The 11 most highly anticipated Bay Area restaurant openings fall/winter 2021

Among the restaurants readying for their debut: a Black heritage game changer to a fried chicken temple, a swanky brasserie and haute spots from hot shot chefs Michael Mina and Traci des Jardin.

The 11 most highly anticipated Bay Area restaurant openings fall/winter 2021

The Bay Area’s restaurant scene is buzzing with openings, reopenings and exciting debuts still to come, from a game changing, Black heritage restaurant to a fried chicken temple, a swanky brasserie and haute spots from hot shot chefs Michael Mina and Traci des Jardin.

Here are 11 of the most eagerly anticipated restaurants opening in the months ahead.

Roux40, Oakland

Named for the foundation of many Southern dishes, as well as the street in North Oakland’s Temescal District, Roux40 is perhaps the most highly-anticipated restaurant to open in the East Bay this fall.

It’s the vision of chef-owner Christina “Lala” Harrison, a Bay Area native and former Flora sous chef. Harrison went on to start her own catering business, JusLa Eats, and grew it into a successful pop-up and José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen partner, making 2,000 meals a week for people in need during the pandemic.

When it opens this fall inside the former Hog’s Apothecary, Roux40 will be run entirely by Black women and women of color. The dining room will have an Afro-centric vibe showcasing family, art and ’90s R&B. And the menu will highlight Black heritage dishes with a farm-to-table sensibility. Chef Lala’s take on red beans and rice is a farro risotto with stewed red beans, sweet potato gremolata and charred scallion vinaigrette; her Bellevue Chicken and Rice is made with sticky Carolina gold rice, confit chicken and Bellevue Broth with seasonal vegetables.

RouX40 will specialize in Black heritage cuisine with a farm-to-table edge, like this Bellevue Chicken and Rice with sticky Carolina gold rice and confit chicken. (Courtesy Lala Harrison) 

Sadé Stamps, the brains behind Sobre Mesa’s cocktail program, will craft the beverage program at Roux40, focusing on Black-owned wineries and breweries and classic Southern cocktails.

Details: Projected opening is November, depending on fundraising efforts that include a GoFundMe. 375 40th St., Oakland; www.juslaeats.com/jusla-eats-new-restaurant-roux40

Mastro’s Steakhouse, Santa Clara

It’s been called a “bougie institution,” “a cut above the rest” and “everything you want in a steakhouse.”

And it’s coming to Valley Fair.

For more than 20 years, Mastro’s Steakhouse has been hosting see-and-be-seen crowds, first in Scottsdale and then Beverly Hills, Malibu, Palm Desert, Vegas and points east, finally making its way to San Francisco in late 2019.

Mastro’s Steakhouse, coming soon to Valley Fair, will offer an array of prime steaks, including Wagyu, Porterhouse, filet mignon, New York and bone-in Kansas City strip steaks and above, the bone-in ribeye. (Photo courtesy of Mastro’s Steakhouse) 

Expect classic upscale steakhouse: prime and pricey. Wagyu tomahawk chops, massive Porterhouse cuts and bone-in ribeyes mingle on the menu with chilled-seafood towers, lobster mashed potatoes and crab gnocchi sprinkled with shaved black truffles.

And at Mastro’s, there’s a tradition: You’re also supposed to leave room for the signature dessert, the warm, rich Butter Cake.

Details: The opening date is still under wraps. 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara; www.mastrosrestaurants.com

World Famous Hotboys, Walnut Creek

After wowing chicken lovers in Oakland for two years, World Famous Hotboys is bringing its spicy birds to Walnut Creek.

Taking up shop in the current Original Mels Diner location — owner Rolla Ghaben and Hotboys’ co-owner Victor Ghaben are cousins — the restaurant will offer a menu similar to the one at its Oakland location, including Hotboys’ wildly popular Southern fried chicken sandwiches. That’s a choose your spice adventure: Halal filets are dipped in batter and fried to perfection at mild, medium, hot and “hot hot” levels of spice.

World Famous Hotboys, which has locations in Oakland and Sacramento, is opening in Walnut Creek later this year. (Courtesy Rolla Ghaben) 

Victor Ghaben and Hotboys co-founder, an artist who goes by Berk, studied spicy chicken for years before launching pop ups to sold-out crowds in and around Oakland. With the help of Ghaben’s family, they opened their first brick and mortar in downtown Oakland in 2019, followed by a Sacramento location in 2020. Walnut Creek will be the largest of the three, and the first to offer a dine-in option.

In addition to slaw-and-pickle-topped sandwiches, look for wings, tenders and quarter, half and whole chickens. A small menu of sides, including beans, crinkle-cut fries and macaroni and cheese, will round out the menu. In October, Berk will begin work on a massive, graffiti-style mural —  a signature of the Hotboys brand — on the back of the building.

