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Christmas in SF help me find an alternative to GD and other questions

We will be in SF form dec 25-28 and staying at hotel vitale. We were in SF 3 years ago for our anniversary and we had a reservations at GD,but my husband had a greasy sandwhich form one of the places in the ferry building and he said there was no way he could eat dinner at 5:30(it was either that or 9:30) so we had to cancel!(he had to hear about this for the next 3 years)!! So when I booked our trip I figured, I reserve there,but I read some negative reviews. For christmas day we are going to maykadeh for persian food. I also want to try Kokkari for lunch on our last day. I need one nice place for dinner. I love bouley in NYC,so I am looking for great,creative food that would be alternative to danko. Also I like to check out mission area and try tartine(we tried citizen cake and all the italian bakeries in NB last time) and perhaps a place for lunch. I appreciate any help form you lucky people of SF. We moved to OC last year, so I need to eat a few great meals while we are in SF.

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  1. Is there any reason no one responded to my questions? I am very surprised. I always get lots of help from fellow chowhounds on different boards. Come on people, do I have to repost my question?please Help!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mrsjoujou

      I think part of the problem might be that we get asked similar questions more than some other boards, more often...have you done a search?

      More of a description of what you are looking for might help, for those of us who haven't eaten at Bouley...Have you thought about the Dining Room at the Ritz?

    2. Thank you for your respond. I have been searching your board for a while now. I am looking for an alternative to Gary Danko due to the mixed reviews. I read about boulevard,ritz,la folie and others. I am looking for a place that offers you a creative,delicious food in a warm environment. What I like about bouley was you felt great dining there and they have the most amazing selection of breads and desserts. They give you so much dessert you leave with a big sugar high!

      1. Even though Gary Danko is not my favorite, I don't think you would go wrong with the food and it would satisfy your curiosity ... or if you find somewhere you like better you could stop by for a drink at the bar and maybe an appetizer to check it out.

        I gotta say, I would not think of GD fitting your description of a warm environment with all that black I found it depressing rather than sophisticated which is probably what they are going for. Boulevard is walking distance from your hotel, half a block away, I don't know about it being warm and inviting though.

        My favorite is The Ritz and they do Christmas up right, very prettily decorated ... and all those little courses are like little presents. Then you could stroll to the other hotels on Nob Hill and take in the decorations along with the park that is lighted and stop by Grace Cathedral cuz ... well, seems appropriate at Christmas whatever your religion. Though I'm Catholic I went to midnight services one christmas and it was very Christmasy ... like it wouldn't be.

        Then you could take the cable car back to the bottom of California Street taking in all the decorations and walk the block back to your hotel. Happy holidays.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          I do think of Boulevard as being warm and inviting, as is the Ritz, and yes, the Ritz does know how to do Christmas right.

          I don't think of desserts as being the high point at Boulevard. Yes, I'd go to the Ritz.

        2. Being a former New Yorker and having eaten at Bouley a few times as well as GD, I think they are a close match and you will have a wonderful evening at GD. In fact, I believe GD is more polished than Bouley and provides a more balanced meal. I have found that Bouley can get a little carried away in his utilization of certain ingredients in that they keep showing up in course after course. My two cents - have a wonderful time.

          1. Masa's and Michael Minna are your best bet, very creative, not what I'd call a warm environment but I likely have a different idea of "warm".

            1. Thanks Ian,but bouley is famous for their desserts,and I haven't read any positive mention of that at GD. They always talk about the cheese cart. I guess I have a while to search more. Dessert is very important,you can't have a great meal without it. I appreciate all the help I can get. The search continues!

              1 Reply
              1. We just had a fantastic meal at Scott Howard as a nice dinner subst for GD (alhtough we had plenty of excellent meals at GD- but its overly processed in the service area which you might be into for a really great meal)... Aziza is also a great restaurant we go to for really great food

                For the Mission for a casual dinner Range or Delfina, check the menus to choose as they are pretty different but equally delicious...lunch in the mission is pretty easy too, great variety, Delfina pizzaria for lunch (their sides are better than the pizza IMO), Ti Couz for crepes, Pakwan/Maharaja for Indian, La Mediteranne for Swarma...

                1. Thanks. Aziza sounds great. Wow,their cocktail menu is amazing! Their dessert menu sounds great also. I looked it up in the map and it looked kind of far. But I am very interested.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mrsjoujou

                    I had dinner at Aziza last night. The meyer lemon cocktail with basil was amazing...could drink those all night! All of our dinner was excellent, and the service couldn't have been better. It isn't in the same category as Gary Danko or the Ritz (a lot of diners were in jeans and t-shirts), and yes, a bit of a shlep, but well worth a visit!

                  2. In the sae basic price range as GD...

                    My favorite restaurant in town is Fleur de Lys. You mention Bouley -- this is the most 'East Coast' of all the restaurants in town. Deffinitely creative, but also deffinitely Alsatian. La Folie is my second favorite restaurant in town. Also French, but with more CA influence, and the most casual of the top restaurants in the city. Acquerello (check spelling?) is the best Italian restaurant in town and wonderful. I've been reading consistently good things about Coi but I've never been. Aqua is great if you know you want fish.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: whiner

                      Acquerello's great, Italian with a heavy French influence on some dishes, but as usual for Italian restaurants it's more classic than creative.