Owner Mourad Lahlou reopens the city’s beloved Aziza, some new casual bites in Cow Hollow, and new brunch in the FiDi.
Big Night Restaurant Group has finished their transformation of Cow Marlowe into The Greenwich (3154 Fillmore Street, 415-508-5898), now offering a “Hamptons-in-the-Marina” style and a lighter menu from chef Jennifer Puccio as well. Open for pre- and post-game happy hour 4:30–6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close, dinner Wednesday–Sunday 5:30 p.m.–close, brunch Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
The former Marengo on Union is now Solstice (415-829-8650, 1980 Union Street), from industry vets Johnny Love and Cory Moore. As they explain: “This restaurant and bar location was established 30 years ago. We wanted to keep it in the Union Street-Marina family and is currently brought to you by the owners of the Blue Light and family.” They’re serving cocktails, shared plates like Maryland crab cakes, lamb meatballs, “bang bang” shrimp, green chili queso, and sandwiches. And don’t forget that amazing electronic roof that opens up. Open for drinks and bites Wednesday–Thursday 5 p.m. and Friday 3 p.m., brunch Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.
Castagna (2015 Chestnut Street) is closing at the end of October after eight years in business. Owner Stéphane Meloni is returning to France, and the space is reportedly becoming a fast-casual restaurant.
Apizza (415-796-2037, 2043 Fillmore Street) is now open in the former Boulange space from La Boulangerie partners Pascal Rigo and Nicolas Bernadi. They created a fast-casual pizza concept that they plan to roll out elsewhere (Belmont is next). They’ve been working for the last three years on how to offer a quick, inexpensive pizza — try $2.75 for a nine-inch Margherita with organic dough and tomato sauce!
Other toppings include roasted seasonal vegetables ($5.79); muffulatta ($6.49); a cheeseburger pizza, La Royale with Cheese (ground beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onion, cornichons, Thousand Island dressing, and sesame seeds, $5.99, with an option to substitute Impossible meat). They appear to have a very thin crust. The pizzas don’t come in a box — they fold them in on themselves (cut in half) and put them in a compostable container, so don’t scream. Instead of wasting money on a pizza box, you get quality ingredients, from Mary’s chicken to two kinds of organic crusts, plus a gluten-free one. There’s also dessert from Loving Cup. Open Sunday–Thursday 11:30 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday–Saturday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Looking for a new brunch spot? Wayfare Tavern (415-772-9060, 558 Sacramento Street) recently started offering weekend brunch. Executive chef Scott Quinn’s menu includes challah French toast, bananas Foster pancakes, and, of course, their famed buttermilk fried chicken and waffles. You can also have some more healthful picks, like a three-egg omelet or a vitality bowl. There’s a full bar, which means you can go for a Bloody Mary with house-infused bacon vodka or a peach spritzer and more. Brunch Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
In a surprise turnaround, Mourad Lahlou reopened his beloved Aziza (415-682-4196, 5800 Geary Boulevard) after closing it back in 2016 for a remodel. Aziza originally opened in 2001, an homage to Lahlou’s mother, and was the first Moroccan restaurant in the United States to be awarded a Michelin star. Lahlou was planning to reopen it as Amara with chef Louis Maldonado, but that didn’t pan out (Maldonado is now at Gibson in downtown San Francisco).
So the new Aziza. It’s meant to be a comfortable gathering place, and both the menu and radically redesigned space reflect this new direction. The menu features shareable small plates and large-format entrées. Old faves like the chicken basteeya, beef cheek tagine, and hand-rolled couscous will return, with new dishes as well (Lahlou is working with Mike Daly, director of culinary operations, and chef de cuisine Frank Hanes).
A new addition will be weekend brunch, with dishes like shakshuka with kefta meatball, poached egg yolks, sweet potato, and spicy tomato; and feather-light Moroccan pancakes with stone fruit compote and orange blossom butter, which is brushed on top of the pancake to settle into each of the bubble divots as it’s on the griddle.
Aziza was always known for its culinary cocktails, and bar director Alex Okarka will be behind the new list. Tara Patrick, wine director of both Mourad and Aziza, is behind the wine list.
The space now has higher ceilings and natural light with dark wood floors; Moroccan tile; a 12-seat, communal, live-edge wooden table; and banquettes covered in black-and-white cowhide with a plum leather base. The bar is now in its own room, with 15 seats at a curved, poured concrete bar with teal tile. The back room offers a more private (and verdant) dining experience, with plush green banquettes and palm print wallpaper. Open daily 5:30–10 p.m.; brunch Saturday–Sunday 11a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, Tablehopper; subscribe for free at tablehopper.com. Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram.