Outlet space will feature a clubby vibe and a stylish bar—and you know the desserts will be stellar, especially with the presence of a "chocolate sommelier." Orson, 508 Fourth St., San Francisco.

A former Thai restaurant in the Marina has reopened as Abigail’s Bakery and Café. The California-meets-bistro menu was crafted by chef Josh Bush, formerly at Foreign Cinema. You can have three square meals at Abigail’s, from a breakfast of fresh pastry to a croque monsieur for lunch to skirt steak or sea bass for dinner. The menu reflects a commitment to organic ingredients and is casual but still somewhat refined in its approach. Come summer, hopefully the back patio will be open. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore, San Francisco, 415-929-8889.

San Francisco has an entirely new concept in destinations to visit: BOCA (Bar of Contemporary Art), a social space that brings together food, art and cocktails. The owners are Will Linn and Monika Milk Bernstein of the local event group Blasthaus and the bar/art space, the Rx Gallery. BOCA is located in a developing area on Jessie Street, between Market and Mission and Fourth and Fifth Streets, the future home of the San Francisco Museum going into the old Mint building. BOCA, which also means "mouth," serves lunch, dinner and late nights snacks, with a menu crafted by Eric Hopfinger of Cozmo’s Corner Grill in the Marina. You can find pizza, panini and salads, along with a gourmet coffee bar that features premium coffees and espressos from around the world. As things move into the evening, BOCA has a more a clubby vibe. Monthly exhibits will focus on more new media-oriented work, like video art and robotics. They should have an after-hours permit soon, in addition to outdoor seating when the area becomes pedestrian-only, hopefully over the next year or so. 414 Jessie St., open Monday-Saturday.

Fans of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream will be pleased to learn it opened its first San Francisco location in Union Square in April. The secret recipe-ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet are made fresh daily at the Creamery. One of their trademark services is mixing in any toppings on a frozen granite stone set at 16 degrees. The Creamery will employ approximately 30 entertaining crewmembers, so it’s no small operation. 119 Ellis Street, next to the Monticello Inn, San Francisco,

The former Miss Millie's space in Noe Valley has a new tenant, Kookez Café. The weekend brunch on the patio is back, in addition to dinner Wednesdays through Sundays, offering coast-to-coast American cuisine. Emphasis is on baked goods that diners can either enjoy at the restaurant or take home with them, like the namesake cookies, muffins and other sweet treats. 4123 24th St. at Castro Street, 415-641-7773.

Hayes Valley is coming alive with new places to eat at this spring. Modern Tea has opened (see below), but just across the street from each other will be another of Pascal Rigo’s Boulanges on one corner (500 Hayes St. at Octavia Street) and Café Grillades (501 Hayes St. at Octavia Street, 415-553-8500) on the other, which will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner (until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights). Café Grillade’s Mediterranean menu will include classic breakfast specialties (served all day), crêpes, rotisserie chicken and simple grilled meats (all free-range and Halal). There will also be a selection of gelato and sundaes for those with a sweet tooth, and some outdoor seating where diners can watch the shoppers stroll by. The chic Sebo has opened (517 Hayes St. at Octavia St., 415-864-2181), a contemporary Japanese restaurant venture from the two chaps from the former Midori Mushi, Michael Black and Daniel Dunham. Beau Timken of True Sake (just up the street) is helping to craft their sake list. And lastly, Dottie’s, an offshoot of Kurt Abney’s Dottie’s True Blue Café is delayed and will be opening hopefully by the end of the year at 330 Fell St. (near Gough St.).

The Hayes Valley has a new contemporary tea salon in the neighborhood, Modern Tea. The café is also a retail shop and casual eatery, serving a variety of snacks, small meal items and seasonal soups, along with fresh-baked goods like turnovers and butter cakes to accompany the variety of all fair-trade and organic teas. There's also wine available from smaller producers, and brunch on the weekend with waffles made on vintage cast irons from the mid-1800s. The modern but warm ambiance features rustic touches like hand-hewn tables and wood plank floors with artistic touches like handmade multi-colored glass light fixtures and steel and glass mosaics. Alice Cravens, the owner, is behind a number of esteemed tea programs at local restaurants like Chez Panisse and Zuni Café—the store's website will allow consumers access to some of the teas previously only available while dining at some of the restaurants. Modern Tea is open Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. with weekend brunch offered Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3p.m. 662 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-626-5406,

Word on the Sunset streets is the new chef at Eldo's Grill & Microbrewery is turning out a very tasty Nuevo Latino menu of tapas and larger plates. The new chef, Abby McManigle, started in late October and is from the popular Sabor of Spain in San Rafael. The new menu includes dishes like tuna tartare, cochinita pibil, homemade tortillas and empanadas, and a quail dish with a smoky peanut sauce. Eldo’s also makes its own beer, and offers a winning sangria as well. 1326 9th Ave. at Irving Street, 415-564-0425.

The Castro is going to be adding even more sass to Market Street, courtesy of another restaurant project by the hip partnership of restaurateur Greg Bronstein and designer Craige Walters (they recently partnered on Lime and Sneaky Tiki). The former space of the indulgently named Repastoria Satyricon is being replaced with Swanky Steakhouse, due to open in the spring. The look will be a little bit glitzy with a few riffs of rock ’n’ roll thrown in. The inspiration is a modern take on the Rat Pack era, with metallic silver and gold and black patent making some flashy on-stage appearances and back-up provided by some Murano glass-blown chandeliers and lush, round banquettes. Gold penny tiles interspersed primarily with black penny tiles will form the facade of the restaurant, creating a subtle yet groovy mosaic effect. Sounds like one hep cat. 2251 Market St. at Noe Street, no number yet.

Two more spots have opened in the Guerrero corridor in San Francisco’s Mission district. First there’s Zagora, a nicely atmospheric Moroccan restaurant serving dishes with a contemporary twist, like beef short ribs cooked with star anise and Moroccan spices and prawns with ginger, orange blossom and organic tomato jam. It’s right on the corner space where Da Luisa used to be. Then, right next door with a little red lantern hanging outside is Kiji, a new sushi spot that moved into the former La Foccacia space. Eddy Hong, the owner and head sushi chef, will happily introduce guests to fish collar will they nibble on their homemade gyoza. Zagora, 1007 Guerrero St. at 22nd Street, 415-282-6444, open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday with brunch on Sunday. Kiji, 1009 Guerrero St. at 22nd Street, 415-282-0400, open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday.

Cortez’s husband-and-wife duo, Karen and Quinn Hatfield, have left the restaurant and are returning to Los Angeles to open their new restaurant, Hatfield. The chefs plan to open the 50-seat restaurant this spring and will be serving Cal-French cuisine. Meanwhile, Cortez will be promoting internally: Louis Moldinado (formerly of One Market) and Seth Bowden (formerly of Campton Place) will be the new co-executive chefs. They are both notably creative and have been at the restaurant since the opening. Cortez will also be introducing a five-course tasting menu, in addition to adding wine pairings on the main menu, with four-ounce pours.

The ever-vacant El Zarape in the Mission has closed, and a spiffy little bar and restaurant, Velvet Cantina, is breathing some new life into the location. Velvet Cantina is an upgrade from most taquerias since they have a liquor license and intend to use it: They make a mild mango-infused tequila, and their margaritas are made with fresh lime and Sauza tequila. The décor features some stylishly gaudy kitsch: The bar/lounge is styled like a bordello, with custom murals and lots of gilt, including metallic copper booths. The adjoining restaurant room is more sedate (but not too much, because the booths are upholstered with faux cowhide). This is a first venture from owner Matt Tognazzini and chef Russell Morton (Plumpjack Café, 2223 Restaurant). The menu will range from traditional Mexican offerings to Latin-inspired dishes with a twist, like organic chicken and avocado enchiladas, topped with pepper jack cheese, cilantro pesto and jalapeno cream, or tortilla soup that comes with the surprise of a sour cream empanada inside. One dessert sure to elicit a response (ole!?) is the chocolate and peanut butter tamale (made with peanut butter masa), served with sweet and sour chocolate cream. 3349 23rd St., San Francisco, 648-4142,

Jocelyn Bulow is proving to be San Francisco’s ever-busy French restaurateur (besides Pascal Rigo, of course): His latest venture in Potrero Hill is called Couleur Café (formerly considered as "Gitan"). It will be open daily serving lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, and until 3 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Brunch is 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The menu will include savory delights such as rotisserie chicken, fries with a decadent Roquefort dipping butter, sandwiches, salads, and brunch on the weekend. 300 DeHaro St. at 16th Street, San Francisco, 415-255-1021.

Coming late February, taking over the former space of STOA Restaurant & Wine Bar in Palo Alto is Mantra, a contemporary Californian restaurant with Indian influences. Mantra is a project from the owner and general manager of San Francisco’s Zingari, Krishan Miglani. The space is being massively remodeled, and the resulting upscale and elegant restaurant is aiming to be one of the trio of top establishments in the area, keeping good company with Evvia Estiatorio and Tamarine. The chef, Robert Ciborowski, has cooked at The Ritz-Carlton in Japan and Florida, in addition to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, the French Laundry, and has traveled extensively all over the globe, from Japan to Maui. 632 Emerson St., Palo Alto, 650-322-3500.

No, you’re not seeing double: The former Sydney’s Restaurant in the Jewish Community Center is actually splitting into two restaurants. Open since January 9 is California St. Delicatessen and Café, and on January 27 (415) Restaurant & Bar opens. The deli/café will offer authentic New York-style Jewish deli faves, like hand-carved sandwiches stuffed with hot pastrami, corned beef, and brisket, in addition to some daily hot offerings like house-made meatloaf, brisket, and roast chicken. The restaurant will be a hip and chic space with touches of exotica and will offer authentic Asian fine dining that highlights local ingredients. Chef John Beardsley is very familiar with and inspired by Asian cuisine, and has also worked at Betelnut, Loongbar, Ponzu, Le Colonial, and Azie. Expect to find satays, curries and tasty items like coconut-braised beef shortribs with betel leaf and sweet chili glaze, in addition to a unique approach on the wine list for diners who want guidance pairing wines with their dinner. There will also be a lounge area with dancing and live DJs Thursday through Saturday. Both restaurant concepts were developed by John Hurley and Justin Hafen, who also own and operate Garibaldi’s on Presidio and Garibaldi’s on College. California St. Delicatessen & Café, 3200 California St. at Presidio Street, 415-922-DELI; (415) Restaurant & Bar, 415 Presidio St. at California Street, 415-409-0400.

Starting March 20, the Hayes Valley will have a new contemporary tea salon in the neighborhood, Modern Tea. The café will also be a retail shop and casual eatery, serving a variety of snacks, small meal items and seasonal soups, along with fresh-baked goods like turnovers and butter cakes to accompany the variety of all fair-trade and organic teas. There will also be wine available from smaller producers, and brunch on the weekend with waffles made on vintage cast irons from the mid-1800s. The modern but warm ambiance will feature rustic touches like hand-hewn tables and wood plank floors with artistic touches like handmade multi-colored glass light fixtures and steel and glass mosaics. Alice Cravens, the owner, is behind a number of esteemed tea programs at local restaurants like Chez Panisse and Zuni Café—the store’s Web site will allow consumers access to some of the teas previously only available while dining at some of the restaurants. Modern Tea will be open Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. with weekend brunch offered Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3p.m. 662 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-626-5406.

Jocelyn Bulow’s third location of local bistro favorite, Chez Maman, is slated to open on January 20th in the former location of Night Monkey on Union Street. His partners include Stephen Buoillez (from La Suite) and Suzanna Dempsey. Expect the same menu as the other two, so those with a hankering for the signature burger with Brie needn’t trek over the hill to get it—although the exercise wouldn’t be such a bad thing, especially with the banana and Nutella crêpe begging to be eaten for dessert. 2223 Union St. at Fillmore Street, 415-771-7771.

A new sushi place called Yuzu has opened in the former “Chaz” space in the Marina. Brothers Fred and John Yick are trying to iron out any kinks before putting the word out about the opening, but the buzz is that the extremely fresh fish is a marvel. The otoro and hamachi are getting especially high marks, and they serve tasty cooked dishes as well. Open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Yuzu, 3347 Fillmore St., San Francisco, 415-775-1873.

The Western Addition is about to get a healthy dining outpost, Green Chile Kitchen and Market, slated to open January 11. The fast-casual restaurant will include specialties that highlight the New Mexican green and red chiles, like slow-roasted rotisserie Fulton Ranch chicken sporting a chile rub and higher-end burritos made with Niman Ranch pork and beef. There will also be farmer’s market-fresh salads with house-made dressings, stews, and other dishes with a focus on organic and local purveyors. The market will also include organic coffee and teas, specialty foods, wine and Mexican beer selections. Best of all, they will offer a curbside takeout service: simply order your food, pull up outside and they will bring it to you. The vibrant metro-casual space includes brightly colored green ceilings, red posts, a tile floor and some sidewalk seating as well. 601 Baker St. at Fulton Street, 415-614-9411, open Tuesday-Friday 11a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Another outpost has opened on the culinary wonderland of Belden Alley—Belden Taverna, the latest venture from Pino Spinoso of Café Tiramisu. Expect an elegant Mediterranean steakhouse, with Italian, French and Moorish influences on dishes like hearty rib-eyes, chops, venison and duck. There will also be pastas, falafel and tagines mingling on the family-style menu. The space is being described as urban rustic and will be a notch more spendy than the other establishments on the alley. The multilevel space will have a downstairs with a bar area and a quieter upstairs for those who crave a more intimate experience. There will also be patio seating offered, ideal for the lunchtime alfresco crowds. 52 Belden Place between Bush and Pine Streets, Kearny and Montgomery Streets, 415-986-8887, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, no lunch on Saturday, closed Sunday.

There will soon be a second Grégoire restaurant in the East Bay, slated to open in Oakland in early 2006. (The original is just around the corner from Chez Panisse in Berkeley.) The walk-in restaurant will be located in the Elsie L. Turner Building, a Beaux Arts structure built in 1916-17, and will feature the same open kitchen concept and menu. Beloved for its high-end sandwiches and delicious take-out entrées, the second location will feature many of the same items as the original, like the famed crispy potato puffs. The rest of the menu always depends on what is in season, since they like to feature locally grown produce picked at the peak of ripeness. 4001B Piedmont Ave.

Next door to the North Beach Basque eatery, Iluna Basque, there is now a casual café called Eguna Basque ("eguna" means "day"). It’s open early in the morning and through lunch, with a straightforward menu featuring tasty stuffed croissants, quiches, salads, panini, and sweet crêpes. They also have some tasty ice cream offerings. The space is casual and comfortable, with some stuffed chairs and free wi-fi to boot. Eguna Basque. 1657 Powell St. at Union Street, 415-362-2144; open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Vegans in the Sunset rejoice: Café Gratitude has opened a second location in the neighborhood. It has moved into the former home of Einstein’s Café—there is a great garden in the back, and the kitchen is significantly larger. The menu will continue to feature Café Gratitude’s flavorful and fresh and certainly creative raw cuisine. They also plan to open a third location in Berkeley on Shattuck at Virginia in January. 1336 Ninth Ave. at Irving Street, San Francisco, 415-665-0335.

The long-awaited sister restaurant to Tartine Bakery has opened: Bar Tartine, a wine-centric casual eatery in the Mission. It has a warm and rustic European feel, not unlike the bakery, with a green storefront. The French-inspired menu includes delectables like duck rillettes or grilled sardines as an appetizer, and entrées like herb-crusted duck breast with Swiss chard, baby turnips and a decadent foie gras emulsion. Delicious bread from Tartine bakery is served (natch), which pairs with the tasty cheese offerings nicely. Desserts are different from the bakery, so don’t come in with your hopes pinned on its wicked bread pudding. 561 Valencia St. at 16th Street, San Francisco, 415-487-1600.

