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What would you add or subtract from the Chron Top 100 List? 2010

nocharge has started this years list with this post,

This year's list is out.

New: Adesso, Baker & Banker, Chapeau, Etoile, Flour + Water, Frances, Frascati, Limon, Neela's, Nombe, Osteria Stellina, Press, RN74, Sante, Scopa, Solbar, Tipsy Pig, and Wexler's. In addition Babacco was included in the Perbacco entry and Boot and Shoe Service in the one for Pizzaiolo.

Gone: Aqua, BarBersQ, Bistro Aix, Buckeye Roadhouse, Cortez, Fonda, Gitane, Jack Falstaff, Kokkari, Martini House, Marzano, Matterhorn, Moss Room, Nettie's Crab Shack, Nick's Cove, Sea Salt, Ton Kiang, and Ubuntu.
nocharge Apr 03, 2010 03:16PM

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Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Pizzaiolo
5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

Sea Salt
2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

Nick's Cove
23240 Hwy 1, Marshall, CA 95450

Frascati Restaurant
1901 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Ton Kiang
5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

Buckeye Roadhouse
15 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, CA 94941

BarBersQ
3900 D Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, CA 94558

Martini House
1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

Limon Restaurant
524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bistro Aix
3340 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Gitane Restaurant & Bar
6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

Scopa
109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Sante Restaurant
100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, CA

Nettie's Crab Shack
2032 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

Marzano
4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602

Adesso
4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

Osteria Stellina
11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, CA

Tipsy Pig
2231 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

RN74
301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Nombe
2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Baker & Banker
1701 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Boot and Shoe Service
3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

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  1. right off the bat? Flour + Water.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mariacarmen

      Flour+Water is on the 2010 list as a new restaurant. Clearly the OP didn't include all of the restaurants that made the cut in his post.

      As of 3:20 this afternoon (Tuesday), the list still hadn't made it online, but I'm hoping it will soon so I can throw away - er - recycle this paper copy.

      1. re: Euonymous

        Op asked what would we add or subtract. i wasn't clear, but i meant subtract F+W from the list. not a fan. doesn't hold up to hype at all, to me.

      2. Good grief, is Greens *still* on the list?

        The most obvious omission for me is Commis - not a surprise, though, given how badly Bauer slammed it in his review. I guess they'll have to console themselves with their Michelin star.

        I think Pican deserves a spot too, but they didn't get a very good review from him either.

        I'm surprised at the number of new restaurants I've never heard of - between here and Eater, I thought I was somewhat on top of things, but maybe I've become so Oakland-centric, West Bay openings just aren't on my radar anymore.

        -----
        Pican Restaurant
        2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

        Commis
        3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

        2 Replies
        1. re: daveena

          He says he dropped Ubuntu because he hasn't had time to visit with the new chef taking over, but I think that's just him being lazy and finding an excuse to cut another restaurant. I haven't been since Fox left, but I have a hard time believing that Greens is now better than Ubuntu.

          -----
          Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
          1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

          1. re: daveena

            Agree that Commis was the biggest omission. I think it should be on the list instead of Bay Wolf next door. I've been to both restaurants and Commis has much more creative and exciting cuisine, while Bay Wolf is just your typical upscale restaurant.

            -----
            Bay Wolf Restaurant
            3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

            Commis
            3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

          2. I'm still baffled by last year's dropping of Oliveto, though I did read the related review. It's neither flashy nor new, but it is as good as ever. I've also found that the service has, of late, finally caught up with the food. This used to be my one concern when choosing Oliveto for a special occasion.

            -----
            Oliveto Cafe
            5655 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

            1. I'd drop Limon. After two recent meals, the only memorable bite was the bacon/cabbage/mushroom bed under the pork chop, which used to be perfectly cooked in years past but was overcooked on these recent visits. The deep-fried snapper chunks are heavy and bland, and other dishes I've tasted were competent yet uninspiring. I'd much rather eat for half the price at Mi Lindo Peru; can't comment on other local Peruvian places in town.

