New Openings Include Au Sushi, Empire Pizza, Fiddle Fig Cafe, Arepas, Sacred Taco, Zevi Cafe and Bistro

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Nigiri and maki at the new Au Sushi. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.

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Get excited for a slice or whole pie of Empire Pizza’s New York-style pizza. Instagram photo via @empirepizzasf.

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The vegetarian sandwich at the new Fiddle Fig Cafe. Photo courtesy of Fiddle Fig Cafe.

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Fried fish taco and the fiery fried chicken taco at Sacred Taco. Yelp photo by Lee S.

There’s a new sushi spot in the Diamond Heights Shopping Center, ~AU SUSHI~, and according to Cherylynn N. on Yelp, the owner and sushi chef is a woman (not something you see every day, sadly—let’s change that!). You can opt for the omakase selection of eight pieces of nigiri and a small bite ($68.89), a variety of chef’s rolls, nigiri, plus there’s a sashimi boat, udon and ramen (including soft-shell crab), fried chicken skin yakitori and wings. It’s reportedly busy, so make a reservation if you can. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-9:30pm. 5214 Diamond Heights Blvd.

I have been eagerly tracking the opening of ~EMPIRE PIZZA~, a New York-style slice shop from the owners of The Grove in the former Pizzeria Delfina on Mission in SoMa. It’s open, hell yes, and they’re slinging slices of pepperoni, sausage (with bell peppers), white pie (aged and fresh mozzarella, ricotta, aged provolone, sesame seeds), broccoli rabe, and they have a couple square slices, too. You can also order a whole 18-inch pie, and they have a classic pizza shop salad with romaine, salami, aged provolone, red cabbage, carrot, pepperoncini, and Italian dressing (the best).

Pizzaiolo Brandon Wells, previously of Pizzeria Delfina, developed the pies! There’s beer, wine, Nancy’s Fancy gelato, and outdoor seating, too. You know where I’ll be this week! Open Wed-Sun 11am-3pm (to start). 688 Mission St. at 3rd St.

Over in North Beach, there’s a new deli and café called ~FIDDLE FIG CAFE~, serving some pretty bomb-looking sandwiches—including a Reuben, a Cubano, a vegetarian sandwich (with grilled eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers, Swiss cheese, and a pesto spread with sun-dried tomatoes), and a breakfast biscuit sandwich—plus pastries, açai bowls, coffee drinks, and a strawberry-coconut smoothie and iced matcha latte. There are plenty of round café tables for dining inside. Open Wed-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm and Sat-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm. 790 Lombard St. at Taylor.

I was driving by the former Elda’s in the Mission and noticed the neon lights were on for ~AREPAS~, serving 12 kinds of Venezuelan arepas (available deep-fried or grilled), and bites like mandocas (cheesy corn cakes), tequeños (cheese sticks), tostones (fried green plantains with different toppings), and patacones (plantains with fillings like braised pork or shredded beef), as well as plates like pabellón, with rice, black beans, fried plantains, shredded beef, and cheese. You also have five desserts to choose from. This is an offshoot of their original San Jose location. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-10pm. 3198 16th St. at Guerrero.

A tablehopper reader let me know Cow Hollow has a new taco place that just opened, ~SACRED TACO~, in the former Hollow Cow from Kristian Cosentino (Rusted Mule, Dirty Water, Press Club). The menu has an array of creative taco fillings, including an avocado taco, braised antelope, and a fiery fried chicken taco, as well as a fried fish taco, pork belly taco, and chicken tinga taco, plus sikil pak (a pumpkin seed and tomato dip/salsa). Micheladas, mezcal Margaritas, and there’s a sunny back patio, do the math. Open for lunch and dinner daily, until midnight on the weekend. 1875 Union St. at Laguna.

The former Venue Cafe downtown is now ~ZEVI CAFE AND BISTRO~, serving a Mediterranean menu with mezze, salads, gyros, kebabs and plates, manti (Turkish dumplings), as well as breakfast plates, omelets, scrambles, menemen, breakfast burritos (check out the Zevi burrito, a mix of lamb and beef, potatoes, avocado, feta, eggs, smoked tomato sauce), French toast, and more. It has a sunny and bright interior, with white walls, tile, plants, and colorful chairs. Open daily 7am-9pm. 67 5th St. at Mission.