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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!)


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  1. For my money, the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, hands down. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/san...

    1. 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.

      1. Aziza for overall best value tasting menu.
        Gary Danko for upscale best value tasting menu.

        1. 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.

          2 Replies
          1. re: anna

            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.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I don't even remember as they were recommended. I think $100 for 2 glasses there were on the low end of the spectrum. I should have expected it, since about half of the bottles range in the hundreds, a bunch in the thousands and a hand full in the ten thousands.

          2. Jai Yun's a good value but it's not an upscale place.

            2 Replies
            1. 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?

            2. 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.

              1. 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).

                1. Hello all,

                  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?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jennypennykim

                    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.

                  2. 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.

                    1. The Menu’ Degustazione at Acquerello with included wine pairings is the best tasting menu bargain in the city @ $110. Look here...


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Paul H

                        Acquerello's five-course prix fixe is a great value if you drink enough to take advantage of the free wine refills.

                        It's not what I think of as a tasting menu, though--to me that means around nine to twelve small courses.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          You don't have to be a multi-imbiber to regard this as a good deal. A multi course prix fixe dinner wine wine parings for each course is still a good deal in this city for $110.

                      2. Ooh - Acquerello's looks very interesting. Thanks. Will check it out. Another thought is Campton Place. Does anyone know if it's still good, since Peter Rudolph took over?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jennypennykim

                          Reports on CP under Rudolph have been mostly negative.

                        2. Real tasting menus are expensive.

                          French Laundry (Thomas Keller)
                          $210 (including service charge) / 9 courses

                          Michael Mina
                          $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

                          1. Coi's tasting menu is wonderful. It's $105 for multiple courses (9-11).


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: The Dive

                              Oh yeah, I meant to include Coi in my list. That's where I'd go if I were going to one of those places. I had a spectacular meal at his old place Elisabeth Daniel.

                              Coi (Daniel Patterson)
                              $105 / 9-11 courses