Think: cream puffs

A phenomenon from Japan will soon be coming to San Francisco, and it doesn’t have anything to do with raw fish. Think: cream puffs. Yup, filled-to-order cream puffs in flavors like traditional vanilla custard, chocolate, green tea, milk tea, and caramel. Beard Papa’s is a chain from Tokyo that will open in the summer on Yerba Buena Lane, and already has seduced legions of fans at its other locations in New York and Hollywood. For those wondering where Yerba Buena Lane is, it’s a new street (or walkway) that will be opening between Mission and Market Street near the Four Seasons hotel, across from the Yerba Buena Gardens. 99 Yerba Buena Ln., San Francisco, (no number yet).

In the Mission, Platanos is now Platanos Café y Cocina Rustico. In addition to the longer name, is also has a new co-owner: local bread-man Pascal Rigo. The restaurant recently reopened with a fresh interior paint job, new tables and floors and an updated menu that spans the Yucatan, Central America and the Caribbean. Expect breakfast with some pan dulces from Rigo’s Bay Bread empire, lunch includes delicious Cuban sandwiches, and the dinner menu has a flavorful guacamole served with plantain chips, tamales, a bright jicama salad, and tasty doughnut holes for dessert. Brunch is served on the weekends until late, and includes huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th Street, San Francisco, 415-252-9281.

A company called Bacchus Management Group will be taking over the former La Table space and will be opening it as Spruce. Bacchus is made up of five partners: three from the Village Pub in Woodside (Tim Stannard, Mark Sullivan, Andrew Green), in addition to Gordon Drysdale (Pizza Antica and formerly the adored Gordon’s House of Fine Eats) and Brannin Beal (of Postino in Layfayette and Tomatina, a fast-casual chain of restaurants in Northern California). Drysdale, Tim Stannard and Brannin Beal also recently opened Santana Row’s Pizza Antica together. The building is going to be quite a looker, which is funny considering it was an old car garage from the ‘40s. It has soaring glass and steel ceilings with large steel girders doing their job as seismic trusses, 30-foot antique brick walls and a long skylight. Mark Sullivan, from the Village Pub, will be the chef. They’re (optimistically) gunning for a springtime opening—they’ve been stuck in permit hearings for the massive remodel. 3640 Sacramento St. at Spruce Street. (No phone yet.)

Mission residents will be pleased they won’t have to make the trek to Berkeley for Indian treats since the former location of Spiazzino Cucina will soon be reopening as Dosa. The restaurant will serve the namesake dosas, which are large South Indian crêpes made from either rice flour or fermented lentil flour batter. Stuffings are customarily vegetarian and can include potatoes, vegetables, chiles, and typically come with a variety of spicy chutneys. 995 Valencia St. at 22nd Street, no number yet.

On the day after Thanksgiving, the new owners of the Elite Café will throw open their doors to ply you with delicious food from chef Joanna Karlinsky, formerly of the Meetinghouse. (A couple of the partners also hail from the old Alta Plaza on Fillmore.) They are freshening up the Art Deco interior and the mahogany booths, and have added a new tile floor, paint job and chairs. Even the neon sign has been completely restored. The menu will focus on classic preparations of Cajun and Creole cuisine, in addition to American dishes inspired by the flavors of New Orleans and the South. Expect the beloved Meetinghouse biscuits to appear on the menu, in addition to fresh oysters, crayfish bisque, hominy-crusted catfish and delicious sides like collard greens and fried green tomatoes. The first three days (Friday, November 25-Sunday, November 27) will offer both brunch and dinner for those who can’t to cozy back up to the charming and always-friendly space. 2049 Fillmore St. at California Street, San Francisco, 415-346-8668.

On November 1, the former location of Alma reopened in its new incarnation: Garçon. The owners, Jerome Rivoire, Olivier Azancot and Eric Klein (of Plouf, Café Bastille and Voda) have transformed the space into a French bistro sporting an old-world classic look, with wooden banquettes, a revamped zinc-looking bar, and bistro chairs. There is also a private lounge that seats 20, perfect for upcoming holiday fêtes. The chef is Frank Ouvrard, who was formerly at Hyde Street Bistro and Le Charm, in addition to cooking in Monaco and in Paris at Taillevent. Expect traditional bistro favorites on the menu, in addition to a number of organic ingredients and even some vegetarian options. 1101 Valencia St. at 22nd Street, 415-401-8959. Currently open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday, and soon open for lunch Monday-Friday, dinner nightly and brunch on the weekend.

Azancot and Klein have also been busy putting the finishing touches on Les Amis, an upscale French brasserie that has taken over the old Zare space downtown. The third partner is also the chef, Thomas Weibull, who was previously the Executive Chef of Plouf. Expect a mid-November opening. 568 Sacramento St. at Montgomery Street, 415-291-9145.

The owners of Boboquivari’s and The Stinking Rose (Jerry Dal Bozzo, Andrea Froncillo, and Dante Serafini) have bought The Franciscan Restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf. They're turning it into more of a classic ‘40s- and ‘50s-style seafood restaurant—expect crab cakes, mussels, a raw bar, and, of course, delicious cracked crab. Since the owners are about as Italian as you can get, there will be some tasty additions, like house-made burrata as well. The restaurant will have new signage, a new exterior paint job, and some new interior touches as the year winds up. Pier 43 1/2 Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, 415-362-7733.

Zoya, a new destination for opera and symphony-goers, just opened in the old Midori Mushi space. Chef-owner Johannes Kim and owner Tracey Ballard-Kim are offering a small rotating menu of Modern American cuisine highlighting local and organic ingredients, including dishes like a rib-eye salad with Gorgonzola cheese and grilled radicchio, and short ribs with garlic skin-on smashed potatoes. The space has two levels—the downstairs has deep red walls and is a somewhat hip lounge area, while upstairs is the intimate dining area, with classic jazz percolating in the background and warm brown tones. They have four beers on tap and a global wine list with everything poured by the glass. Lunch is served Tue.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner is Tue.-Wed. 5 p.m.-9 p.m and Thu.-Sat. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. 465 Grove St., San Francisco, 415-626-9692.

After a nasty furnace fire in February 2005 the Fior d’Italia, America’s oldest Italian restaurant, is planning to reopen on November 1. The restaurant left its Union Street location of 54 years and has moved into the historic San Remo Hotel. The San Remo Hotel was the first hotel constructed after the 1906 earthquake by Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini. A grand reopening celebration will be held on November 22. To mark the occasion, Fior d’ Italia is rolling back menu prices to 1886 for the entire Grand Reopening Day. Expect Northern Italian dishes like veal sauté, risotto with clams, calf’s liver, and tortellini Bolognese, with four-course meals ranging from $.05 to $.30. One of the many highlights of Fior d’Italia’s new San Remo Hotel location is the renovation of the famous mural that has been part of the restaurant since the 1950s. It is a composite of various northern Italian scenes, painted by artist Paul Rockwell in the mid-1940s. When the mural was moved from their Broadway digs in 1953, the entire mural would not fit into the Union Street location. The mural was cut into panels and one panel was stored. Now, for the first time since 1953, the entire mural will be displayed on Mason Street. Fior d'Italia, 2237 Mason St., San Francisco, 415-986-1886.

Coming early December into the old La Table O & Co. space is Lettus: Cafe Organic. The café will be open for both lunch and dinner, and all food and drink will be organic, largely locally based. There will not be any red meat served, so you’ll have to get your pastrami elsewhere (see Acme Chophouse below). The casual yet upscale interior is being designed by Cass Calder Smith and will consist of hickory, tile, glass and brushed zinc for the juice and salad bar. The daytime menu will include healthy choices like fresh organic juices, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, rice/grain/noodle bowls, small plates and desserts, while the evening menu will offer chicken and fish entrées with seasonal accompaniments. There will also be beer, wine and saké cocktails just in case you were feeling too healthy for a second there. Owners Matthew Guelke and Mark Lewis have hired chef Sascha Weiss, who has cooked at Roxanne’s, Millennium and Mecca, in addition to working as a private chef for George Lucas. 3352 Steiner St., San Francisco, (no number yet).

For those craving some of Acme Chophouse's delicious grass-fed steaks, juicy burgers or simply illegally delicious mac and cheese, now you can come on down and dig in at their new lunch service, which was previously only available on Giants game days. Lunch will be served Tue.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and will include some new items like a house-smoked grass-fed pastrami sandwich and spit-roasted free-range chicken salad. 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, 415-644-0240.

North Beach has all kinds of new businesses cropping up. Come early November, Fogón will open in the ex-Gira Polli space with new owners Gil Milan and Ed Dinsley of Sedona Catering. Fortunately, the Sicilian rotisserie will remain, so customers can happily continue to munch on the delicious chicken with the oh-so-crispy skin that is known to come off it. The menu will also include tasty sides like risotto and fries, in addition to other rustic Med-inspired offerings like grilled lamb loin with a rosemary guava sauce, grilled fish and prime rib on the weekends. Michael Brennan (Tartare, Cortez) is designing the space—it is sure to become a charming and comfortable neighborhood destination. Fogón, 659 Union St. at Columbus Street, 415-288-8658.

Just next door to Fogón is the newly opened Cinecittà Bar and Roman Pizza. Perhaps it will become the place where local paparazzi come to eat. Cinecittà Bar and Roman Pizza, 663 Union St., 415-291-8830.

Blame it on the crush season, because it seems a slew of new wine bars are on the scene. Cav Wine Bar just opened next to Zuni Café in an old Thai restaurant space. One of the owners, Pamela Busch, hails from one of the earlier wine bars in the city and long-standing Hayes Valley favorite, the now-closed Hayes & Vine Wine Bar. Her partner, Tadd Cortell, was most recently a managing partner at SoMa’s The Public. Their new space is sure fill up with those thrilled to sample from the list of 40 wines available by the glass and more than 300 lesser-known wineries. There is also a small and large plates menu of delectables from chef Christine Mullen. Cav Wine Bar, 1666 Market St., near Gough Street, 415-437-1770.

Then, the old Rica space on Union Street is opening this fall as Ottimista Enoteca-Café. Owners Melissa Gisler and Jerad Ruhl will offer a rotating menu of 25 wines by the glass from primarily smaller, family-run wineries from Northern Italy and California. There will also be a small plates menu crafted to accompany the imbibing. Ottimista Enoteca-Café, 1838 Union St., no number yet.

And lastly, Upper Polk/Nob Hill now has S.N.O.B. (Sonoma, Napa or Beyond). Despite its name, it’s an unpretentious space outfitted with furniture made from wine barrels and, yes, a number of wines available by the glass. S.N.O.B., 1327 Polk St. at Pine Street, 415-440-7662.

Chef Sho

Fans of ex-Ozumo chef Shotaro Kamio’s modern and inventive Japanese cooking will be pleased to hear he’ll be opening a namesake restaurant, Sho Japanese Sousaku Cuisine, this winter. "Sousaku" translates to “original creation” and anyone who has either sampled his sparkling dishes or met Sho, aka Mr. Personality Plus, in person knows the term is fitting. The space will be designed by local darling Cass Calder Smith (of Restaurant LuLu/Azie/Rose Pistola design fame) and dishes will be made by respected potter Arita Sensei. Kamio just spent a month in Japan developing deeper relationships with vendors ranging from Tsukiji fish market export companies; a Sumi charcoal company for the robata grill, a sake brewery, and rice farms. Workers at George Lucas Studios will be thrilled with their exciting new neighbor. Sho Japanese Sousaku Cuisine, 2733 Lombard St. at Baker Street, San Francisco, 415-738-4768, (site not launched yet).

And for dessert, San Franciscans can now get fantasy-inspired cakes in the shape of Louis Vuitton handbags or perhaps a bird’s nest at I Dream of Cake, a quaint cake boutique opening in North Beach. The owner, Shinmin Li, is a master cake artist who makes traditional celebration cakes as well as her very-inspired custom cakes. Her customers can view her creations, and even better, taste them in her stylish new storefront. I Dream of Cake, 1351 Grant Ave. at Green Street, San Francisco, 415-425-4617.

At last, a new restaurant that isn’t opening in the Mission. Scott Howard is opening September 27 in the former Cypress Club/500 Jackson space. Many will recognize Howard’s name in association with Fork in San Anselmo. A protégé of Norman Van Aken, expect Howard to utilize international and Asian flavors in his version of Cal-French cuisine. The restaurant will have a special focus on seafood, with a dramatic raw bar. It will also have a distinct wine list, courtesy of wine consultant Booth McKinney, who is the mastermind behind the list at Frisson and Azie. Scott Howard, 500 Jackson St., 415-956-7040.

Hooker’s Gumbo Shack (for the record, it’s named after one of the owners) has bravely opened in a dismal stretch of Sixth Street. The menu has Southern classics like oyster po’ boys that are perfect for lunch, in addition to blackened salmon, chicken wings and two kinds of gumbo, with sides like yams with sweet onions, and red beans and rice. The evening has live entertainment seven nights a week; expect some zydeco with your turtle soup. Hooker’s Gumbo Shack, 35 Sixth St. at Market Street, 415-979-0529.

Tiki lovers in town now have a new hut where they can open a cocktail umbrella: Sneaky Tiki has opened in the former location of Hamburger Mary’s in SoMa. The restaurant features pan-Asian cuisine and as you can imagine, fancy whipped-up cocktails with plenty of rum and juices. The space doesn't have a traditional and kitschy tiki theme; it’s actually a sleek space outfitted with a modern tropical look that includes nine spherical fish tanks. 1582 Folsom St. at 12th Street, San Francisco, 415-701-8454.

Pre-opening party

Eating in bed is about to become a lot more glamorous than a TV tray and your favorite blanket. The eagerly awaited outpost of Amsterdam's supperclub opened on September 20 in SoMa. The unique destination marries fine dining with entertainment and performance, all enjoyed in the comfort of an oversized bed. Expect the unexpected, from dreamy aerialists to cheeky servers to gorgeous projections. Chef Jerry McGinnis (Jianna, supperclub amsterdam, supperclub rome) will craft a five-course menu of continental fusion cuisine, highlighting French and Italian techniques. The 11,000-square-foot converted warehouse (called La Salle Neige) will accommodate 160 diners, while the adjoining Bar Rouge will be a hot destination for those who want a peek of the action until they can score a reservation. Dinner will be served nightly at 7:30 p.m. supperclub, 657 Harrison St. at 3rd Street, For more information and reservations, call 415-348-0900 or email:

The old Max’s Diner space in SoMa is about to have a serious makeover and will transform into Bong Su Restaurant & Lounge, which will open in January 2006. The restaurant’s proprietors, Anne Le and Tammy Huyhn, also operate the gorgeous Tamarine in Palo Alto. Bong Su is the Vietnamese word for the plumeria flower, and the sexy lounge will literally be blooming with it, since fresh blossoms will be flown in from Hawaii. The eatery will serve contemporary Vietnamese cuisine and cocktails made with traditional Asian ingredients like lemon grass. There will be a focus on wine with pre-dinner classes available, so patrons can learn about some of the exciting pairing possibilities with Asian food. The style quotient will also be dialed up, with custom staff uniforms designed by Calvin Tran and a chic space designed by Eric Engstrom of the Engstrom Group. Bong Su Restaurant & Lounge, 311 3rd St. at Folsom Street, San Francisco. (No number yet.)

By late September/early October, the former space of Powell’s Soul Food in Hayes Valley will be the home of Patxi’s Chicago Pizza, owned and operated by partners Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz and William Freeman. Their pies have been adored in Palo Alto for some time. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, their specialty is deep-dish pizza, Windy City style—which should do just fine in the foggy city. More than just a pizza joint, it will actually be a pretty spiffy restaurant. In case you’re wondering how to say it, it’s “pah-cheese.” Patxi’s Chicago Pizza, 511 Hayes St. at Octavia Street, San Francisco. (No number yet.)

