Book a table at the best new restaurants in San Francisco

Ready your bellies for the hottest and best new restaurants the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer
Seafood charcuterie at Ayala inside Hotel G
Photograph: Molly DeCoudreaux Seafood charcuterie at Ayala
By Virginia Miller |
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A new year brings amazing new restaurants to the Bay Area. It can be hard to keep up with San Francisco's dining scene, where it seems like a new restaurant pops up on a daily basis, from upscale Chinese fare, straight-from-Japan ramen and sushi menus and impeccable rotisserie and barbecue joints. If you're ready start the new year right and embrace the best cuisine the Bay Area has to offer, head to these new restaurants in San Francisco this January 2019. 

RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in San Francisco 

Best new restaurants in San Francisco

1
trailblazer tavern
Photograph: Nicola R Parisi
Restaurants, Hawaiian

Trailblazer Tavern

icon-location-pin SoMa

This massive, 7,000-square-foot space in the SalesForce East building oozes aloha spirit. Chef Michael Mina and Honolulu-based chefs Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka crafted a menu that mixes classic Hawaii with modern fare (think unagi butterfish arancini, Dungeness crab lumpia and mochi-crusted monchong fish). Murals of blue waves and green mountains surrounding a center bar where a drink menu from Brian Means' (of P.C.H.) contains cocktails that are festive and tropical.

Time Out says
2
Seafood charcuterie at Ayala inside Hotel G
Photograph: Molly DeCoudreaux
Hotels

Ayala at Hotel G

icon-location-pin Richmond

Located inside the new Hotel G, Ayala is a seafood-centric restaurant featuring a raw bar and creative, balanced cocktails. Executive chef Melissa Perfit (a Top Chef alum) crafts seafood charcuterie platters, yellowtail amberjack in Thai chili, and garlic lobster pho broth. Raw offerings include oysters, crudo and trout rillettes. Don’t miss th fantastic nori spaghettini with Dungeness crab.

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3
Cow Marlowe burger
Photograph: Courtesy Cow Marlowe
Restaurants, American

Cow Marlowe

icon-location-pin Cow Hollow

Cow Marlowe (from the ever-growing Big Night Restaurant Group LLC) warms up Fillmore Street in the Marina with two cozy rooms lined with brass and marble, striped wallpaper and antique cabinets. The menu sticks to Marlowe classics like Brussels sprout chips and the ever-popular burger, while adding the likes of fava bean hummus, furikake green beans and late-night Kennebec fries (this location is open until 2am!). 

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4
Guesthouse
Photograph: Yelp/Stephanie C.
Restaurants

Guesthouse

In an area that often doesn’t see new restaurant opening, Guesthouse, from chef Jared Rogers, brings refined comfort food to the sleepy Marin County town of Kentfield. Rogers’ Virginia roots is evident in dishes like the mini Old Bay lobster rolls, crab-heavy Dungeness crab cakes and grits-and-quail filled with bacon stuffing. Don’t miss specials like the sausage ragu gnocchi and bartender Dustin Sullivan’s perfect Irish coffee. 

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5
Isla Vida
Photograph: Yelp/Cherylynne N
Restaurants

Isla Vida

icon-location-pin Western Addition

Opened by the team behind Farmerbrown and Little Skillet, Isla Vida brings breezy Caribbean vibes to the Fillmore District. The new counter-service restaurant draws inspiration from Miami, Cuba, Jamaica and across the Caribbean with dishes like tostones (green plantains), garlic shrimp, guava spareribs and wood-fired meats. The fast-casual, Black-owned business is festive with lush greenery and pink staff shirts. Stick to the heartwarming plates of jerk chicken, snapper or jackfruit.

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6
Mauerpark
Photograph: Yelp/Matthew G.
Restaurants, Cafés

Mauerpark

icon-location-pin The Castro

This sunny, colorful new Castro cafe has a simple, short menu of German meats, cheeses and bread platters alongside German pastries made daily in house. Chef Salome Buelow’s parents hail from Germany and the real draw here is her authentic specials, like fluffy spinach knodel dumplings with sauerkraut salad. Bonus: She also sells a few rare German groceries.

