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Recommendation for Surprise Birthday Dinner in SF

Hi all, we are visiting SF (from NY) later in the year to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday. I'm inviting a few west coast friends to join us for a little surprise dinner party. I would love your recommendations for good group dining in SF.

We love good food in unpretentious settings - Italian is a favorite. For points of reference, we've had good success with similar dinners at Lupa and Blue Ribbon here in NY.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. I like Antica Trattoria for Italian. It's good food and unpretentious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: OnceUponABite

      Years ago (before I moved), Antica was my favorite Italian restaurant. I loved their bolognese. Very friendly staff.

      I also recommend Incanto, Pane e Vino and Bacco.

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      1. You should try Luella in Russian Hill, at the corner of Hyde and Green. The food is great, the decor is fun and modern and most importantly the staff is very personalble. I am throwing a privite party there is September and they have been nothing but helpful. Another great point is if you don't want to rent the entire place they have a nice back area that isn't seperated from the dinning room that you could reserve, I would guess that 10-25 guest would fill it up. Check it out and good luck!

        1. Thanks so much for the suggestions. After scouring the board and talking with friends, I've looked into Incanto, Delfina, Luella, Aziza, Rue St. Jacques. They all look wonderful. But the truth is, each reminds me of restaurants I know in NY.

          So I'm now wondering if there is a more unique SF experience I should be pursuing. Thoughts?

          1. We went to Incanto with friends from New York who have been to all the Italian places there and they didn't find it very similar to home. I imagine the same would be true for Delfina. New York just doesn't have the produce to do that sort of Chez Panisse-influenced Italian.

            Incanto's back room is great if you have 12 or more.

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