2012 The World's 100 Best Restaurants List

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2012 The World's Best 100 Best Restaurants (click the blue for the spots I've eaten at):

1).    Noma - Copenhagen, Denmark
2).    El Celler de Can Roca - Girona, Spain
3).    Mugaritz - San Sebastian, Spain
4).    D.O.M - Sao Paolo, Brazil
5).    Osteria Francescana - Modena, Italy
6).    Per Se - New York, USA
7).    Alinea - Chicago, USA
8).    Arzak - San Sebastian, Spain
9).    Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - London, England
10).  Eleven Madison Park - New York, USA
11).  Steirereck - Vienna, Austria
12).  L'Atelier Saint Germain de Joel Robuchon - Paris, France
13).  The Fat Duck - Bray, England
14).  The Ledbury - London, England
15).  Le Chateaubriand - Paris, France
16).  L'Arpege - Paris, France
17).  Pierre Gagnaire - Paris, France
18).  L'Astrance - Paris, France
19).  Le Bernardin - New York, USA
20).  Frantzen/Lindeberg - Stockholm, Sweden
21).  Oud Sluis - Sluis, Netherlands
22).  Aqua - Wolfsburg, Germany
23).  Vendome - Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
24).  Mirazur - Menton, France
25).  Daniel - New York, USA
26).  Iggy's - Singapore
27).  Narisawa - Tokyo, Japan
28).  Nihonryori RyuGin - Tokyo, Japan
29).  Quay - Sydney, Australia
30).  Schloss Schauenstein - Furstenau, Switzerland
31).  Asador Etxebarri - Atxondo, Spain
32).  Le Calandre - Rubano, Italy
33).  De Librije - Zwolle, Netherlands
34).  Faviken - Jarpen, Sweden
35).  Astrid y Gaston - Lima, Peru
36).  Pujol - Mexico City, Mexico
37).  Momofuku Ssam Bar - New York, USA
38).  Biko - Mexico City, Mexico
39).  Waku Ghin - Singapore
40).  Quique Dacosta - Denia, Spain
41).  Mathias Dahlgren - Stockholm, Sweden
42).  Hof van Cleve - Kruishoutem, Belgium
43).  The French Laundry - Yountville, USA
44).  Amber - Hong Kong, China
45).  Vila Joya - Albufeira, Portugal
46).  Il Canto - Siena, Italy
47).  Bras - Laguiole, France
48).  Manresa - Los Gatos, USA
49).  Geranium - Copenhagen, Denmark
50).  Nahm - Bangkok, Thailand
51).  Mani - Sao Paolo, Brazil
52).  Bo Innovation - Hong Kong, China
53).  Les Amis - Singapore
54).  Caprice - Hong Kong, China
55).  Ristorante Cracco - Milan, Italy
56).  Chez Dominique - Helsinki, Finland
57).  The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais - Franschloek, South Africa
58).  Coi - San Francisco, USA
59).  Combal Zero - Turin, Italy
60).  Varvary - Moscow, Russia
61).  Marque - Sydney, Austrailia
62).  Malabar - Lima, Peru
63).  Attica - Melbourne, Austrailia
64).  La Maison Troisgros - Roanne, France
65).  Sant Pau-carme Ruscalleda - Sant Pol De Mar, Spain
66).  Jean Georges - New York, USA
67).  Martin Berasategui - San Sebastian, Spain
68).  Restaurant Andre - Singapore
69).  Spondi - Athens, Greece
70).  Dal Prescatore - Mantuna, Italy
71).  Roberta Sudbrack - Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
72).  La Vie - Osnabruck, Germany
73).  Maison Pic - Valence, France
74).  The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
75).  Restaurant Relae - Copenhagen, Denmark
76).  Tetsuya's - Sydney, Austrailia
77).  Blue Hill At Stone Barns - Westchester, USA
78).  Guy Savoy - Paris, France
79).  Momofuku Ko - New York, USA
80).  Viajante - London, UK
81).  La Grenouillere - La Madelaine Sous Montreuil-sue-Mer, France
82).  Robuchon a Galera - Macau, China
83).  Zuma - Dubai, UAE
84).  Bukhara - New Delhi, India
85).  Die Schwarzwaldstube - Baiersbronn, Germany
86).  Tantris - Munich, Germany
87).  Septime - Paris, France
88).  Le Gavroche - London, England
89).  Piazza Duomo - Alba, Italy
90).  Masa - New York, NY
91).  Landhaus Bacher - Mautern, Austria
92).  In De Wulf - Dranouter, Belgium
93).  Lung King Heen - Hong Kong, China
94).  Hibiscus - London, England
95).  Mr And Mrs Bund - Shanghai, China
96).  La Petite Maison - Dubai, UAE
97).  RestaurantSat Bains - Nottingham, England
98).  Chez Panisse - Berkeley, USA
99).  Chaika - Moscow, Russia
100). Hakkasan Mayfair - London, England