              -----
              Mi Lindo Peru Restaurant
              3226 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Limon Restaurant
              524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              3 Replies
              1. re: david kaplan

                I agree with you. Just ate at Limon last week and everything was fine, but just heavy and less inspired. I think the ceviches at La Mar are superior - and they have a full bar and outdoor seating.

                -----
                Limon Restaurant
                524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  1. re: roster

                    It seems like I'm in the minority, and I never ate at Limon before the fire, but it definitely ranks as one of my best meals of 2009. Every dish we ordered (quite a few) was superb and complex.

                    -----
                    Limon Restaurant
                    524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. Where can I find the list and reviews? Can I access online? I don't see it on sfgate.com. Help! I am so not wanting to go get a paper in this weather. Most curious about Ame and Yoshi's and what was said/menu highlights. thanks!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Cuppies

                    It's a "print edition exclusive" so it will probably be unavailable online for another day or two. Hopefully, it will be on sfgate by Tuesday.

                    1. re: nocharge

                      Actually, you can access the information online now using the Chronicle's e-edition, but you have to pay for it.

                      1. re: nocharge

                        Bauer said in his blog that the top 100 list will be online Tuesday.

                        1. re: nocharge

                          I've noticed recently that a lot of print articles get embargoed from sfgate.com for some period of time. Anyone know what their policy is about publishing print content on the web?

                          1. re: BernalKC

                            I think everything shows up on the Web within a day or two. They're just trying to give people more reason to pay for the print edition.

                            1. re: BernalKC

                              Their policy is case-by-case. In general, you'll find breaking news isn't embargoed (no point), think peices and reviews are.

                        2. no new stuff added in the Peninsula or South Bay it seems. Is there really a dearth of decent offerings or should I just chalk it up to little attention from the Chronicle reviewers? There's a new spot in PA from the previous chef at Chez TJ and i hear some good things about Los Gatos restaurants. Oh well...

                          -----
                          Chez TJ
                          938 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: vis

                            Bauer blogged about the Peninsula / South Bay issue two years ago:

                            "It's a mystery, given the disposable income on the Peninsula, that there aren't more standout restaurants. However, this area continually seems to lag behind. There are lots of pretty good places, but only a few places worth a drive."

                            http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/m...

                            I presume he means that all of the restaurants on the Top 100 list are worth a drive.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              IMHO Here are some Peninsula restaurants that should've made the cut

                              Alexander's steakhouse, Cupertino

                              Sake Sushi, Burlingame

                              Village Pub, Woodside

                              Asian Pearl, Millbrae

                              Bistro Elan, Palo Alto

                              Bauer also missed The House in SF.

                              What's up with Tipsy pig? Clearly he had a few too many there,,

                              -----
                              Bistro Elan
                              448 S California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306

                              Asian Pearl
                              3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                              Village Pub
                              2967 Woodside Rd., Woodside, CA 94062

                              1. re: Foodnut8

                                Any time Bauer has a dish which he characterizies as "the best he's ever had", he goes crazy.

                                He said that of the mac and cheese at the Tipsy Pig. The only problem is that mac and cheese is easy to make. Plus, my mac and cheese is better than the one at Tipsy Pig. As is the mac and cheese at Limon, or even Solstice.

                                -----
                                Limon Restaurant
                                524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                Tipsy Pig
                                2231 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                1. re: Foodnut8

                                  Joy Restaurant in Foster City
                                  Refuge in San Carlos
                                  Martin's West in RWC

                                  All "worth a drive" and probably more so than driving to some of the SF recos.

                            2. Very surprised Bar Tartine didn't make it given his glowing review. Had a phenomenal meal there yesterday.

                              -----
                              Bar Tartine
                              561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: vulber

                                I disagree with Bauer so much that I almost don’t feel like commenting but Neela’s is completely mediocre. Adjanta in Berkeley deserves to be on the list.

                                1. re: Ridge

                                  I also couldn't believe Neela's made the list.

