The Chronicle, or more specifically food critic Michael Bauer, released their list of the Bay Area Top 100 restaurants. And by Bay Area they include such far flung places as Yountville, Walnut Creek and Paolo Alto. I took a perusal of the list and most of these places are either A) difficult to get into (see French Laundry) or B) way above my pay grade (again see French Laundry and Mina). But surprisingly to me I had actually been to 20 of the places which is more than I thought, less then I probably should have yet still enough to get a sense of Bay Area dining. Herewith I decided to run down the places I've been to in short to the point reviews in case you are wondering what the everyday eater thinks of them, so here we go.
Acquerello: quite possibly the best meal I've ever had. From the food to the wine pairings to the service to the black napkins that don't leave lint to the little stool my friends got to put their purses on. This is a high-end special occasion kind of place and if you have a birthday coming--get someone to take asap.
AQ: in a sketchy area of SOMA part of the new organic-sustainable-local restaurant movement. I reviewed this a few months ago--see here--and wasn't overwhelmed but hipsters out there with disposable income will love it.
Bar Agricole: another SOMA restaurant in a fancy architectural building. The foods was good, the desserts not so much, they put a lot of emphasis on the cocktail (probably because of the mark-up). It's a trendy night out for those who want to see and be seen.
Chez Panisse: mostly ok, though I don't remember being overwhelmed by it considering how much ink Alice Waters gets. You will have to make reservations months in advance and it's fine if you just want to say you've eaten there, like I did.
Coco500: about the only thing I remember liking here was the fried green bean appetizer. Everything else seemed kind of the same thing you see on every other San Francisco menu--a steak dish, a fish dish, a chicken dish, a veggie dish (pasta or rice) a handful of appetizers/salads and a couple desserts. It's another SOMA place but there are so many others to choose from.
Delfina: I wasn't as in awe of this place as many people are, again another standard menu (see above) the half chicken plate was fine. I do give props to the waitress as she really new her wines and tried really hard to find something I'd like--she didn't--but it was a great effort and I left a big tip.
Dosa: good South Indian fare done upscale. Can be a little pricey for what you get but I still enjoyed what I had and would go back--if someone else was paying.
Farallon: the decor alone is pretty spectacular and worth sneaking in to see. They are none for seafood but I have to say I had one of the best steaks in the city here--to me it out-shined the fish, go figure. This place will set you back a few clams also.
Foreign Cinema: I had fun here. Enjoyed the food, an amazing dessert though I can't quite remember what movie was playing. It is worth a trip to the bowels of the Mission to try out at least once.
Gialina/Ragazza: for some reason Bauer lumps these 2 places together, probably because they are owned by the same folks and they both serve pizza. Though Gialina is mostly just pizza and Ragazza does offer other menu items but as I reviewed a week or so ago--it is all about the pizza. Go to one or both, totally worth it.
That's the first ten, check back in a few days and I'll cover the rest.