As is the custom over at Chron, The Bauer Call came out with his top 10 new restaurants of 2011 on the first of the year, and—shockingly, perhaps—the list only contains two pizza places. After reminding us all that 2011 wasn't nearly as good a year in restaurants as 2010, he unloads a laundry list of the new spots he liked last year, but couldn't include—either because they're too young or they just barely missed the cut. Then he goes on to list his picks, in no particular order:
1. Cotogna: Bauer gave Quince's sister restaurant a gushing 3.5 star review in January of last year, so it's inclusion here isn't too surprising.
2. Mission Chinese Food: The dive atmosphere obviously made Bauer uncomfortable during his (2 star) review visits, but then "Few local restaurants have received more national publicity as this restaurant."
3. Fifth Floor: Mikey said it once in March, and now he says it again: "beautifully executed."
4. Ragazza: What can we say? Pizza makes the Bauer Belly smile. Ragazza's sister restaurant Gialina has long been one of his favorites, and Ragazza is among several pizza-centric restaurants that received over 2 stars this year.
5. El Paseo: Expect a nice 2012 re-review of this one: "My original rating was 2 1/2 stars; now it's worthy of three."
6. Nojo: He's got to get an izakaya on there. Since chef-owner Greg Dunmore came from Ame, this is the most pedigreed of the bunch—a no brainer.
7. Piccino: Dogpatch's new pizza restaurant gets points for putting "a face on the neighborhood." For that reason, Bauer compares it to Nopa. And the pizza is "stellar."
8. Bar Terra: Bauer says Lissa and Hiro Doumani's addition of cocktails and a more affordable "bar" is "brilliant."
9. Park Tavern: He already called it the Balthazar of the West Coast, the menus are "a major draw," and Inside Scoop contributor and Park Tavern co-owner Anna Weinberg "seems to live to make people happy."
10. Mateo's Cocina Latina: Ex-Masa's chef Mateo Granados already got three stars from Bauer, and he makes "some of the best tamales I've had."
· Top 10 new restaurants of 2011 [Chron]