The Hot Tables To Book This Spring

From a post-modern menu in Pacific Heights to a Neapolitan pizzeria in Santa Barbara



So Sonoma
Having trouble with your sourdough starter? Husband-and-wife team Sean McGaughey and Melissa Yanc are breaking bread, quite literally, with the opening of their new French dining concept inside their Healdsburg sandwich shop, Troubadour Bread and Bistro. The locale is a sandwich-proffering boulangerie by day that transforms into an intimate, 20-seat bistro by night. For the couple—who cut their teeth at the Michelin-starred SingleThread— the news marks their third local business venture in less than three years, having opened a bustling bakery, Quail & Condor, just down the road in 2020. The evening’s French-inspired five-course prix fixe menu celebrates the bounty of Sonoma County with dishes subtly incorporating the house’s leavened specialties, including truffled croque monsieur, steak tartare with homemade bread and a coq au vin with pommes lyonnaise. 381 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-756-3972; troubadourhbg.com.  K.M.


Salt of the Earth
Caviar-studded martinis, Santa Barbara uni toast, and fried lobster and waffles are just some of the delectable—and perfectly salty—dishes on offer at the newly anchored Saltie Girl restaurant and sustainable seafood bar in WeHo. The first West Coast outpost of the beloved Bostonian mainstay brings founder Kathy Sidell and executive chef Kyle McClelland’s menu of delicate seasonal crudos, splendid seafood towers and reimagined classics (lobster rolls, moules-frites, et al.) to California, where they are highlighting local fishers and purveyors. Nautical-inspired interiors by Jessica Schuster set the scene for Saltie Girl’s tinned fish program of more than 130 varieties, while the signature cocktails menu and biodynamic wine list might just have you drinking like a fish. 8615 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; saltiegirl.com.  A.J.B.


Napoli Style
Pizza purists rejoice! Following the success of its U.S. debut in Hollywood, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele—the world-famous Naples institution originally founded in 1870—is doubling down on California with a new location in Santa Barbara. Taking over the historic Copper Coffee Pot building on State Street, owner Francesco Zimone and head pizzaiolo Michele Rubini import everything from the flour to the tomatoes to the cheese from Italy for their signature pizzas, which are made using a generations-old dough recipe and cooked to perfection in a traditional wood-fired oven, exactly like the original location. But unlike in Naples, the kitchen—helmed by chef and general manager Rick Frame—churns out more than just the classic marinara and Margherita pizzas. The full menu includes seven pizzas, plus Italian and Mediterranean appetizers, mains and swoon-worthy housemade pastas like spaghetti pomodoro and cacio e pepe. 1031 State St., Santa Barbara, 805-770-8055; damicheleusa.com.  A.J.B.


…Bake for Five Years
After an accident that resulted in a compression fracture in his back, S.F. chef Mike Lanham was told he might never walk again. The news only fueled his desire to recover, and he moved forward with his concept for Anomaly SF. He spent five years perfecting the “post-modern” menu at eight pop-up locations across the Bay Area. Earlier this year Lanham opened a permanent brick-and-mortar space in Lower Pac Heights with an 11-course tasting menu featuring hits like the delicata squash royale, and sea urchin and a dish called “An Egg … sort of,” which is constructed of smoky seaweed dashi potato foam and an egg yolk jam. The menu name? “Home for the First Time.” 2600 Sutter St., S.F., 415-510-9468; anomalysf.com. K.M.


Bar None
A sophisticated bar is a welcome addition to the West Hollywood scene, which has a dearth of grown-up drinking dens unpolluted by the clamor of their parent restaurant. Built around a central bar with an eye-catching chandelier and plush banquettes, Or Bar’s all-evening appeal ranges from pre-meal dates to after-dinner assignations (with a 2 a.m. closing time Thursday through Saturday). Formerly Gold Coast the Or Bar’s (or is gold in French), its drinks are a list of updated classics such as the Or 54—a take on the French 75—and the New Fashioned, which is based around rye whiskey and blood oranges.  8228 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-380-6060; theorbar.com. A.B.


All Fired Up
The latest addition to Oakland’s burgeoning restaurant scene is ACRE Kitchen & Restaurant from chef and co-owner Dirk Tolsma and veteran restaurateur Pete Sittnick. Taking up residence in the lively Rockridge neighborhood’s Market Hall building, the two-story dining mecca offers an all-day downstairs café with seasonal patio dining, as well as a more formal upstairs dining room. Playful and approachable menus incorporate locally sourced ingredients with flavors of the Mediterranean, such as classic steak tartare with preserved lemon and black lime potato chips, or Monterey Bay squid skewers with harissa and kohlrabi. 5655 College Avenue, Oakland, 510-250-3790; acrekitchenandbar.com. D.N.


Family Affair
Fashion designer turned restaurateur Humberto Leon is following up on the success of Chifa, his Peruvian-Chinese hotspot, with a new culinary concept: MONARCH. Located in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, the restaurant is a family affair with his mother, Wendy; his sister Rica; and Rica’s husband, John Liu. Leon designed the space alongside architect Michael Loverich as a grand Hong Kong–style banquet hall. John Liu heads the kitchen, whipping up familiar Cantonese dishes such as sweet-and-sour pork belly, as well as new items like a fried rice collaboration with Solange Knowles. 1212 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, 626-596-2818; monarch-sgv.com. K.M.


Portions of this story originally appeared in the Spring 2023 and Mens Spring 2023 issues of C Magazine.

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