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Arts & Entertainment

5 new spots to eat and drink in SF: Prix fixe butchery from Alexander’s Steakhouse team, Shanghainese dim sum and more

The Westholme Wagyu Tongue dish that includes tomato gastrique, popcorn tuile at Afici at 680 Folsom St. | Courtesy Joseph Weaver/Afici

Chef Abraham Nuñez of Chicano Nuevo recently told me that in order to succeed, every restaurant has to tell a story. If this week’s slate of new openings tells us anything, it’s that emerging restaurateurs and veteran chefs alike often have enough material for a full-fledged memoir by the time their eateries come to fruition. This weekend, entrepreneur Olton Rensch’s long-awaited coffee shop, Tallio’s, hosts their grand opening in Bayview, while salsa and merengue enthusiasts coalesce at Arepas Latin Cuisine.

Also this week, the partners at Alexander’s Steakhouse introduce a four-course butchery to a new dining room in SoMa, the chef at local Thai chain Lers Ros combines French favorites with homestyle American fare at Cauliflower and another dumpling darling is born in the Castro.

Entrepreneur Olton Rensch at Tallio’s in Bayview | Courtesy Olton Rensch

Specialty Brews in Bayview

Tallio’s Coffee & Tea
4732 3rd St.
(800) 278-6533

As a happy ending to a long drawn-out permitting saga, Tallio’s Coffee & Tea officially opens in Bayview this Saturday. Recognizing the lack of restaurant choices in SF’s most diverse neighborhoods, and motivated by a desire to provide job opportunities to the communities he serves, founder Olton Rensch conceived of Tallio’s more than five years ago. With the imminent arrival of his coffee shop, Rensch’s goal is finally within reach. House favorites include the ginger tea, which Rensch brews using a Surinamese family recipe, as well as the Bayview dark roast.

Chocolate dumplings are among the new offerings at Dumpling Kitchen in the Castro. | Photo courtesy of Dumpling Kitchen.

Shanghainese Dim Sum

Dumpling Kitchen
544 Castro St.

Last week, we featured the new United Dumplings location in the Marina, but honestly, there’s no such thing as too many dumplings. Michael Shao’s Dumpling Kitchen, a Sunset District destination for Shanghainese specialties, soft-opened a second outpost in the Castro a couple of weeks back. Along with pan-fried buns and xiaolongbao, they’ll be adding chocolate dumplings to the menu when they officially open in October.

Caul Me by Your Name

3147 16th St.
(415) 971-6269

The cauliflower steak is just the tip of the iceberg. The founders of local Thai chain Lers Ros have opened an all-day American eatery just a few doors down from their Mission District outpost, and it honors a cruciferous vegetable that’s been having a moment on SF menus lately. Chef Tom Silargorn added French flourishes to the dinner menu—the rabbit Niçoise and sea bass with beurre blanc both come to mind. 

The Carne Cruda dish, which include peas, horseradish, mustard flower and nasturtium at Afici at 680 Folsom St. | Courtesy Joseph Weaver/Afici

Prix Fixe Pasta and Butchery 

680 Folsom St.
(415) 537-1111

The expansive restaurant group behind Alexander’s Steakhouse unveils a prix fixe concept in SoMa this Saturday. What started as Chef Eric Upper’s pandemic pop-up side project, Afici now centers around an $125 four-course program of fresh pasta and butchery, the crown jewel of which is the wagyu beef—available as a third course or to share à la carte as a charcuterie plate.

Marquesa & Merengue  

Arepas Latin Cuisine
3198 16th St.
(415) 963-4535

Just down the block from Cauliflower is a new spot for arepas, patacones and other Venezuelan specialties. Expanding from their first restaurant in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, the new Mission location of Arepas Latin Cuisine also hosts salsa and merengue nights. Since opening last month, the restaurant is quickly becoming a fixture of the local dance scene, featuring SF bands like La Diferencia to get people stepping.