A sibling of fabled New York hotel, The St. Regis, will soon be opening in San Francisco’s SoMa district, and with it comes the debut of the signature restaurant Ame ("ah-MAY") on the lobby level. Ame will be operated by renowned restaurateurs Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, chef/co-owners of the acclaimed Terra restaurant in St. Helena, which received a 2005 James Beard Foundation nomination for "Outstanding Service." Ame is the husband-and-wife team’s first venture in San Francisco, and will offer a seasonal menu that will globetrot through southern France, northern Italy, Japan and the Wine Country. The 90-seat restaurant will include a custom-designed sashimi bar. Ame, 125 Third St. at Mission Street., San Francisco. No number yet; hotel number is 415-284-4000.

Many a passerby has recently noticed the Old-World/European façade of O’Reilly’s Holy Grail on Polk Street. The owners even had the historic Mayes Oyster House neon sign spruced up. Coming in early 2006, the neighboring space (up ‘til 2000 known as Johnny Wok’s) will be reincarnated as an 18th-19th century San Francisco-style saloon called McTeague’s Saloon. The saloon is named in honor of “McTeague,” a book by the prolific local author, Frank Norris, who wrote about San Francisco in the 1870’s. The saloon will feature small plates and an open rotisserie. Seems like some of the neighborhood’s former glory will continue to be restored. 1237 Polk St., San Francisco, (no number).

After a speedy renovation and major sprucing up, the Carnelian Room actually reopened two days ahead of schedule, on August 3. Expect a sleeker look and an updated menu from chef David Lawrence (although, of course, the Grand Marnier soufflé is still on there). The view from the 52nd floor, however, remains exactly the same: spectacular. Carnelian Room, Bank of America Building, 555 California St.

Come late August or early September, the ex-chef of Café Maritime, Mike Selvera and his twin brother, Tim, are opening a raw bar called Bar Crudo in the space adjacent to the Tunnel Top on Bush Street (it’s where the sadly departed late-night crepe place, Crepuscule, used to be). They will serve six kinds of raw oysters, along with seafood platters of mussels, clams, crab, lobster and seafood salads, in addition to raw ceviches, crudos and tartares. 603 Bush St. at Stockton Street. (No phone yet).

It seems the Mission is just teeming with new restaurants. There’s the sassily named New American eatery, Maverick (3316 17th St., at Mission St., 415-863-3061,, that opened in the old Limon space and brings with it a commendable wine list. (Please refrain from any “Eject, Goose!” jokes.) Another new neighbor is Range (842 Valencia St. at 19th St., 415-282-8283,, which took over and renovated the old Timo’s space, replacing the tapas with significantly larger dishes of seasonal and contemporary comfort food. Last Supper Club has a new chef/owner, Ruggero Gadaldi, who is fine-tuning a menu with more of a Southern Italian focus. And then, of course, is the long-awaited opening of Pizzeria Delfina (3611 18th St. at Guerrero St., 415-437-6800 where Craig Stoll will be cranking out six kinds of Neopolitan dream-pies for the pizza-crazed and Delfina-obsessed locals. Even Guerrero Street is getting a little piece of the action with newcomer La Provence Restaurant (1001 Guerrero St., at 22nd St., 415-643-4333), a family-run restaurant that will finally offer the neighborhood a charming salad Niçoise destination, just in time for summer. That is, until we see what kind of a French bistro the Café Bastille guys (Olivier Azancot and Eric Klein) are going to open in the closed Alma (101 Valencia St. at 22nd St.) space. Pray for frites. Finish off a meal with a delicious and authentic gelato from La Copa Loca (3150 22nd St. at Capp St., 415-401-7424). It’s shaping up to be busy and plump summer in the Mission. Let’s hope people start using the bike lanes on Valencia to help combat the parking space deficit—and the inevitable weight gain.

Perhaps the trek over the hill for Mission taqueria action was proving to be too farand unhealthy—for the Marina crowd, because in mid-September Mamacita will take over the old Café Marimba space. The restaurant and lounge (plus a patio!) will offer a menu featuring Mexican dishes with a California influence, like an emphasis on slow food techniques and high-quality ingredients. The restaurant is a venture of the gents from Vintage 415 and Dylan Boutique and the executive chef/owner Sam Josi, a former sous chef at Slanted Door. Expect a spiffy cantina courtesy of designer Tim Murphy, the architect of Frisson and soon-to-open Supperclub. Mamacita, 2317 Chestnut St., San Francisco.

Coming August 8 (or thereabouts) Crocker Galleria will house one of the city’s more intriguing new businesses: Medicine. The chef is from Kyoto by way of Colorado, and will be preparing dishes inspired by Buddhist temple and monastery cooking (called shojin), which means no dairy, meat, fish broth, nor the five strong-smelling herbs of the lily family (garlic, scallions, onions, shallots and leeks) will be utilized. Medicine will offer a fast lunch service and host an early dinner, with communal tables where diners can savor healthy (and inexpensive) food. No prescription necessary.

Castro residents, and the rest of the city for that matter, will soon be finding excuses to visit the latest gelateria to open, Naia ( Many have become acquainted with Naia’s current location in Berkeley, and the San Francisco location is due to open at the end of July, in the former Ben & Jerry’s space on Castro near 18th. Waiting in line at the Castro Theater while savoring one, or three, of their authentic Italian flavors will become a downright pleasure. Buonissimo!

A newcomer to the Tenderloin is one of the few soul food restaurants in San Francisco. Certainly a modest hole-in-the-wall, Soul Food City puts out a mean piece of fried chicken, which can be ordered by the piece. There are a lot of African-American favorites like black-eyed peas over rice, long-cooked greens and a hot-link sandwich. The address is 403 Eddy at Leavenworth. It’s open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

In Half Moon Bay, Steve Gericke and Sherryn Phillips and Steve and Jamie Barber are transforming a building at 401 Main St. (at Mill Street) into a 15-room inn, with a restaurant and bar on the ground level. The opening is set for later this summer and the name will be the Half Moon Bay Inn Kitchen & Cocktails. The menu will be American, although no chef has been hired at this writing. When completed, the restaurant will seat 100, including 30 seats on a patio.

Visitors to Napa Valley have a new restaurant from Leslie Rudd of Rudd Winery, Pat Roney of Girard Winery, and Reuben Katz, a Culinary Institute of America director. Named Press, it is adjacent to Dean & DeLuca on St. Helena Highway. The chef is Keith Luce, formerly of PlumpJack Café and his own restaurant, Merenda. The concept relies heavily on roasted and grilled meats, fish and poultry.

On June 16, bustling Union Street, one of San Francisco’s prime retail areas, will have a new Home. Michael Levine, Scott Rodrick, and Stuart Gordon have bought the space at 2032 Union St. (near Buchanan) that has housed Café de Paris-L'Entrecôte for the last 23 years. The original Home located on 2100 Market St. at Church was the first link in the low-cost dinner-house chain.

Pascal Rigo has bought Movida Lounge at 200 Fillmore St. (at Waller Street) in San Francisco and turned it into Le Cafe du Soleil in mid-May. The Lower Haight lounge continues to serve a selection of beers and sangria, as well as open-faced sandwiches and snacks.

Haig Krikorian with his wife, Cindy will open T-Rex Bar B Q at 1000 10th Street (at Gilman) in late summer. The casual eatery will encompass 150 seats on two floors. Anthony Paone, who has worked at Fonda and Cafe Rouge in Berkeley, will be the chef. The menu includes brisket, pulled pork, hot links and chicken, plus oysters and fish.

Chef Nathan Peterson, who was the executive chef at the Bay Wolf restaurant in Oakland for 15 years, will open his own restaurant, Olivia, in the space that has housed the tiny 36-seat A La Carte restaurant in Berkeley, for more than two decades. He will serve dinner Tuesday-Saturday. Peterson said the space has been vacant for about eight months. The concept will be an eclectic Mediterranean menu arranged by price, so that soups or salads or appetizers at a certain price will be grouped together. He also said that he will change the menu frequently. Helping him in the kitchen will be the former Bay Wolf lunch chef, John Davis.

Bruce Hill backed by Bill Higgins and Bill Upson, will be a full partner in a not-yet-named Larkspur restaurant that will open in the former Roxanne's space. Hill plans to serve small plates of food from all over the world. The restaurant should open this summer. Larkspur, 320 Magnolia Ave., at King Street.

In Novato, George Morrone debuted his Argentinian steakhouse, Boca, in the space that housed the former Ristorante Orsi for years. Located at 340 Ignacio Blvd. in Novato, Boca specializes in meats with Argentinean flavors. A wood-burning oven fires signature dishes such as empanadas, Argentinean-style house-made sausages, and both grass-fed and corn-fed steaks are fired. Additionally, fowl, fresh fish, soups and salads are offered. Although, upscale, Boca has an extensive kids’ menu and an ice-cream cart for the little ones.

And in Napa, in the Red Hen compound at 5091 St. Helena Hwy (near Oak Knoll Road) in Napa, Hoss Zaré has opened Zaré Napa. Zaré Napa has a Mediterranean-California menu, like Zaré's San Francisco restaurant, Zaré. Eventually, he also would like to add four or five dishes from his Persian heritage to the offerings. This is the first stage in a multi-use development, that will include a larger restaurant with rooftop lounge, a banquet facility, bed and breakfast and retail stores.

The new St. Regis Hotel, under construction at Third and Mission, will probably be the new venue for a famous Wine Country restaurant, from an equally famous husband and wife team of chefs. Stay tuned for more details.

A new Thai restaurant has replaced Marvin Gardens Café in Larkspur. Called R’noh Thai, it’s located at 1000 Magnolia tucked away in a small shopping center. Open for lunch and dinner, patrons can expect fresh appetizer rolls, Thai beef salad and fried banana with coconut ice cream for dessert.

The couple, Franco and Cristina Sannella, that delighted us with their house-made pasta in San Rafael, has reopened in Sausalito. Their new place, Rustico, is at 39 Caledonia St., in a space that briefly housed a steakhouse. Christina is still making the pasta, but in their new location, they serve dinner only Tuesday-Saturday.

U Street Lounge has opened in the space that once was Morphio Sushi at 1980 Union Street, near Gough. The idea behind U Street is small plates and specialty cocktails to draw the young hipsters who dine and drink in Cow Hollow. Menu highlights include miso-steamed bass, ahi tartare and an intriguing Ghirardelli fondue served with fruit for dipping. On warm nights, the owners can create an open-air vibe by flipping a switch to open the retractable ceiling. Live DJs spin down-tempo ambient music in the lounge, which is to the rear of the 42-seat restaurant. Dinner is served Tuesday-Sunday.

Globe restaurant owners, Joseph and Mary Manzare, have purchased the building at 564 Fourth St. (near Brannan) that was home to Café Monk a couple of years ago. The couple will open a 60-seat Italian-themed restaurant called Zuppa by the beginning of May. Zuppa means soup in Italian, but that is not the theme of the restaurant, which will concentrate on Southern Italian food.

The old Splendido space in Embarcadero 4, will be the site of the Monte Cristo Cafe, a 250-seat restaurant-nightclub, which will open in April. Splendido closed in 2001, after more than a decade. Monte Cristo is owned by Kamel and Samir Bouzidi. The food style will be French and after dinner, a DJ will rev up the music for dancing.

The popular Little Star Pizza will be opening a second location in late September in the Mission. The former Baku de Thai space is being converted into a 49-seat pizzeria and will be the latest destination for Little Star’s delicious deep-dish pizzas, plus well-chosen beer and wine. Little Star Pizza, 400 Valencia St., San Francisco.

The former location of Yianni’s in Noe Valley is being replaced by Pescheria, a project from Joseph Manzare (Zuppa, Globe, Tres Agaves). He is bringing on chef Robert Leva, who has worked closely with chef Richard Reddington at Redd and Jardinière. Pescheria will feature a number of seafood dishes and pastas, a raw bar and a full bar at that. There’s also a patio in the back and even some seats out front for alfresco dining. They hope to be open by late September. Pescheria, 1708 Church St., at 29th Street, San Francisco.

Sometime this fall, the Mission will have a neighborhood seafood outpost called Weird Fish. Expect eco-friendly fish & chips (made with sustainable seafood and fryer oil that is later converted to bio-diesel fuel), seafood sandwiches, fish tacos, ceviche and some vegetarian eats as well. There will also be a focus on using local ingredients and producers. It’s a project from Peter Hood (St. Francis Fountain) and Timothy Holt (the GM of the Mission’s brunch outpost, Boogaloo's, for ten-plus years). The restaurant will be open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Weird Fish, 2193 Mission St., San Francisco.

The word is out that the Ici (French for "here"), the much-awaited ice cream store in the Elmwood district of Berkeley, is open. It’s a project from Mary Canales, a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and Erik Anderson. Think old-fashioned ice cream store, with homemade ice cream, sorbets and cookies. Even the cones will be homemade! 2948 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-665-6054,

Come October, San Franciscans will have the Bi-Rite Creamery as their source for delicious ice cream made with Straus Family Creamery organic dairy (all the other ingredients will be organic as well). Flavors like roasted banana, toasted almond with cherries and salted caramel will undoubtedly keep SF citizens happy. Bi-Rite Creamery, 3692 18th St., San Francisco.

The former Red Grill and Whiskey Lounge will reopen as Eureka Restaurant & Bar, thanks to the gents behind Chenery Park. The space is currently being renovated (the steakhouse vibe is going away), and once it reopens, chef Richard Rosen will be putting together a higher-end level of dining for Castro diners. The space includes a back patio, and hopefully the restaurant will open on schedule in October, giving locals a chance to enjoy it before the rainy season kicks in. Eureka Restaurant & Bar, 4063 18th St., San Francisco.

Ground was recently broken for two new Kuleto projects on the waterfront that are slated to open in late 2007. The first is EPIC, a contemporary roast house under chef Jan Birnbaum. There will be an international menu offering meat, steaks, seafood and fowl, and a custom-built wood-fired grill to cook them on. The restaurant will be at the north end of a large outdoor piazza in the Rincon Park, and will offer outdoor seating for lunch, dinner and cocktails. It is slated to be open daily. EPIC, 369 Embarcadero.

Sharing the piazza will be Waterbar, a high-end seafood restaurant with fresh fish flown in from around the world under Mark Franz, co-owner and chef of Farallon. The restaurant will feature floor-to-ceiling aquariums with live fish plus spectacular bay views. Waterbar, 399 Embarcadero.

A new pâtisserie has opened in the Potrero Hill and Dogpatch area called Petite Pâtisserie. Locals are happily starting their mornings with organic pastries and tarts; cookies and cakes are soon to come. It’s a tiny space, so while there isn’t a full coffee-espresso offering, you can get a cup of fair-trade and organic coffee to go with the freshly baked treats. The baker is Rachel Leising, who has over 20 years of baking experience, including working with Fran Gage at La Pâtisserie Française and Elizabeth Falkner at Citizen Cake. Petite Pâtisserie, 1415 18th St. at Connecticut St., San Francisco, 415-794-0319.

Just in time for harvest, the luxurious Carneros Inn will be opening FARM in early November under the direction of executive chef Kimball Jones. The menu will feature locally-sourced ingredients that will showcase the region’s array of top-quality farms, ranches and dairy producers. FARM will also operate an in-house butcher shop, enabling Jones to source whole animals and utilize a variety of cuts. This sophisticated wine country restaurant will have 120 seats, plus hardwood floors, soaring cathedral ceilings, handsome furniture and an open barn feel, with an abundance of windows and an oversize indoor-outdoor fireplace. The extensive wine list will feature approximately 300 world-class regional, international and esoteric wines selected by PlumpJack wine director Gillian Balance. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner, from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. FARM, 4048 Sonoma Hwy., Napa, 707-299-4882.

Local brunch favorite Ella’s has started serving dinner. Dishes are affordable and will include shrimp bisque, skirt steak with sausage gravy, and pork two-ways. Chef-owner Matt Skov was the executive sous chef at Campton Place for six years, and his dinner chef, Bradley Sekulich, has been a cook and sous chef at places around town like Boulevard and Grand Café. Ella’s, 500 Presidio Ave. at California, 415-441-5669.

