San Francisco Restaurants
In San Francisco, pizza is a hotly debated topic. One thing locals agree on is that the thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pies at Flour + Water are some of the best in the city. Jon Darsky makes just four pies with simple toppings, from a classic Margherita to tomatoes with garlicky mussels and oregano. Thomas McNaughton, a former Quince sous-chef, prepares the exceptional pastas, like sweet pea tortelli with mint, Meyer lemon and pork cracklings, and maltagliati (roughly cut noodles) with brown-butter-braised giblet ragù. The brief wine list includes 2007 Matane Primitivo from Puglia; alternatively, there’s a modest $10 corkage fee.
If there’s an epicenter of cool new restaurants in the Bay Area, it’s Oakland. And if there’s an epicenter of cool new restaurants in Oakland, it’s Commis. In the sleek, modern space, chef James Syhabout offers a three-course menu that reflects his time as chef de cuisine at Manresa in Los Gatos, California, and his stages at Spain’s El Bulli and the Fat Duck in England. Among Syhabout’s most inspired dishes: baby carrots with brown-rice vinegar, clover honey and seaweed from Mendocino, and lightly smoked sardines with green tomatoes and bronze fennel.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, Joshua Skenes turns a Mission District space into one of San Francisco’s more elegant restaurants. Meals start in the courtyard with sparkling wine. Then guests walk through the kitchen to the dining room, where waiters in untucked shirts serve a four-course menu at bare wooden tables. Sommelier Mark Bright pairs each course with a different wine—for instance, matching chile-spiced red sea bream carpaccio with Can Feixes Blanc from Penedès, Spain.