The Mission's Delfina. [Photo: Eater SF Flickr Pool/darrendines]
As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. So far we've heard their takes on standbys, newcomers, and one word to describe the year. What neighborhoods drew them to dine? The responses, unedited and in no particular order, below:
Q: What was the best dining neighborhood in 2012?
Josh Sens, San Francisco Magazine: Obvious to say, but the Mission
Brock Keeling, SFist: Anywhere but the Mission.
Jonathan Kauffman, Tasting Table: Clearly, this is the year when Valencia Street jumped the shark. No, really, people: OPEN YOUR DAMN RESTAURANT SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Marcia Gagliardi, Tablehopper: The Mission continues to have the strongest tractor beam—it's all MC Hammer/"Can't Touch This!" But Hayes Valley is definitely coming on strong.
Jesse Hirsch, The Examiner: It's not the best dining neighborhood in the city, but the Bayview is definitely coming up. One to watch.
Jane Goldman, CHOW.com: the best dining neighborhood is still the Mission. Delfina, Locanda, St. Vincent, Local's Corner, Jasmine Tea House, Cha-Ya, Bar Bambino, Dosa, Range, Mission Chinese, Bar Tartine, Tacolicious, Lolo...I've come nowhere near to listing every good place, and I still bet you can't come up with a longer list for any other neighborhood.
Virginia Miller, SF Bay Guardian: Though I see Dogpatch and Lower Fillmore as blossoming areas to watch, Hayes Valley is vying for the year's "it" food neighborhood. Certainly newcomer Rich Table elevates the game, while outdoor Proxy Project, a Euro-style-beer-garden-meets-modern-urban-food-park, is a gathering place every neighborhood would be so lucky to have. Two Sisters, Taste, Smugglers Cove, Lers Ros Thai, Boxing Room, Nojo, Absinthe, Arlequin's garden cafe, Suppenkuche, etc? the palate smiles in Hayes Valley.
Anna Roth, SF Weekly: I mean, you kind of have to say the Mission right? Which already had quite a dining scene before Abbot's Cellar, Craftsman & Wolves, Gajalee, Namu Gaji, St. Vincent, Central Kitchen, Wise Sons, Pig & Pie, Lolina, Dandelion Chocolate, Mission Bowling, and who knows how many other restaurants opened last year.
Grant Marek, Thrillist: Outer Sunset. Hahahaha, j/k. The Mission. Especially Wise Sons.
Amy Sherman, Bay Area Bites: The Mission and the Valencia Street corridor in particular.
Paolo Lucchesi, Inside Scoop SF: When your newcomer tally includes Wise Sons, Local's Corner, Namu Gaji, Izakaya Yuzuki and Southern Pacific before even mentioning Valencia, the Mission wins again. Maybe we should start dividing the Mission up into quadrants so this can be a fair question every year. But since we're playing for second place at this point, Old Oakland had a pretty big year with District, Borgo Italia, Miss Ollie's and company at that intersection; hopefully it can sustain its momentum.