Farina Pizza (Mission)
The neighborhood isn’t lacking for good pies, but Farina’s shiny new pizzeria separates itself from the pack with techno music, eye-catching design, and the fact that it’s actually owned by real Italians. Because of this, the menu has few Cali-fancifications, mostly sticking to the subject at hand: the pizza, which is indeed delicious. Yes, the famous pesto pasta is on the menu, but you can always go down the street to the parent restaurant for that. 700 Valencia St. (at 18th St.), 415-565-1901 $$ S.D.
The massive space formerly inhabited by Medjool has been transformed into a handsome and candlelit Argentinian steak house. Start with the ceviche— sweet shrimp in a puckery sauce contrasts with a crisp corn fritter. Then go for the gusto and get the mixto platter, which has everything from blood sausage to riblets to steak, all with a chimichurri sauce. You’ll want to order red wine for sure, but the cocktails are also fine. The mezzanine has its own bar, which makes a good place for drinking and snacking. 2518 Mission St. (near 21st St.), 415-550-6970 $$–$$$ S.D.
Pläj (Civic Center)
With Noma, the famed Copenhagen restaurant, Scandinavian fare stepped into the world’s spotlight several years ago. And though Pläj (pronounced play) is no Noma, it brings the city a rare taste of Sweden. In the intimate bottom lair of the Inn at the Opera, Swedish-born chef Roberth Sundell makes potato dumplings with lingonberries, submerges sashimi in a warm dill-and-ginger broth, and casts a charcuterie spread of wild boar salami and fenalar-salted lamb with spicy gooseberry jam. And, yes, there are Swedish meatballs. Don’t overlook the cocktail list, specifically the Pläj Thyme. 333 Fulton St. (near Franklin St.), 415-294- 8925 $$$ J.A.S.
Mill Valley Beerworks (Mill Valley)
This two-year-old pub recently remodeled, expanded, and hired a chef from L.A.’s chic Gjelina to execute a new menu, raising its game from microbrews and snacks to market-driven dinners. Pig cheek with eggplant relish is the perfect starter, followed by plump, roasted king oyster mushroom stems bathed in fennel butter. The roasted wild king salmon luxuriates with peas and trumpet mushrooms. Like the food, the beers are clean, pristine, and creative—particularly the Botanical No. 3. 173 Throckmorton Ave. (near Madrona St.), 415-888-8218, $$$ J.M.