Anne Gingrass (formerly of Hawthorne Lane) will be opening a new restaurant called Essencia. Gingrass is partnering with Juan and Carmen Cespedes to open this contemporary Peruvian restaurant on a busy corner in Hayes Valley. The intimate space will have 45 seats, with some outdoor seating later on. The opening is planned for the second week of December. Essencia will be open for lunch Mon.-Fri. and dinner Mon.-Sat. Essencia, 401 Gough St. at Hayes Street, San Francisco, 415-552-8485.

Carlos Altamirano, chef-owner of Mochica, is opening a new restaurant in the old Moki's Sushi and Pacific Grill space in Bernal Heights. The new restaurant will be called Piqueos, and will focus on small plates from all the various regions of Peru. The space will have a colonial European look, and has an opening slated for the end of December. Piqueos, 830 Cortland Ave, San Francisco.

Two new places will be opening around the corner from each other in Hayes Valley: first is Breezy’s, moving into the former Blue Muse space. Mediterranean tapas will be served in a contemporary yet casual environment. The opening is slated for the beginning of 2007. Lunch and dinner will be served daily, with brunch potentially soon thereafter. Around the corner will be Hayes & Kebab, a fast-casual restaurant in the old Sage Chinese Restaurant space serving beef and lamb gyros as well as salads and kebabs. It should be opening some time in December.

Hopefully by late November, Pres a Vi-Global Cuisine & Wine Bar will be opening in the Presidio in Building D of the Letterman Digital Arts Center. This project comes from the same people behind Va de Vi in Walnut Creek: executive chef Kelly Degala, Dale Raaen, John Walz and Stan Raaen. The same small-plates format at Va de Vi will continue here, with over 20 globally-influenced dishes. The spacious restaurant will also offer a full bar, outdoor seating and live entertainment. Pres a Vi-Global Cuisine & Wine Bar, One Letterman Dr. (near the corner of Chestnut and Lyon Streets).

Hopefully by springtime in 2007, Noe Valley will have a new neighborhood restaurant, Olallie. The chef-owner is Brett Emerson, who has worked in the kitchen at places like Lulu, Bizou and the former L'Amie Dona in Palo Alto. The eco-friendly space will feature reclaimed woods and will be intimately sized at 49 seats. Expect a menu of market-fresh ingredients with inspiration found in places like Morocco and Spain. Olallie, 1320 Castro St. at 24th St., San Francisco.

A small, down-to-earth Mexican restaurant, Regalito Rosticeria, has opened in the Mission. The menu is rooted in traditional cuisine; proprietor and chef Thomas Peña spent several years refining family recipes and traveled for months in Mexico researching new menu items, cooking techniques and adding to his recipe collection. Sharing the table with pork, chicken or mushroom and roasted poblano tamales will be sopa de fideos, a light chicken soup with toasted pasta and a heartier spice-rubbed pork loin. In the tradition of the Mexican rosticeria, Regalito features free-range rotisserie chicken and turkey dinners for both eat in and take-out orders. Lunch and weekend brunch will also be served. Regalito Rosticeria, 3481 18th St. at Valencia St., San Francisco, 415-503-0650.

By early December, North Beach should have a new restaurant called Nua Restaurant & Wine Bar which is opening in the former New Pisa space. The Mediterranean menu will focus primarily on dishes from Spain, France and Italy, using local, organic and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Over 30 wines will be available by the glass, plus 300 selections total. The space will be chic and comfortable, and customers may enjoy outdoor seating and valet parking. Dinner will be served six nights a week, with plans for lunch service soon. Nua Restaurant & Wine Bar, 550 Green St. at Jasper Place (near Columbus), San Francisco, 415-433-4000.

Next door to the historic Roosevelt's Tamale Parlor in the Mission will be Churros y Chocolate, a family-style restaurant that is styled to look like a classic European space, with historical artifacts and furnishings; there will even be a patio out back. Churros will be served, along with all kinds of tortas, starting very early in the morning (try 5:30 a.m.). It will hopefully be open before the year is up. Churros y Chocolate, 2817 24th St. between Bryant and York Streets, San Francisco.

A second location of Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City is opening soon in North Beach, fittingly named the North Beach Lobster Shack. The menu is chock-full of East Coast favorites, like lobster rolls and crab Louie salads. There’s even a lobster tank with live lobsters. North Beach Lobster Shack, 532 Green St. at Grant Street, San Francisco, 415-989-FISH (3474).

Amira at 590 Valencia St. has closed, but the folks at Frjtz in Hayes Valley will use the space for a second location of that eatery. The namesake Belgian fries will be served, along with late-night dining options (likes mussels and crêpes) and brunch on the weekend that will include Belgian waffles. Expect a January opening.

A Thai place called Rasha has moved into the former Kelly's Burgers space on 16th St. in the Mission. They also serve beer and soju cocktails, and plan to stay open late, until 3 a.m. Reportedly, anything ordered off of the late-night menu comes with fries. Rasha, 3141 16th St. at Albion St., 415-437-4788.

Sharon Ardiana of Lime will be opening a pizza place called Gialina in the Glen Park neighborhood early in the New Year. Thin-crust pizzas will highlight an array of seasonal ingredients and Italian ices will be offered for dessert. Don’t miss the gallery of family photos on the walls. Gialina, 2842 Diamond St. at Kern St., 415-239-8500.

Charles Phan’s second Out the Door location has opened on the concourse level of the Westfield San Francisco Centre. The menu features some Slanted Door classics like chicken clay pot, and many dishes are made with sustainable, local and organic ingredients. There are also some new options from a rotisserie and a duck oven. Diners can sit in one of 130-plus seats, or take the food to-go. (The cooking kits are also available.) The space is modern and sleek with some unique touches, like a “honey wall” and a waterfall that cools the blazing woks. Open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Out the Door, Westfield San Francisco Centre (concourse level), 865 Market St., San Francisco.

La Felce, right on Washington Square in North Beach, will morph into Avenue G, courtesy of Grant Schley and Frank Bumbalo. Schley opened and soon thereafter closed the original Avenue G out in the Richmond District earlier in 2006, but will continue his style of “San Francisco cuisine” at this new location. The space’s vintage look is being spruced up for a mid-January opening. Dinner will be served Tuesday-Sunday, with lunch and brunch later on. Avenue G, 1570 Stockton at Union Street, 415-989-0399.

Roots Restaurant opened in the Orchard Garden Hotel, the first green hotel in California. Russell Rummer is the executive chef; he was formerly the chef de cuisine at Acme Chophouse and a sous chef at Absinthe. Rummer is crafting a menu of contemporary American dishes with Spanish and French influences. Expect most ingredients to be organic, plus grass-fed beef, naturally raised meats and sustainably caught seafood are used. Organic and biodynamic wines and beers are also offered. The look is organic modern, using soft browns and greens. Lunch and dinner are served seven days a week. Roots Restaurant, 466 Bush St. at Grant St., San Francisco.

Early in December, Namu restaurant opened in the Inner Richmond. The chef, Manuel Ek Chel, was formerly at Ozumo, and has crafted a menu of California, Japanese and Korean tapas. The name means “tree” in Korean, a fitting moniker since the bar is made from a recycled tree from Golden Gate Park. Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Namu, 439 Balboa St. at Sixth Avenue, San Francisco, 415-386-8332.

Sellers Markets has opened a second location, with the largest outdoor dining patio in San Francisco. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, highlighting items from the wood-burning pizza oven and rotisserie grill. There is an “eco hip” wine list offered as well. Seller’s Markets, 595 Market St., San Francisco, 415-227-9850.

Dogpatch has a new dining destination: Piccino, a tiny spot turning out pizzas and panini, plus Blue Bottle coffee in the morning. One of the partners worked at Pizzetta 211, so you know the pizza is primo. Monday-Friday there’s Blue Bottle Coffee and pastries starting at 7 a.m.; lunch (pizza, panini, soup, salad and house-made desserts are offered) is served 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; and weekends, Blue Bottle Coffee and pastries, 7a.m.-noon. Weekend lunches and seven-day dinner service expected to start in February. Piccino, 801 22nd St. at Tennessee Street, 415-824-4224.

Ends up the closure of North Beach’s Enrico’s will be short lived—Christina Deeb of Bambuddha Lounge, Venticello and Nob Hill Café has taken over the restaurant. An American bistro menu will be offered, and Seamus Cronin of Venticello is helping to craft the menu. Jazz will continue to be a large part of the supper club’s focus, with a jazz brunch eventually being offered on the weekend. Iris Fuller, formerly of Fillamento, is freshening up the look of the place. Dinner service is scheduled to start in March, with lunch and brunch following soon. Enrico’s, 504 Broadway at Kearny Street.

Mission Beach Café, a stylish bakery and café from Bill Clarke and baker Alan Carter, formerly of Chow, has opened. Menu items include pie, popovers and pastry, plus Blue Bottle coffee and gourmet sandwiches for lunch. A month or so after the opening, appetizers, desserts, beer and wine in the evening, Saturday and Sunday brunch and dinner will all start up. Mission Beach Café, 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St., San Francisco, 415-861-0198.

CHIAROSCURO, a new Italian restaurant and lounge, has opened in the former Tartare space across from the Transamerica Building. Owner Roberto Scaccia has created a contemporary spot, taking design inspiration from the Italian Neorealism movement in film during the ’40s and ’50s. The kitchen has two Italian chefs crafting a lunch and dinner menu with Roman favorites, plus specials from other regions in Italy. Pastas and breads are all house-made. Lunch is served Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dinner is Sun.-Thurs. 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. CHIAROSCURO, 550 Washington St. at Sansome St., 415-362-6012.

District opens this month, a new SoMa neighborhood wine lounge and small-plates restaurant led by executive chef Jen Solomon and Italian-born wine director Caterina Mirabelli. Solomon cut her teeth at Asia SF, Bizou and the Richmond's RoHan Lounge; Mirabelli, a third-level sommelier, was most recently employed with Providence restaurant in Los Angeles. Housed in a 1918 brick warehouse, the industrial space features a 21-seat horseshoe-shaped bar and eleven-foot arched wine tower. Vintage-modern chaise lounges and low tables accommodate 40 for casual wine sampling; more formal dining tables seat 20. The wine list features international small-batch and little-known varietals, and the predominantly Cal-Med menu of shareable plates will include gourmet pizzette; fondue and artisanal cheeses and salumi; and more sophisticated nibbles such as prosciutto and arugula hand rolls with goat cheese and balsamic fig jam. Open nightly, 4 p.m.-close (until 2 a.m. Thurs.-Sat.). No reservations taken. District, 216 Townsend St. between Third and Fourth Sts., 415-896-2120.

News Bytes

A Move for La Toque
The Westin Verasa Napa and chef Ken Frank are moving La Toque to the new Westin Verasa Napa, opening in downtown Napa in September. La Toque’s new home will provide a larger culinary playground for chef Frank with a show kitchen and an expanded menu that will showcase his passion for fresh, seasonal and often organic cuisine. When the new La Toque location opens, the atmosphere will be warm and luxurious, created by one of the most noted restaurant design firms in the country, CCS Architecture. There will be glass panes and a glass-backed liquor cabinet in the bar through which guests will view the kitchen activity. The back-to-back fireplace, constructed of stone on the interior and Cor-Ten steel on the exterior patio dining area, will serve as another focal point in the restaurant.

From Bouchon to Burgers
Thomas Keller’s longtime dream to open his own burger joint in Yountville may finally come true this summer. The French Laundry chef-owner had initially intended to open Burgers and Half Bottles in the space now occupied by ad hoc, but the new plan is to add on to the building so that the two restaurants can share the kitchen while maintaining separate entrances and seating areas. Burgers and Half Bottles, 6476 Washington St., Yountville.

Northerly Migration
With the official closure of Scott Howard’s restaurant in North Beach, he is now in Marin County to take on the role of Chef Exécutif at Left Bank brasserie, located in old-town Larkspur. In his position, Howard will oversee the culinary operations of the Left Bank brasserie and serve as a major contributor in helping chef-owner Roland Passot and Directeur des Cuisines, chef Joël Guillon. Left Bank, 507 Magnolia Ave. at Ward Street, Larkspur, 415-927-3331.

Financial District Forecast
Once Frisson’s executive chef, Sarah Schafer, resigned to go to Anchor & Hope, and since permits were ready early for the upcoming concept remodel, Frisson actually closed a bit earlier than expected. Owners Joe Hargrave and Andrew McCormack are moving ahead on the renovation, and Sean O’Brien, the former executive chef of the soon-to-close Myth, will be the executive chef of this new project. No real timing or concept to discuss at the moment, but it’s looking like late spring or summer. 244 Jackson St. at Front Street, San Francisco.

Snazzy Brunch
1300 on Fillmore is now serving brunch. Dishes reflect chef David Lawrence’s Southern-influenced palate, and include Marty’s Hang Town Fry, an omelet with fried oysters and bacon; eggs any style, served with ham hock hash or with creamy grits; and a cinnamon brioche french toast, among other items. Brunch hours are from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. every Sunday. In addition, the restaurant will close earlier on Mondays through Wednesdays, taking the last dinner orders at 11 p.m. The restaurant is open from 5 p.m.–1 a.m. Thurs.–Sat. Live jazz accompanies dinner service on Sunday and Monday evenings. 1300 on Fillmore, 1300 Fillmore St. at Eddy Street, 415-771-7100.

Crab at Scoma’s
Scoma’s executive chef Steve Scarabosio created a special four-course Dungeness Crab Tasting Menu—available throughout February—featuring some classic preparations, and some new twists too. $65 per person without wine pairings; $90 with wine pairings. Scoma’s, Pier 47, San Francisco, 415-771-4383.

Go South for Brunch
South, the new restaurant in SoMa serving Australian and New Zealand fare (and wines) and featuring a menu from chef Luke Mangan, now offers Sunday brunch. Look for crumpets; egg dishes; coconut bread with New Zealand Manuka honey; an Aussie big breakfast with steak, sausage, bacon, fried eggs, mushrooms, avocado and toast; and a venison burger with spiced beetroot chutney. And naturally, mimosas. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. South, 330 Townsend St. #101, at Fourth Street, San Francisco, 415-974-5599.

Taking the Fifth
Fifth Floor closed January 21 to begin its remodel, and should reopen in mid-February (the date for now is the 18th). Laurent Manrique will be launching his new menu with chef Jennie Lorenzo, and expect a fresh look, with new floors and furniture. Manrique is being secretive for now about the menu and concept. Fifth Floor, 12 Fourth St. at Stevenson Street, San Francisco, 415-348-1555.

Second Time’s a Charm
Terzo in Cow Hollow has removed the glass tapas case to allow more space for guests at the bar—the small and separate tapas menu is also gone. The small plates menu is expanding to about 20 items, and some large plates are being added as well. Executive chef Mark Gordon has started a Mark's Selections section on the list, with 20 or so high-end wines priced between $100–$300 per bottle, featuring hard-to-find and boutique wines. Terzo, 3011 Steiner St. at Union Street, San Francisco, 415-441-3200.

City Tailgating
For Super Bowl 2008 (February 3), Luna Park will be offering a special delivery service with a "Tailgate Platter" designed to allow San Francisco fans to skip grilling and cut straight to the party, ideal for city-dwellers without outdoor space to grill. The dishes offered include Niman Ranch BBQ chicken and ribs, coleslaw, french fries, beans and mashed potatoes, and will be available from 2 p.m. until the end of the game. Cost is $30 for two people and $50 for four people. Guests can order online or over the phone (415-553-8584).

A Perfect Ten
Absinthe celebrates its 10th Year Anniversary this month. To pay tribute to its decade of success, the restaurant will roll back prices of select signature menu items and cocktails to reflect its opening menu in 1998, as well as offer a selection of premium 1998 vintage wines. The promotion will be honored from January 20–February 1 during all business hours. Absinthe, 398 Hayes St. at Gough Street, San Francisco, 415-551-1590.

