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Nine Overrated Bay Area Restaurants

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Seventy-seven comments later (and counting), the people have spoken. For every great restaurant in the Bay Area, there is one that draws crowds, but just doesn't live up to the hype. Despite bustling dining rooms and difficult reservations, diners may notice the food isn't that amazing, or the service is lacking. Why are these restaurants so busy?

In compiling this map, we read through reader comments and emails, compared online reviews and ratings, and made some critical calls. Restaurants that were not already very busy were left off. Make no mistake: just because a restaurant is overrated doesn't mean the food is horrible. In fact, some people live for hype alone. To show respect where it is due, we have also called out the redeeming qualities at each of the spots on this list.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Stinking Rose

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325 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 781-7673
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Nothing is safe from a whole roasted garlic clove at The Stinking Rose—not bread, not beef, not the window display, not even dessert. A true dining mystery, it remains a regular on the tourist and 21st birthday party circuits.

2. Boogaloos

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3296 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 824-3211
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Is it the vegetarian herb-cream gravy? The wrap-around patio? The "hip urban" crowd? Whatever it is, nothing can keep the long lines from finding Boogaloo's, even though they've been shuttered for vermin infestation, and even though they serve vegetarian herb-cream gravy.

3. Incanto

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1550 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 641-4500
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Food industry mega-star Chris Cosentino is the draw at Incanto, the overrated restaurant inductee receiving the most votes among Eater readers.

4. Beretta

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1199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 695-1199
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In 2008, a stellar Bauer review kicked off Beretta's insane buzz. Consistently great cocktails have kept it going. But many Eater readers feel the "smug" service doesn't warrant the super long lines.

5. Chez Panisse

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1517 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 548-5525
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There's no question that Alice Waters has achieved miracles for the farm-to-table movement, but Chez Panisse has become more of a tourist mecca than anything else in recent years.

6. Ton Kiang

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5821 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 387-8273

One reader summed up the sentiment of many, calling Ton Kiang dim sum "white people-y." Also: the lines seem to be growing in inverse proportion to the quality of the food.

7. Gary Danko

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800 North Point St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 749-2060
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Widely beloved and sought out by tourists, conventioneers and expense-accounters, Gary Danko charges prices that follow suit. You'll eat delicious things here, but the California seasonal style of food—things like striped bass with gnocchi or herb-crusted lamb with polenta—can be had for fewer dollar signs at other San Francisco hotspots.

8. Burma Superstar Restaurant

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309 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 387-2147

Originally made popular by the Yelp community, Burma Superstar gets attention for its hard-to-find-in-SF dishes like tea leaf salad and samusa soup, but in most instances the quality of food doesn't live up to the enormous lines and waits on a nightly basis.

9. The Slanted Door

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(415) 861-8032
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Although Erik Adkins' cocktails are among some of the most underrated in the city, many of the dishes on Charles Phan's menu here can be found for a third of the price at other Vietnamese restaurants around town. Still, Charles Phan's mothership is always, always packed. A reader adds: "It was so much better when it was a hole in the wall on Valencia."

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1. The Stinking Rose

325 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Nothing is safe from a whole roasted garlic clove at The Stinking Rose—not bread, not beef, not the window display, not even dessert. A true dining mystery, it remains a regular on the tourist and 21st birthday party circuits.

325 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Boogaloos

3296 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Is it the vegetarian herb-cream gravy? The wrap-around patio? The "hip urban" crowd? Whatever it is, nothing can keep the long lines from finding Boogaloo's, even though they've been shuttered for vermin infestation, and even though they serve vegetarian herb-cream gravy.

3296 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94110

3. Incanto

1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

Food industry mega-star Chris Cosentino is the draw at Incanto, the overrated restaurant inductee receiving the most votes among Eater readers.

1550 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131

4. Beretta

1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

In 2008, a stellar Bauer review kicked off Beretta's insane buzz. Consistently great cocktails have kept it going. But many Eater readers feel the "smug" service doesn't warrant the super long lines.

1199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

5. Chez Panisse

1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

There's no question that Alice Waters has achieved miracles for the farm-to-table movement, but Chez Panisse has become more of a tourist mecca than anything else in recent years.

1517 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709

6. Ton Kiang

5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

One reader summed up the sentiment of many, calling Ton Kiang dim sum "white people-y." Also: the lines seem to be growing in inverse proportion to the quality of the food.

5821 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

7. Gary Danko

800 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Widely beloved and sought out by tourists, conventioneers and expense-accounters, Gary Danko charges prices that follow suit. You'll eat delicious things here, but the California seasonal style of food—things like striped bass with gnocchi or herb-crusted lamb with polenta—can be had for fewer dollar signs at other San Francisco hotspots.

800 North Point St
San Francisco, CA 94109

8. Burma Superstar Restaurant

309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

Originally made popular by the Yelp community, Burma Superstar gets attention for its hard-to-find-in-SF dishes like tea leaf salad and samusa soup, but in most instances the quality of food doesn't live up to the enormous lines and waits on a nightly basis.

309 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

9. The Slanted Door

Vallejo - San Francisco Ferry Bldg, CA

Although Erik Adkins' cocktails are among some of the most underrated in the city, many of the dishes on Charles Phan's menu here can be found for a third of the price at other Vietnamese restaurants around town. Still, Charles Phan's mothership is always, always packed. A reader adds: "It was so much better when it was a hole in the wall on Valencia."

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