By Katie Sweeney By Katie Sweeney | February 10, 2023 | Food & Drink Feature
Cupid is calling, and a range of great new restos, bars and culinary events beckon.
Chef Eric Upper, a New York native, brings an inventive menu to the new Afici in SoMa.
With its expansive marble countertop, pasta-making station, charcuterie storeroom and whiskey lockers, Afici is SoMa’s new fine-dining destination. The restaurant serves a seasonal four-course menu that highlights whole-animal cookery. Chef Eric Upper, a New York native whose culinary background includes stints at Joël Robuchon and Aureole, is the driving force behind the new American eatery. Patrons can look forward to special dinners featuring ingredients like venison, rabbit and Iberico pig, as well as vegetarian menus that showcase Upper’s commitment to sustainable cooking. 680 Folsom St., 415.537.1111, aficisf.com
Cicchetti at Bar Sprezzatura
This spot might just be the city’s sexiest new watering hole. Inspired by the bustling all-day bars of Italy’s Venice, Bar Sprz (as it’s referred to by those in the know) serves aperitivos and cicchetti. Beloved local mixologist Carlo Splendorini is behind the extensive cocktail menu, which features four Negroni variations that pair perfectly with chef Joseph Offner’s savory snacks. Think salt cod spread, flavorful meatballs, oysters on the half shell, imported meats and cheese from Italy and larger offerings like pasta and pizza. One Maritime Plaza, 300 Clay St., Ste. 100, 628.466.0230, barsprezzatura.com
The Barrel Room
THE BARREL ROOM
After an extra-long pandemic break, downtown darling The Barrel Room is back. The wine bar reopened late last fall with a menu featuring American wines—including bottles from lesser-known producers in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Barrel Room’s co-founder and wine director, Sarah Trubnick, is known for her impressive wine lists and unpretentious style. Trubnick offers an assortment of classes, some of which are free, with February focusing on what’s happening in the world of American wine. Here’s a superb place to start for patrons who want to taste and learn about wine. 415 Sansome St., 415.956.6900, barrelroomsf.com
Morimoto has a new venue in Napa.
MORIMOTO ASIA NAPA
Morimoto is one of our favorite places to dine in Napa, so imagine our delight when we heard the Iron Chef was opening a second eatery. Morimoto Asia Napa is Masaharu Morimoto’s homage to the Far East. There’s no sushi on the menu, but instead a delicious smorgasbord of classic Asian dishes like Peking duck, orange chicken, kung pao veggies and spicy lobster pad thai. Guests also will find sake, Japanese whisky and an innovative cocktail menu. Insider’s tip: Grab a table at the dim sum brunch on the weekend. It’s a whole new side of Morimoto not to miss. 790 Main St., Napa, 707.699.1737, morimotoasianapa.com
Experience an intimate and lively dinner party at Gilda’s, held on Friday and Saturday nights this winter and spring.
GILDA’S SALON DINNERS
Chef Jason Fox throws an intimate dinner party every Friday and Saturday night at Gilda’s, the private dining room at the Proper Hotel. There are just 10 seats at this exclusive experience, so book reservations in advance. While he serves eclectic contemporary fare at the hotel’s restaurant Villon, at Gilda’s, Fox experiments to his heart’s content. “We like to change all of our menus seasonally, and for these dinners, we like to be more spontaneous, so we look for ingredients that sometimes have briefer seasons,” Fox explains. He’s talking about Dungeness crab, sea urchin, black truffle mushrooms and boutique citrus. 1100 Market St., 628.895.2039, properhotel.com/hotels/san-francisco
Look for a full menu in the swanky below-ground supper club, complete with jazz bands.
Falling in love with this place is so easy. The minds behind Eco Terreno bill it as an “urban tasting room” for the Alexander Valley-based vineyard, but it’s more than that. The biodynamic winery infused a historic three-story property on Columbus Street with new life. The ground floor is where anyone can taste wine by selecting one of four food and wine pairing options, while upstairs is a private tasting room for Eco Terreno members. Below ground is Lyon & Swan, a swanky new supper club serving dinner and live entertainment Thursday through Monday (we especially love the jazz bands). No matter the experience, a treat is in store at this welcoming and glamorous space with unique Bordeaux-style blends and upscale, elegant cuisine. 140 Columbus St., 415.429.5200, ecoterreno.com
Photography by: JOSEPH WEAVER; GALDO PHOTO; COURTESY OF THE BARREL ROOM; COURTESY OF MORIMOTO; COURTESY OF GILDA'S; STUDIO HEIMAT