4505 Meats

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4505 Meats is located in the far back of the SF Farmers Market on the right side (right next to Namu).  The huge crowds in this area makes it a little hard to find this booth.  They serve breakfast items as well as lunch items on Saturday mornings.
Buried under a pile of their housemade chicharonnes and kim chee (made by Namu) is a hot dog.  A decent snap to the dog, but nothing else stood out.  The zilla style (adding chicharonnes and kim chee) option on the hot dog didn't make this dog any better.  I noticed a lot of people ordering it on their burgers though.  I found the kim chee too sour and the chicharonnes hard to fit into each bite.
(cheese)burger at 4505 Meats - #57 on 2012 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
An incredibly juicy burger, but a little on the salty side.  Reminded me of the Big Mac with the dressing similar to that of Thousand Island.  Not sure what was up with the sad leaf of lettuce, reminded me of a McDonalds burger.  Many people think this is the best burger in SF.  I have to digress that I've had better.
One thing that I do agree that 4505 does well is their bag of chicharrones.  Crackling, fat chunks melting in your mouth with a hint of spiciness.  I can never bring myself to only take a couple pieces and end up eating the whole bag. 

Address:                          4505 Meats                                       
                                                Ferry Building Farmers Market (Sat)                                       
                                                San Francisco, CA   
Type:                                  burger/sandwiches

Popular Chomps:   cheeseburger                                      
                                                zilla dog                                      
                                                4505 chicharrones

Chomp worthy:       4505 chicharrones


Scream Sorbet

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Tucked in a quiet corner of the Ferry Building farmers market made this booth a little difficult to find.  Its located in the front of the ferry building on the right side close to the staircase.

Today's flavors.

Any seasonal flavor at Scream Sorbet - #14 on 2012 7x7 SF's Top 100 Eats
Two scoops of seasonal fruit flavors: white guava (bottom) and tangelo (a cross between a grapefruit/pomelo and tangerine) (top).  Super refreshing and bursting with fresh fruit flavor.  It's like eating the actual fruit.  The white guava has a subtle sweetness with a slight pulpy texture of guava juice and the tangelo is citrus and tart. 

Address:                          Scream Sorbet
                                                Ferry building farmer's market (Saturdays)
                                                San Francisco, CA  

Type:                                  dessert

Popular chomps:    pistacio
                                                white guava

Chomp worthy:         tangelo
                                                white guava         


Mexcal Taqueria

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 Another one down in my taco crawl across Redwood City.  A small sit down spot located on Middlefield Road.  This place has a little bit of everything from breakfast, seafood, and your usual burritos and tacos. 

Tacos run $1.25 each with fish (catfish) tacos at $3.15. Meat options: pollo, chorizo, carnitas, carne asada, lengua, pastor, pollo guisado, cabeza, and chile verde.  From bottom left, clockwise: pastor, asada, carnitas, and chorizo.  I wanted lengua, but they didn't have it that day.  Each taco came on two nicely griddled corn tortillas with a slightly cripy bottom layer.     
I almost couldn't tell that this was the pastor taco.  The bits of meat were a lot larger than I'm used to seeing and there was zero spiciness.

