The Chronicle’s food writer Michael Bauer chose the same five Berkeley restaurants that made it into last year’s Top 100 for his 2012 selection.
Ippuku, known to be favorite haunt of Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters, was a newcomer last year. Rivoli and Corso share the same owners: Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.
In all, the list, which is in its 17th year, has 15 new restaurants and has dropped the same number, and Bauer notes that a trend this year has been for chefs to embrace the concept of Californian cuisine. Chez Panisse calls itself Northern California/Mediterranean, even though its roots are decidedly French and its branding, with its old Marcel Pagnol movie clips, retains a Gallic flavor. Bauer reports that other Bay Area restaurants — including Solbar, Bar Agricole, Canteen, Gary Danko and Manresa — have switched their allegiance from American to Californian.
The lion’s share — 76 — of the restaurants that made the cut are in San Francisco, with the north bay accounting for 18. While Berkeley may smart at its paltry total of five — last year readers wondered why Gather, Lalime’s and Ajanta (another Waters favorite) didn’t make the list and some might argue that Five should have been a contender — at least it can take comfort in having beaten the south bay in terms of top-scoring eateries. Bauer picks just one Peninsula restaurant — Baume in Palo Alto – as deserving of a ranking.
For the full Top 100 list, visit the Chronicle’s website.