May’s Best New Bay Area Restaurants and Old-School Alternatives To Order To-Go From

During this pandemic, our beloved dining and drink community was devastated overnight once we all began sheltering in place.

Alas, my column has taken to highlighting takeout suggestions from laudable eateries and watering holes. A highlight of my day is ordering from any one of the hundreds of world-class restaurants in the Bay Area. Join me in helping to keep them alive—and provide yourself with some needed comfort during these tough times.

PCH & Pinoy Heritage

After just being nominated for Best American Cocktail Bar, American Bartender of the Year and Best American Bar Team at the international Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, the rest of the world knows what most San Franciscans already knew: Pacific Cocktail Haven (goes by PCH) is one of the best bars in the world. Owner/barman Kevin Diedrich partnered with Pinoy Heritage, an elegantly casual Filipino staple, for takeout meals. For a fee, they’ll deliver — but only on Friday. 8 or 12 oz. bottled cocktails include Diedrich’s signature Leeward Negroni, a silky and tropical concoction with pandan cordial and coconut-washed Campari. Pinoy Heritage is offering cooked, five-dish meals to reheat (plus dessert) or partially-cooked meals that require light cooking at home. // 580 Sutter Street, https://pacificcocktailsf.com 

Palette

Palette, a unique restaurant, ceramics, and art gallery, recently launched a new takeout menu, Palette at Home. Besides being ridiculously delicious, it’s the most artful take-home meal set up I’ve yet seen. 5 percent of each order goes to the Bay Area Arts Worker Relief Fund, dispersing emergency funds to in-need local visual artists. Sourced from local farmers, chef Peter Hemsley’s menu changes each week with their excellent smoked beet tartare, duck confit tacos, or carrot cake in ginger cremeux. Their gift boxes feature Chef Hemsley’s playful illustrations of California produce, fish, and livestock. They also sell pantry staples like butter, milk, eggs, or dried pastas, as well as wines and beers. Bonus: post a photo or story of your meal to Instagram (tagging @palette.sf and @indyartssf), and Palette will donate an additional $1 per post to the Bay Area Arts Worker Relief Fund. // 816 Folsom Street, https://palette-sf.com/pages/palette-at-home 

Jannah

It’s nearly impossible to find excellent Iraqi food in most of the country, but chef Yahya Salih has been cooking Iraqi and Middle Eastern cuisine in SF since 1988. Rounds of hummus, babaganoush, and muhammara (a red pepper walnut pomegranate dip) with pita make for an ideal movie night snack. But to have a full meal, order up Middle Eastern rarities like kelecha (Iraqi “ravioli”) or perdaplow (a sweet-savory meat phyllo “pie” not unlike Moroccan bastilla), packed with shredded chicken, rice, and almonds cooked in phyllo pastry in a warm apricot cardamom sauce. // 1775 Fulton Street, www.yayacuisine.com 

Sorrel

Within a year of opening, Sorrel went on to win everything from a Michelin star to a James Beard nomination. This Laurel Heights’ treasure is already one of our bests in that mid-range, upscale-yet-casual category. Starting May 1, they reopened for contactless takeout with guests meal kits for two or four and à la carte dishes priced between $5 and $25. Chef Alex Hong’s handmade pastas are unique to the Old and New World (think Italy and Eastern Europe with California flair), showcasing skills gained from cooking at 3 Michelin-starred Quince with pasta master Michael Tusk. His killer sourdough focaccia, starters, soups, dessert, and, of course, pastas, are a la carte, available alongside bottle sections from Sorrel’s wine director Samuel Bogue. // 3228 Sacramento Street, www.sorrelrestaurant.com

1601 Bar & Kitchen 

1601 Bar & Kitchen is a rare respite for modern Sri Lankan food in America — and a long-underrated SF treasure. Chef-owner Brian Fernando infuses Sri Lankan classics, like an egg “hopper,” with California freshness and upscale imagination. But his fantastic curry bowls are among his best dishes, ideal for pick-up as part of a hearty $29 changing “chef’s meal.” Look for curries like a red lentil, turmeric, green garlic, and leek curry or ground beef, chickpeas, and lacinato kale with basmati rice and spicy sambal. // 1601 Howard Street, www.exploretock.com/1601sf 

Avery

The Avery recently launched takeout, offering chef and owner Rodney Wages’s celebrated tortellini en brodo (broth) and savory buckwheat pecan and Harbison cheese tarts, which he’s cooking in larger takeout sizes, became available to the masses again. Avery is also partnering up and giving platforms to other chefs to create unique guest menus, like a Mexican Mestizo menu, offering authentic goodness like sweet almond mole and huitlacoche tamales. If you’re so inclined, the chefs are personally picking out sake, champagne, and wine bottles to pair. // 1552 Fillmore Street, www.exploretock.com/avery

SPQR

You wouldn’t know looking at tiny, humble SPQR that it has been earning a Michelin star every year since 2012. But chef Matthew Accarrino’s superb pastas (think Italian authenticity with creative Californian vision) are reason enough to order from them. But it’s not just Accarino’s pastas that are worth going out of your way for but his meat and fish entrees. Case in point: a silky, perfectly medium-rare king salmon over brown rice and crisp snap peas in an acidic-yet-lush Lambrusco wine butter. Take note: a 10 percent to-go surcharge will be applied to orders to assist with operational costs, employee incentives, and benefits. // 1911 Fillmore Street, www.spqrsf.com/take-away

Dandelion Chocolate

With free domestic shipping and gift boxes, SF’s bean-to-bar master Dandelion Chocolate sells the perfect gifts to celebrate loved ones and holidays while we continue sheltering in place. But locals are lucky to have the option of fresh-baked delivery and takeout ($10 delivery conducted by members of their staff). Pastry chef Lisa Vega’s Dandelion cafe menu standouts  — oatmeal cookies, brown butter miso brownies, and more — are also available here. Their Breakfast Box makes for a celebratory brunch, complete with chocolate-chip banana muffins, cocoa nib-candied kumquat scones, a jar of cacao fruit jam, and bag of addictive chocolate cherry coconut granola. // Multiple locations; store.dandelionchocolate.com/#San-Francisco-Delivery

Modern Indian Nurture: August (1) Five 

One of San Francisco’s modern Indian restaurant standouts, August (1) Five, reopened in May for pick-up and delivery via UberEats, Caviar, Doordash. They’ve added easy takeout items like “naanwiches” or a fantastic chicken tikka masala, while thankfully keeping some of chef Manish Tyagi’s signatures: killer bison keema, tandoori prawns, and lamb biryani. Pair with wine, whiskies (they’ve got Indian whiskies from Amrut and Paul John), and bottled cocktails. Takeout Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. // 524 Van Ness Avenue, www.august1five.com

Francisca’s

Chef Manny Torres Gimenez (who you may know from tiny Mr. Pollo restaurant) has been killing it with affordable, yet gourmet, Latin food representing his Mission District ‘hood and Venezuelan roots. Manny and his wife, Katerina De Torres, have been offering their family-style tasting menus from Francisca’s like a $39 steal of a 4-course menu — or you can order arepas for two. A sample 4-course menu: coconut-corn chowder, pumpkin ravioli, mesquite-grilled pork loin with veggies in chimichurri sauce, and chocolate lava cake. 3047 Mission Street, www.exploretock.com/franciscas 

// Also, should you be interested, you can sign this petition to help “save restaurants” — including these local institutions — by asking the government for a stabilization fund for independent restaurants, which are currently getting little-to-no aid. Feature photography courtesy of Pinoy Heritage.


May’s Best New Bay Area Restaurants and Old-School Alternatives To Order To-Go From
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