La Toque on the Move
Ken Frank plans to move his Rutherford restaurant La Toque, currently located in the Rancho Caymus Inn, into the Westin Verasa Napa when construction of the new hotel is completed in Fall 2008. La Toque, Rancho Caymus Inn, 1140 Rutherford Rd., Rutherford.

Marin Mondays
Bruce Hill of Picco in Larkspur has started Marin Mondays, designed to highlight ingredients that are all from Marin. There is a $50 prix-fixe six-course menu, or dishes can be ordered à la carte. Picco, 320 Magnolia Ave. at King Street, Larkspur, 415-924-0300.

White Truffles at Masa’s
Chef Gregory Short of Masa’s has introduced a new fall-winter 2007–2008 white truffle dégustation menu. The menu includes a purée of cauliflower soup with royal trumpet mushrooms, and shaved white truffles from Alba; scrambled hen eggs; risotto with castelmagno cheese; grilled "côte de veau"; Brie de Nangis; and banana blinis with truffle brown butter ice cream and rum sauce. $250. Masa’s, 648 Bush St. at Powell Street, San Francisco, 415-989-7154.

Happy Days
McCormick & Kuleto’s Seafood Restaurant has introduced a new happy hour bar menu, with affordable dishes like a bay shrimp cocktail, black mussels, a Diestel turkey breast quesadilla, spicy Buffalo wings and a half-pound cheeseburger. All items on the new menu are priced at $2 with a two-drink minimum. Happy hour is Mon.–Fri., 3 p.m.–6 p.m. McCormick & Kuleto’s Seafood Restaurant, 900 North Point St., San Francisco, 415-929-1730.

Lowering the Antlers
Moose's, the North Beach institution, has reopened after a complete restaurant redesign from designer Michael Brennan. The white tablecloths have been stripped, a 20-person communal table added, and look for specialty cocktails at the refurbished bar. Partner-executive chef Travis Flood is also debuting a new menu, including "risotto carnitas.” All the pastas are made in-house by hand; all fish are line-caught, not farm raised; and slow-cooked meats such as the pork belly and beef short ribs will always have a place on the menu. Wine director Glen Standish’s list showcases boutique producers and offers organic and biodynamically produced wines. Live music offered Sunday through Wednesday. Moose's, 1652 Stockton St. at Union Street, San Francisco, 415-989-7800.

Mina Meets Arizona
Michael Mina, whose eponymous San Francisco restaurant was named one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. in our Annual Restaurant Issue, announced plans to open Bourbon Steak at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Arizona. Opening in February 2008, this contemporary American steakhouse will offer Angus beef, American and Japanese Kobe beef in prime cuts including rib-eye, filet mignon, and flat iron steak, served with side dishes like blue-cheese scalloped potatoes, duck fat fries and spinach soufflé. Some of Mina's seafood dishes will include lobster pot pie, king salmon and bacon-wrapped Chilean sea bass. For the design, indigenous Southwest materials will be featured, such as flagstone and redwood and juniper woods. For more information, visit

New Faces & Dishes at Sebo
Sebo in Hayes Valley has launched Sunday dinners featuring traditional izakaya "ippinryori" dishes. Look for a variety of authentic and seasonally-driven selections, like simmered pork belly and Okinawan-style spare ribs, small plates that are built to share over saké with friends. More news: Fukashi Adachi from Deep Sushi is going to be their third chef. Adachi will be a big part of the Sunday dinners, and doing sushi during the week. New Sunday hours to start: 6 p.m.–11 p.m. Sebo, 517 Hayes St. at Octavia Street, San Francisco, 415-864-2122.

Citronelle Goes West
In January, star chef Michel Richard plans to open a West Coast branch of Citronelle, his renowned Washington, D.C. restaurant which was named one of the Top 40 Restaurant in the U.S. in our 2007 Annual Restaurant Issue. Look for it in January at Carmel Valley Ranch. Carmel Valley Ranch,
1 Old Ranch Rd., Carmel, 831-625-9500.

Gourmet To-Go Meals from TWO
TWO restaurant is introducing two new offerings to its TWO-Go program, giving guests more simple ways to bring TWO’s culinary creations into their home kitchen. Gourmet TWO-Go features a selection of house-made stocks, dressings, demi-glaces and other specialty items available for purchase via the restaurant web site. Among the items available are “Gingrass Sausages” and charcuterie (prepared by TWO owner David Gingrass), including smoked lamb and garlic sausage ($7), spicy pork and fennel seed sausage ($6.50), double smoked bacon ($5) and smoked salmon ($6). Guests can also select savory chive biscuits ($5 per dozen), baked or ready-to-bake, as well as fresh lamb and veal demi-glaces ($8). Ready-TWO-Cook offers an assortment of ready-to-make meals from TWO’s menu. The ingredients are measured, prepped and packaged with simple instructions for preparation at home. All dishes take less than 15 minutes to finish and can be ordered for any number of servings. The Ready-TWO-Cook menu includes appetizers such as the slow roasted marrow bones with caramelized onion broth and crusty bread ($8) and chopped vegetable salad with avocado and Parmesan cheese ($7.50). Also available are hearty entrees such as braised lamb cheeks with creamy polenta ($12) and a 14 oz. USDA Prime dry-aged New York strip with blue cheese butter ($20). Gourmet TWO-go and Ready-TWO-Cook can be ordered online and picked up in the restaurant’s drive-through courtyard. Ready-TWO-Cook dishes must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance; Gourmet TWO-go items can be ordered within 30 minutes. TWO, 22 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, 415-777-5667.

Big Tastes, Small Plates
Scott Howard has recently changed the menu to be more flexible, with smaller plates that can be used to construct a tasting menu, a smaller dinner or late-night snack, or a bunch can be ordered to share with friends. All dishes are $16 and under. There is also a prix-fixe menu: pick any three items off the menu for $32, available 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., and then again from 9:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Scott Howard, 500 Jackson St. at Montgomery Street, San Francisco, 415-956-7040.

La Terrasse

New Tastes at La Terrasse
La Terrasse has decided to shift their menu from upscale to a brasserie a la carte style. Classics like moules frites or steak frites will be on the menu, along with duck confit, sweetbreads and nightly rotating specials. The large patio now has heat lamps, securing its status as an ideal place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. La Terrasse, 215 Lincoln Blvd., San Francisco, 415-922-3463.

freshly baked bread

San Francisco’s Best Bakeries
Check out our list of the Top 10 Bakeries in San Francisco/Bay Area for the best places to fill up on croissants, cupcakes and other yummy baked goods. Whether it’s tasteful pastries from Citizen Cake or fresh bread from Boulange de Polk, you’ll find something to satisfy every sweet tooth and carb craving. For more Top 10 Restaurant Lists, visit The Best of San Francisco.

The Next Iron Chef?
This October, eight top chefs from around the country will compete to join the ranks of Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto in the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, a new reality show that will award one chef with the coveted culinary title: Iron Chef. The series kicks-off on Sunday, October 7th at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Among the contestants battling for the honor will be local chefs Chris Cosentino of Incanto, and Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Mijita and Acme Chophouse. The winner will be revealed during the series’ finale on Sunday, November 11th, at 9 p.m. ET/PT and will begin their reign as Iron Chef with the premiere of the new season of Iron Chef America on Sunday, November 18.

New Look, Chef, and Vittles at Rex Café
Neighborhood favorite Rex Café reopened after being closed for a ten-day remodel—overall the restaurant now feels more open and spacious. There is also a new chef at the helm: John Pauley, who was at the high-end La Folie across the street for more than eight years. The new menu for Rex Café is being called San Francisco contemporary cuisine, with a variety of dishes to pick and choose from, like an Asian-inspired tuna tartare to a catfish corndog, plus an updated chicken and waffles: Southern-fried poussin with a Belgian waffle. Rex Café, 2323 Polk St., at Green Street, 415-441-2244, San Francisco.

A Fresh Start
After ten years in business, Jardinière closed for a refresh on Sunday, August 19, and will reopen on Thursday, September 13. Changes include converting part of the downstairs dining room into a lounge area, where guests can enjoy dishes off a new lounge menu. All the upholstery, carpeting, window treatments, and bar stools will be replaced and take on a more contemporary look. Jardinière, 300 Grove St. at Franklin St., San Francisco, 415-861-5555.

Back-to-School Backpack Drive at Spenger’s
Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto is holding a Back-to-School Backpack Drive throughout the month of August. Spenger’s will give away a $10 dining certificate in exchange for every new or good condition backpack dropped off at the restaurant. This gift certificate is good for lunch or dinner at Spenger’s. The backpacks will be provided to underprivileged children via The Berkeley Boosters/Police Activities League (PAL). For more information visit Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto, 1919 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-845-7771.

Jack Is Back
Executive chef Jonnatan Leiva of Jack Falstaff has made a major overhaul to the menu, offering a much more laid-back style, making it easier to pick and choose instead of following a formal dining style; Leiva is still keeping his focus on seasonality and local ingredients. He added some raw and charcuterie selections, like Pacific halibut with ruby red grapefruit, mint, horseradish, chives, and local Delta asparagus; and house-cured duck breast with pickled wild ramps and baby arugula. There are also some new pasta options in half or full portions. Jack Falstaff, 598 Second St. at Brannan, San Francisco, 415-836-9239.

Fire at Mecca
The ever-hopping Mecca experienced a kitchen fire in early June (fortunately there were no injuries), but it will be closed most likely through July while they renovate, repair, and redesign. Mecca, 2029 Market St. at Dolores Street, 415-621-7000, San Francisco.

Big 4 Will Be Back in Five
The Big 4 Restaurant in The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa will be temporarily closed from July 2–August 1 as they replace the old freight elevator that is responsible for transporting all their supplies. The Big 4 bar, however, will remain open. Big 4 Restaurant, 1075 California St. at Taylor Street, 415-771-1140, San Francisco.

Americano’s All Star Menu
In honor of this year’s “All Star Game” which will be held in San Francisco in July, Hotel Vitale’s restaurant, Americano, will be featuring an “All Star Patio BBQ Menu” to be served the entire month of July. Chef Paul Arenstam will prepare a variety of grilled specials, like a grass-fed beef burger with house-made pickled blue lake beans; organic Red Wattle pulled-pork sandwiches with market slaw and house-made Yukon Gold potato chips; along with a chicken sandwich, Niman Ranch Fearless Franks, and a bratwurst. All will be available on the outdoor patio, along with some special cocktails created for the event. Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission St. at Embarcadero, San Francisco, 415-278-3700.

Prix Fixe at Luella
Luella on Russian Hill has launched a three-course prix-fixe menu that is available Monday-Thursday, and includes a choice of asparagus soup with lemon oil or a goat cheese and beet salad; mushroom risotto or grilled bavette steak au poivre with French fries; and chocolate pudding with mascarpone cream or an ice cream sundae for dessert. Cost is $33 per person, and $50 with wine pairings. Luella, 1896 Hyde St. at Green Street, San Francisco, 415-674-4343.

Bay Views & Brunch
Pres a Vi Global Cuisine & Wine Bar has begun serving weekend brunch from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The option to dine outdoors on the 80-seat patio also debuts with the introduction of brunch service and is the perfect way to enjoy spectacular views, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Palace of Fine Arts. The brunch menu will include dishes like an herbed goat cheese omelet, Dungeness crab cakes Benedict and old-fashioned cheese grits. Pres a Vi Global Cuisine & Wine Bar, One Letterman Dr., San Francisco, 415-409-3000.

New Season for Seasons
Four Seasons San Francisco and executive chef Jeremy Emmerson have announced the launch of Seasons Steak & Seafood, the newly re-concepted restaurant for the hotel. The menu will combine premier cuts of meat, such as Kurobuta pork chops and American Kobe flatiron steak from Snake River Farms and fresh seafood in a seasonally changing menu that innovates and refines the steakhouse concept. The new menu features lighter preparations of creative side dishes and a unique “Surf N’ Turf” tasting menu, a three-part menu that will give diners an opportunity to enjoy two, smaller portions of complementary dishes, all paired with generous three-ounce pours of wine. Seasons Steak & Seafood, 757 Market St. at Grant St., San Francisco, 415-633-3838.

Home Sweet Home
A big do-over in Cow Hollow: Home on Union will be transforming into Palmetto in June. The day after the Union Street Fair (on June 3), the restaurant will close for a week, with hopes to reopen by June 12. Executive chef Andy Kitko, formerly of Gary Danko, the opening chef of Bar Tartine, and most recently a sous chef at Aqua, has been brought on to transform the menu of regional American comfort food into one that’s based around international comfort fare. There will also be a bar menu added. Cass Calder Smith is overseeing the redesign, making the space feel more energetic. Hours will remain the same, and the brunch will continue. Home on Union, 2032 Union St. at Buchanan Street, San Francisco, 415-931-5006.

25 Years of Fish
After 25 years of business, the family-operated Ebisu will be closing in May for a month for a quick remodel and freshening up. However, they will be moving Ebisu to their sister location, Hotei, right across the street during construction. The new interior will include increased seating, a “tatami” room, a sushi bar, and a new kitchen. In addition, they will be adding online ordering for their guests. Also in 2007, Ebisu and Hotei will be “going green”—all containers and bags will be recycled and biodegradable. Ebisu, 1283 Ninth Ave., San Francisco, 415-566-1770.

New Show for Roe
The SOMA supper club, Roe, will be closing in mid-April, and will reopen on May 1 with a new look and chef. The executive chef will be Thai Tran, formerly a cook at Boulevard and Ame. She is adding personal touches to a Southeast Asian menu that will have Vietnamese and Japanese accents. The restaurant’s new look will be sleek and chic, with a softer palette of graphite and pearl. Roe will reopen for dinner Tues.-Fri. 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Roe, 651 Howard St. at Hawthorne Lane, San Francisco, 415-227-0288.

Sunday Supper at Maverick
Maverick has re-opened for Sunday dinner, offering a “Sunday Supper at Maverick” menu that will combine favorites from its dinner and brunch menus. In some dishes the lines between dinner and brunch will be blurred. The hours will be amenable to Saturday night revelers looking for culinary relief on Sunday, and diners looking for an early Sunday dinner to end their weekend. Dinner will be served from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Maverick, 3316 17th St. at Mission Street, San Francisco, 415-863-3061.

Kyushu Island Box at The Ritz-Carlton
Chef Ron Siegel of The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco has designed a six-course tasting menu, Kyushu Island Box of Fish Menu, to showcase his daily shipment of fish from Japan. The menu will change daily, but one menu included sashimi of medai (Japanese cod) with yuzu gelée, black truffle glass, cucumbers and radish; and kzhata (grouper) with parsnip purée, bluefoot mushrooms and ruby port. $105 per person. The Dining Room, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton St., 415-773-6168.

Charming Remodel
SoMa’s Le Charm just finished a major remodel from designer Michael Brennan (Cortez, Boca, Tartare)—the space now has a more intimate feeling with European flair, plus new lighting, cinnamon walls and sheer sage curtains. The menu also has some new additions, like blue crab soup a la Marseillaise and an entrée of boudin blanc, plus an orange crème brûlée for dessert. They still continue to offer their generous three-course prix fixe menu, priced at $28. 315 Fifth St., San Francisco, 415-546-6128.

Weekend Dose of Dosa
The ever-popular Dosa in the Mission has started serving lunch on the weekends, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dishes will include a variety of egg dosas and uttapams, plus some refreshing cocktails to match, like mimosas and white sangria with seasonal fruit. Dosa, 995 Valencia St., San Francisco, 415-642-3672.

Patio Face Lift
Just in time for the summer, the Hotel Vitale has finished renovations on the in-demand outdoor patio. Guests of Americano can order up and sip cocktails from the two outdoor bars, and savor the new “enoteca” patio menu while sitting in expanded seating and under heat lamps when it gets chilly. The new patio menu offers small, easy-to-manage bites that one might find in an Italian wine bar, like a trio of bruschetta, assorted salumi and baked goat cheese soufflé with grilled ciabatta.

For the Lunch Bunch
Yabbies Coastal Kitchen is now open for lunch on the weekends from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Lunch items will include crab cakes, salads, sandwiches with Kennebec fries, a variety of seafood cocktails and their trademark seafood platters.

