31 New Restaurants and Bars to Look Forward to This Winter and Spring
A pretty dish from the upcoming Hillside Supper Club in Bernal.

Between projects slated for 2012 openings that didn’t hit their deadlines and projects we’ve only just heard about in the last few months, 2013 promises to be a busy one, yet again, for restaurant and bar openings around the Bay. There are eight new and interesting projects on the immediate horizon in Oakland and Berkeley, continuing the trend of the East Bay’s growing importance in the food scene. And the first half of the year will also bring (at least) 23 new destinations to the city proper, two of which are expansions of East Bay brands (Gather, and Caña). But thankfully for those nervous Valencia merchants tired of all the new food they endured in 2012, most of this opening activity will be outside the Mission.

And yes, a few of these are places that were in our fall preview, but which have been delayed. And so it goes.

This new Sri Lankan-inspired restaurant from chef and first-time restaurateur Brian Fernando was due to open last month, and remains on the immediate horizon. Grub Street broke the original news about the place, and in November we learned that Fernando — who’s done previous stints at Plates Bar & Grill in Los Gatos and Le Papillon in San Jose — will be drawing on his dad’s Sri Lankan heritage to create a menu of Southeast Asian dishes like sturgeon black curry; street food-style egg hoppers (soft-cooked egg inside a fermented crepe) with assorted chutneys; and mulligatawny soup. Look for this to open in the former Sage space by late January late March, and check out the sample menu here. 1601 Howard Street at 12th.
This new bakery-café from Range pastry chef Michelle Polzine has already been six months in the works, and Polzine says she’s been hoping for an “early 2013” opening, across the street from Rich Table. She’ll be doing a selection of European pastry inspired by the the patisseries and delicacies of Budapest, Vienna and Prague, with an emphasis on seasonal fruit. 198 Gough Street at Oak
One of the eight new spots headed for Oakland/Berkeley early this year is the second location of A16, and the third overall for restaurateur Shelley Lindgren and partner Victoria Libin (they also own SPQR). They’re taking over and currently remodeling the former Garibaldi’s/Hudson space in Rockridge, and the plan is do a menu similar to the S.F. location, with a bit more focus on Puglia-inspired seafood dishes, drawing on chef Rocky Maselli’s heritage. 5356 College Avenue, Oakland
Former Ubuntu chef and James Beard Rising Star nominee Aaron London revealed in September that he had signed a lease on an as-yet-undisclosed space in Hayes Valley which was not previously a restaurant. [Update: That deal appears to have fallen through, and now there’s another space in the Mission.] He’s still staying mum on the address and the concept, but we’re definitely excited about this one, and to see what London will do next with his maximalist, flavor-layering style. Stay tuned as this will surely be a buzz-worthy news item in the coming months, but we still can’t say when in 2013 we’ll be seeing this open.
Belinda Leong’s much awaited new patisserie at California and Divis was slated for a late December opening but has been pushed, instead, to January 28 or thereabouts. Expect Leong’s signature, delectable kouign ammans, as well as creatively flavored macarons and plenty of other indulgences to ruin any hope you had of avoiding sugar this winter. 2821 California Street at Divisadero Photo: Picasa
Another moving target project is this expansion of Mamacita to Cole Valley (the former Eos spot), from the team that also brought you The Tipsy Pig. The Mexican spot promises to be a bit more refined than Mamacita, and we believe there’s a cocktail program in the works too, but all else has remained under wraps since we first learned of it. We note they have a Facebook page, upon which nothing has been posted. Stay tuned for updates on an opening date. 901 Cole Street at Carl [Update: The name’s been changed to Padrecito. Open as of March 12, and here are photos.]
