Dave's Top 5 Restaurants of 2012

Dave's Top 5 Restaurants of 2012

It's the most common question I'm asked: what are your top five restaurants? I was asked in my 20 Qs on Greer's OC earlier this year, and I punted on the question because every year we're told to make this list up, and it's hard enough to pick just five.

I wish I had more than five spots for my top five; I'm leaving out restaurants that truly deserve a spot here. The pop-up dinners at Anais+, trolling the ever-changing menu at The Playground, burning the cold out of my sinuses at Chong Qing Mei Wei, octopus anything at Broadway by Amar Santana, and so many others: it's just about impossible to pick just five.

Read on for the finalists... 

See also:

5. Paninoteca Maggio

You could walk in to Paninoteca Maggio, order in Italian from owner Sharron Barshishat, sip an excellent espresso while you wait, and never have a clue you weren't in Cinque Terre or Genoa until you paid in dollars rather than euros. The sandwiches are simple but excellent; they're not very much more expensive than the schifo they serve at Quiznos, and they're orders of magnitude better.

4. Potzol den Cano

The love I have for the enfrijoladas at Potzol den Cano--thick tortillas dipped in bean sauce and wrapped around chicken, then topped with cheese and chorizo--is deep and abiding. I love the pozole too, which comes a close second to the family pozole recipe. I even love the tortas, simple as they are. What I love most about Potzol den Cano, though, is that it's a metaphor for Santa Ana: authentically Mexican without pandering. If you haven't been, you need to go right now.

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