                              2. Nombe? Really? Would not make my top-100 list. Some good dishes, but inconsistent. And the ambiance was pretty funky.

                                -----
                                Nombe
                                2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: BernalKC

                                  Anyone who drove from the Peninsula or South Bay would be pretty pissed eating at Nombe when there are so many izakaya that are so much better in San Jose, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Sunnyvale. Nombe is so weak.

                                  -----
                                  Nombe
                                  2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    I don't think ethnic (ie non-American, Californian, European) food is MB's strong suit. He seems to prefer posher ethnic eateries that cater to wealthier, more Western tastes. Hence, Nombe makes the list rather than say Kappou gomi or Sumiya. Or Yank Sing rather than any of the Asian Pearls.

                                    -----
                                    Yank Sing
                                    49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                    Sumiya
                                    2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

                                    Asian Pearl
                                    3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                                    Nombe
                                    2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                    1. re: sfbing

                                      I wouldn't completely agree with that. For one, to be fair, he didn't review Kappou Gomi (I forget who did). He also has had a lot of good things to say about Lers Ros Thai, and Vik's Chaat Corner is still in the top 100, and he included La Taqueria for many years.

                                      I also have no problem with the inclusion of Yank Sing, as it's the best dim sum I've had, even if it's a lousy value. Note that he also dropped the somewhat westernized Ton Kiang (as he should have).

                                      Then again, he also regularly includes Slanted Door and DOSA on the list, I doubt he has even been to Udupi Palace or Pagolac.

                                      And not all posh ethnic eateries are undeserving of the top 100; while I haven't been to Aziza since Maldonado took over, the meal I had was absolutely phenomenal and there's no way it should be dropped from the top 100 for a more traditional Moroccan place.

                                      I would rather Yoshi's be dropped than Nombe.

                                      -----
                                      Slanted Door
                                      Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                      Pagolac
                                      655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                      Yank Sing
                                      49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                      La Taqueria
                                      2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      Ton Kiang
                                      5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                      Lers Ros Thai
                                      730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                                      Kappou Gomi
                                      5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                      Nombe
                                      2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      1. re: sfbing

                                        MB's palette is limited.Ethnic is generally out and if the place doesn't have a full bar, cute waiters, the slab of meat option and a twist, he won't give it a high review. I look at the places on the Top 100 but only skim the review.

                                        1. re: ML8000

                                          That pretty much sums up MB's attitude toward ethnic restaurants.

                                          For me, I'd take off Bay Wolf and put on Lalime's. Bay Wolf is tired, and Lalime's is rejuvenated under Morrone. Does he have a vendetta against Morrone and/or the Krikorians? He snubbed Lalime's and dropped both Fonda and Sea Salt off the list.

                                          -----
                                          Sea Salt
                                          2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                          Bay Wolf Restaurant
                                          3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                          Lalime's
                                          1329 Gilman, Berkeley, CA 94706

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            I overheard a conversation yesterday with an employee talking about Fonda and Sea Salt being dropped. He said they're doing fine as neighborhood restaurants and while it may be a pride thing for the owners, not being on the list amounts to "losing six people from San Francisco who are willing to cross the bridge" to eat at either place.

                                            -----
                                            Sea Salt
                                            2512 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

                                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                                        MB's criteria is whether the restaurant is worth a drive from san francisco, as pointed out in his blog. Not whether it's worth a 50 mile drive.

                                        Thus, a small ethnic restaurant in san jose has to be spectacular, in SF simply has to be a good value. He's pretty clear on that.

                                        1. re: bbulkow

                                          There are a dearth of small non-American/European ethnic restaurants either in or out of sf on that list. The ones that do make it (Slanted Door, Yank Sing, Nombe) are neither small or good value.

                                          Plus, there is an excess of pizza places.

                                          Two I think should be out: Betelnut and Park Chow.

                                          -----
                                          Park Chow
                                          1238 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

                                          Betelnut
                                          2030 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                          Yank Sing
                                          49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                          Nombe
                                          2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                            With the exception of Vik's, the 15 (including multiple branches of Amber India and Yoshi's) non-European restaurants on the list are all upscale, and the majority are outside of San Francisco.

