Welcome to Eater's annual year-end survey of friends, industry types, restaurateurs, chefs, media, and readers. This year, we asked the group seven questions, from Best Newcomers to Top Standbys. We've already seen Meals of the Year, and the rest will be answered by the time we turn off the lights on Wednesday. The responses are in no particular order:
The new, massive Dosa on Fillmore, by Jennifer Yin, 12/10/08
Q: What was the top newcomer of 2008?
Nish Nadaraja, Yelp: Dosa on Fillmore (just in time!), and Anchor & Hope. The trend there was for seasoned restaurateurs to open up something new. I keep hearing good things about La Mar but haven’t had a full meal there as of yet.
Joe Hargrave, Laiola: It was a really tough year for restaurant openings within the city limits ... I liked some of things I ate at Zare and I think that Anchor & Hope (like all Washington/Rosenthalx2 restaurants) lives well within its concept. I'm glad Sean O'Brien is back in the game because he's a kind person and think that Beretta was the right place at the right time. Pizzeria Delfina: well if I didn't have 18th street then it'd be my number 1, but because I do, I don't need the new kid.
Anna Weinberg, South: Dosa on Filmore, Blue Bottle at Mint Plaza.
Kevin Blum, City Dish: If I want to impress folks, I'd recommend Gitane. And for best new kid on the block, I'm gonna go with the new DOSA on Fillmore. I know it's cliche, but it's really good (and pretty). Best new bar: Pisco Lounge
Sarah Sung, UrbanDaddy: Beretta, Domo, La Mar Cebicheria (though I predict this one is just an opening fad). Maybe Lalola and Baby Blues BBQ, but these are too new to tell...
Marcia Gagliardi, Tablehopper: Fifth Floor redux, Orson, Epic, Anchor & Hope, OPENRestaurant, Camino, Sentinel, Beretta, DOSA on Fillmore, Dynamo Donuts, Four Barrel Coffee, Gitane, Mission Street Food.
Jessica Boncutter, Bar Jules: Camino in Oakland and Nettie's Crab Shack here.
Lissa Doumani, Terra/Ame: I would have to say Camino for having a vision and sticking to it. The food is wonderful and I love the church chairs they found for all the seating. Next would be Joey and Eddie’s, while you might thing that Goomba (Bronx) Italian is a funny choice it is just a fun place to eat and the food is great. We always have the Joey and Eddie’s salad and love the pasta with clams, or the simple tomato sauce. It is not just for large parties either.
Brock Keeling, SFist: Orson -- did that open in '08?
Patrick Heig, Citysearch: Beretta: Everything about this place—the antipasti, the pizza, the cocktails, the ambiance, and the crowd—is just about perfect; it's a sexy little Italian valedictorian. Most likely to succeed might be Limon Rotisserie, where you can eat so well, and so much, for so little, and I think it fits the palette (ceviche is kinda the new sushi) and the wallet well for the coming year. Zare at the Fly Trap really gets it right too, even though it has the worst name; maybe Best Hair?
Jan Newberry, San Francisco Magazine: Bar Jules, Ubuntu (or was that ‘07?) Restaurant Eloise
Lucchesi: I'll hop on the bandwagon and agree that Beretta (unexpectedly?) hit the nail on the head. Uva Enoteca and The Sentinel take the category for the little guys, while Camino and Zinnia get props on the more upscale side. In the coffee arena, Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza is a godsend, but Coffee Bar flies under the radar.
Anything go unmentioned? Anything deserve a louder voice? Your favorites in the comments.