Shellfish For Brunch
Café Maritime has begun serving weekend brunch. Enjoy delicacies from their raw bar, and sink your teeth into their lobster roll, crab and shrimp corn fritters or crab frittata. You can also order up a traditional brunch dish, like French toast, pancakes or huevos rancheros. All to be kept company with, of course, a mimosa. Café Maritime, 2417 Lombard St., San Francisco, 415-885-2530.

Sommelier Shuffle
Campton Place has hired a new sommelier, Shana Dilworth, formerly the assistant GM and sommelier at Jardinière. Campton Place, 340 Stockton St. (Sutter St.), 415-955-5555.

New Owners Keep Status Quo
Frascati on Russian Hill has new owners, Jon and Rebecca Rader. Jon was previously the GM of Scala's Bistro and the Harry Denton’s Starlight Room at the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel for over five years. Chef MaxDiMare continues to man the stoves, and the Raders plan to keep things status quo for the time being. 1901 Hyde St. at Green Street, 415-928-1406.

Streetwise Saigon Treats
The chef of Le Colonial, Mike Yakura, was inspired on a recent trip to Vietnam and has now added Vietnamese street food specialties and a pho bar to the upstairs lounge menu. For the pho bar, you just select the ingredients you want from a checklist card. The street food menu and pho bar are available in the upstairs lounge Tue.-Fri., starting at 4:30 p.m. 20 Cosmo Pl. at Taylor St., San Francisco, 415-931-3600.

Park at Home
The Mission’s Luna Park restaurant has started an unusual service for a restaurant of its ilk: free delivery. Hungry patrons can now stay home in their fuzzy pink slippers and have Luna Park’s trademark comfort food, like Cobb salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, “make your own s’mores,” and coconut cream pie delivered to their door. For now, the delivery area includes the Mission, Noe Valley, Castro, and Bernal Heights. Available 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. during the week, and until 11:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat. Luna Park, 694 Valencia St. at 18th Street, 415-553-8584. The number for dinner delivery is 415-553-8547.


Best Room in the Greens' House
The folks at Greens Restaurant have transformed a former storage room into a private events room. No longer will the olive oil and paper goods have one of the best views in the house of the Bay—the room can seat 42 and host receptions for 55-60 people. The room continues Greens’ Craftsman-style design, and is available all day seven days a week, for anything from breakfast meetings to after-theater dessert parties. Ft. Mason Center, Building A, San Francisco. For more information or to make party reservations, call Scott Janecek, Dining Room Manager, 415-771-7955, ext. 107.

New Wine Director at Cyrus
As of March 9, Jason Alexander, the wine director of Cyrus in Healdsburg, now holds that same position at Gary Danko. (He was originally at Gary Danko for three to four years before taking the job at Cyrus.) Alexander’s replacement will be Jim Rollston, who hails from the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, and who worked very closely with Alexander while he was at Cyrus.

Silky Ensemble

The Pacific Rim-influenced restaurant Silks at the Mandarin Oriental has a unique style that easily shifts from daywear to evening wear. By day, the restaurant hosts financial district diners and international travelers, while at night, hotel guests, traveling couples and area residents can be found. To create a scenic differentiation in ambiance, designer Brad Lublin was commissioned to create an “evening ensemble” that would be put in place for dinner and be removed during the day. (Lublin spent the previous decade in set production at the American Conservatory Theater working on scores of plays.) Expect sumptuous fabrics, heavy velvet draperies, silk chiffon sheers and fine silk tieback tassels. Silks, 345 California Center, 415-986-2020.

Tickled Pink
The space-age and swanky Frisson has launched lunch for those who are craving a spiffy place to have a “quickie” while dining upon Sarah Schafer’s delectable New American fare. The lighter lunch menu, or the “flirtation” segment, includes appetizers like shrimp spring rolls and crispy brandade sticks. Entrées, charmingly referred to as "commitment," will coax diners to happily tie the knot with dishes like roasted pancetta-wrapped monkfish over "forbidden" black fried rice and a pressed-Cuban panino. Desserts like an orange and vanilla Creamsicle close the deal with the "seduction" category. Pucker up. 244 Jackson St., 415-956-3004.

In San Anselmo, Insalata’s is celebrating its ten-year anniversary with a renovation. The acclaimed local designer, Michael Brennan, is guiding the changes, which will include new light fixtures, a reconfigured waiting area, and some other touches. The menu is also getting freshened up, but the favorites like the fattoush salad will naturally remain. The reopening is planned for March 2, just in time for its seventh annual St. Joseph’s Table event on March 19. 120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, 415-457-7700.

Yuzu is Coolzu at Ponzu
Ponzu is serving up yuzu, a hybrid citrus fruit with a blend of lemon, lime, grapefruit and mandarin orange flavors. Ponzu is offering a limited supply of sweet yuzu wines from the Kinchi Brewery in Japan, perfect to pair with the yuzu meringue pie. Specialty cocktails featuring the sweet and sour fruit such as The Yuzu and The Sultana will also be available and are ideal compliments for chef Michelle Mah's charred pork ribs with char siu and chicken spring rolls. Ponzu, 401 Taylor St., San Francisco, 415-775-7979.

Bruno’s Remodel
Bruno’s has temporarily closed for extensive renovations. Reportedly they are going to make the classic steakhouse/supperclub style more lounge-y, with a reopening planned for the end of this year. The Cork Club, the adjoining lounge, may open for drinks and music sooner. Locals are hoping the Sinatra-worthy red vinyl booths stay put.

The Everlasting Love of L’Olivier
The long-standing owners of L’Olivier, brothers Guy and Christian, have sold the classic French restaurant to a husband and wife team. The new owners have no intent to change the traditional French menu (one of the few remaining in the city), and their commitment to making a perfect “Bouillabaisse Marseillaise” on Friday and Saturday nights will remain. 465 Davis Ct., 415-981-7824.

Bring on the Boulange
In the blink of an eye, Pascal Rigo’s empire built on yeast and sugar has changed one of its offspring: his casual restaurant on Fillmore, Galette, has closed and is being totally remodeled into another Boulange, the Boulange de Fillmore. (It will be open on Wednesday, November 30.) The kitchen will act as an extension of the Boulange just around the corner on Pine, but will feature an expanded menu with salads, crepes, and items to be consumed on premise or for takeout. 2043 Fillmore St. at California Street, San Francisco, 415-928-1300.

Sidewalk Seating
Anyone walking through Washington Square recently may have noticed Moose’s now has European-style sidewalk seating. The 20-seat protected patio is custom-made for San Francisco weather: It not only has heaters and windows but is the only outdoor dining that faces picturesque Washington Square. What’s interesting is that the “sidewalk café” is one big mobile unit, from the awnings to the walls. Once the custom chairs arrive from Italy, diners will enjoy the inimitable North Beach people watching while keeping cozy in style. 1652 Stockton St., 415-989-7800.

Paris Match
Since Café de la Presse has been closed for renovations, many have been wondering what it’s going to look like once it opens, especially since the Aqua Development Corp. is now in charge. No fear: White tablecloths will not take over the beloved corner café. Laurent Manrique has been working with the original Café de la Presse chef, Patrick Albert, on revamping the classic menu. It will maintain a true café atmosphere, so expect to find a delicious croque or two on the menu. The international newsstand component will also remain, in addition to a flat-screen TV projecting fashion industry programming. Ooh la la! Expect a mid-September opening. 352 Grant Ave., 415-249-0900.

Isn't It Romantic?
Just in time for summer, beloved neighborhood French bistro Zazie is now serving dinner on its sweet secluded patio. It’s rather romantic, all lit up with white lights and lanterns, and kept cozy with heat lamps. There is an excellent three-course prix-fixe for $17.50, and on Tuesdays you can enjoy a bottle of Cabernet Franc for only $12 or take advantage of the no-corkage fee that night. They are also holding “Dinner Has Gone to the Dogs” on Monday nights, when dog owners can bring their well-behaved pooches to the patio. The dogs are treated to a biscuit, while owners will enjoy dinner with a discounted bottle of Graeser’s “Ruff Red” Zinfandel for only $10. Woof.

VIP Gaucho
El Raigon, the authentic and rustic Argentine steakhouse in North Beach, has just opened its private dining room downstairs. It’s an ideal spot for up to 16 guests to savor delicious grass-fed steaks over a glass of Malbec (oh, let’s live a little, make it a bottle). El Raigon, 510 Union St.

Bay Bread Baby Birthday
Pascal Rigo’s Laurel Village café, Rigolo, is celebrating its one-year anniversary with, what else, more delicious things to eat. They have added two seasonal dinner specials (a double-thick pork chop with peach chutney and an open-faced Mahi Mahi sandwich) and locally produced organic ice cream to the menu. And it’s not just any ice cream, but Sundae Best artisanal ice cream from Postrio pastry chef Christine Law, with flavors like buttermilk crème fraiche French ice cream made with Madagascar vanilla bean. (Two scoops, please.) Rigolo, 3465 California St..

Imagine 2005 Auction at Chalk Hill Estate
Chalk Hill Estate is the home for the second annual Imagine charity wine auction. Starting on Thursday, July 28th with a free children’s concert presented by the world-renowned Russian National Orchestra, the three-day event benefits Children’s Charities of Sonoma County and Youth Programs of the Russian Arts Foundation. The culmination occurs on Saturday July 30th, with Carlo Ponti, Jr. conducting the orchestra, followed by an elegant, three-course luncheon created by Chalk Hill’s in-house chef, Didier Ageorges. Auction items include a custom-made Rolls Royce, travel packages, and celebrity dinners. Individual tickets are $700 and the event is limited to 400 guests. Visit for more information.

Girls Club
The Fifth Floor has gone all-female. No it’s not a private club, but with the hiring of Sara Berman as its new maitre d’, an all-female team is in place. Berman rounds out the crew that includes executive chef Melissa Perello, pastry chef Marika Doob and sommelier Emily Wines. Born in Sacramento, Berman’s rise through the ranks in San Francisco includes stints at restaurant such as La Folie, Jardiniere and the Grand Café. She was most recently an account executive at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering.

Two Castro Restaurants Change Hands

Both Mecca and 2223 Restaurant have been sold. Mecca’s new owners are the owners of the Bagdad Café. They should take over by August 1. After ten years, chef-partner Melinda Randolph bought out her partner David Gray and is now the sole owner of 2223 Market.

Haute Dogs
Tasty wieners? Some of the best sausages in the Bay Area are made and sold at Dittmer’s in Mountain View. Fans of smoked sausages can purchase old-fashioned frankfurters made with veal and pork, Polish sausages and even Ukrainian sausages. Double-smoked sausages include paprika, Creole andouille and a venison andouille. There’s hard-to-find German blood sausage, as well as the French variety. With more than two dozen offerings—fresh, smoked, and double-smoked—a gourmet would be hard-pressed not to find satisfaction at Dittmer’s. They also carry fresh, unprocessed lard. Dittmer’s Homemade Sausage 400 San Antonio Rd., Mountain. 650-941-3800; fax 650-941-3812.

Espresso and Tango
Caffe Melanio is drawing tango lovers to its Ocean Avenue storefront to enjoy Italian and Argentine cuisine and music. The restaurant is owned by Melanio Duarte, who runs the front of the house. The menu includes paella, escabeche de berenjena (eggplant dish), as well as ravioli, cannelloni and chicken Parmesan. During the day, the space is a coffee roasting operation and cafe; morphing into a food and music venue at night. Tango night is usually two Wednesdays a month, a jazz combo plays Friday and Saturday nights. Caffe D’Melanio is located at 1314 Ocean Ave. near Plymouth. 415-333-3665. Dinner is served Monday-Saturday.

Up for Sale
Rica Restaurant & Bar, which opened originally as Charlie’s, at 1838 Union St. between Laguna and Octavia is for sale. No word yet of a firm deal.

Cheese in Russian Hill
Leonard’s 2000 cheese store at 2000 Polk St. at Pacific Avenue has been sold. The new owner Jim Bair, has worked in specialty food at Whole foods for almost 20 years. Bair plans to expand the stores offerings, add a deli and coffee bar.

Endless Winterland
Although Winterland restaurant is now “closed,” chef Vernon Morales will still be cooking there on Thursday nights. Those who never got a chance to sample his experimental and unique cuisine, well, here’s your final chance. Chef Morales will prepare a special six-course tasting menu for $110, tax and gratuity included. There are two seatings, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. For more information, call 415-563-5025. 2101 Sutter St., San Francisco.

From Power Lunch to Happy Hour
The stylish new Vietnamese restaurant, Bong Su, is now open daily Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m., offering guests lunch, a midday menu and happy hour specials. The lunch menu will feature items including crab & garlic noodles and passion fruit duck, a Liberty duck breast served with passion fruit sauce and sautéed chive flowers. In addition, the restaurant will present a "Power Lunch" menu, specifically designed for business guests, where in less than one hour guests can enjoy two courses, like the Shrimp Cupcakes and Grilled Southern Pork. The two-course meal is reasonably priced at $17.00. Happy hour means starters are half-off in Bong Su's Lounge from 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. 311 Third St., San Francisco, 415-536-5800.

Bruno's Reopened
After a long closure, Bruno’s in the Mission has reopened, thanks to the new owners who also own Harry’s Bar on Fillmore. The remodeled space features leopard carpets and a swanky lounge-like atmosphere, courtesy of local designer, Michael Brennan. Live music will continue to be a focus of the establishment, and there’s a casual bar menu with items like burgers, fries, popcorn shrimp and ribs. Bruno’s, 2389 Mission St., San Francisco, 415-550-7455.

A Tablespoonful of Liquor
The popular Tablespoon on Polk Street now has a hard-liquor license. Expect the already-popular bar to draw people for more than just their tasty mac ‘n’ cheese and other flavorful dishes that offer a unique twist on American cuisine. Tablespoon, 2209 Polk St., San Francisco, 415-268-0140.

New Menu at Yoshi's
Yoshi’s at Jack London Square in Oakland will be temporarily closing its kitchen September 18-September 24, giving its new executive chef Shotaro "Sho" Kamio (formerly of Ozumo), some time to finalize his new menu. He is known amongst sushi-lovers for his original, contemporary Japanese creations. He will also be the executive chef of the new Yoshi's San Francisco location, which is scheduled to open summer 2007. Yoshi’s Oakland will have entirely new menus, with dishes like garlic soy tempura soft-shelled crab with lettuce cups and Sho's signature sashimi hamachi shabu shabu, plus changes to the wine and sake lists that compliment Kamio's flavorful cuisine. Yoshi's will reopen for dinner only on September 25 and will feature a newly added happy hour. 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland, 510-238-9200.

Dinner Menu at Myth
Myth Café has started dinner service Monday-Friday. Chef Ryan Scott is serving a limited menu that is casual and easy on the wallet, like sliders, mac ‘n’ cheese, and skirt steak (many items don’t cost much more than $10). Dinner will be served until 9 p.m. Myth Café, 490 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, 415-677-8986.

Hawthorn Lane to Morph into Two
By the end of the year, Hawthorne Lane will be closing for a remodel and will have a new look and menu offerings. The restaurant will reopen as TWO, with owner David Gingrass collaborating more with executive chef Bridget Batson in the kitchen and on menu development. The menu will reflect a more casual and simple approach, featuring small, ingredient-focused appetizers, much more traditional-style pizzas, a variety of pastas, entrées featuring grilled, roasted and braised items, and vegetables and starches offered as sides. They also plan to offer a box lunch program ordered via their website and picked up "drive-through" style in the courtyard. Hawthorne Lane, 22 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, 415-777-9779.

Mina’s Modern Menu
Michael Mina’s Arcadia has introduced a modern American steakhouse menu at lunch and dinner, including classic cuts of beef, like a 28-day dry-aged New York strip steak, king salmon fish steaks, and traditional side dishes with Mina’s contemporary twist (think duck fat fries). The lunch service was designed to better address the needs of business-lunchers and convention attendees, with new pricing and items that enable more efficient service. Some minor alterations were also made to the restaurant’s interior, including the use of sleek, bare wood tables in lieu of white tablecloths. Arcadia, 301 S. Market St. San Jose, 408-280-1300.

