One year ago, at the end of 2019, chef-owner Laurent Manrique (Cafe de la Presse) and business partner Andrew Fidelman closed the Financial District location of their Southwest French wine bar and bistro, AQUITAINE, and put everything into storage until their new Castro location was ready. Of course, the pandemic caused further delays. But now, there’s a new and open business on Church Street, which has been feeling quite desolate lately—the sunflower sign and colorful umbrellas are already cheering up this stretch of the street.
You’ll find an extensive wine list and retail selection (30 percent off all wines to go), while the all-day menu is the perfect format for enjoying a few bites with your wine (like cheese and charcuterie, deviled eggs, prawn tartine, smoked bacon tart), or go full-on with a Gascon burger, mussels, Basque chicken, or a ribeye for two. Take a look at the all-day menu here.
There’s a shared space with tables outside (and the umbrellas). Happy hour is Tue-Sat 2pm-5pm ($6 snacks and beer, $8 wine selections), open until 9pm. They accept reservations by phone or email for now: 415-658-7863. 210 Church St. at Market.
After 27 years on Diamond Street in Noe Valley, BACCO has moved to a new location at 3913 24th Street, previously Savor Open Kitchen (which closed earlier this year, in January). Owner Shari Dominici continues to run the restaurant after the tragic passing of her husband Paolo Dominici in 2009, working with the former co-owner/opening chef and now ongoing consulting chef Vincenzo Cucco (Divino in Belmont), who has updated the menu. You’ll still find their extensive menu of housemade pasta dishes, but they’ve added pizza as well (five different choices). Take a look at their spacious and enclosed patio, nice. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-8pm. 3913 24th St. at Sanchez.
While the new location of OLD JERUSALEM RESTAURANT remains closed in the Mission due to roof and water damage from fireworks (they hope to reopen in a couple months), they just gave us a wonderful surprise and have opened a new business, ABU SALIM MIDDLE EASTERN GRILL in the Upper Haight (in the former Burger Urge location).
The menu includes their classic dishes of hummus with fluffy pita, falafel, shawarma, kebabs, and their awesome wraps and platters with their delicious turmeric rice, plus special Palestinean dishes, like their mosbaha (hummus with garlic, lemon, and whole chickpeas), their musakhan sumac chicken (a fave), and Ramallah-style falafel. Everything always tastes so fresh and handmade, and the price is right. There are also some loaded shawarma fries, which should please any stoners in the neighborhood (LOL). There are tables outside, with takeout as well. Open daily 11am-9pm and until 10pm on weekends. 1599 Haight St. at Clayton.
Aquitaine’s moules marmandes—Mediterranean mussels, chorizo, tomato concassè, grilled tartine. Photo courtesy of Aquitaine.