“Food should be inspiring. Food should be innovative. And yes, food should be delicious. But more than ever this year, we decided food should be fun.” So declared Bon Appétit editors Andrew Knowlton and Julia Kramer as they introduced the magazine’s annual roundup of the nation’s best new restaurants. We can’t say we disagree. This year’s winners were all of the above — inspiring, innovative, delicious and fun — and then some.
As usual, the Top 10 were culled from a long list of 50 released earlier this year, with San Francisco’s Mr. Jiu Jiu being named to the No. 3 position. Six others took spots among the top 50. We examine them more in-depth below. Try all seven out for yourself and compare your own tasting notes to Knowlton and Kramer. Happy eating… here’s to the Bon Appétit’s best new restaurants in America (and in California) for 2017!
28 Waverly Place
San Francisco, CA 94108
Taking over the Four Seas space—a banquet hall in San Francisco’s Chinatown — Mr. Jiu’s is helmed by chef Brandon Jew, formerly of Bar Agricole, Zuni Café, and Quince. He takes “San Francisco’s ingredient-obsessed, hyper-seasonal, cure-it-yourself ethos” and applies it to the traditional Cantonese cuisine of his youth with standout dishes such as Peking duck, quail, pork-stuffed wontons and hot and sour soup. Likewise, the restaurant is an homage to old and new: midcentury-style dining chairs and lotus-shaped chandeliers (salvaged from the Four Seas) mix with contemporary art and elegant banquettes.
595 Alabama Street
San Francisco, CA. 94110
If you love bread, sweets and crispy, salty, herb-stuffed meats, then look no further than Tartine Manufactory in the Mission. The long-awaited follow-up to Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt’s Tartine Bakery, this megabakery and artisanal marketplace somehow manages to combine just about all of the vices: ice cream, wine, shopping and well, carbs, carbs, carbs. Must-order dishes span from the coddled egg with za’atar toast for breakfast and the porchetta sandwich at lunch, and for dinner, you’ll enjoy standard farm-to-table fare, such as the smørrebrød from the “bread service” menu, with toppings like bottarga and labneh or lardo and strawberries. And for dessert? Well, you must order an ice cream pie (from ice-cream-shop-within-a-shop Tartine Cookies & Cream) for the table — no matter what time of day it is. While the decor lulls you into a dream state with high ceilings, Noguchi paper lanterns and custom teal ceramics, don’t let it fool you: the atmosphere is busy with long daytime lines.
131 North St
Healdsburg, CA 95448
If you have saved up for a special birthday or anniversary celebration, then head to Single Thread in wine country— the one-of-a-kind tasting menu experience from chef Kyle Connaughton and his farmer wife, Katina, located on five acres in Healdsburg as part of an inn and winery. The 11-course tasting menu may cost $293 per person for the tasting menu (plus $186 and up per person for wine pairings), but Bon Appétit assures us it is worth it. Expect flawless service and the finest seasonal ingredients money can buy, starting with the first peas of the season, local oysters and other amuse-bouches, coddled vegetables from Katina’s farm and the freshest raw kampachi, gently smoked steelhead trout, buttery black cod, and more.
3578 Hayden Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
Destroyer is Jordan Kahn’s “strange yet satisfying” answer to L.A.’s healthy food obsession. Only open during the weekdays for breakfast and lunch, this Culver City eatery has made a splash by offering a twist on just about everything. For example, avocado toast is avocado confit. According to Bon Appétit, Kahn’s interpretation of rice porridge — with caramelized broccoli, puffed rice, and burnt onion — “is a nice savory way to begin the day.” For lunch, you might opt for the beef tartare with smoked egg cream, pickled mushroom, and chicory. The restaurant is laid back, and you order from the counter using a menu that’s projected on the wall.
4648 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The vegetable-centric, Mediterranean family-style menu at Kismet represents Hollywood’s next big wow moment. Envisioned by chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson, the dishes are as beautiful to photograph as they are to eat. For your a.m. meal, you’ll want to check out the Turkish-ish breakfast with house-made pickles, soft-boiled eggs, marinated feta, and seeded bread, or maybe the middle eastern-style frittata. If you’re lucky enough to snag a reservation during the p.m. shift, spring for the lamb belly or rabbit for two—a riff on a popular dish they cooked together at Brooklyn’s Glasserie before heading West—which comes with flaky bread, greens, pickles, tahini and labneh. And don’t forget to add on a side of crispy rice — break into the center and you’ll find a gem: an oozy egg yolk.
400 S Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Apparently vegetables are having a moment in L.A. — because chef Josef Centeno’s downtown L.A. jaunt, P.Y.T., also made the Bon Appétit list. The name takes its cue from “pretty young turnips” …and just every other herb and vegetable that a Southern California urban garden can grow. Think “Caspian pink tomatoes, chocolate mint, marigolds, passion fruit, Japanese red mustard, Bright Lights Swiss chard, scarlet radishes, and purple top turnips” growing on a hillside that “tastes like summer forever,” promises the website. Standouts include the crudité platter, which changes daily (as does the rest of the menu) and a range of other seasonal dishes that change too often to reliably recommend plates. The light and airy vibe and twinkling lights form the ceiling makes you feel as if you’re outside…even though the city is just beyond the door.
15 Hill St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Another buzz-worthy downtown L.A. establishment is Shibumi, a kappo- and kaiseki-style Japanese destination from chef David Schlosser. A dark and moody yet beautiful space gives way an à la carte or tasting menu highlighted by flavorful vegetables, fish, and meats. Try the chile-glazed walnuts, grilled strip steak (topped with freshly grated wasabi) and prepare to be wowed by the koji-cured grilled pork or impeccably steamed rice with Dungeness crab and ikura.