San Francisco Treats: Try these championship-caliber restaurants
Head to the SoMa district for a fine dining interpretation of a modern American steakhouse – with a Japanese twist. Executive Chef Marc Zimmerman’s menu at Alexander’s Steakhouse includes classic cuts such as Ribeye, Bone-In New York and Filet Mignon, as well as the largest variety of Wagyu Steak in the country. For a once in a lifetime experience – literally – reserve the Chef’s Table for you and five of your friends. The tasting menu will be designed especially for you, using the highest quality ingredients at the peak of their season. You’ll have the chance to explore a variety of techniques, textures and flavors, with a few surprises along the way. The unique menu will never be replicated and it’s yours to take home at the end of the night. Select from the award-winning wine list or choose one of the unique specialty cocktails to complement what’s sure to be an amazing meal.
alexanderssteakhouse.com; (415) 495-1111
Flour + Water
Since opening its doors in 2009 in the heart of the Mission District, flour + water has been showcasing a menu influenced by regional Italian traditions combined with Northern Californian inspirations. The menu created by Executive Chef Thomas McNaughton features house-made pastas (the pappardelle with braised pork shoulder, savory, pear and pickled mustard seed is just one remarkable option), Neapolitan-style pizzas prepared in a wood-fired oven (try the salsiccia with San Marzano tomatoes, pork sausage, scamorza, hen of the woods mushroom and taggiasca olive), and carefully-crafted dishes designed around seasonal ingredients (think roasted duck breast with piracicaba broccoli and floriani polenta). If you can’t decide on just one dish, give the multi-course pasta tasting a try. And don’t forget to pick up a signed copy of Chef McNaughton’s cookbook flour + water pasta that covers the spectrum of pasta production and menu creation with an emphasis on seasonality and Italian traditions.
flourandwater.com; (415) 826-7000
Originally incarnated as an underground pop-up restaurant, Lazy Bear now has a permanent home in San Francisco’s Mission District. Known for its artful execution, playful ingredients, and consistently sold-out reservations, the restaurant serves a prix-fixe dinner menu five nights a week. Chef David Barzelay has created a modern American menu of meticulously-crafted dishes made from carefully-sourced, fresh ingredients. The menu changes completely from month to month, and often even from night to night; no dish is ever repeated once it’s removed from the menu. You’ll have the chance to sample such masterpieces as Delta Crawfish with Cucumber, Delta Rice Grits and Celery; Sorrels and Garden Herbs with Snails, Puffed Barley, Raw Spot Prawn, and Raw Geoduck Clam; and Ginger Milk Curd with Pluot Consomme Gelee. And don’t miss the beverage pairings, which are highly seasonal and created specifically to complement what’s on the menu that evening.
lazybearsf.com; (415) 874-9921
Named by Bon Appétit as the best new restaurant in America this year, AL’s Place offers a culinary experience you won’t want to miss. It’s the first solo project by Aaron London, acclaimed chef who got his start at Michelin-starred Ubuntu in Napa. The stars of this menu are seasonal vegetables and seafood; you’ll have to look on the list of “sides” to find the hangar steak and brisket. Start your meal with one (or more!) of Chef London’s “snackles,” as appetizers at AL’s Place are known – the brine-fermented French Fries with smoked apple sauce are a customer favorite. For the next round, you can choose from “cold/cool” options such as the winter squash, grilled apple + kale, currant soffritto, burrata, and quince vinegar, and “warm/hot” dishes like pear curry, black lime-yellow tail, persimmon, and blistered squash. Every dish is a beautifully orchestrated example of Chef London’s approach to new fine dining, so make your reservations now!
alsplacesf.com; (415) 416-6136
ICHI Sushi + NI Bar
How much do Executive Chef Tim Archuleta and Wife-Partner Erin Archuleta want you to enjoy their sushi? They’ve placed a mural on the wall of the restaurant showing you the proper way to eat it. Part art and part fun not only descrbes the mural, but the food as well. Since they opened in 2010, ICHI has been a destination for sushi lovers. Sustainability is the focus, and menus change seasonally. ICHI also offers Omakase service at the bar and tables. An extensive chilled sake list, as well as regional beers, wine, and Asahi and Sapporo on tap make this a must visit.
ichisushi.com; (415) 525-4750