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SF Chronicle Top 100 2008

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  1. IN

    Bar Bambino
    BarbersQ
    Bocadillos
    Cafe Majestic
    Cav
    Ducca
    Flora
    Laiola
    Nick's Cove
    O Izakaya
    One Market
    Poggio
    Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar
    Shanghai 1930
    SPQR
    Spruce
    Va de Vi (Walnut Creek)
    Wood Tavern
    Yoshi's

    OUT

    Antica Trattoria
    Bocadillos
    Cesar (Berkeley)
    Cetrella (Half Moon Bay)
    Clementine
    Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton
    Dry Creek Kitchen(Healdsburg)
    Farallon
    Fleur de Lys
    La Taqueria
    Limon
    Mantra (Palo Alto)
    Maya
    Mecca
    Ozumo
    PlumpJack Cafe
    Scott Howard (closed)
    Tres Agaves

    15 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Most dubious inclusions:

      Bay Wolf should be better than it is.

      Buckeye Roadhouse is just eh.

      I love Flora, but the service is often amateurish. Unless, I suppose, they recognize you as Michael Bauer.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I haven't been to Buckeye, but of the restaurants on the list I've been to, I'd have to agree on Bay Wolf and Flora being dubious (I didn't really even like the food at Flora)...and you may not agree with me on this, but it did make me sad to see Dopo on the list and not La Ciccia...for that matter, La Ciccia would rank well above Firefly (and Pescheria) in my opinion...oh well, it is crowded enough already...

        Bauer did say that most have full bars, and La Ciccia doesn't, which is probably a point or three against it...but Firefly is also beer and wine only.

        Someone mentioned that Mexican food didn't do well this year....I think that reflects as much on the lack of good Mexican food in the bay area as anything.

        1. re: susancinsf

          I would be willing to bet that La Ciccia was one of the last 7 that got cut to take the list from 107 down to 100, but agree with you that it should've been included. Pescheria is not in the published list in the magazine so perhaps there is an error online. Pesce is on the list.

          I think inclusion of some that you point to, such as Bay Wolf, Flora, Buckeye Roadhouse, has to do with maintaining some geographic diversity on the list. I haven't been to Flora, but think Bay Wolf and Buckeye are OK, nothing fabulous though.

          1. re: susancinsf

            Dopo doesn't have a full bar either.

            Bauer called La Ciccia cramped and noisy, which it is, and gave it only 1.5 stars for atmosphere and 2 stars overall. I doubt there are any two-star restaurants on his top 100.

            1. re: susancinsf

              Yeah, but is La Taqueria any worse than it was last year?

              Despite his claims to cover the whole spectrum, he definitely went "upscale" on this list. There's not a single "ethnic" restaurant for which he didn't choose the most upscale (or expensive, if you don't count Jai Yun as upscale) representative. Bodega Bistro is a lot better Vietnamese restaurant than some of the mid-range Cal/American/Italian places, for example. I have trouble believing that Flora is better than Dona Tomas, since it's the same people.

              I guess what I'm saying is that the list is biased toward Euro-American food, since an "ethnic" restaurant has to be outstanding or loungey-fusiony to make the list (that hip, full-bar factor), while there are a lot of just ordinary Euro-American places on the list.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                The bias is indisputable. Bauer doesn't go to many non-upscale restaurants, so he doesn't eat much ethnic food, so he doesn't have the background required to evaluate many cuisines. To give him credit, the people he assigns to do those reviews are generally well-qualified. (He's both the main critic and the boss of the food section.)

                Flora is much more of a Bauer-style place than Dona Tomas: more upscale, nicer decor, somewhat more formal service, very serious full bar. Comparing his star ratings (Dona Tomas / Flora):

                Food: 2.5 / 3
                Service: 2.5 / 2.5
                Ambiance: 2 / 3
                Overall: 2.5 / 3

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            Bocadillos is on the IN list - they did not get deleted.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Plumed Horse and Ubuntu are also on newly on the IN list.

              1. re: farmersdaughter

                Pescheria is on the "by cuisine" list but is replaced by Plumed Horse on the alphabetical list.

                Bocadillos and Va de Vi are on both the 2007 and 2008 lists.

