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SF’s Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2017: Robin, China Live, and More

Who made a splash in the dining scene this year

Patricia Chang

Welcome to Year in Eater 2017, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months. For 2017’s final week, Eater SF will be posting questions daily about San Francisco’s restaurant scene in the past year, with answers from those who know it best: Eater editors.

Today’s topic: What were your top restaurant newcomers of 2017?

Carolyn Alburger, Eater Cities Director

China Live for out-of-town guests. China Live for an impromptu night out. China Live for a fun group dinner. I kept recommending and going back to this restaurant in 2017. The pan-fried dumplings are worth the trip alone.

I’m also a big fan of the feeling and the food at Alba Ray’s in the Mission. There are boudin balls and a great cocktail with bourbon, citrus, and grenadine that is sweet but will still punch you in the face.

Hillary Dixler Canavan, Restaurant Editor, Eater National

China Live is opening of the year that most impacted how I regularly dine out, in that now I go to China Live... A Lot. I've never had trouble walking in without a reservation (which I so appreciate), the food is just killer, and it feels like a night out.

My other pick for top newcomer is Robin. Wow did San Francisco need this. Sushi in San Francisco, by and large, isn't where it should be — the (too) few great places are too expensive to ever really go with any regularity, and the places that aren't too expensive tend to be disappointing (and that's being generous). But Robin is different, offering a creative and high-quality omakase with an extremely reasonable starting price of $79 per person. Plus, it's fun there.

Greg Morabito, Pop Culture Editor, Eater National

Eight Tables, International Smoke, RT Rotisserie, The Charter Oak

Rachel Levin, Eater SF Critic

Duna, Robin, Eight Tables, RT Rotisserie, Hook Fish

Ellen Fort, Eater SF Editor

Robin is fun, inventive, and a generally cool place. RT Rotisserie is just so good, every time (even the salad, a sleeper hit at a rotisserie restaurant). China Live every time, for everyone.

International Smoke

301 Mission Street, , CA 94105 (415) 722-2138 Visit Website


983 Valencia Street, , CA 94110 (415) 484-1206 Visit Website

China Live

644 Broadway, , CA 94133 (415) 788-8188 Visit Website


620 Gough Street, , CA 94102 (415) 548-2429 Visit Website

RT Rotisserie

101 Oak Street, , CA 94102 (415) 829-7086 Visit Website