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The Biggest Dining Grievances of 2018

What annoyed and angered people in 2018, from bussing their own tables to poke


Welcome to Year in Eater 2018, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the last year through input from the city’s top food writers. Next up, Eater editors and friends of Eater were asked to dish: What was your biggest dining grievance of 2018?

Paolo Lucchesi, food editor at SF Chronicle: I know it is extremely hard to do business in S.F., but I do wish that restaurateurs and chefs would stop blaming closures on the city, or neighborhoods, or tech companies, or the rising minimum wage. It’s OK to take some responsibility.

Greg Morabito, pop culture editor for Eater National: So many boring-ass Italian restaurants.

Caleb Pershan, senior editor at Eater SF: See previous response: The closure of the Fremont Diner! What! How?! Why?! I still don’t get it.

Janelle Bitker, Eater SF reporter: That a certain man still owns certain restaurants and that people still fill them every day.

Rachel Levin, former Eater SF critic and author of upcoming Wise Sons cookbook: Mm maybe bussing my own tables.

Peter Kane, editor-in-chief of SF Weekly: I’m not loving how serving utensils have started to disappear, but dessert is seriously collapsing almost everywhere (for several reasons).

Esther Mobley, wine and spirits critic at SF Chronicle: When restaurants don’t list menu prices on their websites. These days you never know whether you’re walking into a financial landmine. Thank goodness for the diners who post menu photos on Yelp! (Full disclosure: I inherited this grievance from Paolo.)

Jonathan Kauffman, food reporter at SF Chronicle: That people can’t get enough of poke.

Marcia Gagliardi, founder of Tablehopper and columnist for KQED’s Table Talk: That Freds at Barneys New York, San Francisco thought SF would be down with a menu transported from 1992.

Ellen Fort, editor of Eater SF: I will continue to hate on tiny, thimble-sized water glasses that must be refilled exactly one hundred times to maintain hydration. Also, why can’t fine-dining chefs just admit when they say their restaurant will be “casual” they just mean pricey a la carte? It’s going to be fine either way, so long as people know what they’re signing up for.

Virginia Miller, founder of The Perfect Spot, freelance food/drink writer and editor: “I remain weary of copycat or “safe” menus, heavy on the basics we’ve seen a million times (deviled eggs, avocado toast, fried brussels sprouts, even octopus dishes, and the trillionth elevated burger). Same applies for cocktails (ginger beer-based, Negroni and Sazerac variations and others it takes little skill to make or are so overdone, it’s time to highlight more unsung classics — like an Old Pal or Brunelle).