The chorizo here was oddly very sweet and not a hint of spiciness at all. 

The carnitas here comes in chunks rather than shredded.  It was bland, but tender.

The carne asada was pretty disappointing here.  It was tender, but almost too tender and lacked the texture of the crispy bits.  Really bland, but nothing a squeeze of lime could fix.

Address:                      Mexcal Taqueria
                                            3215 Middlefield
                                            Menlo Park, CA

Type:                              Mexican

Popular chomps: carnitas tacos
                                             carne asada tacos

Chomp worthy:      nothing            



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Now here to satisfy the sweet tooth in you on the penisula.  I've been to the San Francisco (Marina) location to pick up some sweet treats or as a reward for getting a healthy salad at Blue Barn next door. 
 I'm not a huge fan of bananas, but for some reason banana desserts appeal to me.  Creamy banana pudding with slices of fresh banana on the bottom.  A scoop of the vanilla wafter, banana pudding, a slice of banana, and some whipped cream make for the perfect bite.

Red velvet cake is my go to item here.  You can get it as a slice, a cake, or a cupcake.  The slices are moist, and soft with rich layers of cream cheese and a hint of chocolate taste.  Much better than Kara's and Sprinkles combined and if you're in the South Bay, better than Sweet Passions too! 

Address:                       SusieCakes
                                             642 Santa Cruz Ave.
                                             Menlo Park, CA

Type:                               bakery/desserts

Popular chomps:  red velvet cake
                                             whoopie pie

Chomp worthy:       red velvet cake
                                              banana pudding with Vanilla Wafers                                       



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Delarosa is the sister restaurant of the ever popular Beretta in the Mission.  The menus are very similar with the only difference that Delarosa serves pastas.  Having been to both, I prefer Delarosa over Beretta for pizza.  This place gets packed, especially being in the Marina, its stroller city.
Everything fried is good!  The crab arancini here is no exception.  Fried risotto style rice balls deep fried with shredded crab and gooey mozzarella.    

The standard in any pizza spot for me is the margherita pizza.  Delarosa steps it up and offers the addition of burrata for an extra 5.  That option is a no brainer for me.  The crust is crispy throughout the whole pizza.  The tarty tomato sauce and the super soft burrata with fresh leaves of basil makes a perfect flavor combination.  It's no Delfina, but its definitely the best pizza option in the Marina. 

Address:                        Delarosa
                                              2175 Chestnut St.
                                              San Francisco, CA
Type:                                 Italian/pizza

Popular Chomps:   margherita pizza with burrata
                                               meatballs in spicy marinara
                                                burrata bruschetta, hazelnut, honey
                                               dungeness crab arancini

Chomp worthy:        margherita pizza with burrata
                                               dungeness crab arancini


Comstock Saloon

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This prohibition inspired bar in the midst of the seedy part of North Beach serves up some fantastic libations and fare.  The simple dishes with a twist even lured Anthony Bourdain to visit on his Layover San Francisco episode.

The cheddar crackers were slighly cheesey with a crisp texture like wheat thins.  The bright red sauce that screamed sweet and sour sauce was actually a pepper jelly that packed a slight kick with sweet overtones.  The thick cream cheese alongside the pepper jelly on the cheddarcracker provided an unusal, but somewhat addicting flavor combination.

Corn fritters with a smoked pepper dip that reminded me of Frances's own bacon beignets without the bacon.  Not as crispy as I would have thought, especially when I think fritters.  More of a smooshy, pillowy, soft cloud.

The Rabbit 3-ways (from bottom right, clockwise):  terrine, griddled rillette, and chicken-fried.  The terrine overshadowed by the other 2 ways and never really given a second though after consumed.  It was a tie for which way was better between the rillette and the chicken fried.  The rillette, served on a crunch toast was almost like a corn beef hash.  Salty, but in a good way.  The chicken fried could have been a little more crispy, but the flavor made up for it.  Also, plated with a celery salad dressed in a pepper vinegar that helped cut out the salt and grease in your mouth.

