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SF’s Hottest Dining Neighborhood of 2018

Which SF neighborhood reigned supreme

The kitchen at Pearl 1601
Patricia Chang

For this next segment of Year in Eater 2018, editors and friends of Eater were asked to to name the hottest neighborhood for dining in 2018. Which neighborhood saw some of the hottest openings, and boasts a high number of destination-worthy dining opportunities? Find out below.

Ellen Fort, editor of Eater SF: Two extremely delightful restaurants hit the Outer Richmond this year, adding to an already excellent general dining vicinity and turning eyes towards a very residential, foggy neighborhood. The Inner and Outer Richmonds now have Violet’s and Pearl 6101 in addition to Fiorella, PPQ Dungeness Island, Chili House, and all the gems on Clement Street.

Caleb Pershan, senior editor at Eater SF: The Richmond District, which, in a total twist, added exciting new restaurants, and now reps a couple spots on the Eater 38.

Janelle Bitker, Eater SF reporter: The Richmond has always had amazing immigrant-owned restaurants, but exciting newcomers this year like Violet’s and Pearl 6101 made it even more enticing.

Greg Morabito, pop culture editor for Eater National: This might sound like a Strong Wrong Take, but I’m a huge fan of Albany these days. Jaunita and Maude (AKA Harold and Maude, the only name I actually call it IRL) is clearly a neighborhood game-changer. But China Village is also one of my favorite places for Sichuan food, Hal’s Office serves my favorite coffee and overall vibes, and, improbably, iSlice is a terrific NY-style pizza place. Throw in the taco truck outside the Hotsy Totsy (seriously so amazing), Zaytoons for Mediterranean mixed grill, and Kim’s Cafe for banh mi, and you’ve got a crunchy less-than-square-mile dining district.

Peter Kane, editor-in-chief of SF Weekly: I don’t think there’s a clear standout this year the way 2017 belonged to Hayes Valley and Divisadero. Valencia Street definitely made a recovery in 2018, and the already-diverse Richmond is getting even better. The Bay Area’s overall center of gravity shifted closer to Oakland..

Paolo Lucchesi, food editor at SF Chronicle: Los Angeles?

Esther Mobley, wine and spirits critic at SF Chronicle: This may be influenced by the fact that I moved to the neighborhood last summer, but I think San Francisco’s Richmond District (especially the Outer Richmond) is on fire!

Jonathan Kauffman, food reporter at SF Chronicle: International Boulevard and Fruitvale. You could make the case that International Boulevard has been the best eating strip in the Bay Area for decades now, and if you did I would probably hug you, but with the addition of Reem’s, Nyum Bai and Temple Club it has added a layer of higher-priced, more cheffy places that seem to put a restaurant strip on the radar of people who think those define a great dining neighborhood.

Marcia Gagliardi, founder of Tablehopper and columnist for KQED’s Table Talk: Does it really matter if everyone is getting everything delivered?

Virginia Miller, freelance writer and editor at Outer Richmond. 10 years ago when I was the SF Bay Guardian critic, I wrote about our best and most unsung food neighborhood being Inner and Outer Richmond. It still is. Affordable and widely varied, the Richmond is where you can take your pick of Russian bakeries or markets, dig deep in most Asian cuisines and enjoy the best selection of Burmese restaurants in America.

Sleepier Outer Richmond has long been home to legends like Tommy’s, Pacific Cafe, PPQ Dungeness and Pizzetta 211, and more recent gems like Fiorella, Cassava, Red Tavern, Orson’s Belly, Tancca and Lokma. But with this year’s opening of Pearl 6101 and Violet’s barely a block from each other, plus Mourad Lahlou’s Amara on its way in the old Aziza space, Outer Richmond is a diverse mix of affordable restaurants and destination-worthy neighborhood spots for food and cocktails.