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The 38 Essential San Francisco Restaurants, January 2012

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It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.

This time around, after much reflection and study of reader emails and comments, we're taking out Prospect due to last year's loss of chef Ravi Kapur and bar master Brooke Arthur. In its place goes Commonwealth, the little Mission restaurant that continues to push San Francisco dining in a modern molecular direction without pretension. We're also dropping Halu in favor of another down-to-earth Japanese joint in the Avenunes: Izakaya Sozai, and Quince is getting replaced by its younger, hipper sister Cotogna, because we can still eat Michael Tusk's pasta here, but in a more every day atmosphere, fueled by an innovative fixed price wine program, creative cocktails, and a state-of-the-art, wood-fired oven that doubles as a rotisserie and grill.

For those of you readying the pitchforks because your favorite restaurant isn't on the list, wouldn't it just be more productive to leave your thoughts in the comments? You can also state your cases for (or against) restaurants by sending a note over the tipline.

Additions and Subtractions:
· October, 2010: Frances, The Alembic, Nopalito, Baker & Banker, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, added; Coco 500, Zuni, Absinthe, Magnolia Brewery, Boulevard, dropped
· December, 2010: Mission Chinese Food, Absinthe, La Taqueria, La Ciccia, Gitane, Wayfare Tavern, Prospect, added; R&G Lounge, Coi, 15 Romolo, A16, Blue Bottle Caf&eacute, Tadich Grill, Sebo, dropped
· April, 2011: Zuni Cafe, La Torta Gorda, added; Town Hall, Nopalito, dropped
· July, 2011: Roam Artisan Burgers, Lers Ros Thai, added; Namu, Ame, dropped
· October, 2011: Bar Crudo, added; Maverick, dropped
· January, 2012: Cotogna, Izakaya Sozai, Commonwealth, added; Quince, Halu, Prospect, dropped

For more Eater 38 guides updated today across the Eater Universe, head over to Eater National.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Swan Oyster Depot

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Slanted Door

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Bix Restaurant

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Ryoko Restaurant & Bar

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Perbacco

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Canteen

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DOSA on Fillmore

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Contigo

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Baker & Banker

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Frances

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Incanto

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Beretta

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The Alembic

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Tony's Pizza Napoletana

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Lers Ros Thai

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Foreign Cinema

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Delfina/Pizzeria Delfina

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Bar Bambino

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Flour and Water

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Zaré at Fly Trap

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Wayfare Tavern

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Lung Shan Restaurant\Mission Street Food

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Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

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La Taqueria

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Roam Artisan Burgers

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La Ciccia Restaurant

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Gitane Restaurant & Bar

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La Torta Gorda

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Zuni Cafe

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Bar Crudo

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Cotogna

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Izakaya Sozai

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Commonwealth

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Swan Oyster Depot

Slanted Door

Bix Restaurant

Ryoko Restaurant & Bar

Perbacco

Canteen

SPQR

DOSA on Fillmore

Spruce

Nopa

Aziza

Contigo

Baker & Banker

Frances

Incanto

Related Maps

Beretta

The Alembic

Tony's Pizza Napoletana

Range

Lers Ros Thai

Foreign Cinema

Delfina/Pizzeria Delfina

Bar Bambino

Flour and Water

Zaré at Fly Trap

Wayfare Tavern

Lung Shan Restaurant\Mission Street Food

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

La Taqueria

Roam Artisan Burgers

La Ciccia Restaurant

Gitane Restaurant & Bar

La Torta Gorda

Zuni Cafe