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Food & Drink

Newly opened Lunette is already the star of the Ferry Building

The new Cambodian spot has locals and tourists lining up. Plus: A love letter to one of the city's best neighborhood restaurants and a natural wine bar that serves up endless summer.

The Kuy Teav Phnom Penh noodle soup (left) and Mee Kola bowl sit on a table in Lunette Cambodia
The Kuy Teav Phnom Penh noodle soup (left) and Mee Kola bowl at Lunette Cambodia. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

This is All Things Consumed, a weekly column by The Standard’s eaters-at-large featuring three great dishes we’ve eaten and one cocktail we’d happily drink again and again.

K.T.T.P. soup at Lunette

What a world of difference a location makes. Nite Yun’s first Cambodian restaurant Nyum Bai was across from the Fruitvale BART station. Despite its national acclaim, it felt like a locals-only place. Meanwhile, her brand-new spot Lunette is located in the iconic Ferry Building, a world-class destination. Whereas Nyum Bai was largely an outdoor patio, Lunette’s dining room is inside. It’s decorated like a cheery film set decked with blue-and-white striped awnings, red pendant lights, golden ‘50s diner chairs and faux shutters. Diners are a mix of downtown workers and overstimulated tourists whose curiosity and hunger have led them here. Both demos are undoubtedly composed of some Cambodian cuisine newbies, and Lunette, with its abbreviated counter-service menu, is a great gateway.

A white bowl filled with hard boiled eggs, noodles, peanuts, and fresh herbs on a red tray.
The Mee Kola bowl has jammy eggs atop noodles and herbs. | Source: Tâm Vũ/The Standard

The Funky Cabbage Salad, as Yun calls it, is a generous bowl of crunch—cabbage, yes, but also Thai basil, cucumber, bell pepper, peanuts and a bit of fried pork tossed with a limey, fish sauce dressing. It would make an excellent desk lunch. The option to gild the lily by adding slices of crispy, lightly fried chicken cutlet should definitely be taken. One of the most popular dishes from Nyum Bai is also on the menu: The K.T.P.P. (Kuy Teav Phnom Penh) soup, made with rice noodles, shrimp, “pork three ways,” and crispy garlic, all afloat in a lovingly made 8-hour pork broth. Sadly, the prahok ktiss, another Nyum Bai signature and one of my personal favorites, made only a brief appearance in Lunette’s first week of business. I was lucky enough to get a bite of the umami-rich dish made of minced pork belly simmered to delicious oblivion in kroeung (a spice paste), coconut milk and prahok (a fermented fish paste I learned about when shopping with Yun for our story The Haul) with crunchy vegetables served alongside for dipping. I know Yun had been delighted to see the classic Khmer dish rise in popularity at Nyum Bai, but my guess is that she has a new audience and, less than two weeks in—as all smart restaurateurs have to do—she is adapting. Selfishly, I’m voting for a comeback. —SD

📍Lunette, One Ferry Building, Embarcadero

An overhead shot of a crudo on a black plate garnished with avocado, pink peppercorns and preserved Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
Pearl 1601 is a perfect neighborhood restaurant that still delivers a taste of culinary greatness. | Source: Sara Deseran/The Standard

Kampachi crudo at Pearl 1601

Located on a corner of a quiet residential part of the Outer Richmond, Pearl 1601 may only be 6 years old, but it feels like it’s been there forever. It is what I’d call a perfect neighborhood restaurant—hip enough to draw a scene and just disheveled enough to be welcoming. The menu is an eclectic mix of California-style dishes, the bistro chairs are worn and the trailing philodendrons are a bit piqued. The open kitchen with a wood-fired oven adds some cool-factor, but it’s more functional, less a culinary showcase.

