May 28, 2024


World's finest Food

Explore the latest restaurant openings, including sushi pop-up Ken in San Francisco

Chef Chi Hang Ngai, also known as Chef Ken, is finally opening up his own proper restaurant in San Francisco.

Ngai has worked at Sushi Ran in Sausalito for 10 years and more recently spent five years at Kusakabe, both jobs under chef Mitsunori Kusakabe, before striking out on his own with his new restaurant, Ken, on Divisadero.

It hasn’t been a straight route to opening, however. 

“Right after I told my chef that I decided to open my restaurant, [it was] not even a week and then the city, everything just shut down,” Ngai said of his decision to strike out on his own in the spring of 2020.

Ngai has had the keys to his restaurant for a few months, but he’s been mostly operating out of the space like a to-go pop-up. He set up an ordering system using a Google form to organize to-go orders and he’s operated that way since December. 

Chef Chi Hang Ngai is creating beautiful to-go sushi orders from his restaurant, Ken, in San Francisco.

Chef Chi Hang Ngai is creating beautiful to-go sushi orders from his restaurant, Ken, in San Francisco.

Courtesy Ken

He is working mostly alone, creating beautiful to-go boxes of sushi omakase, before expanding to other items like sashimi and chirashi, all artfully prepared and arranged. He prefers making sushi for customers to eat right away, however, and is hoping to welcome customers indoors soon.

“I think this is [what] all the chefs want, right? In the final stage, that they need to open their own [restaurant],” Ngai said of his career. “… because I do want to try something, in my style. I want to see how much I can do, you know?”

Ngai has plans to expand his menu even further; the focus will be on sushi, of course, but Ngai, who is Chinese, has plans to incorporate some Chinese ingredients or noodle techniques into new items on the menu, he said.

Ken, is located at 252 Divisadero St. in San Francisco. Check their Instagram account for a link to the latest menu options and to order ahead for the weekend at

Here is a selection of exciting restaurant, bar and bakery openings for April and early May:

Chef Dominica Rice-Cisneros has opened her newest restaurant, Bombera, just a few months after closing down her last restaurant, Cosecha, located in Oakland’s Swan’s Market. The new location is set in a former firehouse in the Dimond District, inspiring the name of the restaurant, which means female firefighter. The new space will give Rice-Cisneros more room for new equipment — like a mesquite grill and wood-burning oven — to make items she couldn’t achieve at Cosecha, such as carne asada. She’ll also have items such as seafood and slow-roasted barbacoa. Read more at Salon here.

The South Korean-based fried chicken chain, Bonchon, has finally opened a location in San Francisco proper, after opening locations around the Bay Area, such as Berkeley, San Leandro, Sunnyvale and South San Francisco. The Metreon location features Bonchon’s signature “glass-shatter crisp” chicken and sauces, along with some extras. Read more from SFGATE here.

Toscano Brothers is the latest from pizza chef Tony Gemignani, a bakery located in North Beach filled with sourdough bread, baguettes and more. Gemignani is also attempting a “true NY bagel” which will also be sold at the space, albeit under a controversial shop name at the same location. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here. (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of each other.)

The highly-anticipated San Francisco location of H Mart opened to much fanfare in April, with many shoppers excited not only for the variety of fruits, meats and groceries available, but also for the attached food hall. The food hall features prepared foods from Daejo Kalbijjim and Beef Soup, as well as Left Wing Bar and a few others, with Paris Baguette expected to open shortly. Read more from SFGATE here.

Otra is the latest restaurant from chef Nick Cobarruvias and wife Anna Sager Cobarruvias, the duo behind Son’s Addition. Originally planned as a fine dining restaurant, Ostra was reconceptualized as a more casual, modern Mexican restaurant centered around food the chef ate while growing up in Texas. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here

Sunday Bakeshop in Oakland is a playland of pastries, with nostalgic treats getting an updated treatment from Chef Elaine Lau. Expect strawberry Pocky cruffins and matcha White Rabbit cookies, and even some savory options such as pineapple sausage croissants, all inspired by both a love for Asian bakeries and Lau’s French training as a chef. Read more from SFGATE here.