Okay, I need real fancy here
My 1st wedding anniversary is coming up. Unfortunately it lands on a Sunday (April 15th, tax day!). So most of the places I wanted to go to are closed (Masa's, Chez Panisse, Elizabeth Daniel).
I was able to get a reservation at Gary Danko, but I am not sure if they will still be a great experience cause of the recent departures. Same with Charles Nob Hill.
Does anyone else have any other suggestions? I would like it to be real special. And something dressed up.
Oh yeah, been to Fleur de lys and didn't really like it that much.
I second the vote for Hawthorne Lane. Four of us had a great dinner there about two weeks ago: we all shared every item over three course, and all twelve items were excellent. Its not as over the top in decor like Farallon, or as fancy-schmantzy in feeling as La Folie, but you could get quite dressy without feeling overdone. Re Farallon, I'v found it to have great atmosphere, good food, but service just OK. I've also celebrated my anniversary at Postrio and had both good food and good service (they made us a special dessert sampler with Happy Annivewrsary written in chocolate).
Have you thought of going "out of town" & checking places romantic outside of SF/the city? Give Manka's a call in Inverness and start with a walk on the beach, champagne & end up there for a great meal not like any super-hyped city food but a place to totally relax, appreciate a break from the expectations of it all.
re: Barry Kaufman
ITA, you took the words out of my mouth. The atmosphere and service are just right. We loved our first meal last year (tasting menu). Our return was a la carte, but we got to taste a few extra goodies. I would have like the tasting menu so recommend you do that even though the portions are big. If you don't get that...then the lamb (prepared 3 ways is TDF. Out of the stratosphere. We had the best service I can ever remember having in a restaurant. Above and beyond. Oh, and Chef George was off that night (Sat!), and the food was great, highly recommend the oyster bisque too. Oh I forgot the suckling pig? What to get?
Here is what I would do. Call and ask to speak to the GM. He is a great guy. Tell him you are booking your anniversary dinner and he will make sure everything is perfect. You can take that to the bank. Look over the menu first at the website and see what appeals, in case he asks you if you have any special requests.
The honesty disclaimer, I haven't been here in 2 years, but I dug Farrallon. Great decor and it lends to the dressed up idea. Does anyone have a recent take on the menu?
I would second the suggestion about going out a day early. I missed Ron Siegal's work at Charles Nob Hill, I won't do the same for Masa's.
Good luck, and Happy Anniversary!
I highly suggest celebrating your anniv. a day early at any of the places you mentioned - as Sunday night in most any restaurant is a bore. Personally, I wouldn't describe Elizabeth Daniel as "romantic", it's a bit stiff and due to the number of courses - there's virtually always a waiter at your table. Excellent food though!! I like the 5th floor or Hawthorn Lane for celebrations, and Jardinière too. All have a nice
inviting and fun atmosphere. Have a great anniversary!!
For my birthday last Fall we went to La Folie and had the tasting menu, which we thought would be the usual tiny taste of the yummiest dishes in the house. Boy were we blown over and rolled out the door!
All six courses were not only absolutely divine, but regular sized portions, and I cleaned my plate for each of them.
The decor is whimsical, with a brightly colored stained glass window separating the kitchen from the dining room and marionettes hanging from empty gold frames on the walls. It's quite intimate, and we experienced virtually perfect service.
You might also shoot for the cancellation list at The French Laundry if you can get thru. It just doesn't come any better. ( The .95 for auto redial really can pay off.)
I second the vote for La Folie. I recently celebrated an anniversary here, and think it's ideal. It's quiet so you can talk, comfortable, romantic, and people tended to be better dressed here than at many other high-end restaurants I've been to lately. It makes an occasion seem much more special. As for the food, well, it was easily the best meal I've had in ages. And that's saying something--I eat out all the time. The attention to detail, the flavors, the ambiance, and the service all make La Folie one of SF's gems.
re: Pepe C.
Just had to put in one dissenting vote on La Folie - we were expecting something great when we went, had the Chef's tasting menu and were vastly underwhelmed. For the price, I expect better decor and more memorable dishes - and Passot was even in the kitchen that night. Anyways, maybe it was just an off night, but I'm in no hurry to return. Just my .02 (I know it differs from the majority of the board).