Establishment neighborhood
1625 Post St., Japantown
Nari means “women” in Thai, which feels apt because women take center stage at this Japantown restaurant. Women lead the kitchen, the wine on the list is made by women, even the spirits stocked come from women-owned brands. The level of detail that touches everything here is off the charts, right down to diagrams of the glass shape your cocktail will arrive in. (Anyone else love a short tumbler and loathe a tall glass?) The food can only be described by a word we rarely use, because it’s so rarely applicable: authentic. These are the bold, spicy, sharp flavors we associate with trips to Bangkok. Chef Pim Techamuanvivit isn’t pandering to western expectations of what Thai food should be, instead, her shareable dishes are complex, powerfully flavorful, and impossible to forget. If you dine anywhere in San Francisco this year, make it Nari.
Sunday’s Snacks & Convenience
1522 Fillmore St., Japantown
Sunday’s Snacks & Convenience is the epitome of grab-and-go food culture. For a stupendously expensive city like San Francisco, every chicken katsu sandwich and breakfast musubi is priced affordably. There’s something for everyone—the house-cured bacon, egg, konbu, shiitake, and rice musabi is $3. In line with so many new businesses in San Francisco, Sunday’s is currently a weekend pop-up within Boba Guys Fillmore. We say currently as dozens of these newly-minted entrepreneurs are running with the wild success of their pop-ups and opening brick-and-mortars around the city. (The next pop-up location kicks off in June at the Asian Art Museum.) In the interim, we’ll be at Boba Guys on Saturdays to pick up our soy-braised pork belly sando on soft, pillowy milk bread.
Jina Bakes
1581 Webster St., Japantown
Jina Bakes got our attention with their Daeho-inspired Kalbijjim croissant, but it’s the convenience (and delight) of their weekly pastry box that sealed the deal. Other than the famous croissants, what’s included? Expect treats like matcha cream puffs, butter mochi, panna cotta, strawberry cake, and handy portable pour-over coffee sachets should you choose to work through the box on the go. Each package comes with specific storage and reheating instructions, and the goods included change regularly. Preorders open early on Sunday mornings for the following weekend (pickups and deliveries happen on Saturdays). A permanent brick-and-mortar bakery space is under renovation in Japantown .