Fried plantains from Isla Vida.
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The Mango Mateo at Isla Vida.
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Rotisserie jerk chicken in the wood-fire oven at Isla Vida.
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Photo: Shaughn and John
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Photo: Aubrie Pick
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The Bar Agricole team have set up shop on the ground floor of the magnificent Pacific Telephone building, where they’ve fashioned an airy, elegant dining room complete with a mural of a naked lady above the bar. As at the restaurant’s older sibling, the cocktails are the stars of the show. On the menu, a charcuterie board comes heaped with white ribbons of lardo, pistachio-studded mortadella, and anise-scented coppa. Chase it with one of the restaurant’s namesake palate cleansers and surrender to the lush life. 140 New Montgomery St. (near Natoma St.), 415-975-0876
Located in the old Steps of Rome space, this Neapolitan pizzeria is outfitted with a bright red oven that spits out wood-fired pies boasting pliant, blistered crusts. A tuna–and–red onion variety shines, while the marinara deftly balances its salty, pungent cargo of olives, anchovies, and garlic with a sweet, bright tomato sauce. Eat them next to one of the restaurant’s expansive windows, where you can watch all of North Beach hurrying by. 348 Columbus Ave. (near Vallejo St.), 415-677-9455
The old Washington Square Bar & Grill space has a new incarnation thanks to the Sons & Daughters team, who are making food in the modernized American classics vein: Housemade Parker House rolls are dusted with dried fennel seeds, while plump squab is partnered with huckleberries and spring onions. Fried corona beans, spiked with piment d’espelette and lime, truly make the case for updated tavern fare. Forget restaurant reincarnation: These beans could foment a bar-snack revolution. 1707 Powell St. (near Union St.), 415-525-3579
Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar
Tim and Erin Archuleta have graduated to a shiny, expansive new home across the street from their tiny original storefront. With a separate izakaya bar hidden somewhat awkwardly by a room divider, the space is a bit perplexing. But the sushi is as impeccable as ever. Dainty and bracingly fresh, each piece of fish offers a master’s thesis on the paradoxical relationship between restrained portions and explosive flavor. 3282 Mission St. (near 29th St.), 415-525-4750
Originally published in the July issue of San Francisco.