We talk about Kimpton Hotels a lot around here: the brand, recently acquired by IHG, is busy growing its portfolio and upping the ante on affordable hotels with highbrow design. One thing that’s oft overlooked, however, is Kimpton’s golden touch when it comes to its on-site restaurants, even if some of them—cough cough Ink48—are vastly underrated.
Truth is, founder Bill Kimpton has been invested in the restaurant world since the early 1980s, when he opened his first restaurant, the Bedford Café, in his first boutique property (San Francisco’s Clarion Bedford). As early as 1983, he was working with celebrity chefs like Masa Takayama, bringing exceptional restaurants to the Bay Area via his hotels.
More than 20 years later, Kimpton is returning to the same city where it all began with the opening of BDK, a light-filled American tavern in the Hotel Monaco. Dishes like steak tartare with Calabrian chilies and Dungeness crab beignets come courtesy of chef Heather Terhune (a Top Chef alum); cocktails are the handiwork of Kevin Diedrich (previously of New York City’s PDT and the Clover Club).
But unlike many a Kimpton restaurant opening, this one is very much on the radar. Perhaps it’s the gorgeous arched windows or California granite bar; maybe it’s the fact that entrees don’t exceed $24, even in the face of high-end ingredients like scallops and Kansas City strip steak. One thing’s for sure: it’s nice to see Kimpton get it’s (over)due credit in the food world.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.