GETAWAYS • San Francisco
A trio of new restaurants worth visiting on upcoming trips to the Bay Area:
A PIZZERIA, REBORN: The Flour + Water team recently moved their Mission District pizzeria to the North Beach space that previously housed ‘90s icon Rose Pistola, and the new restaurant is easily one of the Bay Area’s best pizza parlors. Chefs Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow are using electric ovens to fire pizzas with crisp, bubbly crusts — just like you’d expect from a wood-fired oven — but the dough is heartier and more flavorful than most Neapolitan-style pies. You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas, but I’m partial to The Conrad, topped with whole roasted garlic cloves, taleggio, mushrooms, kale, and aged mozzarella. An adjoining slice shop sells thin, flat squares with crispy frico crusts, plus natural wine to-go.
BLUE WHALE WATCHING: Stuffed with Ibérico ham, the soup dumplings at Blue Whale are a good example of what the team behind Chinatown’s Empress by Boon is trying to do at this ambitious new restaurant. In addition to dim sum, find pristine seafood dishes and colorful cocktails served in a modern space that includes a snug barroom, spacious main dining room, and multi-tiered garden/patio. Blue Whale is a bit of an anomaly in Cow Hollow, the land of juice bars, gyms, and trendy boutiques. But judging by the crowd gathered here on a recent weekend afternoon, it looks like the locals are ready to embrace this mix of high-roller dim sum (the Iberico xiao long bao are $22 for three) and lowkey clubstaurant vibes.
PALM CITY, ASCENDING: Is Palm City Wines the most popular restaurant in San Francisco? On a recent Saturday afternoon, it certainly felt that way, as every table at this Outer Sunset destination was full 30 minutes after opening, and throngs of hungry people queued up outside. Palm City opened during the height of the pandemic, and its appeal, then and now, is easy to understand: It’s a laidback bottle shop by the beach that serves massive gourmet hoagies. The Italian American and roast pork sandwiches are understandably famous, but the Au Poivre hoagie — stuffed with thinly-sliced top round, Comté, apples, arugula, and peppercorn aioli — is also superb. Palm City Wines is the perfect first stop after landing at SFO, or last stop before jumping back on the plane. –Greg Morabito