                                            I don't believe Bauer has never said "worth a drive from San Francisco" in his blog or a review. He did say the Peninsula has "lots of pretty good places, but only a few places worth a drive," but I took that to mean that every place on the list should be worth a drive from wherever a reader happens to live.

                                            -----
                                            Amber India
                                            Mission and Fourth, San Francisco, CA

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              I am reacting to the following exchange on his blog, the URL that was posted previously:

                                              "
                                              [Anonymous Q:] "I was a little disappointed that only 4 restaurants south of SF made your list of the top 100, and all 4 of these are South Peninsula or South Bay. I know SF has so many restaurants to choose from, but it feels like it leaves a big hole for those of us on the Peninsula."

                                              [Bauer] It's a mystery, given the disposable income on the Peninsula, that there aren't more standout restaurants. However, this area continually seems to lag behind. There are lots of pretty good places, but only a few places worth a drive.
                                              "
                                              This implies part of his criteria is "worth a drive". This may be a simple allusion to the Bib Gourmand/Michelin ethos, or a view into his criteria. I agree this isn't a clear statement - but he was also derided for adding both Amber in MV and Mantra and Junoon in PA all in one year. I believe he's dropped the peninsula versions of all of these.

                                              These all fit the prototypical upscale place he favors, which is just his style. Fine - I'll keep eating at the cheaper and better without crowds. That's what chowhound is for!

                                              1. re: bbulkow

                                                The guy is also terrible at judging upscale places. He loved Five in Berkeley but gave a lukewarm review to the much better Commis. He is just not a good reviewer of any restaurants period. As for his “worth the drive” criteria. I look at his list and laugh! I challenge any Chowhounder to drive to Napa and try Neela’s and see if you think it’s “worth the drive”.

                                                -----
                                                Commis
                                                3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                1. re: Ridge

                                                  He actually gave the same rating to Commis and Five, his review of Commis only seems more harsh because of the near-unananimous praise of Commis by everyone else

                                                  -----
                                                  Commis
                                                  3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                  1. re: vulber

                                                    Commis and Bar Tartine both have chefs who have been Chronicle Rising Star chefs. I tend to think that influences the way he writes the reviews, as he seems to expect more out of them

                                                    -----
                                                    Bar Tartine
                                                    561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                    Commis
                                                    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                            2. re: bbulkow

                                              If that is his one of his criteria, it's a pretty stupid one. The Chron is a regional newspaper, and I bet it has as many subscribers (and probably more readers) who live outside the city than in. If a restaurant needs to be worth driving *from* SF to, then it should be worth driving *to* SF to, and a lot of places on that list aren't.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                The fact that the Chron is a regional paper with a large readership is probably a good argument in favor of MB doing his job right in focusing on restaurants with a somewhat broad appeal. What's the point of even reviewing a small, ethnic place unless it's truly exceptional? The locals are going to know about it anyway and few people are going to drive a long way to a neighborhood place unless it's really outstanding. So from that perspective, you would assume that a lot of Chron readers would be interested in where to go when you are going to go outside your local hood, spend a bunch of money and possibly drive a bit. In other words, if the Chron reviews and top 100 list have a bit of a bias towards major and expensive restaurants, it may just be because that's what the average subscriber is interested in reading about.

                                                That said, I think MB's top 100 list is a bit of a fool's errand, but I find myself in agreement (within half a star) of the individual reviews at least 90 percent of the time.

                                                1. re: nocharge

                                                  What I was trying to say is that there's no justification for the rationale that a restaurant that you wouldn't list if it were in Oakland (or Belmont, or San Jose) could be listed if it's in San Francisco. If the criterion is "would you drive to it" then that criterion should be applied to all restaurants, not just those outside of San Francisco.

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    Or to put it even more succinctly, the criterion shouldn't be "would you drive to it from Michael Bauer's house" since most of Michael Bauer's readers don't live in his neighborhood!

                                          2. re: BernalKC

                                            It's interesting to note that while a totally different type of restaurant, Jai Yun got similar ratings from Bauer (high food, very low ambience), and was dropped two years ago, but is probably more deserving of the top 100 than Nombe.

