San Francisco got a brief glimpse of indoor dining amidst COVID last June. But almost as soon as it was allowed, it was shut down again. Now, thanks to our “orange tier” status, it has resumed once again. This time, hopefully, forever. Of course, it’s only open with lots of restrictions. Indoor dining may only be at 50% of the normal capacity, or up to 200 people total, whichever is less. Tables can occupy up to six diners from three different households and restaurants can remain open until 11 pm with the two-hour dining limit no longer in effect-meaning you can feel free to get lost in a dinner conversation or order bottomless booze without constantly glancing at your watch. For outdoor diners, there’s no longer a restriction on the number of households that can be seated at the same table, although tables are still capped at six. Another exciting development-outdoor bars, wineries, breweries, and distilleries can operate outdoor table service without serving food, a phenomenon we haven’t enjoyed since the Before Times. But don’t forget your COVID manners: mask up when not actively eating or drinking or anytime a staff member approaches the table.
It’s a lot, but for those who feel safe dining indoors, it’s worth it. And for restaurant workers (who have been eligible to be vaccinated since February 24), it’s a huge step towards everyone getting back on their feet. Obviously, not everyone is excited about indoor dining, and that’s cool. There are parklets and patios all over the city catering to anyone who wants to remain outdoors, plus delivery and takeout for those who prefer to stay home until all of this is behind us. But for those who are ready, we’ve rounded up a few new-ish spots where you may not have dined indoors or outdoors yet, all of which are open for indoor dining right now.
Travel back to the 1940s and ‘50s when Chinatown was home to some of SF’s best nightlife and no one had ever heard of COVID-19. Lion’s Den Bar and Lounge hopes to bring some of that conviviality back in the form of a splashy cocktail bar and eventually as a music venue. There’s a full bar with a couple of signature cocktails that you can now order without a food purchase, although their Bento Box with coconut curry chicken, sweet potato samosas, and pork lumpias might convince you otherwise. Right now there is only seating for 44 people, which includes a couple of two-tops outside, and socially-distanced four-tops and two-tops inside (maximum four people at a table). How to book: Make a reservation here by clicking on the photo of the area where you’d like to sit.
Part bottle shop, part pizza joint, BrewVino is the newest spot in the Mission to kick back with a couple of slices of pizza and a craft beer. BrewVino describes their pizza as a “blend of traditional and modern,” and while we’re not totally sure we know what that means, we do know the pizza tastes really good. The menu also has some fried things and a couple of soups, salads, and sandwiches (with the possibility of a burger on the way) and there’s also a decent selection of beer and wine. BrewVino is offering indoor and outdoor dining and will also let you bring your pup. And don’t forget to grab a bottle or three from the retail area to take home and enjoy later. How to book: Walk on in. Tables are first-come, first-served.
Chestnut Street is now home to a Peruvian restaurant with vibrant dishes like ceviche and causa del causa, as well as some heartier fare, including a chicken stew and a burger topped with sweet plantain, a fried egg, aji amarillo, and jalapeño cilantro aioli. Thanks to the tasty food and the friendly service, it’s pretty clear this is going to be an instant neighborhood favorite. How to book: Reservations aren’t available. Just walk in for both indoor and outdoor dining.
Everyone loved the original Underdogs. After all, what’s better than tacos, sports, and beer? Yeah, not much. Unfortunately, the Outer Sunset taqueria/sports bar’s layout didn’t make sense during COVID, so the owner snagged Nopalito’s spot on 9th Avenue after it shuttered last summer. The new restaurant is much larger, which means even more tacos, more sports, and more beer. Okay, so there’s not a lot of sports watching in restaurants right now, but one day (hopefully) soon there will be. In the meantime, Underdog Tres (Underdogs Too out by the beach is temporarily closed because of a major fire) is serving tacos (including the popular Nick’s Way-a taco with a grilled crispy corn tortilla wrapped in a soft corn tortilla with cheese, pinto beans, and guac-and more Mexican classics. Limited indoor seating is available, plus more outside. How to book: Just show up or join the waitlist on the homepage.
Lower Nob Hill
SF’s first-ever Uzbek restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dining. The restaurant was founded by Ismoil Ochilov who was born and raised in the heart of the historical city Bukhara, Uzbekistan, and came to SF via the UK. The menu is full of classic Uzbek dishes like lamb chops fried and served with onions, somsas (a crunchy bun) stuffed with beef or chicken, and ten different kababs. It is clear that Ochilov and his team are passionate about this food and their restaurant, and we’re excited that we have a new cuisine to try. How to book: No reservations. Walk-ins only.
This collab between celebrity chef Matthew Kenney and husband-and-wife team Kyle and Tracy Vogt is all about comforting Italian food that’s completely plant-based (no dairy or animal products at all). The menu is evolving since they had to switch things up to accommodate the take-out/delivery-only life we were all living for so long, but current dishes include a couple of pizzas, all kinds of pastas, and a few classic Italian appetizers, like garlic knots, “meatballs,” and mozzarella sticks. Baia is also doing weekend brunch and they had us at “cacio e pepe scramble.” Oh, and the reason you’re extra stoked that indoor dining is available? The restaurant is in the old Jardinère space. How to book: Make a reservation for indoor or outdoor seating on Open Table.
The award-winning and very acclaimed La Mar Cebicheria Peruana culinary team opened a new casual Peruvian spot in the Marina with traditional dishes. Think: slow-roasted meats over charcoal on the rotisserie, ceviche, and empanadas. Creative cocktails made with wasabi, jalapeno-vodka, and rum-infused sake are also in the mix and we look forward to enjoying more of those when happy hour arrives (it’s coming soon). Jaranita’s goal is to “bring people together” and even though that currently means a max of six people per table, we think they’ll succeed when the rules start to relax a little. Indoor and outdoor dining are both available and you should expect a temperature check before you are seated. How to book: Reserve a table on Resy.
Everyone was hoping Lily on Clement would live up to the hype of being one of the city’s most exciting Vietnamese restaurants, and it has. The upscale restaurant (aka: $30 to $40 dinner entrees) serves a thoughtful and modern take on Vietnamese classics, like bahn mis (lunch only) and mi xao gion “surf and turf,” a crispy egg noodle stir fry with grilled Wagyu steak, blue shrimp, and diver scallops. Lily’s menu pivoted for takeout, so it remains to be seen how it will evolve now that restaurant dining is back, but we’re pretty sure whatever comes out of that kitchen is going to be amazing. Lily’s stunning dining room is now open for service. How to book: Make a reservation for lunch or dinner on Tock. A $10 deposit is required for dinner reservations.
Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who has decided everything tastes better when in a pandemic. Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see where and what she’s eating next.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.