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The 12 Bay Area restaurants you need to try in 2018

Sushi at Robin in Hayes Valley
Photograph: Ana Kamin

If you're like us, you've already given up on your New Year resolution to eat less in 2018. With pesky diets behind us (thank gawd), we're ready to embrace the best cuisine the Bay Area has to offer in the new year. 

Nine Essential Flavors: La #EatChinese

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Eight Tables at China Live

George Chen’s ambitious China Live, with its multiple floors and 30,000 square feet of space, offers a standout restaurant downstairs and one of the country’s most exciting new openings upstairs. Eight Tables is Chinese-Taiwanese fine dining at its best. 


In a striking Art Deco space inside Hotel Bijou, Gibson has brought new life to a rough Tenderloin block thanks to chef Robin Song’s live-fire cooking (including a winning bread menu section) and Adam Chapman’s exquisite cocktails.


It may not be traditional edomae sushi, but Robin makes nigiri hip and fun thanks to chef Adam Tortosa’s artful plating and omakase menus set to a hip hop soundtrack.

Acacia House

Chris Cosentino does it again at Acacia House with a relaxed yet refined menu (salt foam margaritas! Iberico pork schnitzel!) in a striking white house at the new Las Alcobas Hotel.

The Charter Oak

Christopher Kostow and Nathaniel Dorn’s The Charter Oak isn’t quite a Napa staple (yet), but it is one of the year’s most promising newcomers.


With a graffiti-lined interior, Foxsister evokes an L.A. vibe with playful Korean food (kimchi queso) and killer bulgogi pork, paired with frosé or chilled Frappato wine.


While the Absinthe Group already has Spanish haven, Bellota, the new Barcino is a worthy destination of its own for Catalonian small plates, paella, Spanish-style gin & tonics, sherries, Spanish wines, ciders and beers.

RT Rotisserie

Sarah and Evan Rich’s (of Rich Table) RT Rotisserie is one of the best fast-casual newcomers around, the kind of impeccable rotisserie and takeout one would expect from James Beard nominees. 


Longtime Vietnamese chef Khai Duong (famed for his high-end French-Vietnamese cuisine at Ana Mandara) returned to SF a year ago to open intimate, tasting menu-only Khai. The wine list is rough and the menu doesn’t change often but chef Khai’s unique vision of modern Vietnamese dishes (like galangal-dill-turmeric baked butterfish) is a welcome addition to the city.




Alta in Dogpatch

The sunny Dogpatch Alta boasts chef Matt Brimer’s vibrant Californian dishes and has the added bonus of being located inside the Minnesota Street Project building where pre- or post-meal you can seek out local artists’ exhibits sponsored by the forward-thinking non-profit. 

City Counter

Harper Matheson’s City Counter is the ideal FiDi meal: quick but thoughtful, gourmet yet comforting. Try the smoked beet Reubenesque sandwich and the roasted carrots tossed in feta, mint, almonds, fennel and kaffir lime tahini dressing. 

Keep the fire in your belly and stay hungry 👊🏻✨#2018Goals @ayeshacurry

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International Smoke

Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry’s International Smoke in Mina’s former RN74 already feels like a tourist spot drawing in fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Curry’s basketball star husband. The bold, fun food thankfully stands on its own, whether its the damn good pork ribs or lush fish dishes like black garlic miso cod.