Bay Area’s 11 most anticipated restaurants are opening this winter

Bay Area’s 11 most anticipated restaurants are opening this winter

With the omicron spread in the Bay Area and many restaurants temporarily shutting down, it can be tempting to assume that nothing good will happen in the food scene this winter. But new restaurants are still planning to debut, and some of them are extremely exciting.

While autumn is typically the most significant season for restaurant openings, this winter – which ends on March 20 – also offers plenty of action. This is due in part to the fact that pandemic-related staffing and supply chain problems have led to delays for the fall harvest of the most anticipated openings, including Oakland pitmaster Matt Horn’s upcoming fried chicken place, Kowbird.

There are also new casual bets from popular owners, such as a hand-rolled sushi bar from the team behind Michelin-starred Ju-Ni as well as a Korean-Chinese spot from the owners of the Korean market Queens. Some notable pop-ups, including ramen legend Noodle in a Haystack and bagel outfit Schlok’s, expect to open their first permanent locations.

Of course, it is possible that some of these openings will be further delayed due to omicron. Either way, here are 11 long-awaited restaurants planning to debut this winter, in alphabetical order.

Birch & Rye's borscht, served with roasted vegetables, fresh herbs and sour cream, a type of culture cream.

Birch & Rye’s borscht, served with roasted vegetables, fresh herbs and sour cream, a type of culture cream.

Provided by Birch & Rye

Birk & Rug

At Birch & Rye in Noe Valley, native and former green chef Anya El-Wattar will marry Russian dishes using Californian ingredients. Look for a deconstructed borscht made from roasted cauliflower and zakuski, or small chunks, like an indulgent potato salad topped with uni, caviar and shavings of jidori egg yolk cured in dill salt. Meat, vegetables and bread will be baked fresh in an oven. The cocktail menu celebrates vodka, many of them infused in the house with flavors like horseradish and linden flower.

Expected opening:
mid-January

1320 Castro St., San Francisco. birchandryesf.com

The tall

Renowned San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins’ first ever Peninsula restaurant is ready to open at the vibrant State Street Market in Los Altos. El Alto is a tribute to her and chef Robert Hurtado’s Mexican roots, seen through a Bay Area lens. Think confit duck with an apricot mole and local produce charred on a live-fire grill. The drinks menu will focus on agave spirits (and will also be served on a speakeasy hidden under the restaurant).

Expected opening: early winter

170 State St., Los Altos. facebook.com/El-Alto-Los-Altos

The Good Good Culture Club takes over Liholiho's temporary Mission District pop-up, including this plant-filled roof terrace.

The Good Good Culture Club takes over Liholiho’s temporary Mission District pop-up, including this plant-filled roof terrace.

Kelsey McClellan / Special for The Chronicle 2021

God God Kulturklub

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