There are a bunch of brand-new and affordable openings that caught my eye for us to check out (let me know any winners!).
You gotta love a place called A BOWL OF CHICKEN SOUP AND RICE NOODLES. You can choose your own noodles and toppings (including beef and seafood options), and the restaurant is actually offering more than just chicken soup and noodles—there’s a bunch of appetizers on the Chinese menu as well, including fried salt-and-pepper chicken wings (or calamari, or prawns), roast duck, and many vegetable sides. Seems like the perfect season for this Tenderloin restaurant to open (it took over the former Eden Silk Road Cuisine). Open Wed-Sun 11:30am-9:30pm, Mon 11:30am-8:30pm. 572 O’Farrell St. at Jones.
If you’re looking for Cantonese classics, Hong Kong clay pot rice, congee, cheung fun (rice noodle rolls), and other dim sum dishes, there’s a new place in the Inner Richmond to check out: WEI GUO HOUSE. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm. 3751 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave.
If you want to warm up over some Korean soups, stews, and ssam, there’s the brand-new SF HONEYPIG, offering lunch specials starting at $9.99, and Korean BBQ for dinner, plus hot stone dishes, and some serious combo dinners. Open daily 11am-10pm. 4217 Geary Blvd. at 7th Ave.
Across the Park, ROSE INDIAN CUISINE, offering mostly classic Northern Indian dishes on the menu, with different kinds of pakoras, plus some Himalayan dishes (momos) too. The breads look especially interesting, with some unique parathas and naan. Open daily 10:30am-10pm. 1386 9th Ave. at Judah.
Fans of the General Tso’s chicken at the former Wonderland in the Lower Haight, fear not. A new restaurant has taken its place, YH-BEIJING, with a sleek new exterior and interior, but the chef-owner is reportedly the same. Look for a new dim sum menu (with some trendy xiao long bao wrappers in different colors), Beijing-style dim sum and dishes, and some of the old-school Wonderland favorites. Open daily 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-9:30pm and Sat-Sun 11am-9:30pm. 500 Haight St. at Fillmore.
The former Tawla space in the Mission is now SUSHI SHIO, offering omakase (what else?) but with a Korean touch (from chef Alex Kim of Sushi Hon on Harrison). Open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. 206 Valencia St. at Duboce.
Further down Valencia is the new YASMIN, a Mediterranean spot from the kind Syrian owners of Palmyra in the Lower Haight (now open in the former Ali Baba’s Cave). What this means is awesome, freshly made falafel (get the plate, it’s better than the wrap), rotisserie chicken (you can get a whole chicken for $14), kabobs, kibbeh, wraps, salads, and more. Open daily 11am-11pm, and until 2am Fri-Sat. 799 Valencia St. at 18th St.
There’s also a new Mediterranean spot in Russian Hill: SUMAC, serving Istanbul street food (meets California love for wraps, rice bowls, and salads). You can check the menu here. Open daily 11am-9pm (until 10pm Fri-Sun). 1096 Union St. at Leavenworth St.
I’ll never understand why it’s so hard to find classic tortellini (filled with meat, screw all the cheese-filled ones, seriously), but the new TORTELLINO counter inside Market Hall lives up to its name, making authentic meat-filled tortellini (with mortadella!), and offering them in brodo (one of my top ten favorite dishes, ever), or in two kinds of sauce.
They’re making other dishes as well, like housemade lasagne bolognese, tagliatelle, gnocchi, and more. You know they’re truly Italian because they’re serving tomato bruschetta in the height of winter, LOL (that always makes me laugh—our Cal-Ital chefs would never!). The owner started the biz in Bologna, with three locations in Northern Italy. Open daily 11am-9pm. 1355 Market St. at 9th St.
Fans of Tropisueño should know they’ve opened a sister location, COCOSUEÑO in the former Straits on the 4th Floor Under the Dome at the Westfield Shopping Centre. You can peep the extensive menu here, which includes ceviches, soups, and their famed chile verde in larger plates, plus tacos, enchiladas, and tamales. And a full bar (which will come in handy after a day of holiday shopping). It’s more of a casual taqueria by day, and sit-down restaurant at night. Open daily 10am-8:30pm, and Sun 11am-7pm.
And last but certainly not least, Bayview/Hunter’s Point/India Basin has a new café, CAFÉ ALMA, from Kristin Houk of All Good Pizza and Tato. There’s an all-day menu of breakfast sandwiches, fresh salads, panini, smoothies, and soups, with a full coffee bar. The space is spacious (5,000 square feet!), and is designed to host events, guest chefs, workshops, pop-ups, community gatherings, and more. Open Tue-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat 8am-3pm. 888 Innes Ave. at Griffith.
A fully loaded bowl at A Bowl of Chicken Soup and Rice Noodles in the Tenderloin. Photo via owner on Yelp.