Named for a server with tons of personality and a penchant for partying at Matt Ho’s family’s restaurant, Bodega Bistro (closed), The Felix dropped into the space below Ho’s restaurant, Bodega, on the edge of San Francisco’s Union Square in the Tenderloin, in mid-April. Of course there is a lucky cat neon sign which flicks on when the speakeasy-esque bar is open. Head down the stairs to lounge on golden cushions and sip one of the Chinese and Vietnamese-inspired cocktails from bartender Wat Zhuo. Sucker as I am for fat-washed spirits, I’m partial to the Pho Wimme with fat-washed rye, mole bitters, and Benedictine. Tom Yum Chex Mix and shrimp chips round out the food offerings.
Located around the corner from his other restaurant SPQR in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, chef Matthew Accarrino opened Mattina on April 1. Though the Italian word translates as “in the morning,” the all-day service starts with coffee and pastries from 8 am and a range of dishes after 11 am through dinner time. That might mean charcoal-grilled spiedini, fennel-rubbed porchetta, house made tagliatelle with marsala mushroom crema and truffle cheese, and smaller chicchettit whet your appetite. An Italian gelato maker has been installed. No word on whether matins, morning prayers performed at first light, are sung by staff.
Owner/CEO Evan Kidera and owner/chef Gil Payumo refreshed the original downtown Oakland location of Señor Sisig, reopening in mid-April and marking the third brick and mortar location for the Filipino-Mexican culinary mash-up and food truck favorite. The cantina vibe includes a full bar where ube hennchata (a mix of Hennessy and house made ube horchata), as well as margaritas in pandan and pineapple, calamansi lime and guava are available. In addition to the signature sisig tacos and burritos, dishes exclusive to Oakland include a build-your-own lechon= kawali-pork belly tacos with shrimp chips and creamy habanero salsa, and Sisig lumpia, a.k.a taquitos, topped with tomatillo salsa and pico de gallo.