A red sauce like tapatio meets tabasco only taken down a couple notches was provided for the griddled rillette.
#77 - Pickled egg (on the Hangtown Toast) at Comstock Saloon- 7x7's 2012 Top 100
A not too pickley egg on top of a dry toast and some even more dried up bacon helped inch my way towards completing the 7x7 2012 Top 100 list.  While it may have wowed the people of 7x7, I found the pickled slaw more interesting. 

Bone marrow in a pot pie?  Bone marrow eats for the lazy!  No scraping or fumbling needed to spread the jelly goodness.  Each bite had a bit of flakey crust with melt-in-your-mouth beef.  A huge heaping of wild arugula salad that served nicely as a palette cleanser after each rich, fatty bite of pot pie.

Only three desserts to choose from with carrot cake being the automatic eliminating option.  Chocolate parfait plopped on top of a thick orange marmalade, espresso cream and chocolate cookie crumbles.  Even though the description read chocolate...chocolate...chocolate...it tasted more like espresso.  Not a fan of the huge serving of orange marmalade.  At times I felt like I just scooped up a spoonful of jam straight from the jar into my mouth.

Bourbon pudding?  So redundant and repetitive all over the city.  Wow.  Comstock's has got to be the best version of this creamy dessert.  Hints of bourbon flavoring in every spoonful.  Best is the banana cake hidden in the bottom with slices of banana mixed in.  Moist and delicious.  It's possibly one of my favorite desserts in a long time.

Address:                        Comstock Saloon
                                              155 Columbus Ave.
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                                gastropub/American

Popular chomps:    beef shank bone marrow pot pie
                                               rabbit 3 ways
Chomp worthy:        rabbit 3 ways
                                               beef shank bone marrow pot pie
                                               bourbon pudding 


Super Duper Burgers

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 Summer's almost here and the mini heat wave in the city has got me thinking burgers!  I have a pretty decent sized list of burgers I'm trying to conquer.  A slew of Super Duper burgers have been popping up in almost all the neighborhoods in SF. 
They offer Straus organic soft serve shakes here:  vanilla, chocolate, cookies & cream, chocolate & fresh strawberries, and double chocolate & chips.  You could really taste the fresh strawberries in the chocolate & fresh strawberries shake.  Although the taste of the shake was really refreshing, the consistency was too watery.

 Two fries options available here:  french fries (regular) and the garlic fries, which comes with a heaping of fresh garlic and shredded aged cheddar.  They also offer the option of adding 3 dips for your fries:  super sauce, homemade mayo, and chipotle.  I actually ordered the 3 dip option, but they messed up on my order and forgot it.  The fries are a crunchier version of McDonald's fries, if that's your thing.  Personally, I like mine a little bit softer on the inside.
The regular burger, aka the super burger, are two patties made up of 8oz of niman ranch beef.  If that's too big you can opt for their mini burger, which is only 4oz.  Cheese and bacon can be added on for a little extra.  Their "everything on it" is lettuce, tomato, red onions, super sauce, jalapeno peppers, grilled onions, and pickles.  Bonus:  you can get an organic egg for an extra dollar.  I didn't see this otherwise I would have definitely gotten that.  The regular burger is pretty hearty and juicy.  I like how they add the cheese between both patties of meat for the super burger.  All the burgers come medium unless you request otherwise.  The burger is well proportioned and you don't feel its too much meat or the toppings overpower the burger.  Pretty satisfying. and the bun held up well till the last bite.  The last couple burgers I've had the buns were being problematic.

