As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of fellow food-writer friends. We asked the group eight questions about the highs and lows of San Francisco dining over the past year, and we'll be running two compilations of their responses (which are in no particular order) each day.
Q: What was the best dining neighborhood of 2014?
Andrew Dalton, freelance: Between 4505 Burgers & BBQ and Brenda's Meat & Three, Divisadero became the city's #1 street for meat, southern food and unpretentious ampersands.
Rebecca Flint Marx, San Francisco Magazine: Based on personal experience? A dead heat between the Tenderloin, the Mission, and the entirety of Oakland.
Anna Roth, SF Weekly: Probably the Mission? Probably always the Mission? This year its upper and lower extremities saw some growth (Orenchi, Rintaro, and Plin above; Pizzahacker below). Honorable mention goes to Divisadero and Union Square for growing as dining destinations in their own right.
Amy Sherman, Cooking with Amy: The Mission, again, yawn. But Union Square added a tremendous number of places in the last year--Kin Khao, 398, Hogwash, Klyde and Aveline come to mind.
Sarah Sung, UrbanDaddy: I'm often in Hayes Valley these days, since it has a good mix of different kinds of places—from Nojo and Rich Table to Monsieur Benjamin and Souvla. Second place goes to the Tenderloin, with Kin Khao, Mikkeller Bar, Mr. Holmes, and Huxley. And if breweries count, then Dogpatch would be the brewery-centric third.
Rose Garrett, Hoodline: The Divisadero corridor has diversified beyond Nopa and gained some really great new additions (Brenda's Meat & Three, 4505 Burgers & BBQ), with standbys like Ragazza and Bar Crudo still going strong. I also would give a shoutout to Ziryab, which has a secret full bar and a kitchen that stays open late.
Virginia Miller, Zagat: I'm weary of the Mission dominating yet again, but it does in sheer numbers of "hot" openings (Lazy Bear, Loló, ABV, etc.) Certain SoMa blocks have become dense sources for quality weekday lunch, like a block near South Park where established greats like Garaje, HRD Coffee Shop and Dartealing have been joined by healthy deliciousness at Picnic on Third and Brittany-style crêpes at Crepe Madame.
Paolo Lucchesi, Inside Scoop: The Mission had the most significant openings, again. But shoutout to West Oakland for arrival of The Dock at Linden Street, the continued awesomeness of Fusebox, plus Brown Sugar Kitchen, Kilovolt, et al. Also, the area west of Union Square but east of the Tenderloin keeps making a push, with Kin Khao, The European/Aveline, Bartlett Hall, Hogwash...it probably needs a new neighborhood nickname soon.
Marcia Gagliardi, Tablehopper: I gotta hand it to the Divisadero corridor, it keeps coming on strong.
Sara Deseran, San Francisco Magazine: I still think Hayes Valley is really finding itself.
Pete Kane, SF Weekly: Divisadero is sexier, but the Castro's vast improvement deserves recognition.
Brock Keeling, 7x7: The TL or the Mission.
Tamara Palmer, The Bold Italic: Y'all probably want me to say the Mission or something, but nah. I think between The Progress, Brenda's Meat & Three and new Japanese places like Udon Mugizo, I've gotta give it up to the Moe this year—Fillmore!
Lauren Sloss, Tasting Table/SFist: Oakland, either Temescal or Uptown.
Jay Barmann, SFist: It's still the Mission. I mean, come on...Thrillist even declared it the best in the country.
Grant Marek, Thrillist: Crocker-Amazon. Kidding! The Mission, of course it is. If only for the sheer number of solid new restaurants and the fact that it's now home to one of the coolest dining concepts in the country in Lazy Bear.
Editor's note: Our tally once again puts the Mission in the lead with eight votes, followed by Divisadero and the Tenderloin, with four each.