Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Nov 1, 2006 07:19 PM

Romantic Restraunts in San Francisco

Does anyone know of a Romantic restraunt in San Francisco anywhere from 80 to 100 a plate plus wine? Vegitarian friendly is a big plus too.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Cafe Jacqueline is great, if you like souffle. Another place we find romantic is the tables over looking the bar upstairs at Jardiniere. The tables for two on the balcony at Chouchou are great as well.

    1. Second the rec for Cafe Jacqueline. Just make sure to allow yourself plenty of time for the meal - 2 hours at least.

      1. Fleur de Lys!

        It is my favorite restaurant in town. It is your price range ($70-$90 for tasting 5 course menus) and there is a dedicated vegetarian tasting menu. Very romantic (tented ceiling) and quiet.

        Second choice would be La Folie which is slightly less classic French and more casual. Same price.

        Both have $35/bottle corkage and reasonable wine lists

        2 Replies
        1. re: whiner

          I have never been to Fleur de Lys but you make me want to try it. :-) We were just at La Folie for my husband's birthday and we had a wonderful time. Delicious food, good service, and quiet and romantic (in the back room).

          1. re: Wendy_san

            This is my report from the first time I went to Fleur de Lys, about 2 years ago... I wrote it up on another board:

            Future Mrs. Whiner and I had a terrific time there on Saturday night. We had had to move our reservations one week, from Saturday the 25th. It may be that they had accidentally moved us to Friday the first; when I called to tell them we were running 15 minutes late the woman seemed to think that we had come the previous night. And then we needed to wait fifteen minutes, once we arrived, for a table. The entry way is very nice, with a well appointed bar. As you walk into the main dining room you pass through a drape that secludes the dining room and enter a tented, beautifully appointed, but not pretentious room with, mostly, well spaced, large tables. (The four dedicated two-seaters in the center looked as though it might be difficult to get in and out of your seat without hitting the person behind you). We were seated at a table that could easily accommodate four. Although the restaurant was full, the noise level was very low, probably not more than 40 decibels.

            I had called weeks in advance to inquire about their corkage. I was quoted $35 (by two different people) but told not to worry if I brought something on their list (“we have no problem if you would like to drink out of your own cellar.”) We decided to bring a 1999 Guigal Cote Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis (wonderful wine, btw) and order a white off of the list once we got there. The wine list is quite long but it is, perhaps, a bit too focused. Red Bordeaux and Burgundy read like novels, but there are fewer than ten Northern Rhones on the list. I did not see any Italians, Spanish or Germans, but perhaps they were at the very back (I didn’t even get all the way through the list although I spent 15+ minutes looking). The markup is variable and, happily, the markup on Alsatian whites is almost reasonable (about 80-130% over retail cost depending how far down the list you are looking). We ordered a 2000 Dirler Grand Cru Saering Riesling (very good) for $80 to start off the meal.

            There are four menu options; 3 course (about $70), 4 course (about $78), 5 course (about $85), and vegetarian tasting menu ($68). L ordered the vegetarian tasting menu and I had the full five-course meal. I was brought an amuse bouche (an heirloom tomato soup with pistachio) when L was brought her first course – a trio of amuse bouche: some sort of profiterol, a gazpacho shooter, and something else with tomato. L liked all three of her things, and mine, too (it was vegetarian and I don’t like raw tomato). For our appetizers, I had a roasted lobster over artichoke hash, citrus salad, pomegranate seeds, and porcini oil. L had a red and yellow beet salad. I don’t recall exactly how her dish was prepared, but it was the best beet dish I’ve had (although, that is, admittedly, a small sample size). My appetizer was terrific. The best lobster I’ve had, actually, but that may be because I’m not the world's biggest lobster fan and the lobster, while adding to the flavors of the dish, was not a stronger flavor than the porcini oil or the artichoke. (FYI: the lobster, the rabbit, and the heirloom tomato feast were the only three appetizer options that did not involve organ meats).

            My second course was sea bass cooked (broiled?) with a sun-dried tomato pesto and served over a basil-butter sauce and a black olive sauce. It was among the best fish courses I’ve had in the continental US (although notably lagging behind dishes I've had in Hawaii and Europe). L had a white bean and truffle soup with a chanterelle mousse in the center. L's dish was terrific. I think she finds this to be the best soup, maybe even best dish, she has ever tried (she loves truffles). At this point I tasted the Cote Rotie, and then our palates were cleansed by a pink-grapefruit/Campari sorbet. I thought the sorbet was terrific and did just the right job. L didn’t like it as much, as she wanted to savor the flavor of the soup.

