Frances Reopens with a New Look, Menu Format, and More

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It’s dinnertime at Frances. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

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The newly renovated interior of Frances by Seth Boor (architect) and Cookline (contractor). Photo: via Cookline by Juliann Carrol.

It felt strange to have one of San Francisco’s most iconic restaurants temporarily closed for so long (18 months!), with some FXMP pop-up dinners to tide us over, but now it’s official: chef-owner Melissa Perello and her team have swung open the doors to ~FRANCES~ the beloved Castro restaurant, and there’s a lot to be excited about. After opening in 2009, it was ready for an interior refresh, and there’s now expanded outdoor parklet seating for 28 guests. Architect Seth Boor created the updated interior, which will continue to strike the tone of refined yet casual elegance, with vintage décor curated by Laurie Furber of Elsie Green, and a deep-toned ombré wall in the dining room by decorative painter and muralist Caroline Lizarraga.

Perello’s current team includes director of operations Robert Wright, chef de cuisine Jordan Wittrock (his background includes Tartine Manufactory, plus Momofuku Nishi and Atera in NYC, as well as FOH work as a captain at Benu, interesting!), and wine director Iris Rowlee (who is also at sister restaurant Octavia). The menu is now a family-style format of 8-10 dishes that come out in waves—they will change weekly and highlight ingredients sourced from the team’s diverse network of local farmers, ranchers, seafood purveyors, and artisans.

Some sample dishes to share could include creamed corn campanelle with sweet summer peppers and Parmesan; Olivier’s pork loin with eggplant, green farro, and salsa verde; and blistered pole beans, guanciale, and chile XO. There are optional wine pairings from Rowlee, who just returned from a honeymoon in Italy and is fired up on producers from Campania right now. There will also be a limited à la carte menu at the bar for walk-ins, featuring some of the restaurant’s dishes that have been staples since the beginning (panisse frites!). There’s also a low-ABV Negroni sbagliato you can try, and the Market Shots that used to commence the start of the meal have returned.

Dinner is served Wed-Sat 5pm-9:15pm. Private events are also available in the parklet and dining room. Welcome back, Frances! 3870 17th St. at Pond.