Chef James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare) recently announced plans for Box & Bells, his third Oakland restaurant, moving into the former Somerset space in Rockridge. The menu will be sophisticated but casual, Syhabout promises, with dish examples like potato boxty with salt cod and herbs; fried chicken with raw oyster mayonnaise — both things that he and chef Benjamin Coe have cooked for staff meals at Commis. Before the opening, they plan on doing some pop-ups at Hawker Fare to test dishes later this month. 5912 College Avenue, Oakland
As we learned last summer, Oakland-based Cuban restaurant Caña signed a lease for the former Circolo space in the Mission. The plan is for a West Bay extension of the restaurant, with the addition of pizzas and other dishes from the wood burning oven already on the premises. We’ve heard nothing back from the team in the way of updates on this one, but we’re pegging the opening for the first half of this year. 500 Florida Street at Mariposa
This new Noe Valley pub, originally named Crafthouse before a recent run-in with Tom Colicchio’s lawyers, is set to open very soon. They’re planning to do lunch and brunch in addition to being a neighborhood bar at night with casual food. 3853 24th Street
This upcoming bistro project from former Le Garage and Coi chef, Nicolas Delaroque and his wife Andrea is going into a retail space in Laurel Heights, and remains a work in progress six months after our first news of it arrived. Here’s hoping it will be a reality before mid-year. 3228 Sacramento Street at Lyon
Another Oakland entry on this list is this project from Romney Steele, author of My Nepenthe whose family founded the iconic Big Sur retreat. She founded the café there, and this is her first restaurant in the Bay Area, which promises to be a sophisticated California cafe and oyster bar. As we heard in November, the menu will focus on Tomales Bay oysters as well as shared salads and southern-inflected stuff like fried chicken and crawdads. It’s still unclear how soon it will open. 930 Clay Street, Oakland
This new Spanish spot from TV chef Michael Chiarello will be his first in San Francisco, and will definitely be the biggest opening of the first half of this year. The Napa-based Chiarello is currently in the process of sprucing up the already handsome waterfront space at Pier 5 formerly occupied by Lafitte, with the hope of opening by late spring. Oh, and the name, coqueta, means “coquette” or “flirt,” and represents Chiarello’s desire to flirt with Spanish cuisine rather than aim for absolute authenticity. Pier 5 on the Embarcadero
The closest opener on this list is this restaurant, also Spanish, from former Oliveto chef Paul Canales. He’s been doing soft-opening events throughout the season at this “collision of spaces,” which melds a music venue and gallery with a restaurant and small retail space. But the full opening is likely due the second week of January, as SFoodie reports. 468 19th Street, Oakland [Update: Here are some photos.]
This new project in the former Luna space in the Castro comes from owner Jon Hearnsberger with a “storybook modern” interior and “cabin-style dining room” by designer Craige Walters. The menu is being billed as New American bistro, and as Tablehopper reported last month, they’re also aiming to open any day now, but it could be later this month. 558 Castro Street between 18th and 19th [Update: Here’s the menu and some photos.]
The new, as-yet-unnamed restaurant from the team at Berkeley’s Gather will feature food by Gather chef and S.F. resident Sean Baker, and will have a similar ethos in terms of its local, organic ingredients and balance between vegetarian/vegan dishes and omnivore fare. As we learned last month via the Scoop, they’re taking over the former Café Rex space, home briefly last year to Marbella, and they’ve yet to give a firm opening date. 2323 Polk Street Update: It will be named Verbena.
Fivetenburger chef-owner Roland Robles told us this past fall that he was planning to open a new bar and restaurant in the former Templebar Tiki Bar & Grill in Berkeley, but that’s about all he’d share. We’re guessing burgers will be making an appearance, but beyond that, we await further details, and a date. 984 University Avenue between 8th and 9th, Berkeley
Richie Nakano’s planned brick-and-mortar home for his Hapa Ramen operation remains in the queue and will hopefully be opening shortly next door to State Bird Provisions. The former line cook at Nopa has been working on this solo endeavor since early 2010, primarily as a pop-up, and he’s been refining his recipes ever since with a view toward incorporating seasonal California produce into traditional ramen formats. Opening date TBA. 1527 Fillmore Street near Geary
The new New Orleans-driven project from Slanted Door mini-mogul Charles Phan will be his first non-Asian venture, and his eighth business in the city, including his two locations of Out the Door, the upcoming cafe at the SFJAZZ center on Franklin, Wo Hing General Store, Heaven’s Dog, and The Moss Room. There will be Big Easy-style drinks from bar manager Erik Adkins, and a design by local architect Olle Lundberg. Look for Hard Water to debut, according to the Chron, in late January. Pier 3 on the Embarcadero Photo: Matthew Laird Acred/
Two of the guys behind the former Bernal Supper Club are hoping to open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant on or around January 23, if all goes well, and we’re thinking this could be an ambitious and tucked-away little find. See their handsome website here. 300 Precita Avenue
This new BBQ-focused project, across the street from Hog & Rocks, from H&R owners Scott Youkilis and Eric Rubin, will include a menu from former Broken Record chef Ryan Ostler, a whiskey-focused cocktail program from Scott Beattie, and a meat-by-the-pound system similar to Brooklyn’s Fette Sau. Look for it to open by mid-January. 3416 19th Street [Update: See photos and menus here.]
