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Restaurant Experts Name the Top Newcomers of 2010

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Top Standbys. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein. We encourage your additions to the list in the comments.

Commonwealth, a popular newcomer. [Photo: Jennifer Yin]

Q: What are the top newcomers of 2010?

Sara Deseran, senior editor 7x7: Cotogna is kind of a perfect restaurant. It would be my new Pizzeria Delfina if it was nearer to my house.

Josh Sens, restaurant critic, San Francisco magazine: Ippuku, Commonwealth and Benu

Katie Sweeney, editor YumSugar: Saison, Roam Burgers, Comstock Saloon, Ragazza, Bar Agricole, Golden West

Scott Hocker, Tasting Table SF: Commonwealth, Hibiscus, HapaSF, Una Pizza Napoletana (despite the presumptuousness of the restaurant's slogan and my utter exhaustion with pizza), Mission Chinese Food, Knead Patisserie (a bakery not a restaurant, but an invaluable addition)

GraceAnn Walden, The Yummy Report and SF tour guide: Some of the best food I've enjoyed this year, was cooked by Chef Ed Vigil of San Rafael's Vin Antico. Squid ink ravioli stuffed with artichoke bits, crab and shrimp. Wow! I loved the following restaurants: Oenotri Napa, Osteria Coppa San Mateo, All Spice San Mateo, Radius SF, 25 Lusk SF

Stuart Schuffman, Broke-Ass Stuart: Hmm?I’m not always up on all the newest stuff, I usually get there a bit later than everyone else, but I really dug Hibiscus in Oakland. Did that open this year or last year?

Karen Palmer, editor Daily Candy SF: In no particular order: Commonwealth, Citizen's Band, Marlowe, Benu, Bar Agricole, Una Pizza Napoletana, Prospect, Wayfare Tavern.

Virginia Miller, The Perfect Spot SF: In an unprecedented year of restaurant openings, Commonwealth and Sons and Daughters blazed a new kind of fine dining trail. Prospect gets it right from food to cocktails to wine. The Sycamore does bar food (and roast beef sandwiches) one better. Comstock Saloon serves classy saloon fare and drink in a transporting setting. Plum and Gather (the latter opened Dec. '09) glow in the East Bay. Spoonbar and Farmstead are unique Wine Country newcomers.

Brock Keeling, editor SFist: 25 Lusk (the interior cancels out the naysayers), Fondue Cowboy (melted cheese always comes out on top), Marlowe (perfection, everything about it), Zero Zero (all hail the return of soft serve ice cream)

Kevin Blum, founder SF City Dish: I liked Alexander's Steakhouse, Nombe, Frances and Pica Pica Maize Kitchen.

Michele Mandell, publicist: I've yet to try all the newcomers. But some of my favorites are Barbacco ('nduja!), Zero Zero, Sons & Daughters, Bar Agricole, Prospect and the new Michael Mina.

Carolyn Jung, Food Gal: Attic in San Mateo -- Chef Tim Lyum opens a sort of Poleng Lounge-lite on the Peninsula with addicting Filipino-inspired dishes. Bourbon Steak -- Michael Mina's interpretation of a steak house is handsome, inviting and has something decadent for everyone. Plus, how can you not love a place that presents duck fat fries to every table the moment after you're seated? Baume in Palo Alto -- a taste of cutting-edge molecular gastronomy comes to Palo Alto, where you never know what far-out creation Chef Bruno Chemel is going to bring to your table. OK, I'm extending the parameters here just a little, since this place opened in November 2009, but Hachi Ju Hachi in Saratoga is only now getting the attention it deserves. Chef-Owner Jin Suzuki trained in Japan for years and takes his food very seriously. He adheres to the old-school methods of classic kaiseki, even going so far as to make his own tofu and salt. Also, the reincarnation of Saison into a full-scale restaurant that still manages to mix chic fare with a relaxed, casual setting.


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