3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Dining date: 11/24/17
Lazy Bear is one of San Francisco’s most unique dining experiences. The restaurant began as an underground supper club in chef David Barzelay’s home; it was wildly successful and became one of the toughest seats in town. The success led to this brick-and-mortar location in 2014. Two Michelin stars later, the restaurant is still going strong.
The evening begins with cocktail hour on the second floor mezzanine. Guests are invited to mingle, sip on a cocktail, and enjoy a few small bites. After cocktail hour, dinner shifts downstairs where there are two large 40-seat communal tables. An open kitchen anchors one end of the tables, providing a close look at the food as it’s being prepared.
We managed to get tickets here for the day after Thanksgiving.
The Restaurant At Meadowood
900 Meadowood Ln
St. Helena, CA 94574
Dining date: 1/14/17
I’ve been to the Restaurant at Meadowood once, seven years ago, and had a great meal. Since then, the restaurant has garned a third Michelin star (it had two at the time) and undergone a renovation, although Executive Chef Christopher Kostow is still at the helm. I’ve been wanting to return for some time and finally had a chance over the MLK Day holiday weekend.
Whereas an a la carte menu was available the last time I was here, the dining room menu is now tasting menu-only. $275 (before 20% service and tax) pays for about a dozen courses.
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.
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.
490 Pacific St
San Francisco, CA 94133
Dining date: 12/17/16
I’ve been to Cotogna quite a few times now, the more casual sibling to Michelin three-star restaurant Quince. The restaurant was selected again to introduce some friends to chef Michael Tusk’s Italian cooking. We ordered a variety of things throughout the menu to share – an appetizer, a pizza, two pastas and one large format course.