San Francisco is lucky to be home to not one, but two Four Seasons hotels, each with its own ‘personality.’ Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, on Market St., has a ‘see and be seen’ vibe. At the same time, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco At Embarcadero is a bit more understated, making it a favorite of visiting celebs who value the privacy it affords—155 cloud-adjacent rooms and suites are located on the upper 11 floors of the 48-story building. The hotel’s new restaurant, Orafo, provides further incentive to stay at or visit this particular Four Seasons. Echoing the urban ambiance of the hotel, Orafo is chic and welcoming, featuring delectable cuisine and crafted cocktails that rival the city’s best. Naturally, it’s currently most frequented by hotel guests, but to overlook Orafo as simply a hotel restaurant would be a mistake.
Executive Chef Gunnar Planter presides over the 118-seat dining room with a menu that pays homage to Italy’s regional specialties. With 16 years of experience, most recently as executive chef at boutique luxury hotel Mar Monte’s costa Kitchen & Bar and Café Lido in Santa Barbara, Planter has a deep understanding of the food and hospitality industry and brings a breadth of experience in concepting menus to preparation to presentation. He draws inspiration from Tuscany and Calabria; his dishes are fresh takes on classics, showcasing Northern California’s abundant produce and seafood and authentic ingredients that he overnights from Italy, such as the culatello that he pairs with burrata and pistachio. Standouts include handmade pasta Primi such as Squid Ink Linguine tossed in uni butter, paired with clams and bottarga, Wild Mushroom Pappardelle with tarragon porcini sauce, parmesan, and crispy leek, and Rigatoni Pomodoro topped with burrata and confit cherry tomato, roasted for 24 hours, adding a richness to the classic, simplistic pasta.
Secondi dishes include Mussels & Nduja with sherry wine, peppadew, and nduja butter, and the Grilled Lamb Two Ways with fregola sarda, harissa, and braised fennel, finished with confit tomato. Secondi per la Tavola are large format dishes meant for sharing such as Whole Branzino with lemon and Italian salsa verde, and the 32oz Bistecca—an indulgent dry-aged Porterhouse.
Orafo (the name is Italian for goldsmith, and is a nod to San Francisco’s legendary gold rush heritage) feels private and intimate. Design features include ornate metallic detailing, distinctive industrial-style lighting, velvet and leather seating, and a handful of circular booths perfect for quiet conversation. The small, five-stool bar is a cozy spot to enjoy the creativity of the food and beverage team who have crafted some of the city’s most tasty libations. Playful cocktails include The White Lotus with Tanqueray orange, calvados fine, Benedictine, and Nonino, and Karl the Fog (Hennessy VSOP, Santa Teresa 1796 Rum, cherry heering, amaro Zucca, crème de noyaux, and maple wood smoke), the dramatic tableside preparation of which is reason enough to order this one.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the iconic San Francisco culinary community and create an outstanding new dining destination for the city,” said Planter. “I’m excited to cook in San Francisco’s world-class culinary community for the first time and can’t wait to welcome our guests with memorable dishes that will leave them looking forward to their next visit.”
“Since the completion of our 2022 renovation, we have eagerly awaited the perfect match for our restaurant and are grateful to have found Chef Gunnar Planter to bring to life our new dining experience at Orafo,” said Gigi Vega, general manager Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero. “We’re confident that Chef Planter’s world-class culinary training, tremendous talent, and dedication to sourcing the highest quality ingredients will provide guests with an unforgettable meal at Orafo.”
Orafo is also open for breakfast and lunch.
Orafo, 222 Sansome Street, San Francisco
Photos: Marc Fiorito, Gamma Nine