The restaurant business may be harder than ever to succeed at in San Francisco, but it’s not stopping these new projects. (And we’re not just talking fast-casual places, although Souvla opening in the Marina will certainly be welcome.) Here are five additional projects to look forward to.
This is the Eastern Mediterranean restaurant opening in Fillmore Street’s former Thai Stick from Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz, who have made quite a name for themselves with their Istanbul Modern pop-up series on Feastly. With a fine-dining background in East Coast Michelin-starred restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin, and in San Francisco at Saison and Mourad, they are steeped in technique, but will be keeping things casual at Noosh. Look for Turkish flavors, inspiration from Israel, Greece, and Armenia, house-made pita bread, and more. Cocktails from Andrew Meltzer will be top-notch. They have been hosting private events in December, and January is looking likely for opening (2001 Fillmore Street).
Francophiles are excited for this 25,000-square-foot, six-story project envisioned by James Beard Award-winning, Michelin-starred chef and partner Claude Le Tohic. Look for French fine-dining restaurant on the fifth floor O’ (a play on the O’Farrell address); One65 Patisserie (serving breakfast and lunch); One65 Bistro (serving Cal-French comfort food, with an open kitchen and a Josper charcoal grill from Spain); and One65 Lounge and Bar (with a whiskey library and views of Union Square from the fourth floor). San Francisco-based D-Scheme Studio is overseeing the design, with a focus on sustainability: Recycled and sustainable materials dictate much of the bistro’s design, from the recycled cork flooring to recycled porcelain paneling. The patisserie is due to open first, with the remaining floors to follow (165 O’Farrell Street).
Quince and Cotogna’s Michael and Lindsay Tusk plan to open a stylish and casual wine bar in the former Chiaroscuro space (which also housed Daniel Patterson’s first restaurant, Elisabeth Daniel, and George Morrone’s Tartare). According to a job listing, the concept “[i]s a … Cave á Manger … [b]orn out of archaic Parisian licensing laws that forbade wine retailers to open and serve bottles of wine in their own stores without offering food to patrons … [t]he Cave á Manger typically marries simply prepared, high-quality ingredients with wines sourced from a diverse array of wine regions with an emphasis on lesser-encountered appellations, responsibly farmed terroir and vignerons on the vanguard of natural wine making.” Look for a retail component as well, with wine, housewares, and more. It’s looking close, and January is likely (550 Washington Street).
Fans of the Neapolitan pizzas at Il Casaro in North Beach will have a second location to visit in January, which will be getting some excellent pizza. Opening in the former Chilango space, co-owner Francesco Covucci (with Peter Fazio) will mostly be offering the same delicious and affordable pizza and antipasti menu, but with the full kitchen here, a few more antipasti and pastas will be added. There will be a little more seating — they are developing a patio in the back. They also filed to serve full liquor, so I’m looking forward to Negronis here (235 Church Street).
Timing on this one is hazy, but Mourad Lahlou will be opening Amara in his former Aziza space, spanning the cuisine of Northern Morocco and Moorish influences on Mexico (the name refers to the Moors in Spanish). Lahlou is bringing back Aziza’s former chef de cuisine, Louis Maldonado (The French Laundry), and this will be the first restaurant of its kind in the United States. Anyone who knows the history of tacos al pastor is familiar with the many Middle Eastern influences in Mexican cuisine, from cooking techniques to ingredients and spices.
The menu will be inspired by abundant family gatherings with dishes to share, like cumin- and chili-braised lamb shanks with smoked lamb and tomato, and wilted greens; and roasted chicken legs with caramelized bone and ancho chili glaze, yam, mint, and toum (garlic paste). Pastry chef Annemarie Catrambone will take inspiration from Mexican paleta and ice cream shops and the French influence on pastries in Morocco for her desserts.
The space is undergoing a massive renovation, but Aziza’s good bone structure will still be felt. Look for some textures, colors, and patterns of Moroccan marketplaces and contemporary touches. Dinner will be served nightly, and weekend brunch will also be on offer (5800 Geary Boulevard).