In 2010 I posted this over at Livejournal, but the The San Pellegrino list of the top 50 restaurants for 2013 is now available, so I thought it was worth posting here as well, with the appropriate update.
And hqiz, I still haven’t eaten at a single one of them. And probably couldn’t afford to.
On the other hand, I have my own list of favorites. Decidedly less highbrow (with perhaps the exception of No. 12), but good, good eating. Note that with the exception of No. 1, there is no rank or hierarchy.
1. Piccolo Angolo, 621 Jane Street, New York City, NY
The best Italian food in New York, bar none.
2. Tommy’s Joynt, San Francisco, CA
Great buffalo barbecue, and beers from all over the world (not that I would know anything about that.)
3. Sabella & La Torre, San Francisco, CA
Wonderful seafood. I try to stop in every time I’m on the waterfront.
4. Phil’s BBQ, San Diego, CA
Barbecue to die for.
5. Settebello, Salt Lake City, UT
One of the few “Verace Pizza Napoletana” restaurants in Utah.
6. Eleven 11 Grille, Fishkill, NY
Run by some members of the family, great food in a nice atmosphere. Worth a visit any time.
7. The No Name Restaurant, Boston, MA
Good vittles at a reasonable price. I got scrod there.
8. The Dish Cafe, Parkes, NSW, Australia
When I had their beef and burgundy meat pie, I died and went to heaven. You can see pictures here.
9. Antojito’s, Westley, CA
A nondescript hole in the wall off a nondescript freeway exit. Awesome mexican cuisine.
10. The refectory of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, ND
Dined here via the good graces of a friend. A few more details and a recipe here.
11. Cha Non Thai Cafe, Salt Lake City, UT
Really good Thai food.
12. The Joshua Wilton House, Harrisonburg, VA
Very upscale. Until I cross-post here, you can read about my experience over at Livejournal.
Restaurants that are no longer with us, but worthy of profound reverence for one reason or another:
1. Xochitl, New York City, NY
This restaurant had authentic Mexican food and 7-alarm hot sauce before the bhut jolokia pepper had ever been bred.
2. La Fonda Del Sol, New York City, NY
Tapas. That means a little food for a lot of money, but it was great fun, with flamboyant decoration.
3. Mama Leone’s, New York City, NY
Famous for 7-course meals of relatively average food, but in absolutely brobdingnagian quantities, the best analogy I’ve found today is Buca di Beppo – but even they don’t place these gargantuan wedges of cheese on your table and let you take them home. The restaurant was taken over by a large gastronomic conglomerate and promptly destroyed by the bean counters. Tragic.
4. The Proof of the Pudding, New York City, NY
This was Frank Valenza’s first 7-table restaurant of this name. I remember their duck à l’orange and the wall of bricks that you could sponsor.
5. Dër Ratskeller Pizza Shoppe, Salt Lake City, UT
You can read a full-blown post on this place. The best American style pizza I’ve ever had.
Edit: Done. You can read it here.
6. Ristorante Della Fontana, Salt Lake City, UT
Great Italian food, one of the more upscale Italian places in the city. Now a Japanese sushi joint.
7. Snelgrove’s Ice Cream Parlor, Salt Lake City, UT
Short of buying Håæœøgen Daðþz, or however they spell it nowadays, you couldn’t find better ice cream. Nothing beat a banana split with caramel cashew ice cream. The building is now just offices of some sort, but the sign is still there, tormenting those who remember it with great fondness.
8. The Tip Toe Inn, New York City, NY
Amazing potato pancakes (or latkes). I loved these with applesauce. 75¢, according to the menu:
9. Horn and Hardart Automats, New York City, NY
I’ve mentioned these here. Also, in the same article, Prexy’s.
10. The Waverly Inn, Cheshire, CT
This was a restaurant de grand luxe in Cheshire – my mother used to take me here to eat during her annual visits to campus. There was also a burger joint and soda place called the Farm Shoppe – while it was not extraordinarily memorable, I recall it fondly because it was one of the few places off campus that we could go as seniors.
11. Schrafft’s, New York, NY
An upscale chain restaurant, mentioned in James Thurber’s “The Catbird Seat.” I remember eating there any number of times.
Eateries, some still here and some fondly remembered.
The Old Wolf is now hungry.
 That’s not the third-person pluperfect subjunctive, but rather the fish – which can refer to a specific type of fish, or whatever happened to be on special yesterday.