558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111
Dining date: 12/26/16
Each year, my cousins, brother and I take our grandmother out for a birthday meal. The timing is convenient as her birthday is around Christmas, so everyone is typically in town (except for my brother this year). Due to timing and scheduling we weren’t able to do a dinner, but were able to have a lunch the day after Christmas. Options were a bit limited for lunch on the 26th, but luckily Wayfare Tavern had room for the five of us.
Tyler Florence’s financial district restaurant has been going strong since opening in 2010. I’ve been here once, for lunch, and still remember the fried chicken and salmon I had that meal. We ordered both of those dishes again, as well as a bunch of others, for this post-Christmas lunch.
2223 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Dining date: 12/24/16
Nomica is a modern Japanese izakaya offering contemporary takes on Japanese drinking food. The menu has some intriguing menu items like gyoza-stuffed fried chicken wings, sous vide chicken karaage, and whole chicken baked in brioche. The restaurant was opened by the team behind Sushi Ran, a restaurant that has been serving Japanese cuisine in the Bay Area for over 30 years.
While the restaurant just opened in August, reviews have been mostly positive. My family and I came here for a Christmas Eve dinner.
815 S Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 12/21/16
I first dined at Shibumi in July very soon after the restaurant opened. The meal was very good, although the restaurant was still finding its stride. The restaurant has garnered some considerable praise since then. LA Times critic Jonathan Gold named it the second best restaurant in the city in October. Besha Rodell of the LA Weekly gave it 4 stars. The restaurant has been particularly popular in recent months given the praise, but I was able to snag a table over the holidays. I returned in to see how the food has evolved now that it’s been open for six months.
This was my first time sitting at the bar, providing an upfront view of the action. I definitely recommend requesting seats up here – it’s less intimate, but its a much more immersive dining experience.
151 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/17/16
In Situ was probably my most anticipated restaurant opening in San Francisco this past year. It’s both a unique and copycat concept – the restaurant exists to duplicate dishes from notable restaurants around the world, as closely as possible. It’s kind of like a rotating museum exhibit of restaurant dishes, fittingly housed in the SF Museum of Modern Art.
The “chef” here is Cory Lee, ex-chef de cuisine of The French Laundry and chef/owner of Benu and Monsieur Benjamin. He has as strong a pedigree as anyone to be able to duplicate this diverse cuisine here.
Dining date: 12/25/16
2016 flew by so quickly, as did another holiday season centered around a Christmas feast. Not unlike past years, this Christmas was a tale of two meals – one celebrated on each side of the family. Lunch is a large buffet-style potluck affair, hosted by my aunt and uncle (who prepare most of the food). My grandmother handles most of dinner preparation, which is a bit more meat-centric.