Being a San Francisco based chain, you have to show some love to the vegetarians.  Besides salads, Super Duper has a veggie burger and a portobello sandwich.  I went for the portobello with the jack cheese and avocado extras.  One gripe about this is that I wished they told me the portobello was lightly battered and deep fried.  I was a little miffed at the fact my portobello wasn't its usual grilled self, but the crunchy texture was surprisingly well played in the sandwich.  Super juicy and flavorful, I almost like the portobello more than the super burger.
Super Duper's special touch are the housemade pickles.  A cross between the crunchiness of a dill pickle but the sweetness of a sweet pickle.  I'm a sour pickle person, so I found these pickles to be a pass.

Address:                          Super Duper Burgers
                                                721 Market St.
                                                San Francisco, CA                    

Type:                                   burgers

Popular chomps:      super burger
                                                 portobello sandwich
                                                 Straus organic shakes
                                                 Straus soft serve cones

Chomp worthy:          super burger
                                                 portobello sandwich


Sam's Chowder House

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A weekend of gorgeous sunny weather in the Bay Area made me think that it would spill over to Half Moon Bay.  Apparently not, but the overcast didn't stop people from lining up outside Sam's Chowder House waiting for them to open.  I actually made a reservation for the opening time (11:00AM), but most people were walk in and I noticed that the restaurant wasn't even filled till after noon.

The bread was disappointing.  No crusty bread for dipping. 

When they say a bowl of New England clam chowder here, they really mean a bowl.  This has got to be the largest bowl of clam chowder I've ever had.  You could probably get away with ordering a cup for two people to share here.  The chowder here is a little too watery for my taste.  It lacked the thick and chunky characteristic that I love in clam chowders.  Also, the clams were pretty minimal and looking for them took some effort.
Cioppino with a hearty tomato based sauce with a medley of seafood.  This shellfish stew came with a mixture of mussels, clams, prawns, rock cod, and Dungeness crab.  The shrimps were a little overcooked, but the rest of the seafood was generous and fresh.  The mussels and the clams were probably the highlights of this stew.  The soft bread sops up the broth quite nicely.

Sam's most famous item is the lobster roll ($21.95) and comes with coleslaw and chips.  I liked the how the coleslaw wasn't drowned in mayo and still retained its crunchy texture.   I noticed a lot of people substituted their chips for their Old Bay french fries.  Probably in hindsight I should have done this, but I was too eager to get the lobster roll on my table as soon as possible.       
The close up of the lobster roll.  You can see its overflowing with lobster meat, mostly claw meat.  Actually, there is so much meat that there are chunks of lobster on the tray behind the sandwich that probably fell off en route to the table.  The roll is butter and toasted with a fluffy center.  There is a sprinkling of fresh celery on top of the lobster that I found to give it a nice crunchy texture and fresh flavor with each bite.  Overall, it was pretty good (Ad Hoc's is still #1 in my book). 

Address:                              Sam's Chowder House
                                                    4210 N Cabrillo Hwy
                                                    Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Type:                                     seafood

Popular chomps:         lobster roll
                                                    clam chowder

Chomp worthy:             lobster roll



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I was wandering into Sandbox bakery looking for the rice burger on the 2012 7x7 list, but they told me they were serving the rice burgers in their new cafe/restaurant 903, which was located 2 doors down.  903 is a small takeout/dine in cafe that serves Asian food focusing on Japanese cuisine.

The rice burger was made to order.  Small patties of rice and lightly pan fried to be used as the "bun"of the burger.  A siracha based sauce is lightly spread on the inside of the "buns".  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this rice burger.  OMG!  The burger was so flavorful and the only place I've tasted karaage this juicy and flavorful was at Sumika in Los Altos.  To my surprise the rice bun actually held up for the most part.  It would be nice for it to be a little more crispy like a onigiri.  903 has two rice burgers - tofu and fried chicken with a side of salad.  I wasn't too crazy about the salad.  The dressing was a little sweet for my taste.  But  after this outstanding burger, I'm definitely going to be back to try the other rice burger and other items on the menu.

