Dining

Fall Preview: San Francisco

The new restaurants, bars and cookbooks we're looking forward to this autumn
Biggest Restaurant and Bar Openings and Cookbooks in San Francisco 2014
Ready to eat | Photo: Tasting Table

Fall is always a celebration in SF. It's warm (finally), the Giants and the Niners are playing, and the harvest season has the farmers' markets brimming with deliciousness.

But it's also always the time of year for a swath of openings—long-awaited projects come to the fore, pop-ups settle down with actual real estate and your must-try restaurant list just keeps growing, in a good way. Here's what we're most looking forward to this fall.

RESTAURANTS

This year's fall openings involve some of the city's higher-profile chefs, along with a number of pop-ups securing permanent locations.

You've probably already heard about two superstar openings: Chris Cosentino's upcoming New England-inspired Cockscomb in SoMa, and Traci des Jardins's second Presidio venture, Arguello, an elegant Mexican restaurant.

But also high on our list is the hotly anticipated LihoLiho Yacht Club in the TenderNob from chef Ravi Kapur (his State Bird Provisions pop-ups showcasing thoughtful, Hawaiian-influenced cuisine are still the talk of the town)."He is a badass chef!" says Francis Ang, Dirty Habit pastry chef. "Amazing flavors." LihoLiho is aiming for late fall, so hopefully we'll see the goods before year's end.

A few blocks away, Game is gearing up to open in the former Masa's space in late August/early September. This is the first SF project from Sachin Chopra of Michelin-starred All Spice in San Mateo. The meat-heavy menu will showcase wild game, including elk, bison, pheasant and partridge.

Chef Ravi Kapur and sous-chef Nana Guardia from Liho Liho Yacht Club

Huxley is slated to open its doors in the Tenderloin around the same time. The 25-seater is a project from Kris Esqueda (recently of Saison and Sons & Daughters), with chef Brett Cooper acting as the opening and consulting chef. Chef Sara Hauman (Bar Agricole) and Spanish chef Asador Etxebarri are on board to create a menu of farm-centric, shareable food.

Chef Cooper has been busy since his departure from Outerlands: He's also opening his own restaurant in the Mission (in the former Beast and the Hare space) this November under the wings of the Daniel Patterson Group. DPG will be handling the permits and funding for the currently unnamed project, while Cooper heads up developing a menu of "creative California flavors." Sean Ehland (of McCrady's in Charleston) is joining as pastry chef, too.

Unsurprisingly, the Mission will be bumping: Richie Nakano's Hapa Ramen is setting up shop on Mission Street—a project with a fair amount of delays, but hopefully we'll see it by early November. In addition to Nakano's "new school" ramen, look for raw fish, vegetables and fried and grilled dishes (plus a cocktail program).

Sous Beurre Kitchen is another pop-up settling down in the south Mission. It hopes to open by late September/early October with a "European-influenced menu" and community workshops.

Mid-Market continues to grow, too. Gourmet marketplace The Hall will open its doors in late September. The indoor/outdoor space will have everything from Moroccan/Peruvian food from Cassia to nose-to-tail deliciousness from John Fink of The Whole Beast. There will be a beer and wine bar run by Anchor Brewing, too.

We're excited about Doc Rickett's October opening from Darwin Cafe owner Christopher Burnett. It's housed in the former Purple Onion in North Beach and will have food, cocktails and a downstairs space dubbed Doc's Lab for music, literary and comedy events.

Also coming in October is Marlowe's second incarnation in the former Coco500 space. It'll have outdoor seating, and there's talk of a late-night burger window. Thanks to the a much larger space and a liquor license, look for new cocktails and one of Loretta Keller's signature dishes to make an appearance on the menu (our money's on the tempura-fried green beans).

Finally, KronnerBurger is opening at long last in Oakland. In addition to the salty-rare signature burger, look for fun takes on grilled meats and vegetables (an open wood-hearth grill is part of the plan), raw seafood and cocktails.

BARS

The Alembic is nearing the completion of its takeover of the Red Vic. They're adding an additional 25 seats and will have an expanded food menu (don't worry, the spiced duck hearts are staying).

The owners of Blackbird, another favorite cocktail spot, are moving away from the hard stuff with Brewcade, a beer-focused bar with vintage arcade games, opening in the Castro this November. There will be 25 brews on tap, wine, a soda-pop bar and a selection of snacks to go with your gaming.

Citizen Fox is getting in the beer game, too: The brewery/cocktail bar/vegan restaurant will feature beer from master cicerone Rich Higgins, cocktails from Deborah Blum (Beretta) and "plant-based California fare" in the Mission this fall.

BOOKS

"I'm not a huge fan of restaurant-centric cookbooks," says Celia Sack of Omnivore Books. "However, I have high hopes for Flour and Water: Pasta ($35). There are currently very few books that focus on making pasta by hand." Thomas McNaughton's step-by-step pasta guide comes out September 30, and chef McNaughton will be speaking at Omnivore on October 8 for all you noodle obsessives.

For the equal-opportunity pizza eaters: Local pizza maven Tony Gemignani is releasing The Pizza Bible ($30) this October, which will include recipes for nine regional styles (found on the menus at both of his North Beach spots), including Neapolitan, Californian, Chicago, Roman and yes, St. Louis (break out the Provel!).

The Progress | Chef Stuart Brioza (Photo: Ed Anderson)

Another book to add to the Tartine-centric shelf in your kitchen: Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes ($40) is coming this November from co-chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns. The first half details how to build a home larder (everything from pickling to spice mixes), while the second half dives into recipes using those same larder staples. Also, the gorgeous photos are courtesy of Chad Robertson.

Cook up some East Bay love this September with Arts & Eats: Oakland and Berkeley ($20). This is the second cookbook project from Creative Growth (which benefits adult artists with developmental disabilities). Similar to its Mission District project, the Oakland/Berkeley edition will feature recipes from top restaurants including Hopscotch, Duende, Hawker Fare, Pizzaiolo and Miss Ollie's, with all of the artwork done by Creative Growth artists. Proceeds benefit local animal rescue outfit Creative Rescue.

Local restaurant maven Charles Phan will also release The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food ($40) in October. The beautifully shot book promises some of the restaurant's most iconic dishes.

EVENTS

There's no shortage of food events coming up, too. We're pretty pumped for Foreign Cinema's 15th birthday party. The restaurant is going all-out with a "Quintessentially Quixotic Quinceañera" on September 18, which will include burlesque, drag queens and a whole roasted pig (it benefits LYRIC and the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, too).

As for the big guys, September 5 to 7 is the Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival; October 24 to 25 is the James Beard Foundation comes to town with James Beard: Taste America; and November 22-23 is the San Francisco Vintners Market in Fort Mason. And we're particularly looking forward to getting out of town for the Mendocino Beer, Wine, and Mushroom Festival, with a wide selection of events from November 7 to 16. Don't miss the candy cap mushroom ice cream.

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