Sizing Things Up
Cortez, after three years of its small-plates format, has added regular-size entrées to the menu. New dishes include caramelized diver scallops and braised octopus with toy box tomatoes, and glazed Long Island duck breast with herbed spätzle, warm cherry purée, celery and roasted heirloom baby yellow carrots. Cortez, 550 Geary St., San Francisco, 415-292-6360.

Incanto's Iron Chef
Local boy does good: Chris Cosentino of Incanto is challenging Mario Batali on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. The taping is this October in New York, and the episode will be airing in the spring of 2007. Let’s hope the secret ingredient is something like offal, which these two chefs would be more than able to offer an entirely unique perspective on.

New Partner at Zuni Café
After many years at Zuni Café, partner Vince Calcagno has sold his share to the charismatic Gilbert Pilgram, a 20-year veteran of Chez Panisse. The official transfer is November 30.

Gayot's Annual Awards wants to congratulate the following restaurants for their selection to our TOP 40 RESTAURANTS IN THE U.S. list published in our Annual Restaurant Issue for 2006:

The Dining Room
Fleur de Lys
Gary Danko
Michael Mina would also like to congratulate Coi for its selection to our Top Ten New Restaurants.

Bright Future
Fresh-faced sommelier Mark Bright has left Michael Mina, and will be working with Ola Fendert at Oola as the wine director (they reportedly have another project together in the works as well). Bright also consults with Lingba in Potrero Hill, Dosa in the Mission plus the newly-opened Circa in the Marina.

Permanently Temporary
The French Laundry executive chef Thomas Keller has decided to make his "temporary" Yountville restaurant Ad Hoc permanent. The casual Wine Country eatery features one prix-fixe, family-style menu per night of rustic, American comfort food—an experience which might include burgers, one of Keller's surprise favorite indulgences. Stay tuned. Ad Hoc, 6476 Washington St. at Vintner Ct., Yountville, 707-944-2487.

New Vintage
After ten years of ownership, Arnold Eric Wong of EOS in Cole Valley sold the restaurant to Scott Holley of Yabbie’s Coastal Kitchen and Steps of Rome. Wong’s former chef de cuisine, Danny Guerinni, has taken over as the executive chef. Holley intends to keep things as is, while Wong will be focusing more on his other restaurant, bacar. EOS, 901 Cole St., at Carl Street, 415-566-3063.

Lasting Fixe-ture
Chef Scott Howard was so pleased with the response to the prix-fixe menu for Dine About Town 2007 that he has decided to make it a permanent option for guests at his eponymous restaurant. The affordable, three-course menu will change nightly and seasonally. Cost will be $32 per person. Scott Howard, 500 Jackson St. at Columbus Ave., 415-956-7040.

2007—Not the Best Vintage
After six years, bacar’s co-partners and co-founders Arnold Eric Wong, the executive chef (who just sold his other restaurant, EOS), and wine director Debbie Zachareas are no longer involved with the restaurant after deciding to part ways with the new majority owner. Wong is going to focus on his bakery business, Raison d'être, and do some traveling, while Zachareas will be working more with her partners at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and their upcoming retail venture, the Oxbow Wine Merchant in Napa. And just a few weeks after their departure, Adam Timney, chef de cuisine, has left the kitchen. A new chef is expected to be announced and to start on March 10. bacar, 448 Brannan St. at Third Street, San Francisco, 415-904-4100.

Raw Excitement
Long a pearl among Union Square restaurants, Farallon restaurant features a bejeweled, undersea-theme dining room with a menu of French-influenced seafood—but strangely enough, no visible raw bar—until now. Reminiscent of an upscale, East Coast or European presentation, the vast display features a daily selection of diverse oysters from the finest domestic and international beds, including Chile, New Zealand and Chesapeake Bay. Crab, lobster, clams and Spanish barnacles are also on offer. The bar blends with the restaurant's fantastical décor designed by Pat Kuleto, with "sea urchin" bar stools seated at a sophisticated stainless steel and marble display case. Farallon, 450 Post St., San Francisco, 415-956-6969.

Dinner for all Seasons
Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos will host a series of events for 2007. Chef de cuisine Jeremy Fox will hand make the charcuterie that he will then dry-cure for The Pig Dinner, held on June 19. Manresa Five-Year Anniversary Dinners, July 13-14, will celebrate the restaurant’s 2002 opening with multi-course meals prepared by chef David Kinch. On September 18, The Tomato Modernista Dinner will showcase the hundreds of varieties of tomatoes growing in Cynthia Sandberg’s Love Apple Farm. Finally, The Champagne Dinner, featuring purveyors of French regional wines Jay Druian and Sallie Robbins-Druian of The French Cellar, will kick off the holiday season on November 6. For more information, visit Manresa, 320 Village Ln., Los Gatos, 408-354-4330.


Joseph Manzare's and Eddie Maiello's Pescheria closed suddenly on Saturday, April 5 (the building was sold). Instead, the restaurant concept will be moving into a much more central location: a large building that is being constructed over the old Bahia Cabana lot, at 1600 Market Street, near Zuni Café. The project is at least a couple years out, however.

Myth Café (490 Pacific Ave.) closed March 15 due to new ownership, and the latest word is Myth’s last day of business is Saturday, March 29. No word about the new concept planned for the space. Myth’s former executive chef, Sean O’Brien, left the restaurant and is now working with Andrew McCormack and Joe Hargrave on the remodel and new concept planned for Frisson (244 Jackson St.), which also just closed, on March 15. Myth, 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery Street, San Francisco, 415-677-8986.

Frjtz, the outpost for fries and beer and crêpes in Hayes Valley, has closed after eight years in the same spot (the landlord wouldn’t renew the lease). A new Frjtz location should be open by the holidays a few doors down, at 581 Hayes. In the meantime, the new Mission location is open, and serving late, at 590 Valencia between 16th and 17th Streets, San Francisco, 415-864-7654.

After 120 years in business, and four generations, A. Sabella’s Restaurant will be closing in Fisherman’s Wharf on November 3. A number of employees have worked there for years, some for decades, so the closure is an emotional one for many. Brother and sister Antone and Laureen Sabella look forward to some time off to travel and visit with family (Antone has worked at the restaurant for 45 years). There are reportedly a couple offers on the space, but nothing is final at the moment. A. Sabella’s Restaurant, 2766 Taylor St., 3rd Floor, at Jefferson Street, San Francisco, 415-771-6775.

The ever-eclectic Country Station Sushi in the Mission closed June 30 (the landlord is rebuilding). A few members of the staff can be found at Tamasei Sushi, including the owner and his wife, who opened the space at the beginning of the year. Country Station Sushi, 2140 Mission St. at 17th St., 415-861-0972; Tamasei, 3856 24th St. at Vicksburg St., 415-282-7989.

Platanos (598 Guerrero St. at 18th St.), a Cuban-inspired corner eatery and brunch spot from the Bay Bread group in the Mission, has closed. Bay Bread struck a deal with the owner of the building to get out of the lease—the owner has sons who reportedly plan on doing something with the space.

Little Joe’s on Van Ness has closed since the building was sold, and condominiums will be constructed instead. The owner is currently looking at a location in the Tenderloin, the third location for the restaurant.

Just shy of being open for five years, the quintessential Valentine’s Day restaurant, L’Amour Dans Le Four, has closed. (The building was sold.) The last dinner was served on New Year’s Eve. Partners Laurent Bornier, Adrienne Fair and her husband, Blaise Bourdais, are looking for another location in San Francisco where they can relocate.

Berkeley's Bendean has closed. The owner, Lance Dean Velasquez, wanted to spend more time with his son, and decided to close the restaurant.

The affordable and affable Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Saigon, is closing after 23 years in business due to a sharp increase in their rent. They are closing at the end of May. 1132 Valencia St., San Francisco.

The charming vegetarian restaurant in Bernal Heights, Geranium, has closed. The owners have a nine-month old baby to attend to, so they decided to close shop and are moving to Sacramento. By late April, after seven or eight years in its present home, Moki's Sushi & Pacific Grill will be moving in and taking over the location at 615 Cortland St.

Strayfish Sushi in the Outer Mission is closed. The number is disconnected, but fans of Ogawa Masato’s fresh sushi can still find it at his other restaurant in Union Square, Sakana, 639 Post St., 415-775-7644.

Noe Valley residents, and the folks who would make the trip up the hill, are mourning the closing of beloved brunch spot Miss Millie’s, which officially closed on January 22. The restaurant is due to reopen in Rockridge in the spring; some would argue the famed lemon-ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce are worth the trek across the bay.

Sadly, Jason Pearce is no longer cooking his delicious artisanal pizzas at Club Deluxe. Unfortunately the location in the bar wasn’t spelling much success for his pizza endeavor there; we’ll have to see where he pops back up again.

Due to a notable raise in rent, the beloved Indian-French fusion outpost in the Castro, Tallula, will be closing in February when their lease comes to an end. Go on a date to soak up the incredibly romantic ambiance and nibble on one of their delectable lobster dosas while you still can.


After being in business since 1920, North Beach’s landmark the Gold Spike will sadly be closing on Monday, February 20, after 86 years in business. The Spike is San Francisco’s oldest Italian restaurant that has been continuously owned and operated by the same family. The space was originally a candy store and was opened during Prohibition, but its popularity was due to the wine being offered in the back. It was Natalina Mechetti’s home cooking for the boarders upstairs that inspired the transformation into a restaurant. The current owner, Paul “Lad” Mechetti, has decided to close it due to the challenging terms of a renegotiated lease and a forced retrofit and renovation of the building by the landowner, terms that are practically an eviction. He is vacating the premises by March 1, and plans to take a few months off to consider if he will reopen the business in another location. The Spike will be missed. (Image courtesy of Martyn Gable)

After five years of business in the Presidio, as of December 23, Anne Gingrass’s Desiree Café has closed. Their commitment to sustainable products and farmers will be missed (in addition to their delicious sandwiches).

The jewel-box restaurant, Tartare, has closed. In the meantime, diners hungry for George Morrone’s cooking will need to make the trip to Novato to his Argentine steakhouse, Boca until he lands elsewhere.

The ladies behind Bambuddha Lounge, Gina Milano and Christina Deeb, are shuttering their Haight Street venture, Maroc. Looks like the hookahs at nearby Kan Zaman beat out Maroc’s fancy fruit-infused cocktails and small plates menu.

Greek restaurant Minerva, on the corner of Divisadero and Bush Streets, has closed. It appears the “curse of the corner” has struck again. The current notice of change of ownership says “Tortilla Heights.”

Sadly, it appears that Buca Giovanni in North Beach has closed. The number is disconnected and the restaurant has been dark with no notice about a temporary closure or vacation. Vic Casanova’s cooking and feisty spirit will be missed.

Midori Mushi at 465 Grove near Gough has shut its doors. And the seafood restaurant, 500 Jackson (near Columbus), that opened in the former space that housed the Cypress Club, has finally given up the ghost.

Cascade Bar & Grill in Mill Valley has closed and will reopen as Bungalow 44. The new partnership that owns the eatery includes the principles of the Real Restaurant Group, Bill Higgins and Bill Upson. The address is 44 Blythedale in Mill Valley.

In the town of Napa, La Boucane closed. For 25 years, owner Jacques Mokrani was behind the stove, preparing traditional Continental cuisine.

Sonoma Saveurs on the Plaza in Sonoma, which featured a menu with duck and foie gras items as well as other French fare, has closed. The owners included Junny and Guillermo Gonzalez, who own Sonoma Foie Gras; French lawyer Didier Jaubert and his wife, Leslie; and Aqua chef Laurent Manrique and his wife, Cathinka. Before it opened, the restaurant was the target of animal rights activists. But according to the owners, they closed for lack of business.

In the town of Sonoma, both Vacquero Restaurant and The Taste of Italy deli-café have ceased business.

Sneaky Tiki in SoMa is now closed. Owners Greg Bronstein and Craige Walters will still be busy with their other properties, Lime and Luna, and various bars around town.

Sadly, after a little over a year in business, Winterland is now closed. The experimental cuisine of Chef Vernon Morales will be missed—hopefully he will remain in the Bay Area.

North Beach’s supper club Enrico’s, a classic since 1958, has closed its doors. The current tenants were not going to be able to meet the terms of the new lease, and so they decided to close.

, the New Orleans-inspired eatery located across from the SBC Global Ballpark, has closed. The San Mateo Kingfish location will continue to stay open.

After being in business since Cecilia Chiang opened it in 1968, The Mandarin restaurant in Ghirardelli Square has now closed—the space is going to be used for a private residence development.

What started as the third location for Chez Maman became Aura, a Pan-Asian restaurant under Mike Yakura. But now Aura is closed, and Jocelyn Bulow of the Maktub Group (Baraka, Chez Papa, Sutra) plans to sell the space at 803 Cortland Ave. at Ellsworth, San Francisco.

Nicky’s Pizzeria Rustica (2109 Polk St.) has closed. Taking its place will be Escape from New York Pizza in early 2007. Nick Fasanella is taking a break, and might even head over to New York to open a taqueria.

Chef Shuffle

Since Pescheria is now closed, a number of the staff is going to Moose’s while it transitions to Joey & Eddie’s; Jerry McGinnis is now the executive chef of Moose’s/Joey & Eddie's (1652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800).

Mecca has a new executive chef, Moises Sikaffy, who was recently the executive chef for Beach Chalet and Park Chalet restaurants. A variety of oysters will continue to be on the menu, plus some light starters and salads, and approachable mains that hover around $25. Mecca, 2029 Market St. at Church Street, San Francisco, 415-621-7000.

Jean Pierre Dubray, the executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, has been named executive chef of The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast. A native of France’s Loire Valley, Dubray came to the United States to be part of the opening team of La Vie en Rose in Brea and later was named the first dining room chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. He will be responsible for The Resort at Pelican Hill’s culinary offerings, comprising Pelican Grill (the signature restaurant at the Pelican Hill Golf Club), Andrea (Northern Italian cuisine), a poolside grill and bar, the resort’s pastry and bakery operations, room service, and catering and special event services. Dubray starts March 17. The resort, located between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, opened the Pelican Hill Golf Club in November 2007; all other components–128 bungalows and 204 villas, a spa with 22 treatment rooms, and more restaurants–will open in fall 2008.

SPQR’s co-executive chef, Daniel Holzman, is no longer with the restaurant—his last day was January 25. The official statement from the restaurant is, “Daniel has decided to pursue other opportunities. He was a great chef and we're sad to see him go, but we wish him the best of luck.” Nate Appleman will now be the sole executive chef of SPQR, while continuing to oversee A16. No word about Holzman’s next project or destination, yet. SPQR, 1911 Fillmore St. at Pine Street, San Francisco, 415-771-7779.

Jeffrey Lloyd, formerly chef de cuisine at Michael Mina (he has worked with Mina for twelve years total), now heads up the kitchen at Nectar Wine Lounge & Restaurant in Burlingame. Look for contemporary American cuisine with organic, seasonal and local ingredients, like seared day boat scallops with a Champagne-caviar beurre blanc and crème fraîche whipped potatoes. The restaurant’s 600-plus selection wine list features an eclectic collection of domestic and international wines, with 50 wines offered by the glass and by the taste. Nectar Wine Lounge & Restaurant, 270 Lorton Ave., Burlingame, 650-558-9200.

Fish & Farm, a new restaurant passionate about food, farms, and the environment, already has a new pair of chefs to lead the kitchen, Charlie Kleinman and Jacob Des Voignes. They are both veterans of Fifth Floor. Kleinman worked previously at Daniel in New York City, while Des Voignes honed his skills at Craft in New York City and Miró in Santa Barbara. They replace opening chef Michael Morrison, who is currently considering a career in charcuterie while spending more time with his newborn baby girl. Kleinman and Des Voignes have implemented their own collective touch on the “New American” cuisine while continuing to honor local, sustainable products. Open 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tues.-Wed. and Sun., 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Fish & Farm, 339 Taylor St. at Ellis Street, San Francisco, 415-474-FISH (3474).

