And now, the conclusion of the Curbed Cup, our annual award to the San Francisco neighborhood of the year. Because this is the most important decision of all time, the polls will be left open until noon, January 2. Let the final battle begin!
After besting the Inner Sunset and the Bayview, both formidable opponents with highly vocal supporters, the Excelsior has lived to fight last year's champ, Portola, which was barely a contender until neighborhood partisans came out swinging in the second round. The Excelsior—which we hear is properly intoned with an exclamation point, after Longfellow—is a place where you can find both single-family homes under $1 million and also the fictional abode of a movie princess. The district bordering McLaren Park has, like many of the city's southern neighborhoods, seriously begun to pick up the pace. Commenter upward lays it down: "Although we don't yet have a four barrel coffee equivalent (though we'd love to have one!!!), we have mama's art cafe, brunch at Doctor's lounge, awesome bar bites at Pissed Off Pete's and Broken Record, as many pupuserias as you could want, the FIRST Laotian restaurant in the city, and a new Northeastern Chinese restaurant."
Last year, Portola took the Curbed Cup in a surprise upset, defeating the Inner Sunset by 91 votes. In the intervening year, the neighborhood has enjoyed a quiet reign, and has continued to remain a more affordable option in this bonkers market of ours. Portola residents stayed mum in the early rounds of the Curbed Cup, but eventually rallied in defiance of our speculation that the neighborhood just might retreat back into anonymity and resume its place as "the best neighborhood you've never heard of."
Residents wrote in to tout the new Four Barrel, a redone Breakfast at Tiffany's, a new nano brewery on the way next year, and the neighborhood's welcoming spirit. As if to prove this very point, a Portola resident even put in a good word for the Excelsior: "The Excelsior is worthy of every accolade. It is an authentic neighborhood with many destinations worthy of exploring for the uninitiated," writes Portola_Now. "Please accept this an invitation to visit the southern neighborhoods of the Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, the Bayview and the Portola, Curbed readers, we'd love to have you."
· Curbed Cup Final Four: (13) Excelsior vs. (16) Inner Sunset [Curbed SF]
· Curbed Cup Elite Eight: (5) Bayview vs. (13) Excelsior [Curbed SF]
· Reader Comments on Curbed Cup Elite Eight: (7) Dogpatch vs. (15) Portola [Curbed SF]
· Curbed Cup First Round Results! The Inner Sunset Dominates
· Pissed Off Pete's Gets an Updated Kitchen and New Chefs [Eater SF]
· New Laotian in Excelsior; 2212 Takes Punchdown Space [Eater SF]
· Open House Report: Under $1M Single-Family Home Edition [Curbed SF]
· Anne Hathaway's House from 'The Princess Diaries' Asks $2.6M [Curbed SF]
· The Curbed Cup Neighborhood of the Year: Portola! [Curbed SF]
· SF Is the Least Affordable Housing Market for the Middle Class [Curbed SF]