                                            -----
                                            Jai Yun
                                            680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                            Nombe
                                            2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                            1. re: BernalKC

                                              I thought Nombe was great. Went with a group and ordered about 20 dishes. Food ranged from good to excellent - not a single clunker (though we did get some good recs from the server). I'm not super familiar with the Bay Area izakaya scene, but have had excellent izakaya in NY (Totto) and Las Vegas (Raku). Nombe was up there with Totto, though not as good as Raku (but Raku was the best meal of 2009).

                                              -----
                                              Nombe
                                              2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                            2. No La Ciccia is my major complaint. Of course they seem to be doing quite well as it is. And like another poster I can't believe Greens is still in the list.

                                              -----
                                              La Ciccia
                                              291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Calvinist

                                                Ditto, particularly re La Ciccia. (though the last time I ate at Greens Jerry Garcia was at the next table, which gives some idea as to how long ago it was)

                                                -----
                                                La Ciccia
                                                291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                  I was at Greens about 5 years ago. It wasn't terrible, but nothing exicting at all. Have not heard about anything major changing, so I'm sceptical about its merit.

                                              2. I would definitely add Commis and La Ciccia, and definitely drop Bay Wolf and Chow. But I really don't understand why Bauer feels compelled to keep the list at 100 every year -- make it 105 if there are 105 that are that great (and 95 if there are only 95).

                                                -----
                                                La Ciccia
                                                291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                                Bay Wolf Restaurant
                                                3853 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                Commis
                                                3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                  Nice, round numbers have a big apeal -- makes it a bit of a game.

                                                  1. re: JasmineG

                                                    Edited: Oh, wait, I get it. He counts the four Chows as one but puts Park Chow separately on the By Cuisines list. So that's 100.

                                                    He also counts the two Dosas as one, so that's 112.

                                                      1. re: BernalKC

                                                        Yeah, and it's even worse, because he counts Perbacco and Barbacco as one (and Pizzaiolo and Boot and Shoe, though they're a lot more similar).

                                                        -----
                                                        Perbacco
                                                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                        Pizzaiolo
                                                        5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                        Barbacco
                                                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                          True, and he similarly consolidated entries for Amber India, Chez Panisse, Yank Sing, and Yoshi's.

                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                            When I read this I thought for a second you were joking that he rolled all those 4 restaurants into one entry. I was laughing out loud until I realized what you meant :)

                                                  2. Add Bistro Elan and Tamarine in Palo Alto. Add the Village Pub in Woodside.
                                                    All three of these places are wonderful, not to mention far superior to the execrable Va de Vi.
                                                    Ax Va de Vi. What kind of small plate restaurant refuses to provide bread? Snooty service by amateurs. Unremarkable food.

                                                    1. What about Contigo in Noe Valley? It seems like MB's type of place, has genuinely delicious food, and seems to me to have enough going for it to be worth a drive across town if not over the bridge. I'm hard pressed to imagine a scenario where Chow (which I like perfectly well for what it is) is a better choice for the top 100 than Contigo.

                                                      -----
                                                      Contigo
                                                      1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: jillyju

                                                        interestingly enough, MB tweeted positive things about contigo, but no review appeared

                                                      2. I don't get how Chow made the list. The food is good and fresh and consistent. But I don't think of going to Chows as going out for a great dinner. It's casual, kinda meet friends for lunch kinda place.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: wannab

                                                          I like Chow and but agree more or less about why they're still on the list. The only thing that might keep them on the list is the price, it's a good value.

                                                          Any way to me Chow is one of the best neighborhood places. You can go often, good enough for visitors and feel you're paying a fair price. The other neighborhood places I've experienced are usually about 1/3 higher in price and the food might be on par or better but not as consistent or necessarily better for average eating. I notice $50 vs. $75. I don't know if it's a Top 100 but the whole thing is wacky.

                                                          1. re: ML8000

                                                            He does try to pick places at different price levels. Chow is -- in MB's mind, at least -- one of the best restaurants in its price range.