It's the big announcement day for the Chronicle Top 100 Restaurants something that the paper, in previous years, took great pains to keep under wraps until the physical Sunday paper arrived in early May, but as of last year they're finally acknowledging the internet is a thing. Critic Michael Bauer spends the first five months of the year scouring the Bay Area and retracing his oft-traced steps, checking in on the tried-and-true spots of the Bay Area dining scene to see how they stack up against new arrivals. For at least five years now, Bauer has lamented the fact that he has to limit the list to just 100, when there are, in fact, more than 100 worthy places to eat in our great region. But this year he doesn't complain about that so much in his "state of Bay Area dining" address, though he does lament the rising price of entrées, as SF is catching up to places like New York where dishes north of $30 are now typical and just a year ago there were plenty of restaurants on the list where that wasn't the case. He also had more wiggle room on this year's Top 100 because a record five restaurants from last year's list closed in 2016, including the newly open Volta and Ninebark, and in a typical year, he says, it's usually only one or two that close.
Thankfully, though, and perhaps responding to criticism from years' past, the list is getting more diverse as more high-end ethnic spots enter the scene like August 1 Five, which is a new addition to the list, and he includes a newish steam table Chinese spot in Oakland, Tastee Steam Table, which is kind of surprising considering the meh review he gave it last month. And Bauer says in his introduction that this year he wanted to add some less expensive, well loved "places I go on my own dime," which "have as much integrity as restaurants like Benu and Boulevard." To that end, he re-adds La Taqueria, which held a place on this list back in the late 90's and gets added back now, and Indian street food spot Vik's Chaat in Berkeley.
The biggest omission: Mister Jiu's. Even after a Michelin star he snubs the swanky Chinatown spot.
As far as the high end goes, with all our newly minted Michelin stars, he concludes, "there can be no denying that, despite the current challenges, the Bay Area has become the best fine-dining city in the nation."
Below, all the new additions and cuts.
August 1 Five
B. Patisserie/B. on the Go
Original Joe's Westlake
Single Thread (Healdsburg)
Tastee Steam Kitchen
Bistro Don Giovanni
Bravas Bar de Tapas
Flour + Water
Old Bus Tavern
Sir & Star