                Myth is also on the OUT list.

                Not a good year for Mexican restaurants, according to Bauer. Not that I think La Taqueria is one of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants, but the list doesn't feel the same without them.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                The Dining Room at the Ritz is an out? Huh? If that's not one of the Bay Area's 100 best (I would put it in the 10 best), then this list makes no sense.

                1. re: Lindarita

                  That really doesn't make sense. If he gives a restaurant four stars, how can it not be in the top 100? Maybe it was just a mistake.

                  Conceivably he left it out because he believes the chef is going to buy Myth and move over there. But by that reasoning he should have left out Pesceria, since it's closing (or has closed) and won't be reopening in its new location for a while.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Do you mean Pescheria on Church, or are we talking about another place? I drove by Pescheria last night, seemed to be folks inside. Where is it moving?

                      1. re: farmersdaughter

                        Thanks! I missed that...guess it would be too much to hope for a good Chinese or Thai restaurant to move into that space....

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          Per the Chron, it's going to be a branch of Henry's Hunan.

              3. i was pleased to see silks included in the list. food is very good, the room is gorgeous and the service outstanding. when last there, we had the chef, the sommelier and the head waiter spend some quality time at the table with us. we'll be back.

                1. This thread should defnitely be on the SF board.

                  And I'm glad to see Farallon dropped from the list. That place has no business in any discussion of the best restaurants in SF.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                    Discussion of restaurant reviews goes on this board. It's off-topic for the SF board.

                  2. What does "IN" and "OUT" mean? And, why is Bocadillos on both?

                    1. Here is the entire list:

                      MICHAEL BAUER'S TOP 100 RESTAURANTS OF 2008:
                      A Cote
                      A16
                      Acquerello
                      Ad Hoc
                      Amber India
                      Ame
                      Aqua
                      Aziza
                      Bar Bambino
                      Bar Crudo
                      BarbersQ
                      Bay Wolf
                      Betelnut
                      Bistro Aix
                      Bistro Don Giovanni
                      Bistro Jeanty
                      Bix
                      Bo's Barbecue and Catering
                      Bocadillos
                      Bouchon
                      Boulevard
                      Buckeye Roadhouse
                      Cafe La Haye
                      Cafe Majestic
                      Canteen
                      Cav
                      Chez Panisse
                      Chow/Park Chow
                      Coco500
                      Coi
                      Cucina
                      Cyrus
                      Delfina
                      Dopo
                      Dosa
                      Ducca
                      Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
                      Firefly
                      Flora
                      Fonda
                      Foreign Cinema
                      French Laundry
                      Gary Danko
                      Greens
                      Hog Island Oyster Co.
                      Incanto
                      Jai Yun
                      Jardiniere
                      Junnoon
                      Kaygetsu
                      Koi Palace
                      Kokkari Estiatorio
                      La Folie
                      Laiola
                      Manresa
                      Martini House
                      Masa's
                      Michael Mina
                      Nick's Cove
                      Nopa
                      O Chame
                      O Izakaya
                      Oliveto
                      One Market
                      Perbacco
                      Pesce
                      Picco/Pizzeria Picco
                      Piperade
                      Pizzaiolo
                      Plumed Horse
                      Poggio
                      Poleng Lounge
                      Quince
                      Range
                      Redd
                      Rivoli
                      Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar
                      Rubicon
                      Shanghai 1930
                      Silks
                      Slanted Door
                      Slow Club
                      SPQR
                      Spruce
                      Sushi Ran
                      Swan Oyster Depot
                      Tartine
                      Terra
                      Terzo
                      The Matterhorn Swiss Restaurant
                      Ton Kiang
                      Town Hall
                      Ubuntu
                      Va de Vi
                      Vik's Chaat Corner
                      Wood Tavern
                      Yank Sing
                      Yoshi's San Francisco
                      Zarzuela
                      Zuni Cafe

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: farmersdaughter

                        I can't understand why Matterhorn is included in the top 100.

                          1. re: wineguy7

                            I used to go frequently, and always wonder if it's any good these days when I drive by. I think they've received other decent reviews as well. The names started popping up again.