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7
chicken at flores, san francisco
Photograph: Yelp/ Kevin B
Restaurants, Mexican

Flores

icon-location-pin Cow Hollow

Flores' new location in the suburban town of Corte Madera is a welcome and rare opportunity to enjoy mole and mezcal in Marin. Dine on Mexican specialities like sikil p’ak (spicy pumpkin seed salsa) and tlacoyos (masa stuffed with huitlacoche and cheese), all sopped up with house made tortillas.

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8
Angler
Photograph: Bonjwing Lee
Restaurants, Seafood

Angler

icon-location-pin SoMa

Expectations were high when Saison’s Michelin-starred chef announced he was opening a more casual restaurant, but Angler does not disappoint. The waterfront restaurant’s land-and-sea theme is evident in everything from the taxidermy-lined walls to the kitchen’s open flame grill, which churns out grilled rabbit and a beautiful 28oz bone-in porterhouse steak. Don’t forget to try raw bar delicacies like antelope tartar and caviar spread on Parker House rolls.

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9
Prairie
Photograph: Courtesy Prairie
Restaurants, Italian

PRAIRIE

icon-location-pin Mission

Formerly at Delfina, Chef Anthony Strong’s first solo project fuses his Italian expertise with Asian-inspired flavors in stunning dishes like the guanciale-wrapped mochi in radicchio with aged balsamico. To order, use the restaurant’s dim-sum-like system that involves checking boxes on a menu card.  

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10
Creator burger
Photograph: Courtesy Creator
Restaurants, Hamburgers

Creator

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

Creator’s burgers are damn good for the price ($6), but the real draw is that the burgers are made by an efficient and mesmerizing robot. In fact, this is the first hamburger robot in the world. Humanely raised, hormone-free beef is the base for the burgers—each item on the menu was created by local chefs like in-house chef David Bordow, Nick Balla (Hungarian smoked paprika, pickles, sunflower seed tahini) and Top Chef Tu David Phu (oyster aioli and shiitake mushroom sauce). 

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11
Luke’s Lobster
Photograph: Courtesy Luke’s Lobster
Restaurants, Seafood

Luke’s Lobster

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

Founding partners Ben Conniff and third-generation lobsterman Luke Holden have opened their first West Coast location, bringing sustainably-sourced, affordable lobster rolls to SoMa. Order lobster, crab or shrimp rolls or chowder and pair with a special Black Hammer Brewing collaboration beer brewed with lobster shells and kelp. Happy hour specials (daily 4-7pm) include a lobster roll and a beer for $19.

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12
Pies at Theorita
Photograph: Krescent Carasso
Restaurants

Theorita

icon-location-pin Alamo Square

This all-day neighborhood cafe below Che Fico serves mouthwatering pies, pastries, burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. Chef Angela Pinkerton relies on her childhood memories growing up in Ohio to inform her amazing baked goods—we love the peanut butter and jelly pie!—while Che Fico chef David Nayfeld excels at comfort food like vegetarian chili and hearty sandwiches. 

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13
Kaiyo
Photograph: Courtesy Kaiyo
Restaurants, Japanese

Kaiyo

icon-location-pin Cow Hollow

Cow Hollow’s sleek new eatery showcases Peruvian-Japanese food. Its strength lies in raw seafood dishes like the silky Hokkaido scallop tiradito in passionfruit leche de tigre, ceviche, nigiri and sashimi. Not into raw fish? Try the anticuchos (skewered meats) and cooked nigiri like smoked duck breast topped with a quail egg.

Time Out says
14
Doppio Zero
Photograph: Yelp/Moe A.
Restaurants, Italian

Doppio Zero

icon-location-pin Hayes Valley

Doppio Zero recently opened shop in Hayes Valley as an easy go-to for Neapolitan pizzas and pasta alongside more specialty items like fried pizza(!), squid ink tagliolini pasta, and coffee-infused Negronis. The mini-chain's suburban roots (there are locations in Mountain View and Cupertino) means there's TVs to watch the game as well. 

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15
Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Barbara
Restaurants, Italian

Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar

icon-location-pin Russian Hill

A prime, corner spot on Columbus Avenue gives Barbara Pinseria & Cocktail Bar a true Italian vibe (complete with a Roman Holiday-era profile of Audrey Hepburn over the bar). Opened by the owners of nearby Il Casaro, the focus is ancient Roman pinsa, a flatbread-like precursor to pizza, paired with Italian-inspired cocktails. Stay tuned for Barbara Express, opening next door, serving cut-to-order sqaure slices of Roman pizza al taglio. 

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