#79- Rice burger (fried chicken) at 903/Sandbox bakery - 7x7's 2012 Top 100

Address:                        903
                                              903 Cortland Ave.
                                              San Francisco, CA  

Type:                                Asian/Japanese

Popular chomps:    rice burger
                                               green tea chiffon cake

Chomp worthy:        fried chicken rice burger       


Com Tam Dat Thanh

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It's so hard to find a good com tam (broken rice) in SF.  I have to drive all the way to San Jose when I need a fix.  Com Tam Dat Thanh is one of a handful of places in San Jose to get good com tam. 
Don't know what to order?  You can never go wrong with the dac biet (special combination).  Seriously a little bit of everything:  bbq pork, grilled shrimp, an eggroll, minced shrimp on sugarcane, shrimp cake, and shredded pork.  My favorites were the minced shrimp on sugarcane and the bbq pork.  Best thing about com tam is pouring the nuoc mam (fish sauce) on top and letting it soak into the com tam.  Com tam soaks up the flavors of the meats and the fish sauce so perfectly. 
Another one of my favorite dishes, especially on a warm day, is bun (vermicelli noodles) with bbq chicken and an egg roll.  The "salad" under the vermicelli noodles is always so refreshing.  The grilled meats, especially the chicken and pork, are so delicious here.  The nuoc mam here is slightly sweeter than at most Vietnamese rice dish spots. 

Address:                        Com Tam Dat Thanh
                                              1055 Tully Rd.
                                              Ste A
                                              San Jose, CA

Type:                                Vietnamese/casual

Popular chomps:  com tam dishes

Chomp worthy:       com tam dishes        


El Farolito

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Will the bitter rivalry between San Diego burritos and Mission burritos ever end?  Probably not.  While its true for some reason we can't make a proper California burrito or carne asada fries, but we still have some pretty good Mexican food up in the bay area.  The only other thing thats just as good as the burritos at El Farolito - the quesadilla suiza (meat-preferably carne asada, sour cream, cheese, and avocado)!  Essentially the burrito without the rice (or "filler" as San Diego people refer to it as).  All I can say is that SD people nosh on this!  By the way, there are chunks of avocado in this quesadilla, you just can't see it in the picutre. 

Address:                        El Farolito
                                              2779 Mission St.
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                                Mexican/casual

Popular chomps:   super burritos
                                               quesadilla suiza

Chomp worthy:       super burritos
                                              quesadilla suiza          


Out The Door (California St.)

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This is the second time I've been to Out The Door and I'm only doing it to cross off one of the items on the 2012 7x7 list.  I'm really not a huge fan of Charles Phan or any of his establishments.  He has yet to wow me on any dishes or restaurants.  Better tasting dishes can be found elsewhere in the city.     
 Pork dumpling ($3)

It's so odd to me to see one steamed bun per order.  Most dim sum places are at least 2 per order.  Most people here seem to share one bun per table which is also strange to me.  The outside of the bun is quite fluffy and spongey, but the pork inside lacked any flavor.

The first time I came to Out The Door I ordered the beef pho and found it to be surprisingly tasty, but this time the broth lacked flavor and was too salty.  The noodles are extremely clumped together and its a struggle to loosen them up.  Probably the only tasty thing in this bowl of pho is the Nieman Ranch beef.  The beef is so tender and soaks up the broth well.

The usual pho accompaniments are served here, but they call it "aromatics" here.  For some reason, I find that hilarious.

#54 - Chicken porridge at Out The Door- 7x7's 2012 Top 100

The chicken porridge, jook, congee, or whatever you would like to call it, is really thick in consistency, which is a good start.  Also, the shredded chicken is surprisingly generous here, but has no flavor.  It's just a really bland bowl of porridge.

updated - Working my way through the 2012 7x7's SF big eat 100 things

Address:                        Out the Door
                                              2232 Bush St.
                                              San Francisco, CA

Type:                                Chinese/Vietnamese

Popular chomps:   papaya salad
                                               chicken porridge
                                               beef pho

Chomp worthy:        nothing