Here Are the Best New Bay Area Restaurants in 2019
2019 is almost a thing of the past, and 2020 – most fun to pronounce in years – will be here in no time. Whether you’re still looking for that magical NYE reservation or just wanting one more adventurous meal before the year is over, here are a few of the best restaurants that opened in The City (and beyond) this year.
The new Thai-inspired spot by talented chef Pim Techamuanvivit (Kin Khao) feels and operates like a swanky L.A hotspot planted in the middle of Japantown’s Hotel Kabuki. Nari’s vibe and decor, lush and usually lively for San Francisco, is the first thing you notice, but the menu, filled with spicy, complex standouts, is the real star. You might recognize Miang, the gorgeous appetizer, from Instagram, but the less photo-ready dishes, like the seafood curry, are equally delicious.
While Che Fico was a clear hit in 2018, the casual, fun-loving spin-off is one of the best new places to open this year. Located downstairs, Alimentari is the type of place that reassures you life is good; delivering a rare mix of hedonistic abandon and precise, masterful preparations, it’ss a heaven for cheese, charcuterie and pasta, best washed down with prime Italian wine. The takeaway counter adds to the charm.
Mister Jiu’s upstairs bar and lounge had pulled off the nearly impossible this year – making San Francisco sexy. From the retro-futuristic design to the clever bites (shrimp toast for the win) and the sophisticated lunar-inspired cocktails, the Lounge has quickly become a favorite date spot and a place where everyone – puffy Uniqlo vests aside – looks and feels great.
Chefs David Golovin and Ravi Kpur, with partner Jeff Hanak, delivered one of the most curious projects of the year. The Mission’s Dear Inga might have opened towards the end of the year, but it’s already a sought-after dinner reservation; the menu, filled with ballsy moves like kasha and blood sausage is a refreshing hit.
In a year of extreme fine dining, Gozu, by former Alexander Steakhouse chef Marc Zimmerman, made a spectacular entrance into the local dining scene earlier in the fall. Dark and minimal, the FiDi restaurant is all about wagyu, the prized Japanese marbled beef. While the price tag isn’t cheap – the full tasting menu is $150, Gozu had made it into the list thanks to it’s no-compromise approach and artful iterations of wagyu, worked into nearly every course.
Say what you will about the $21 hamburger, but Selby’s, the newest addition to the Bacchus Restaurant group, is well worth the drive to the Peninsula. Imagine: old-school glamour. Three wine cellars. Velvet seats and velvety potato gratin. Leaning hard into the newly blossoming trend of glitzy fine-dining bistros, Selby’s made me believe in magic this year, and you’re not immune.
In the East Bay, it was hard to beat 4505’s glorious opening in Oakland. Opting for a much bigger space than the San Francisco location, the prime BBQ spot continued to serve mouthwatering brisket and ribs on a spacious, kids-friendly patio.