San francisco restaurants

Best Foods of 2021 at San Francisco Restaurants

With the past two years tumultuous, especially for the restaurant industry, the number of new restaurants debuting in the Bay Area in the last year alone has been impressive. When it comes to non-physical food establishments, many of the new pop-ups, pickup and delivery-only food businesses, and home food businesses were actually born out of pandemic survival pivots, but have become so popular that they are likely to stay a little longer. As one of the themes of this ongoing pandemic has been enjoying the little things in life, this year we’re highlighting the best food we’ve eaten at new restaurants across the bay. Here’s to another year of eating hopeful and looking forward to a lucky food future.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Glen Park, San Francisco
Momofuku Milk Bar’s cereal milk soft serve of the late ‘s spurred an era of cereal-infused milk candies. Glen Park Cafe, which took over space from the old Tyger in July, presents its version with three thick, fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with two mounds (balls, really) of homemade whipped cream infused with grain milk and a generous handful of Corn Pops and fruity pebbles. Nostalgia and carbohydrate loading are part of this complete breakfast.
How to order: Show up or order pickup online.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Interior of Richmond, San Francisco
Yes to Thai breakfast, including joke gai’s comforting chicken meatball congee, which comes with a poached egg, matchstick slices of ginger, onions, crispy rice and a fried savory donut stick . There are also American breakfast offerings at Khob Khun, including homemade caramelized bacon seasoned with rosemary and black pepper. Since the pre-opening in July, freshly converted regulars return not only for breakfast, but also for the special “Authentic Thai” menu (only offered after 11 a.m.), such as kaeng som kung lai bua, a sour tamarind soup with lotus rootlets. and prawns.
How to order: Show up or order pickup and delivery online.


The dish: Scotch Egg Chorizo at Low bar

Downtown, Oakland
It takes a steady hand to wrap a boiled egg in ground British sausage, roll it in seasoned breadcrumbs, and fry it to cook the meat well, crisp the breading perfectly, but not overcook the yolk. Substitute homemade chorizo ​​for meat and corn tortilla panko for breading, and you’ve got a new Oakland-born classic from the Chicano-owned bar that finally opened in the spring after a year of pandemic delay. .
How to order: Walk-in only.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Net, San Francisco
What an explosion of fresh flavors, from the yogurt-marinated chicken breast simmered with tomatoes, onions, cumin and a blend of Algerian ras el hanoul spices, to the silky and fluffy kus kus, to the super crispy green salad sprinkled with creamy green olives. Married couple Mounir and Wafa Bahloul run the only Algerian restaurant (now also a food truck) in San Francisco, and got their start at cooking incubator for immigrants and women La Cocina. This is one of the first food kiosks at the highly anticipated La Cocina Market which opened in April.
How to order: Show up or order pickup online.

Photo by Margot Seeto

El Camino Real, San Bruno
Talk about a comfort food that isn’t common in the Bay Area. Diamond Head General Store’s gussied-up version of a classic Hawaiʻi plate lunch combo includes a juicy, jumbo homemade beef chili topped with melted cheese and sliced ​​jalapeños, two balls of white rice sprinkled with furikake and a scoop of secret recipe mac salad. It really does come on a paper plate, lined with parchment paper and placed in a branded ten-inch pie tin because the thing is so damn deliciously huge.
How to order: Walk-in only.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Cupertino and various Bay Area locations
When beef broth is gelatinous in cold form, it’s a great sign of deep, rich flavor, full of melted collagen from slowly simmered bones, aromatics and spices. When reheated at home from Justin Chiang’s Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup Kits, the thick broth coats each fluffy, bouncy and delicious noodle with 30-ingredient flavor, complete with tender chunks of beef, bright marinated mustard greens, bok choy and blanched. tomato.
How to order: Check their Instagram page for pre-order dates and links. Chiang Beef Noodle is now available at various Bay Area pickup points via Pastel.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Various Bay Area locations
Is purple rice yogurt the new boba? The Australian chain with over 400 locations worldwide certainly thinks so, having opened its first locations in the Bay Area this spring. The signature drink is like an adult-sized, healthier Go-Gurt, with fiber-rich, protein-packed, antioxidant-packed purple rice mixed with store-prepared daily yogurt.
How to order: Enter or choose a location and order pickup online.


Various Bay Area locations
Even if you’re lukewarm towards mushrooms, roasted mushrooms create magic when married with slow-cooked chuck and smothered in beef gravy, all wrapped in a flaky pie crust that’s both delicate and sufficiently hearty to be eaten with your hands (because you might not be able to help it). The New Zealand-style savory pies company delivers to various parts of the bay via Shef, with occasional pop-ups at chef Genni Thomas’ home base in Santa Clara.
How to order: Order delivery through Shef and follow them on Instagram for additional pop-ups.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Various locations in Pacifica
We’re lucky that quesabirria tacos have made their way into the Bay Area food scene, although the veggie jackfruit variety isn’t as plentiful. Owner Tiffany Keeling, creator of the Blaxican Burrito, serves up good vibes and conversation alongside her veggie tacos (easily vegan without cheese), with veggie consommé for dipping or sipping.
How to order: Place orders through Instagram DM for local delivery in Pacifica.

Photo by Margot Seeto

The dish: Teriyaki Beef Hash Brown Sandwich with Cafe des Arts

Interior Sunset, San Francisco
SF was delighted that the 30-year-old restaurant reopened under new ownership in February this year after the original owners retired in July 2020. Although there was no tofu kimchi scramble, other signature dishes thankfully remain, like the hash brown sandwich combos which feature a square of flat, super crispy shredded potatoes sprinkled with cheddar cheese and wrapped around your choice of sautéed protein and onions, served with two eggs and toast.
How to order: Show up or order pickup online.

Photo by Margot Seeto

The dish: Buko Pandan Pan De Ube with Mom Ube

San Bruno and various Bay Area locations
The beauty of this vegan bun is in its perceived simplicity. The compact green baked good exudes a subtle aroma of young coconut and screwed pine leaf, the bread is soft to the touch, and the first bite reveals a smooth, boldly purple ube halaya filling. The “vegan Filipinx bakeries” pop-up that took its first official orders in February has been steadily gaining popularity with its eponymous ube dessert variety, and hopes to open a brick-and-mortar location down the road.
How to order: Check out their online pop-up schedule and pre-order for online pickup.


The east side, south of San Francisco
Breaking away from SF Chickenbox and debuting as Respectable Bird in May, the fried chicken specialists have revealed revamped recipes that include a special chicken brine and a secret spice blend. The chicken manages to stay very crispy and light on the outside and juicy on the inside.
How to order: Order online for pickup or delivery from the commercial kitchen, or find the food truck in the Bay Area.

Photo by Margot Seeto

Linda Mar, Pacifica
Made with gochuchang tomato sauce, kalbi-marinated baby back ribs, homemade zucchini kimchi, sesame seeds and scallions, this pizza combo was a specialty that just might reappear on the weekend’s ever-changing menu. -end. Due to pandemic-related job losses, restaurant industry vets Ryan Wilson and Natalie Wong began using their wood-fired pizza oven last fall to provide super-fresh Neapolitan-style pizzas with mostly local ingredients, like various greens from Pacifica’s Lenny’s Lettuce. Even if you don’t see the spicy variety of kalbi and kimchi on their rotating menu, the classic cheese, margherita and pepperoni options are worth trying, or go for the weekend special.
How to order: Complete the order form on their Instagram for pickup most Fridays and Saturdays.

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Margot Seeto is a Bay Area freelance writer and contributor to Thrillist.