Tacolicious owner Joe Hargrave and chef Telmo Faria are teaming up on this Noe Valley rotisserie joint, slated to open within a few months. They just won’t say what the MF stands for. 1305 Castro Street [Update: This project was nixed in favor of a new North Beach branch of Tacolicious.] Photo: TYLER GOURLEY PHOTOGRAPHY LLC/?2011 TYLER GOURLEY
This new Oakland project from Pizzaiolo/Boot & Shoe Service chef Charlie Hallowell will feature a menu focused on meats and vegetables grilled on a wood-fired plancha, inspired by some of his recent travels in Latin America and Japan. The name comes from Hallowell’s grandfather. 3307 Grand Avenue, Oakland
As we heard last month, Pica Pica Maize Kitchen’s third Bay Area location is set to open in the Castro, just behind the Chevron station, later this month. Expect lots of arepas, and more meal-sized salads than the original location. 3970 17th Street
Chef Lauren Kiino, who previously worked with Daniel Patterson at Coi and ended up assuming the operations at Il Cane Rosso, inked a deal last fall for a space at 303 Second Street after a two-year search. Her upcoming restaurant will focus on rustic dishes from France, Italy and America, and it will be sizable, with a whopping 100 seats. Stay tuned for an opening date. 303 Second Street at Harrison
The new replacement tavern for the former La Barca was slated to open late last year, but we are still waiting. As previously discussed, the partners are Tod Alsman and Chris Fogarty (both of R Bar), Cass Fegan and Vance Bernard, the son of longtime La Barca owner Jimmy Bernard. 2036 Lombard Street [Update: Photos here.]
We broke the news about this soon-to-open pierogi shop at Mission and 24th, from a pair of transplanted Midwesterners, and we remain excited for the carb feast it will be. We’re most psyched for the spicy Buffalo pierogi with potato and blue cheese, pan fried in Buffalo sauce. 2788 Mission Street near 24th
Bartender Jeff Lyon and Range owner Phil West are branching out with a new bar in the Dogpatch within the next few months, and it’s called The Third Rail. Expect well crafted drinks, and maybe some food as well. Details are still TBA. 628 20th Street at Third
A new Oakland tavern in the Tribune Tower building from Chop Bar guy Chris Pastena will be big (150 seats) and ambitious (with housemade cheese, bread, and charcuterie). As SFoodie tells us, they’re aiming for a mid-March opening. 409 13th Street near Broadway, Oakland [Update: They’re now opening April 10]
We broke the news about Township, the upcoming restaurant from good-food activist Abeni Ramsey (pictured). She was a single mother in West Oakland when she began growing food in her backyard out of economic need, and eventually founded City Girl Farms. SFoodie reports that Township is aiming for an April debut, and that the space it’s in is a 100-year-old warehouse. 1542 Broadway, Oakland
Next week appears to be the latest word on Trick Dog, the very much long awaited project from Bon Vivants Scott Baird and Josh Harris, housed in a former warehouse next door to Salumeria and Central Kitchen. Expect this to be the Mission’s latest cocktail hot spot in three, two, one… 20th Street at Florida [Update: Photos here.]
As we learned in December, Doug Dalton and Brian Sheehy, the guys behind Bourbon & BranchRickhouse, Swig, Local Edition, Tradition, and the bar-within-a-bar Wilson & Wilson are looking to open their seventh S.F. bar in SoMa in order to make use of an expiring liquor license from the former Anu. They have their sights on one of a couple of spaces in the SF Mart building, now home to Twitter. Details remain up in the air, but expect them to open something by June. 10th Street and Market
31 New Restaurants and Bars to Look Forward to This Winter and Spring