The central marble bar offers the best seat in the house and entertains a rotating group of neighbors, old and young. I imagine many are up from Lake Street and some, like me, drive the length of the city to have dinner here. I don’t come for the food, though it is often memorable (I’m still dreaming of a clam pasta and a dish of winter squash with salsa macha). I’m here to absorb the good vibes: The bartender with a tattoo of Betty Boop, the booth taken up by an intertwined couple in matching teeny-weeny beanies and the folks dining outside, dogs at their feet. This is not to say there is not culinary greatness. On the last visit I paid, I had a kampachi crudo that was both creative and delicious. The transparent raw fish was topped with a squirt of avo, pink peppercorns and preserved Meyer lemon vinaigrette, all sprinkled with a bit of sour-savory black lime salt and licoricey shiso. And when we wanted one more glass of wine between the two of us, the server split it—the kind of simple touch that makes a person feel seen. Which is really what most of us are looking for in both dining and life. —SD

📍Pearl 6101, 6101 California St, Outer Richmond       

A selection of small plates on a wooden bar with two glasses of red wine.
The mezze at Céleste wine bar will make a weeknight meal feel like summer vacation. | Source: Lauren Saria/The Standard

Mezze at Céleste 

An afternoon of mezze and wine at Céleste promises a taste of summer. On a balmy June weekday afternoon, the patio at this trendy Marina District wine bar was buzzing with youthful energy. Groups of fashionable 20-somethings sprawled out around the cherry red patio tables scattered along the sidewalk, sipping glasses of rosé the color of a watermelon Jolly Rancher and splitting bottles of chilled effervescent red wines. 

Céleste is primarily a natural wine bar, and fans of the genre will likely recognize the names of producers, including Berkeley-based Broc Cellars, Martin Texier and Martha Stoumen. Though there’s not a full kitchen, the slip of a space squeezes out a little “Greek taverna” menu. I ordered a spread of the bar’s small mezze plates, including a hummus served with fluffy pita, an armada of grilled skewers and a side of fried potatoes. A plate of labneh and stone fruit made for the most memorable bites, with the tangy strained yogurt mixing with earthy honey to uplift the floral notes from each hunk of golden peach. My friend and I playfully fought over the last of the dish, taking turns swiping the bread through the yogurt and honey as we worked our way through our Lambrusco. Céleste is a delight and proof that the doom loopers are dead wrong: San Francisco remains vital. —LS

📍Céleste, 2165 Union St, Marina

A cocktail in a plastic cup sits on a red table.
The Hugo Spritz at Il Parco makes a perfect summertime drink. | Source: Astrid Kane/The Standard

The Hugo Spritz at Il Parco

In 2018, the New York Times crowned the Aperol Spritz the drink of the summer. A year later, the same outlet derided it as “not a good drink,” comparing it to—horror of horrors—a pouch of Capri Sun. Spritzes are just polarizing, I guess, even though there’s practically nothing that calls to me like a spritz does on whatever passes for a hot day around here. Spritzes are refreshing like almost nothing else, and they’ll never leave you sluggish by dinnertime. I can cosign one element of the Times’s hot take, though: I like ’em a little bitter or, at least, herbaceous.

Enter the Hugo Spritz at Il Parco, an Italian-ish cafe overlooking the Presidio’s 2-year-old park, Tunnel Tops. Made of elderflower liqueur, Prosecco and seltzer over ice and garnished with dehydrated lime wheels in lieu of the traditional mint leaves, it’s basically an adult soda—and it’s the centerpiece of Il Parco’s new “Golden Hour” menu. Capitalizing on the patio’s sunny-day views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the menu offers a $5 slice of the pizza of the day—spicy soppressata, in my case—with any spritz. Elderflower carries notes of pear, which the lime’s citric acid drew out a bit, creating something distinguished yet approachable. Now I know where I’ll be the next time the thermometer hits 72. —AK

💰 $12
📍Il Parco, 215 Lincoln Blvd., Presidio

Lauren Saria can be reached at
Sara Deseran can be reached at
Astrid Kane can be reached at