            My main course was the veal cooked two ways. One way was braised with carrots and cardomin. This was excellent, but I think I can braise veal almost as well. The other way was veal pieces atop this leek-wrapped thing that had more veal pieces in the center. Bizarre, but delicious. While neither of these were among the very best veal dishes I have had, it was nice having two excellent veal dishes to try. L had, essentially, a big truffle. It was shaved, of course, but there were tons of truffle shavings all over her vegetable concoction. She enjoyed it very much, but preferred the soup. I/we were then served the cheese course (I had been the only one who ordered it, but L was brought a plate) there were 5 or 6 cheeses, a strong but almost truffle-like, amazing camembert, a strong blue of some sort, an orange cheese and a shaved Swiss (as in the country) that were both very good, the possibility of a cheese I am blanking on, and, by far my favorite, a soft-ripened goat cheese served in a jar with olive oil, shallots, and a little hot pepper. Superb.

            Although the vegetarian tasting menu technically comes with a selection of sorbets, we asked if we could make another selection and the server's response was, “of course.” We shared a rhubarb torte which had a strawberry crème of some sort and a honey-saffron sauce as well as a warm peach with a flourless chocolate cake in the center served with a whipped cream (cucumber flavored – a bit odd) and some other goodies. One of the deserts had these little warm cinnamon balls that were surreal. In total, both deserts were great, not earth-shattering, though. I am enjoying the idea of saffron in deserts more and more. After desert, petit fours (sp?) were brought out. The best of these were the truffles. The rest were good, but not so good as to compel us to eat them after such a large meal.

            Throughout the night the service was astounding. All three types of bread – French, fig-pistachio, and olive were terrific and I think we confused the bread-person when we kept on asking for whatever bread we didn’t have on our plate. When I had called they told me they requested gentlemen wear a jacket but not necessarily a tie. When we were there about 2/3 of men were wearing ties and everyone had a jacket, but one man had taken his off. The wait staff is dressed in ties without jackets and there is truly an elegant yet relaxed feel to the restaurant. Presentation was astounding, from the things you would expect (soup presented with the solids in the bowl then the broth is poured at the table) to those I did not (the array of colors in the lobster appetizer and in the sea bass). My one gripe, and I know this is partially because we weren’t seated until 9:30, is that we were a bit rushed at the beginning. Our order was taken pretty quickly and, through the fish course, it seemed like dishes were coming out just a couple of minutes too quickly. From the fish course on, the pace was better. (I was served the fish at about 10:30, but we didn’t leave until 12:30.)

            When I got the bill it was lower than I had anticipated. A quick glance revealed why. Under beverages it noted corkage (It was actually specific in mentioning the Cote Rotie) but as a price it noted: “Comp.” Whether they did this because we had ordered a white off the list, or they knew it was a special bottle, or we had ordered the full tasting menus, or they knew we were celebrating, or whatever else, it was very nice. Slightly odd, L was charged $76 for her Vegetarian tasting menu rather than the $68 the menu had suggested. I’m not certain why this was, it may be because she ordered a different desert or because she shared the cheese with me. It also may have been a mistake. But, we were so happy with the meal (and pleased that we weren’t being charged the $35 corkage) that this seemed a rather minor point, so I didn’t bring it to the server’s attention.

            All in all, none of the dishes I had were among the very greatest I’ve tasted – although the lobster was the best of its kind I’ve had, and the white bean and truffle soup is the best vegetarian soup I’ve ever had by far. (Maybe the best soup I've ever tried.) But what was so amazing about this restaurant was its consistency, from the friendly, informative staff, to the relaxing atmosphere, to the very well appointed – but not distracting – décor, to the excellent food. This was really a class act and among the best dining experiences I’ve had in the US.

        2. A 3rd on Cafe Jacqueline, in the traditional sense. Women seem to like it a lot and you can order the spinach souffle for veggie.

          On the hipper side, I always liked Slow Club. Not romantic in the traditional sense but cool romantic as in faux noir-ish Edward Hopper-ish way...well kinda.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            I was just at Slow Club for the first time for brunch this weekend. The place is deafeningly LOUD. I could barely hear my friends across the table! If it's like that at dinner too, I wouldn't consider that romantic.

            1. re: Atomica

     that's what the problem was? Frankly I don't remember the noise and never had a problem with it before. Was there a DJ in there?

              1. re: ML8000

                Nope, no DJ. I enjoyed the food, BTW.

                1. re: Atomica

                  Never been for brunch but brunch crowds can be a bit chattier. In the daytime it's also a different place with a different energy, light actually gets into the place probably much cheerier.

                  At night it borders on poorly lit hence the noir-ish romantic thing I mentioned. I know it wasn't 4-star restro quiet but I don't recall any big noise issues. I'll have to remember if I go back at night.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    I don't really think that's true about the brunch crowd. Couples at dinner are probably fairly quiet, but dinner with a group where people are drinking gets very boisterous.

          2. I'd put Aquerello on your list. We had their Tasting Menu w/ the wine parings last month and it fit the bill for us. Esp the wine matches. You can find many postings about them on this board.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Calvinist

              Second the recc for Acquerello. Food is very good, and has a great atmosphere and great decor -- mediterranean feel in an old funeral chapel -- quiet and understated elegance without being stuffy at all.