The fall season is shaping up to be an exciting one for the restaurant scene, and just this week we've seen a few openings to add to the list.

A promising looking new Italian restaurant has just opened in the former Lakeside Cafe space at 2529 Ocean Avenue, in Merced Manor. It's called Ofena, and it's a new venture from Tan Truong, one of the partners behind popular sushi spots Ju-Ni and Handroll Project. As the Chronicle reports, the long-vacant diner space has been transformed into a cozy trattoria, serving fried chicken cutlets with gypsy pepper sauce, and spaghetti alla chitarra topped with braised beef sugo. There's also a full bar with some intriguing cocktails like a clarified sheep’s milk punch with grappa, melon, basil, and aged balsamic white vinegar.

There is a grand and sleek new Italian restaurant on Potrero Hill from Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Selby's, Village Pub) called La Connessa. We first learned of the project last September, when Bacchus had signed on to open this and two other side-by-side food businesses in the new condo development Mason on Mariposa. Now, as Tablehopper reports, La Connessa made a quiet debut on Monday, and it's a really big, splashy sort of place, with 86 seats and a grand central bar. The chef de cuisine is Freedom Rains, who had previously been the opening chef at A Mano, and the menu features "modern take[s] on the classic trattoria" including Amalfi-style spaghettino al limone, tagliatelle Bolognese, wood-fired pizzas, and pollo al mattone (chicken under a brick).

Also just open is Blue Whale, the new casual spot from Empress by Boon chef Ho Chee Boon, over the in Cow Hollow. We first mentioned it last month, and now as Eater reports the restaurant is open as of tonight and serving pan-Asian fare at 2033 Union Street. The restaurant has two bars and a patio, and in addition to a full dinner menu, there will be dim sum and cocktails available as well.

There is a new documentary by San Francisco resident Gregory Bezat about legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher, which is screening at the Vogue on Sunday, October 1. The screening is a benefit for completion, marketing, and distribution costs for the film. Fisher lived out her later years in Glen Ellen, in Sonoma County, and spent a portion of her adult life in San Francisco and St. Helena as well. And major food world figures Alice Waters, Jacques Pepin, and Ruth Reichl all appear in the film. More info here, and you can check out the trailer here.

Chronicle Associate Restaurant Critic Cesar Hernandez filed a review this week of Azalina’s, the new casual Malaysian restaurant from Azalina Eusope. Eusope, a La Cocina alum, was an unfortunate victim of the pandemic when her newly opened Noe Valley venture Mahila was forced to close in 2020. Hernandez calls Eusope's Mamak fried chicken sandwich "showstopping," and a dish of shrimp mee goreng "superb." The restaurant offers a four-course tasting menu with a drink included for $100, and a two-course abridged version for $50, and the menu will change every three weeks. See the current menu here.

And a new Northern Chinese spot has just opened up at 2543 Noriega Street in the Outer Sunset, called Xiān Bistro. As Tablehopper reports, they're serving dumplings, dan-dan noodles, braised beef brisket over fresh egg noodles in a light broth, Sichuan hot and sour soup, and là ròu, a bacon-like dish of cured pork belly served with egg noodles and seasonal greens.

Top photo by Ed Anderson for La Connessa