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Experts Pick the Year's Best Dining Neighborhoods

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The Year in Eater continues in full force! Single Best Meals, Top Newcomers, Top Standbys and The Year in One Word were revealed earlier, and all will be answered by the time we turn off the lights on Thursday. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein:
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The Mission still leads, but thanks to Starbelly and co., the Castro had a good year too. [Photo: Jennifer Yin, 8/28/09]

Anna Weinberg, South: The Castro gets most improved - best is tough.

Jan Newberry, San Francisco Magazine: The Mission will always be one of this city's great dining neighbors. So many wonderful places there like Bar Tartine, Foreign Cinema, Delfina, and Range. And I love what's happening at 18 Reasons. Then there's Humphry Slocombe and Dynamo Donuts, not to mention the potato chips at La Palma. And I'm looking forward to seeing what happens at Jack London Square once Bracina opens there. It's been a good year for eating in Oakland and I think it will only get better.

Lissa Doumani, Terra/Ame: I don't know if it is best but it is certainly the fastest expanding, Oakland

Jessica Battilana, 7x7: Oh, come on. Is there any neighborhood that has the diversity, the breadth, the depth and the variety that you find in the Mission? And since I just moved to the Lower Haight I can say that without sounding like a total jerk. It’s nice to see new restaurants opening in other neighborhoods, of course, but they are still playing a game of catch-up.

Ryan Farr, 4505 Meats: Thursday's Ferry Building for lunch, Mission

Sarah Sung, UrbanDaddy: The Mission, with close second in Oakland

Bruce Hill, Picco/Bix: The Mission

Joe Hargrave, Tacolicious: The Mission (and the Richmond too).

Nish Nadaraja, Yelp: North of the Panhandle, beeyotches!

Brock Keeling: SFist: SOMA

Rajat Parr, RN74: Mission

Lucchesi: Pound for pound, the Mission is still the best dining 'hood in the Bay for sure, but did it have the best year? Highlights: Limon's return, Flour + Water, Schmidt's, Saison, new chefs at Bar Tartine and Bruno's, the various pop-ups and ... Urban Burger? The Castro had a wealth of improvements (Starbelly, Frances, Blackbird, Chilango). Oakland made some huge strides this year too, but for every standout (Adesso, Commis, Boot & Shoe, maybe Pican), there were also a number of high-profile spots that could/should be a lot better (Lake Chalet, Bocanova, Miss Pearl's, Ozumo). So I'll opt for a neighborhood that no one went for: Pac Heights, which saw SPQR reinvent itself to a win, Baker & Banker, Woodhouse, Fraiche, Out the Door, plus Dosa and Pizzeria Delfina opening in late '08 (and even La Salsa closed!). Nothing incredibly ground-breaking, but quality/quantity both went way up in the last 14 months, and still you've got the proximity to the Korean joints on the other side of Geary and recession-friendly Japantown. Also, Benihana.

Now it's your turn. Nominate your best dining neighborhood in the comments.

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