Biggest San Francisco Bay Area Restaurant Closures in 2021

welcome to Year in Eater 2021, Eater’s annual tradition of celebrating the past 12 months with the help of some of the Bay Area’s top food writers. By the end of the year, Eater SF will be posting daily questions about the Bay Area restaurant scene with answers from those who know it best.

The closure of Le Marais bakery flagship in the marina due to their lousy owner really pissed me off – they’ve invested so much in this space. At least Michelle Polzine has closed 20th Century Cafe on her terms, but her farewell letter was a heartbreaking commentary on what it means to be in the restaurant industry and how it devours you. – Marcia Gagliardi, founder / editor of

It was bittersweet to break the news when star pastry chef Michelle Polzine announced she was closing 20th Century Cafe this spring. This Russian honey cake was truly one of the icons of San Francisco cake, now often imitated but never so well done, and the rare vintage-style coffee we miss very much. – Becky Duffett, Associate Editor, Eater SF

They are all so sad, aren’t they? But I miss having a drink and a view at Cliff House. I know technically it closed at the end of 2020, and there’s kind of a novelty coming next year, but that was the real vacuum of 2021 for me. – Omar Mamoon, writer, squire

As a former resident of Ireland (a semester abroad in Cork, but still) Vere’s Irish pub was the best American knockoff I had seen since returning to the US, along with its bar in dark wood from the Emerald Isle, his pie to the great shepherd and bartenders who knew how to properly serve Guinness. Davis’s location was the go-to for trivia, Thanksgiving nightlife gatherings, and adults looking for an adult drink in a college town. Every football fan in town knew how to get to the downtown Sacramento pub for Premier League or La Liga games at 6 a.m. – when the US men’s team scored a last-minute game-winning goal on the 2010 World Cup, the collective roar heard from a block away. But ads weren’t built for pandemics, and Vere White’s brothers Henry and Simon unplugged the two concepts in early October. – Benjy Egel, food and drink journalist, The Sacramento Bee

Oliveto in Rockridge. Even though the Klein’s were ready to retire and continue their thriving community grain business, it felt like the end of an era for this legendary corner of College Avenue. – Jessica Yadegaran, culinary and gastronomic editor, The news of Mercury and East Bay Hours

Best O./Yelp

Halu, an endearing little Yakitori restaurant covered in Beatles paraphernalia, never reopened after COVID’s initial shutdown. I kept walking, hoping to see that he had been revived, but this fall he had closed for good. Looks like his replacement will be used for the yakitori as well, so I’m hopeful! – Esther Mobley, senior wine critic, Chronicle of San Francisco

Jiangnan Cuisine in Outer Richmond is the one that I will truly miss. – Luke Tsai, Culinary Editor, KQED

I think it’s always heartbreaking to hear when a restaurant closes. As a food journalist, it is never easy to listen to tales of all the hard work it takes to open and run a business and then face the difficult decision to shut down. definitive. You really feel for them. – Susana Guerrero, journalist, SFGATE

The Oakland Chinatown buffet called Buffet Fortuna closed at some point during the pandemic. It was a favorite place for my family. Buffets are fun and I remember going for birthdays and loading up on crab legs. Buffet Fortuna had a bit of everything: sushi, dim sum, hotpot. I miss going there. – Momo Chang, Freelance Food Writer and Oakland Voices co-director

The closure of Homestead in Oakland hit me hard; this is a restaurant where I had dined with a family friend who is friends with the owners many years ago. Details are hazy, but I know the meal was wonderful because it made me imagine moving to California. A lot of life would get in the way, but Homestead has helped me fall in love with the Bay Area again through the food and I couldn’t wait to come back to celebrate in this cozy dining room. – Lauren Saria, editor, Eater SF

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