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Aug 19, 2006 10:39 PM

Suggestions for Anniversary Dinner in SF

I'm an LA Board poster and would like a couple of suggestions for dinners in SF at the end of September. Friends are staying near Union Square, like all types of food (though one does not eat beef, lamb or pork) and can afford good food.

I haven't lived in SF in years, but suggested Zuni Cafe (it was a new addition to the scene when I lived there, and I hope its longevity means that it is still a great place to eat). Several years ago (2003?)I had dinner at Absinthe with a friend and thought it was quite good, but have no idea if it still exists.

If they were going to be in the East Bay, I'd suggest the Bay Wolf. So any other options in this vein would be much appreciated.

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  1. I would recommend Les Amis. I went there for a special dinner with my girlfriend and the staff went all out for us. They put a flower and an anniversary card on the table and brought us a couple of glasses of champagne to toast with. Aside from the warm reception, the atmosphere is cozy and intimate, and the food, kind of modern French is awesome. I had the best sweetbreads ever there served with madeira sauce and morel mushrooms and a steak with truffled potatoes that has become my litmus test for all other red meat. The service was spot on, the staff was gracious and knowledgable and perfectly paced the whole meal. All and all they made our experience totally memorable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: patxiSF

      Nice to hear about Les Amis. I miss Zare the restaurant that was in that space before. We don't get many posts about Les Amis.

      Someone went just after it opened and wasn't wowed.

      However there was a recent brief positive mention by someone who posts often and who is super-reliable in sushing out good restaurants and he liked it.

      Well, both posters are spot-on as far as restaurant reviews. Perhaps Les Amis has hit its stride since opening.

      Here's the website

      Zuni is still as good as ever.

      Bay Wolf gets some recent mixed reviews. However a nice anniversary place if they are going to the East Bay would be JoJo which is near Bay Wolf

    2. For anniversary, both Jardiniere and Boulevard are great choices. As is Cafe Jaqueline.

      1. went to myth last week for our anniversary and highly recommend this place. the food, service and atmosphere is outstanding.

        1. I've had good luck at Farallon and Fifth Floor, both close to Union Square.

          It really depends on what you're looking for. Both will have excellent food but different vibes. Fifth Floor, IMO, is a little more sophisicated, a sort of 50s modern feel. Farallon is no less of a place, just a different feel...ornate and stylized.

          Farallon will have excellent seafood. OTOH, the seared Ahi and Foie Gras at Fifth Floor blew me away. Not sure if they're still serving it however. Any way, best of luck.

          You wouldn't do poorly at Chez Panisse in Berkeley either. Quite a bargain in relative terms and it's still considered 4 star.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            Chez Panisse would be great, and far superior to Bay Wolf imo, but may not work for the OP, given that they are coming in from out of town and one of the couple won't eat beef, lamb or pork ... it would be a shame to go on a night when one of those is the star of the menu. (While I assume the restaurant would substitute, the diners might miss out on some of the experience.) Check the menu when its posted (about a week in advance?), or call the restaurant first.


            1. re: djh

              By the time Chez Panisse's menu is posted, it's almost always too late to make a reservation.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                too true, unfortunately. They could make the reservation in advance, tho, then cancel a week out if the menu doesn't fit. I'm sure there would be no shortage of people waiting to take their slot. If they're interested, I would just call the restaraunt and explain their situation. (Like the song says ... Go ask Alice, I think she'll know)

                1. re: djh

                  They could cancel, and then go where?

                  Better for picky eaters to make a reservation someplace with choices. And per the original post they want a place in SF anyway.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Go to the CP cafe instead...I believe it is better than downstairs, plus you get many more options.

                3. re: djh

                  CP always has a veggie alternative, it is Berkeley afterall. From what I've witnessed with fellow diners who had the veggie meal (who are non-veg) and there was little drop off in experience and they were delight, afterall they do use very good or exceptional incredients.

                  Reservations are another story.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    Substitutions for dishes on Chez Panisse's fixed menu downstairs come from the cafe upstairs.

                    We went to the cafe for our 25th anniversary (since it was on a Wednesday and my wife didn't get home from work until 9:30) and had a great time.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Not always. Sometimes they'll fix something different. I once passed on quiche and they brought me a simple pasta with truffles. It was exceptional and I still remember it.

                      But I agree, the cafe is just as good. In some ways you could argue better given you have a choice...and it does come from the same kitchen. Either way, upstairs or down, CP is great and a relative bargain compared to similar restaurant prices.

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