Chez TJ in Mountain View has settled on a new chef: It's Bruno Chemel. Chemel's a graduate of France's finest kitchens: Vivarois, Le Grand Véfour, Guy Savoy, and has collaborated with Joël Robuchon. He'll take over Christopher Kostow's spot in mid February as Kostow gets ready to depart for his new job as chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena.

Now that Ponzu’s executive chef Michelle Mah is with Joie de Vivre Hospitality (no word about her new project yet), Bob Petzold, the former chef de cuisine of Gerald Hirigoyen’s Bocadillos, is taking over. Petzold’s background includes seven years in Asia, and he recently returned from a two-month Southeast Asia trip. Look for a new menu at the beginning of the year. Ponzu, 401 Taylor St. at Geary Street, San Francisco, 415-775-7979.

Executive chef Anna Bautista has left Nua, the Cal-Med restaurant and wine bar in North Beach. No word about her replacement, or where she is going. Another change is executive chef Christine Mullen has left Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen—looks like she might be starting a catering company. Taking her place is Michael Lamina, who started as a sous chef at Cav in January. Nua, 550 Green St. at Jasper Place, San Francisco, 415-433-4000; Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen, 1666 Market St. at Gough, San Francisco, 415-437-1770.

The co-executive chef of Cortez, Louis Maldonado, has departed after four years of working in the kitchen there. Seth Bowden will now be the sole executive chef at Cortez. Cortez, 550 Geary St. at Jones Street, San Francisco, 415-292-6360.

The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco has hired a new executive chef, Christophe Depuischaffray. He was formerly at the Hotel InterContinental Madrid in Spain where he was executive chef for over three years. Depuischaffray is a native of France, who started his culinary career in Corsica and has worked in hotels spanning the world, including Europe, Egypt, Asia, and the Americas. InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, 999 California St., San Francisco.

Opening chef Noah Tucker has left Brick restaurant—it ends up his wife started a new job in Amsterdam, so he’ll be working in Europe now. Alex Marsh, the executive chef of Solstice, will be taking over, and he will continue to oversee Solstice’s kitchen as well. Brick’s new menu will be tweaked to be a bit more accessible, with larger portions and lower prices—look for the changes to be in place by mid-October. There is also a new pastry chef starting, Rikki Garcia, of Café 150 at the Google complex, and previously at Michael Mina and Lark Creek Inn. Brick, 1085 Sutter St. at Larkin Street, San Francisco, 415-441-4232.

After a little over a month of service, Patrick Robertson, the executive chef of Scala’s Bistro and Drake Restaurants, has left. The search for a new chef is back on. Scala's Bistro, 432 Powell St. at Post Street, San Francisco, 415-395-8555.

Replacing the former executive chef at San Francisco's PlumpJack Café, James Syhabout (who has moved back to Manresa in Los Gatos), is his sous chef, Tyson Greenwood. Greenwood, 29, has also worked at Masa's and Auberge du Soleil in wine country.

Grand Cafe

Grand Café has a new executive chef, Mauro Pando, who was formerly at Red Star Tavern & Roast House in Portland, Oregon. Pando is no stranger to the local restaurant scene, working in places like Bistro Don Giovanni, Rose Pistola and Restaurant LuLu. Grand Café, 501 Geary St., at Taylor Street, San Francisco, 415-292-0101.

Executive chef James Syhabout is leaving the PlumpJack Café, and returning to Manresa, where he will be the chef de cuisine working under David Kinch. Syhabout’s last day at the Plumpjack Café will be July 14.

Robbie Lewis, formerly the executive chef of Jardinière, has officially taken over the kitchen at bacar. Among his first moves will be to close the exhibition kitchen to provide a more elegant dining experience, and add rotating daily specials and chef's tasting menus. New menu items may include cocoa-braised pork belly, venison slow-poached in duck fat and Petrale sole served with lettuce emulsion. bacar, 448 Brannan St., San Francisco, 415-904-4100.

Some news at Masa’s: pastry chef, Keith Jeanminette has departed after fourteen years of wowing diners with his creations. He is now working at the Marriott in SoMa, and seems to be happy with the additional scope and challenges his new position will bring. Masa’s will be announcing a new pastry chef soon.

Executive chef David Cohen is no longer leading the kitchen at Scala’s Bistro in Union Square. The search for a new executive chef is currently underway.

Restaurant Michael Mina has a new chef de cuisine. Chris L'Hommedieu boasts an impressive résumé: he was former sous chef under Mina at Aqua before the executive chef opened his eponymous San Francisco restaurant, and has since helped open Alain Ducasse's Mix and, most recently, served as executive sous chef at Thomas Keller's Per Se restaurant, both in New York. He replaces Jeffrey Lloyd. No word yet on Lloyd's future plans. Michael Mina, The Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St. at Geary Boulevard, 415-397-9222.

David Bazirgan has returned to Baraka as executive chef (he departed earlier in 2006 to start his own project, which has been delayed). He was last overseeing the kitchens of Baraka, La Suite and Chez Papa, but will focus solely on Baraka this go-round. Baraka, 288 Connecticut St., 415-255-0370.

Chef Rudy Mihal has left Zuppa, and taking his place is Brent Johnson (Alain Ducasse in New York, Pizzetta 211).

Campton Place has hired a new pastry chef, Boris Portnoy, formerly the pastry chef at Winterland.

Big news: chef and part-owner of A16, Christophe Hille, has left the kitchen and returned to the East Coast to be with his family. Nate Appleman, the former chef de cuisine, has been appointed executive chef. Appleman, who has been with the restaurant since it opened, is lauded for his salumi- and pizza-making skills (he received the same certification as Hille from the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association). 2355 Chestnut St. at Scott St., 415-771-2216.

In Sausalito, chef Chris Fernandez has left Poggio. The restaurant has appointed Peter McNee to the position of executive chef. McNee, previously of Stars and Tra Vigne, worked closely with Fernandez at Poggio in his former positions as sous chef and chef de cuisine. Casa Madrona, 777 Bridgeway at Caledonia St., Sausalito, 415-332-7771.

The opening chef of Bar Tartine, Andy Kitko, has departed after five months. His replacement is Tracy McGillis of Incanto, who is also bringing along her sous chef, Kimi Walker. The menu is slated to incorporate more of Tartine Bakery’s bread, and dishes will showcase rustic influences.

After seven years at the stoves of Slow Club, chef Sante Salvoni has left the restaurant. There is no word yet whether he will be starting his own thing, or landing somewhere else. His former and talented sous chef, Chris Kronner, is currently manning the Slow Club’s tiny three-burner kitchen.

The Carnelian Room has a new chef, Alfonso Valledor. A native of Argentina, Valledor had his own restaurants there, “La Cave du Valais” and “Tagomao,” in addition to working in a number of fine-dining establishments. Most recently, he held a position in California as executive chef at the Wine & Roses Hotel Restaurant and Spa in Lodi and doing a stint at The Town Lounge Restaurant in Roseville.

Here’s an update on the recent changes at Levende. Chef Jamie Lauren left a couple months back and is focusing on her new project, Prana, which will be a combination restaurant/lounge/gallery opening soon in SoMa in the former Caribbean Zone space. The menu will feature Indian cuisine with modern fusion touches—she is currently learning how to operate a tandoori oven like a champ. Meanwhile, Arren Caccamo took the helm at Levende, who has formerly served as an executive sous chef at Chez Papa, Baraka, and most recently at Oola. Another change in the food and wine program at Levende is the recent hiring of consulting sommelier Nicole Burke, who was recently recognized by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Bay Area's "Up and Coming Sommeliers." Caccamo and Burke will be working closely together on new and old world pairings for the globally-influenced small plates menu. Prana, 540 Howard St. at First Street, San Francisco, no number yet. Levende, 1710 Mission St., San Francisco. 415-864-5585.

Peter Rudolph, formerly of the restaurant Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, has been appointed the permanent chef of Campton Place in San Francisco. Many are watching to see who will be appointed pastry chef and sommelier since the popular sommelier John Ragan has departed to join chef Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Since the Marina restaurant Chaz has closed (and Yuzu has since moved in), chef-owner Charles Solomon has packed up and moved north to Fork in San Anselmo. He is replacing Scott Howard, who is now busy running his namesake restaurant in San Francisco. Incidentally, Scott Howard will start serving lunch on March 6, which means diners can now enjoy his trademark carrot soup twice as much in a day.

Chaya Brasserie has a new executive pastry chef, Paul Conte. He originally got into pastry while working at The Plaza Hotel under chef Kerry Simon, who recommended that Conte mentor with the pastry department. After a number of East and West coast gigs, he most recently worked across the street at MarketBar in the Ferry Building Marketplace. His creations are known for being as artful as they are delicious. The new menu includes sweet treats like kaffir lime leaf crème brûlée with poached blueberries and sesame brittle, and a warm chocolate croissant bread pudding with caramel ice cream (which some will recognize from MarketBar's dessert menu). Chaya, 132 The Embarcadero, 415-777-8688.

Chef Fabrice Roux of the Grand Café has been replaced by Ron Boyd, formerly the executive chef of Domaine Chandon in Yountville. Boyd will introduce his new menu on March 1, which will highlight an updated and modernized approach to the French brasserie fare, which will entail some lighter sauces and expanded shellfish offerings. 501 Geary St. at Taylor Street, 415-292-0101.

PlumpJack Group’s executive chef, James Ormsby, has recently resigned. The chef de cuisines at Jack Falstaff and PlumpJack Café will continue to oversee the kitchens of their respective restaurants; there is no word where Ormsby will land, or if PlumpJack is seeking a replacement for him.

Marin County's culinary gem, The Lark Creek Inn, has appointed Michael Otsuka to the position of chef. Otsuka made his reputation in New York, at both the former Verbena, where he was co-owner and chef with his wife, noted chef and author Diane Forley, from 2000-2003, and Thalia. He will continue The Lark Creek Inn's tradition of serving innovative farm-fresh American cuisine in downright idyllic surroundings. 234 Magnolia Ave. at Williams St., Larkspur, 415-924-7766.

Humm's the Word
Daniel Humm, replete with culinary experience from some of Switzerland’s best hotels, caught the attention of Gayot in early 2003 when he took helm at the Campton Place Restaurant at the Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco while still only in his late twenties. He was named one of Gayot’s Rising Star chefs in 2004, and just recently the Campton Place Restaurant was awarded one of Gayot’s Top 40 restaurant accolades in 2005. After a few successful years, Humm has announced that he will be packing up to serve as top toque at New York’s Eleven Madison Park restaurant with New Year's Eve as his last official day at Campton. Eleven Madison Park, 11 Madison Ave., New York, 212-889-0905.

Rudolph Replaces Humm
Meanwhile, Humm’s replacement at Campton Place is Peter Rudolph, the former chef de cuisine of Navio Restaurant at The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, for three years. The hotel was recently bought by the KOR Hotel Group from Los Angeles, and they are responsible for bringing Rudolph in to manage the kitchen during the transition. Whether it’s a permanent gig or short-term will be revealed over the next two months or so. At Navio, the executive chef, Xavier Salomon, has been there for 4 ½ years and will continue to oversee the coastal cuisine style the restaurant is noted for until a new chef de cuisine is hired.

David Bazirgan, the executive chef of owner Jocelyn Bulow’s popular Baraka and Chez Papa, recently replaced chef Bruno Chemel at La Suite. The talented Bazirgan was won accolades in the local media in 2005. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero, San Francisco, 415-593-9000.

Ex-Chez Papa chef Philippe Chevalier is now manning the stoves at the ever-charming Café Claude. It’s one of the most authentic bistros in the city, including the comfortable tobacco-toned and brass-embellished interior that is actually from a closed Parisian bistro, Le Barbizon. The bistro was dismantled and transported lock, stock and barrel to San Francisco, including the light fixtures and the zinc bar, and reassembled as Café Claude. And now with a tried-and-true French chef sporting over twenty years of cooking at highly-rated establishments in Paris, Café Claude is an enjoyable day trip to Montparnasse without the spendy Air France ticket. For more information, visit

The Balboa Café (one of the oldest saloons in San Francisco) has appointed Jose Lemus as chef de cuisine. Lemus began his career at the restaurant in 1986, and has worked his way up the line since. He’s known for his signature soups, which he credits to his wife Fran, who incidentally works one block away at PlumpJack Café. Balboa Café, 3199 Fillmore St. at Greenwich Street, San Francisco, 415-921-3944.

Long-time North Beach restaurateur May Ditano, who ran the Columbus Café on Broadway for 20 years, until she lost her lease, is back behind the stoves and cooking at Luxur, a Lebanese restaurant in South San Francisco. The address is 101 Brentwood.

The Lark Creek Inn has a new chef, Jonathan Wright, who has more than 15 years of experience at top-notch restaurants including the world-famous Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in Oxford, the legendary Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bar Tartine in the Mission has hired a new chef, Jason Fox, who was formerly at Scott Howard. He is replacing Tracy McGillis. Fox will continue with the same focus on a Cal-Med-French style of cooking. Bar Tartine, 561 Valencia St., San Francisco, 415-487-1600.

A new chef has been hired at PlumpJack Café, James Syhabout. He has an extensive background, spanning stints at Coi, Manresa and some of the more progressive places in Europe, like Ferran Adrià´s El Bulli and Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck, in Bray, England. PlumpJack Café, 3127 Fillmore St. at Filbert St., 415-563-4755.

After close to four years in the kitchen at Jardinière, executive chef Robbie Lewis has left; at the moment, he wants to spend more time with his young kids, and he supposedly has a place of his own in the works for 2007. Taking his place is Craig Patzer, who has been cooking at Jardinière off and on for about five years.

Chef Mitch Rosenthal will no longer be cooking at Postrio (545 Post St., 415-776-7825), and will be focusing all of his time in the Town Hall (342 Howard St., 415-908-3900) and Salt House kitchens; taking his place will be Jordan Grosser who hails from Campton Place Restaurant (340 Stockton St., 415-955-5555).

Executive chef Melissa Perello is leaving Fifth Floor—her last meal there will be the New Year’s Eve dinner. She is taking a break from the culinary world and plans to travel a bit before landing at another kitchen in San Francisco. Her replacement has not yet been named. Perello was recently named one of the Five Rising Chefs in our 2006 Restaurant Issue. Fifth Floor, 12 Fourth St., San Francisco, 415-348-1555.

Barney Brown, the culinary director of the Straits Group (Straits, Sino) has left, and is now heading up the kitchen at Anzu where he will be launching a Euro-Japanese menu. Taking Brown's place with the Straits Group will be Stephen Romeo, a longtime friend of Chris Yeo (the chef-owner of the Straits Group), who has been in the industry for 25 years.

Frascati has promoted former sous chef Michael Pawlik to executive chef since Max DiMare has left. Pawlik came over with owner Jon Rader from Scala’s when Rader took over Frascati about a year ago. Frascati, 1901 Hyde St. at Green St., San Francisco, 415-928-1406.

Executive chef Rob Riescher left Tablespoon and returned to New York, so taking his place is Alvin Luna, who was formerly across the street at Antica Trattoria. Luna is keen to continue the restaurant’s American dishes that feature inventive touches and flavors. Tablespoon, 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo Street, San Francisco, 415-268-0140.

Joseph Manzare’s new seafood restaurant, Pescheria, now has chef Jerry McGinnis at the helm; he was most recently the opening chef for Supperclub. Pescheria is gearing up for Sunday brunch after the beginning of the year (which will be able to be enjoyed on the heated back patio), and they are now making desserts in-house as well. Pescheria, 1708 Church St. at 29th St., San Francisco, 415-647-3200.

View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in San Francisco

(Updated: 05/17/11 CT)

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