Details: World Famous Hotboys is slated to open in December at 1397 N. Main St., Walnut Creek; https://worldfamoushotboys.com.

Lamella Tavern, San Jose

Chef-restaurateur Jim Stump always has something cooking, entrepreneurially speaking. The owner of The Table in San Jose’s Willow Glen and two Campbell enterprises — Forthright Oyster Bar & Kitchen and The Vesper — was deep into plans for a new restaurant in Los Gatos, Shepherd & Sims, when yet another opportunity arose.

Look for platters of oysters to star on the menu of Jim Stump’s new place, Lamella Tavern, as they do at his Forthright Oyster Bar & Kitchen. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group archives) 

The juice bar next door to The Table closed, a victim of the COVID economy. But partner Michael Mulcahy, the building owner, said he didn’t want to see the energy flag on Lincoln Avenue, so they came up with a plan that will take advantage of the proximity to Stump’s farm-to-table hot spot.

With partners Angelique Shepherd and Kimberly Mulcahy, they are creating Lamella Tavern, billed as a “casually sophisticated” restaurant where diners can pair oysters and other raw-bar delights and small plates with Champagne, wine, spirits and craft brews.

And the “Lamella” part of the project? The name refers to the vaulted, barrel ceiling of the circa 1940 building — a cool discovery made when the building was being retrofitted. Turns out that’s an unusual style developed in 1908 in Dessau, Germany, by city architect Frederich Zollinger.

Details: An October opening is likely at 1109-A Lincoln Ave., San Jose; www.thetablesj.com.

Kowbird and Matty’s Old Fashioned, Oakland

It’s getting closer — your opportunity to experience the ultimate hamburger and also fried chicken made by one of the country’s most talented barbecue pitmasters.

Oakland BBQ master Matt Horn is reimagining the fried chicken sandwich at Kowbird, slated to open early this fall. (Horn Hospitality Group) 

First, the chicken. Barbecue savant Matt Horn’s Kowbird is set to open this fall a few blocks away from his eponymous Horn Barbecue in West Oakland. Details are still emerging, but we know that the “soul-infused” chicken shop located inside the former Pretty Lady diner will reimagine every aspect of the fried chicken sandwich, from brine to “wildly inventive sauces.” The menu will also include Southern side dishes – think collard greens and mac and cheese — plus chicken wings, beer and wine.

The dining room is coming together at Matty’s Old Fashioned, the highly anticipated Oakland burger joint from barbecue star Matt Horn. (Matt Horn) 

Meanwhile, the star of the menu at Matty’s Old Fashioned, Horn’s highly-anticipated burger joint opening in Old Oakland this winter, is his elevated classic American hamburger. It’s a dry-aged double-patty burger made from Horn’s proprietary blend, caramelized onions, cheese and a top-secret sauce, of course. Other menu items include craft-made hot dogs, artisanal milk shakes and, for the first time, Horn-designed cocktails.

Details: Kowbird is slated to open in early fall at 1733 Peralta St., Oakland. Matty’s Old Fashioned will open mid-winter at 464 Eighth St., also in Old Oakland.

Estiatorio Ornos, San Francisco

First it was AQUA. Then Michael Mina. This September, Estiatorio Ornos will take up residence at the flagship 252 California St. location in the Financial District.

Chef-owner Mina’s highly-anticipated Greek restaurant is an ode to the food he grew up eating with his family, immigrants from the Mediterranean seaport city of Alexandria in Egypt. In partnership with chefs Girair “Jerry” Goumroian and Nikolaos Georgousis — and inspired by their Mediterranean backgrounds, as well — Estiatorio Ornos will celebrate flavorful Greek seafood in a 76-seat dining room inspired by Ornos Beach on Mykonos.

Ouzo Prawns in spicy tomato sauce with dill and feta are just one of the many Greek-inspired dishes you can expect at Michael Mina’s highly anticipated Estiatorio Ornos, set to open in San Francisco in September. (Courtesy David Varley) 

Listen for a house playlist of Mykonos-inspired tunes — think M.I.A. and Afterlife — and look for shareable dishes, like Ouzo Prawns in a spicy tomato sauce with dill and feta and Phyllo-Crusted Dover Sole with skordalia and green beans. In true Greek Isle-fashion, you’ll be able to select your fish and choose a preparation, from grape leaf-wrapped to whole-roasted or salt-crusted.

As if that wasn’t enough foodie fun, Estiatorio Ornos will also have culinary carts to get your tummy growling, including a dips cart for tzatziki, hummus and melitzanosalata (roasted eggplant). Yes, there will be a pastry cart, too.

