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Plan my Trip!

Ok...I have a challenge-

The family just planned a very last minute trip leaving this Saturday. We are from Miami and have only been to San Fran once. We will be staying at the Quail Lodge in Carmel for 2 nights before heading to San Francisco for the last three nights of our trip, staying at Campton Place. I am a total foodie, and my family loves great food but isn't all that experimental.

We will be travelling to Napa for one dinner or lunch, where must we go? The one place I want to go in the country is obviously the French Laundry but I don't think they could handle that and there is probably very little chance we'd get a res with such short notice.

So, price is no object...with that said, I have done some research but am open to all and any recommendations.

1. They definitely want to experience the BEST of chinatown. Where?

2. We will be in town on the 4th of July and need somewhere amazing for dinner.

3. My father is a big meat eater. I'm not a huge fan of steakhouses, (I like pretty food), but is there one that's a must?

4. Family loves italian, not like chicken parm, but maybe more of a northern italian, tuscan sort of place.

5. Definitely want two nights of unbelievable food. Maybe one night of pure culinary genius and one of the same with a bit of a hipper atmosphere considering my brother and I are both 20 and 21, travelling with our relatively young parents.

Here are some thoughts for San Fran, what do you think?

Zuppa
Canteen
Quince
Cortez
Gary Danko
Michael Mina
Fleur de Lys
A16
Manresa
Delfina
Incanto
Jardinere
Zuni (better for lunch/brunch?)
Ame
Masa's
Aquarella
Aqua

Obviously these are just names I pulled from Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Chez Pim's blog. I am totally lost!

Help me please with 3 great places in San Fran, one in Napa, maybe a great place by the wharf for lunch, and your chinatown favorite.

Thank you!

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  1. my picks: Canteen, Delfina, Zuni-I've only been for dinner but maybe lunch would be good, Incanto. Manresa is in Los Gatos-which is 1.5-2 hrs South of SF, easier to get reservation here than French Laundry, which u need 2 month reservation and very hard to get a table. Call any restaurant you want to go to make sure they are open July 4th.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hhc

      You can make it from SF to Manresa in Los Gatos in an hour, during non-commute time. Beautiful drive down Hwy 280. Los Gatos is a nice town, you might go early and walk around downtown.

    2. If you want to go to the French Laundry, might I suggest Cyrus in Healdsburg instead? I haven't been but the reviews have been fairly positive.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PegS

        Healdsburg is a great place to center yourself for a mellow wine-country day - do the Dry Creek Road wineries, much more chill and small and not as touristy/jaded. It's truly a lovely day in the country.

        Cyrus is absolutely amazing - the WOW factor will definitely be right up there with the best.

        http://www.cyrusrestaurant.com/

        An older article from the SF Bay Guardian might direct you to some good Dry Creek Road wineries.
        http://www.sfbg.com/38/40/x_bottle_ro...

        Note: it will be hot up there, but likely quite chilly in SF. You might find some cool 4th event up there that would enable you to actually see some fireworks, which you can't usually do through the fog in SF proper.

      2. Lots of places will be booked up.

        Zuni's best at dinner but they're one of the best restaurants that's open for lunch.

        The best of Chinatown would require a time machine. Today's real Chinatown is Clement Street, in the Richmond neighborhood (north of Golden Gate Park).

        3 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Sorry, I guess I should have specified Chinese restaurants on Clement.

              For walking and shopping, I'd still recommend Chinatown. the three-block stretch on Stockton St. in Chinatown packs in more food action and grandmas with sharp elbows, that's just like Hong Kong to me. Then there's Grant Ave. for tourist souvenirs and the warm custard tarts at Golden Gate.

        1. I'd recommend you go to Aziza and Zuni if you want meals that knock your socks off. Both are amazing and probably unlike what you could get anywhere else. Aqua is a more formal seafood place. For Italian, Acquerello, Delfina, Incanto. You can find info on each of these if you search by their name.

          PS Bring layers - it's foggy and overcast most of the time around this season.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Maya

            agreed on both counts. aziza is can't-miss, and zuni is quintessential sf. tadich grill is also often recommended for visitors.

            i'm not sure if albona is northern italian, but food there is quite good. if you can get to koi palace in daly city, that's where the best chinese is.

            have a wonderful trip!

          2. Given you like Northern Italian and want excellent food, you should consider Aquarello. Here is a recent report.
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            If price is no object and you would have eaten at The French Laundry if you had been able, consider Manresa and The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton. I'm sure you've read all about Manresa on Chez Pim, here's a Chowhound review of dinner at the Ritz:
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            Best of Chinatown is kind of an oxymoron, but personally, I'd suggest R & G Lounge.