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Three of the Best New Restaurants to Try Right Now

Oysters, sandwiches, and beer. What could be better?

Counter BLT with billionaire's bacon, heirloom tomatoes, butter lettuce and counter sauce on toasted sourdough at City Counter.


Petit Marlowe
“Petit” applies to both the footprint and the portions at the latest project from the Big Night Restaurant Group (Park Tavern, Leo’s Oyster Bar, the Cavalier), a cozy little spot that has a lively wine bar buzz. The menu marries oysters and other raw bar standards with cheeses, charcuterie, and smartly prepared share plates like beef tartare with mushrooms, or smoked duck with apricots and lemon oil. The plating, however, could be more generous: Three iterations of deviled eggs (spicy pork, Spanish anchovy, oil-cured olive) fetch $3.50 for half an egg. Hamachi crudo ($16) features only phantom traces of the fish. By evening’s end, you’ll be pleased with the flavors, but you might need some bread ($4) to fill you up. 234 Townsend St. (Near Clyde St.), 415-923-8577 —Josh Sens

City Counter
Financial District
In a city where fast-casual restaurants are cropping up almost as rapidly as fast-casual companies, this self-described “quality luncheonette” manages to stand out for how much care it’s able to imbue into sandwiches assembled to order in—no joke—about four minutes flat. Grab a seat at the gleaming-white diner-style counter and you’ll be treated to some of the most impressive $10-to-$12 sandwiches in town: an oozy-gooey tuna melt or a braised lamb sandwich with a gamy savoriness that brings to mind Northern China, and watercress and sliced Granny Smith apples that keep you grounded in farm-fresh Northern California. Meanwhile, the daily-changing $3 Grammy Sammy—say, half a fancy ham-and-cheese sandwich with a swipe of orange-tinted aioli on good Acme pain de mie—represents an even rarer thing: a simple, dignified meal any San Franciscan can afford. 115 Sansome St. (At Bush St.), 415-844-0633 —Luke Tsai

Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack
In any neighborhood with an influx of bearded kids on fixed-gear bikes, a hip beer garden is never far away. Witness the brewery-happy blocks around the MacArthur BART station, which now have yet another haunt for saisons, lagers, porters, and the like. The pints and pitchers are an ideal complement to a short, smart menu of pizzas, seasonal salads, spicy chicken wings, and such, with requisite soft serve ice cream for dessert. The food is just what the venue calls for, and so is the mood, enlivened by a biergarten with a retractable roof and a sandbox in the corner. A lot of those bearded kids have their own kids, after all. 4006 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (At 40th St.), 510-823-2509 —J. S.


Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco 

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