Restaurant Review

Dishing 2012

Appetite: 2012's top new restaurants brought surprise tastes, culinary depth

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virginia@bayguardian.com

APPETITE The past year saw a number of openings I hope will be around for years to come — here is my list, in order, of my favorites. As ever, my goal is to include more affordable spots alongside midrange or upscale openings, considering range and uniqueness. It being December, I cannot strictly cover the calendar year so, with each choice open at least two months, the opening date range goes back to October 2011 for a full year.

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Orexi

West Portal's delicious, midrange, homestyle Greek secret is out

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virginia@bayguardian.com

APPETITE West Portal has long warmed my heart. Maybe it's the removed setting, tucked in the shadow of Twin Peaks where T line ends and the M emerges. Or it's a sense of stepping back in time to a 1970s San Francisco, a sleepy area unfazed by trends and hipsterization. It's a family neighborhood, residential and small town in feel — and like any corner of our city, has its food gems, like old school blue cheese buffalo burgers at charmingly dated Bulls Head, or vividly fresh sandwiches and salads at the original location of Market and Rye.Read more »

Sweet rollin'

The Bay's best new (and classic) bagels and doughnuts

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If on a winter's night ...

Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson and Coi's Daniel Patterson cook up a spectacular rustic feast

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Rich Table

Don't pass up the duck lasagna: this new Hayes Valley restaurant glows with satisfying warmth

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Not since State Bird Provisions and AQ opened towards the end of 2011 have I been as excited about an opening. Evan and Sarah Rich's new Rich Table is, kinks and all, even in the first month, well-rounded and satisfying. With efficient, informed service, reasonably priced wine list, few but well-crafted cocktails, a comfortable dining room with rustic-urban decor, and most importantly, a number of exquisite dishes, Rich Table is primed for greatness.Read more »

Aim for these

Delicious destination dishes at Bluestem, Marcella's, and Blackwood

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Most memorable restaurants boasts an overarching standard of quality to their menus. Other times, one dreams of specific items from certain spots. Here are a few places worth trekking out to for unique dream dishes.

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In FiDi, a Turkish gem

Perfect lamb, visionary seared branzino, and phyllo delights at Machka

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Cocktail harvest

Appetite: Goose and Gander and The Thomas bring cocktail culture to Wine Country

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Beer for dinner

BEER + WINE ISSUE Two new restaurants foreground tasty brews, and SF's unique new cider bar tickles taste buds

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Dixie

The New Southern restaurant whistles, but doesn't quite sing

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE A fledgling new restaurant is a work in progress, evolving. Often I'll visit restaurants in their opening week, then return three to four weeks later, noticing a marked improvement in rhythm and flow, if not a dramatic change in food (often first food impressions prove to be consistent).Read more »