Best-value, upscale tasting menu
I'll be visiting SF with my sig other in a week. We love tasting menus at nice restaurants. Perhaps this is an oxymoron, but what tasting menu would give the most bang for our buck?
(Our budget: looking for $50 per person if that's even possible, though willing to do $100 per person, granted it's worth it!)
Aziza's tasting menu would fit your budget. It's not a fancy place like the Ritz, but if you want to order a glass of wine with dinner, you can make compatable with your wallet.
La Toque is not in San Francisco, but in the wine country. Their tasting menu is $99 per person and you get wonderful food for that price. When we went, it was a six course menu, plus amuse, a 3 tier cookie/candy tray (it could be for Valentine special only) and truffles with our check. The food was simply divine. I've read on another broad that someone who's been to French Laundry the night before actually prefers La Toque over it. The only thing is that you have to watch your wine budget as it can get very expensive. We paid almost $100 for 2 glasses.
I believe Jardiniere also has a tasting menu. I've never tried it but have always enjoy the food from the regular menu. I believe the price is under $100.
Wow! Nearly $100 for 2 glasses of wine?! What did you order?
To the OP: I agree w/ the Aziza rec given your budget, although it's not "upscale" like the Ritz. I've read excellent things about the Ritz tasting menu, but mainly pertaining to the blowout tasting menu, not the ones w/ fewer courses that are cheaper.
re: Robert Lauriston
A few years ago, we had a 30 course dinner at Jai Yun for $80 per person; apparently they will go up to $125 per person with a few days advanced notice -- this adds game and more luxury ingredients like sharksfin. Anyone know if this is still the case and have the prices changed?
Do you mean tasting menu as in you don't know what you're getting and the chef prepares a succession of small dishes to taste?
Or do you mean more of a prix-fixe menu where you can choose from many selections per course?
I'm guessing you mean the latter. I would second the suggestion of Gary Danko. The overall experience and the price for a 3-course dinner is hard to beat in that price range.
Chapeau! has a decent 4-course menu for below $40.
Hands-down Aziza has the best tasting menu for the price. $39 for five courses of amazing food will be long-remembered. The decor, atmosphere, service, and cocktails all lend to what could be your best evening in San Francisco (short of spending three or four times that amount at Ritz, Ame, Danko et al).
Many thanks for your suggestions! You guys are great.
As for the question about the type of tasting menu, I would be happy with either option: to have various tastes, with or without choosing them in advance. I would just love to have something with more than 5 courses, if possible.
I tried making reservations at the Ritz, but they were booked. :( Aziza sounds very interesting, but noticed on their website: "tasting menu requires the participation of the entire table & is designed for family-style dining". Has anyone done this with only 2 people?
I've had it with one person, me.
I love the food at Aziza, but to me it is more of a prix-fixe than a tasting menu.
I haven't been in about a year, but I loved Michael Minna in the ST Francis Hotel on Union Square. With each course three-ways, you would certainly get more than 5 tastes. This would be more in the 100 range though.
I haven't tried the tasting menu at Aziza but my friend and her boyfriend ordered it when it was only the two of them at dinner and they loved it. They think it is the way to go at Aziza.
Real tasting menus are expensive.
French Laundry (Thomas Keller)
$210 (including service charge) / 9 courses
$135 / 6-7 courses
Masa's (Gregory Short
)$120 / 9 courses
The Dining Room at the Ritz (Ron Siegel
)$115 / 9 courses
Manresa (David Kinch
)$115 / 9+ courses
Fifth Floor (Melissa Perello
)$115 / 9 courses
Aqua (Laurent Manrique
)$95 / 7 courses
Campton Place (new chef, Peter Rudolph
)$95 / 6 courses