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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.

1. Swan Oyster Depot

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1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

2. Slanted Door

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San Francisco Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA 94105

3. Bix Restaurant

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56 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133

4. Ryoko Restaurant & Bar

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619 Taylor St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Perbacco

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230 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

6. Canteen

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817 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

7. SPQR

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1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

8. DOSA on Fillmore

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1700 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

9. Spruce

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3640 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94118

10. Nopa

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560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

11. Aziza

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5800 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

12. Contigo

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1320 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

13. Baker & Banker

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1701 Octavia St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 351-2500
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14. Frances

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3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-3870
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15. Incanto

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1550 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131

16. Beretta

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1199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

17. The Alembic

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1725 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 666-0822
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18. Tony's Pizza Napoletana

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1570 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133

19. Range

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842 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

20. Lers Ros Thai

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730 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 931-6917
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21. Foreign Cinema

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St Mary & St Martha Lutheran Church, 1050 S Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110-2616

22. Delfina/Pizzeria Delfina

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3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

23. Bar Bambino

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2931 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

24. Flour and Water

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2401 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(212) 965-0955
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25. Zaré at Fly Trap

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606 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94105

26. Wayfare Tavern

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558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 772-9060
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27. Lung Shan Restaurant\Mission Street Food

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2234 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-5710
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28. Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

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398 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 551-1590
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29. La Taqueria

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2889 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 285-7117

30. Roam Artisan Burgers

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1785 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 440-7626
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31. La Ciccia Restaurant

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291 30th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 550-8114
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32. Gitane Restaurant & Bar

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6 Claude Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 788-6686
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33. La Torta Gorda

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2833 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 642-9600
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34. Zuni Cafe

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1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
((415) 552-2522
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35. Bar Crudo

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655 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 409-0679
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36. Cotogna

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490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 775-8508
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37. Izakaya Sozai

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1500 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 681-7150
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38. Commonwealth

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2224 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 355-1500
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1. Swan Oyster Depot

1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

2. Slanted Door

San Francisco Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA 94105

San Francisco Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA 94105

3. Bix Restaurant

56 Gold St, San Francisco, CA 94133

56 Gold St
San Francisco, CA 94133

4. Ryoko Restaurant & Bar

619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

619 Taylor St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Perbacco

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

230 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

6. Canteen

817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

817 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

7. SPQR

1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

8. DOSA on Fillmore

1700 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

1700 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

9. Spruce

3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118

3640 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94118

10. Nopa

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

11. Aziza

5800 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

5800 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

12. Contigo

1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

1320 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

13. Baker & Banker

1701 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94109

1701 Octavia St
San Francisco, CA 94109

14. Frances

3870 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

3870 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

15. Incanto

1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

1550 Church St
San Francisco, CA 94131

Related Maps

16. Beretta

1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

1199 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

17. The Alembic

1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

1725 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

18. Tony's Pizza Napoletana

1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

1570 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133

19. Range

842 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

842 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

20. Lers Ros Thai

730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

730 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109

21. Foreign Cinema

St Mary & St Martha Lutheran Church, 1050 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110-2616

St Mary & St Martha Lutheran Church, 1050 S Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110-2616

22. Delfina/Pizzeria Delfina

3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

3621 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

23. Bar Bambino

2931 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

2931 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

24. Flour and Water

2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

2401 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110

25. Zaré at Fly Trap

606 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94105

606 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94105

26. Wayfare Tavern

558 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111

558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111

27. Lung Shan Restaurant\Mission Street Food

2234 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

2234 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

28. Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

398 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

398 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102

29. La Taqueria

2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

2889 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

30. Roam Artisan Burgers

1785 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

1785 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

31. La Ciccia Restaurant

291 30th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

291 30th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121

32. Gitane Restaurant & Bar

6 Claude Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

6 Claude Ln
San Francisco, CA 94108

33. La Torta Gorda

2833 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

2833 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

34. Zuni Cafe

1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

1658 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

35. Bar Crudo

655 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

655 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

36. Cotogna

490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

490 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

37. Izakaya Sozai

1500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

1500 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

38. Commonwealth

2224 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

2224 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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