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Food and Drink

Diners' choice awards name San Fran foodie capital of the US

In the latest survey to rank cities for their dining scene, the San Francisco Bay area led the pack with the most restaurants deemed "fit for foodies" in the US, followed by Chicago and New York.

Popular online reservation site OpenTable released this week The Top 50 Restaurants for Foodies in the US based on 10 million reviews culled between September 2010 and August 2011 among their diners, chosen for pushing boundaries and "practicing perfection with each dish," said OpenTable's Caroline Potter.

Readers chose 14 restaurants from San Francisco, six in Chicago and five in New York.

"These restaurants have been singled out for being able to satisfy the folks for whom dining is practically sport - those avid, passionate eaters, often armed with cameras who take careful notes and relish every bite," Potter, dubbed ‘Chief Dining Officer,' explained.

While neighboring Napa Valley is home to the most Michelin-starred chefs in the US, most of the restaurants listed are based in the city itself with a few predictable exceptions like Thomas Keller's The French Laundry in Yountville and Ad Hoc.

Diners chose eateries like Coi, helmed by celebrity chef Daniel Patterson, and Frances, steered by Melissa Perello, a multiple James Beard Award nominee. The menu at Frances changes daily and highlights fresh California ingredients. A sample menu from September, for example, includes applewood smoked bacon beignets with maple crème fraiche and chives, and Five Dot Ranch bavette steak with turkey chanterelles, potato gnocchi, Bordelaise.

Meanwhile, conspicuously missing from the Chicago representation is local celebrity chef Grant Achatz's Alinea and Next. Stephanie Izard, winner of Bravo TV's fourth season of Top Chef, got a nod for her eatery Girl & the Goat as did Graham Elliot.

The latest OpenTable survey produced similar results to another ranking of "foodie cities" released last week by online daily deal site LivingSocial, but in a different order. Their 4,000 respondents ranked New York first for its dining scene, followed by Chicago and San Francisco.

Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, meanwhile, named New Orleans the best city for foodies.
To see the list in full - which is listed in alphabetical order - visit http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?ref=5989&pid=399