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Arts & Entertainment

5 new spots to eat and drink in the Bay Area

Rainbow sprinkled doughnut from Johnny Doughnuts' new location on California Street in Pacific Heights | Courtesy The Messina Group/Johnny Doughnuts

The end of daylight saving time has ushered in an early dusk. Mercifully, there’s no shortage of new dining options across the Bay Area. Two Japanese restaurants, one a modest sushi bistro in SoMa, and the other an Iron Chef-helmed palace in Downtown Napa, opened last week. A pizzeria serving Roman pinsa and a new outpost of Johnny Doughnuts are helping diners carbo-load in Pac Heights. And in Oakland, a restaurant and gathering space called For the Culture has resurrected the pink stucco building that was home to Mexicali Rose for nearly a century. 

1. Morimoto Asia

Downtown Napa
📍 610 Main St., Napa
☎️ (707) 252-1600

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto opened his eponymous restaurant in Napa last weekend. Following the same script as his other outposts in Mexico City and Waikiki, Morimoto Asia melds Japanese and Western techniques and flavors. The 170-seat dining room boasts 9-foot terracotta warriors, gold dragons that ensnare the restaurant’s pillars and spicy Szechuan delicacies like mapo tofu. 

2. Pinsa Rossa 

Pacific Heights
📍 2101 Fillmore St., SF

Over the weekend, this new pizzeria debuted in a handsome corner shop in the Fillmore Street shopping district. Pinsa Rossa specializes in—what else?—pinsa. This hand-pressed style of pizza dating back to Ancient Rome has been gaining popularity in the States recently. Pinsa Rossa serves around 16 fluffy-crusted varieties. 

3. For the Culture 

Old Oakland
📍 701 Clay St., Oakland

A year ago, the Bay Area Mural Program and Kiss My Black Arts collaborated on a striking pink mural on the side of the long-defunct Mexicali Rose, a 91-year-old family-owned eatery, as reported by the Oaklandside. The painted stucco facade showed off the Oakland skyline, the Bay Bridge and a kid popping a wheelie on their bike along Lake Merritt. Now open as For the Culture, the new restaurant hopes to honor Mexicali Rose and celebrate the Town’s collective identity. The owners will host Taco Tuesdays and regular DJ nights. 

4. Johnny Doughnuts 

Pacific Heights
📍 2404 California St., SF

This Marin-based boutique doughnut chain returned to SF at the end of October. Johnny Doughnuts replaced its shuttered Hayes Valley location with a Pac Heights takeout-only shop, adding an exclusive drink menu that sources beans and leaves from Equator Coffees. It concentrates on old-fashioned halos and vegan options flavored with unexpected ingredients like sweet potato.

5. Akari Japanese Bistro 

📍 1155 Folsom St., SF
☎️ (415) 815-2407

Makoto Kanemaru, a chef with 30 years of experience rolling maki in Japan, opened a sushi bar on the edge of SoMa. Sashimi is Akari’s strong suit, and Kanemaru plates his cuts of premium fish with delicate floral garnishes. It also serves bento and rice bowls.