Details: Estiatorio Ornos is slated to open in September at 252 California St., San Francisco. Reservations are currently being accepted at www.michaelmina.net/estiatorio-ornos.

One Fish Raw Bar, Campbell

It’s a night out. One of you would love to slurp oysters and nibble hamachi between sips of sparkling wine. The other would rather grab a lobster roll and a beer.

Trent Lidgey’s “fun, approachable” concept may be just the thing. After years of honing his skills at Boston’s Clio and Uni, the two-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn in San Francisco and then Lexington House in Los Gatos, he has struck out on his own.

He’s preparing to open his eclectic One Fish Raw Bar in downtown Campbell. On the Raw side of the menu there are bites such as Salmon Belly drizzled with black garlic molasses and salsa macha and Santa Barbara Uni with corn pudding and yuzu. The Cooked side? Pierogi with squash blossoms and chorizo, Wild Striped Bass and that Lobster Roll, served with lemon mayo on a Parker House bun.

Dessert also sounds like an eclectic — but seasonal — assortment, if the inaugural menu is any example: Corn Ice Cream, Apricot Cream Pie and Mango Popsicle.

Lidgey will also be introducing a “streamlined” service model. Look for the culinary staff to deliver food to your table and interact with you and other guests.

Details: 193 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell; www.onefishcampbell.com

TRUSS Restaurant + Bar, Calistoga

Executive chef Erik Anderson has ambitious plans for the fine dining restaurant set to open this fall inside the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley. Anderson, formerly of COI in San Francisco, and his Michelin-cred crew, including talent from Spruce, Gary Danko and The Restaurant at Meadowood, promise farm-fresh, a la carte dishes in an elegant, laid-back setting befitting Calistoga’s evolving dining scene.

With sweeping views of the Palisades Mountains and on-site cabernet vineyards, the dining room will offer an indoor-outdoor vibe — think fireside lounge, a vibrant bar, terrace and outdoor semi-private dining area. Look for a robust, 250-label wine list, as well as collaborations with Sausalito-based California Caviar Co., in which Anderson harvests, cleans, salts and packages California white sturgeon, as well as gourmet quail from friend and farmer Brent Wolfe of Wolfe Ranch. Other menu items are still hush-hush.

Details: A fall opening is projected for the Four Seasons restaurant at 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga; www.trussrestaurantandbar.com.

Coastal Kitchen, Monterey

Michael Rotondo has packed up his specialty — globally inspired California cuisine — and made his way from San Francisco down the coast to Monterey.

Here, at the Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row, the former executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton’s Parallel 37 will unveil a new, elevated concept called the Coastal Kitchen, with prix fixe menus to match the sublime views from this waterfront property.

Chef Michael Rotondo’s upscale Coastal Kitchen is coming soon to the Monterey Plaza Hotel. This will be an indoor dining room with ocean-view windows on two sides. (Photo: Woodside Hotel Group) 

Naturally, Monterey squid, abalone and sardines will play major roles in this dining room. “These are some of the local treasures that we will pay tribute to on our menus,” Rotondo says.

Already he has in mind for his inaugural menu a local halibut topped with Dirty Girl farm tomatoes from Santa Cruz, wrapped in seaweed and cooked slowly over embers.

After working with the Ritz sommelier team to create wine pairings, he’s primed to offer wine dinners and special collaborations with coastal vintners, as well.

After this launch, Rotondo will refresh the menu of Schooners, the hotel’s casual restaurant with terrace views of Monterey Bay.

Details: Opening in October at 400 Cannery Row, Monterey; www.montereyplazahotel.com.

El Alto, Los Altos

What does acclaimed chef Traci Des Jardins have planned for her foray south of San Francisco?

We should know soon. In the coming weeks, the State Street Market — the first food hall on the Peninsula — will open its doors in Los Altos with El Alto as its signature restaurant.

State Street Market, a food hall being built in Los Altos. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

Des Jardins, whose mother is of Mexican descent, closed her flagship Jardinière, one of the city’s most respected restaurants, in 2019, saying at the time that she wanted to focus on Mexican food.

At her two Presidio restaurants, we got a taste of what she can create when she digs into her heritage. The Commissary featured high-end Spanish cuisine (Lamb Merguez, Braised Octopus, Crema Catalana) and Arguello, more casual fare (Tacos Dorados, Chilaquiles, Rajas and Oaxacan Cheese Omelette).

Des Jardins won a James Beard award in 2007 as the Best Chef in the Pacific region. In 1995, then with Rubicon, she was named one of the Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine.

Details: 170 State St., Los Altos; www.statestreetmarket.com