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Please help me to pick a dinner spot from this list in SF

I have been reading your board,SFweekly,SF magazine and SF gate for over a month now. I feel dizzy from reading so much :)
I have made reservations for Range and Kokkari and possibly maykadeh on christmas day. We are staying at hotel vitale and I need to find one more dinner spot that is a little diffrent and maybe more upscale from my other picks. I was considering the following:

Aziza- I talked to the hotel's concierge and he told me it would be a $20 cab ride. Other option taking the bus. Is it worth it?
Scott howard- I have read some mix reviews. Has any one been there lately?
Perbacco-I read some good reviews and it is close to our hotel.
Any other ideas?

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  1. Aziza and Perbacco are both great.

    If you have great Italian food where you live, Aziza might be a better choice. There's no good reason to take a taxi, the 38 bus will take you there.

    1. Great picks! I LOVE Aziza, though it's true that it's pretty far away from the Hotel Vitale. If Moraccon-influenced fine dining is something you're never going to find at home, I'd recommend splurging for the cab. However, it seems that other Hounds are unanimous in their praise of Perbacco, and it's certainly closer. I haven't been there yet, but due to the glowing praise on this site, it's at the top of my list for new restaurants to visit.

      Ame isn't too far from you, just up Mission street. We had an outstanding meal there. There's always Zuni cafe, which isn't close, but you could take the streetcar up Market street (which is cheap and fun).

      Have a great visit!

      1. yes, taking the bus (or a cab) to Aziza is worth it. It is a straight shot up Geary from Market so you are unlikely to get lost. Depending upon where you are from, you may not have anything similar where you live.

        I like both Range and Aziza MUCH better than Kokkari, FWIW. Btw, if you are concerned about transportation, Range is almost if not as far from Vitale as Aziza. It *is* closer to a BART station (about half way between 16th street and 24th st BART stations and a block or two west of Mission), but the neighborhood (especially around 16th St Station) is a bit gritty at night. So, if that doesn't bother you fine. If it does, your cab will cost almost as much as your cab to Aziza (or even as much). And, of the two, again depending upon where you are, Range is more likely to remind you of something you can get at home or elsewhere...

        Haven't been to Perbacco yet, but will be remedying that very soon. :-)

        2 Replies
        1. re: susancinsf

          I don't think there's anything similar to Aziza anywhere.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Chambar in Vancouver reminded me of it somewhat. Not exactly, but certainly closer than anything I've encountered elsewhere. And I wouldn't be surprised if there is something similar in Paris...but in the United States, no, I agree: I don't think there really is an equivalent to Aziza. (and if there is, please let me know Hounds!)

        2. out of curiousity: just checked mapquest: Range is about a mile closer. However, depending upon traffic and route chosen by the cabbie, it could theoretically take as long or longer...I wouldnt count on much less than a $20 cab ride for that one either.

          If you take BART it is about a six block walk from either station to Range.

          1. Well, should I drop Range in a favor of Aziza? We only have three nights and one is christmas(I wish one of this places was open on christmas). I love to try Perbacco for one night, so that leaves me with one night. I guess I should go for Aziza. We live in OC and go to LA for decent food.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mrsjoujou

              You can get food more or less simiar to Range's in LA at places such as Campanile or AOC.

              Perbacco has dishes from the Piemonte, Liguria, and Veneto regions, don't know if you have those in LA.

              1. re: mrsjoujou

                most of my eating in LA lately has been downscale, not upscale or midrange, but I'd say yes, if you have to choose, choose Aziza. It's not a bad choice either way, however.

                One other factor: the portions are bigger at Aziza, and they have a popular tasting menu (though I think the tasting menu is too much food, personally).

                1. re: susancinsf

                  Your picks are good. I work at First and Market and take cabs to dinner quite often and can say that Range is substantially closer to Vitale than Aziza. Cab to Range from Vitale would probably be 10 dollars +/- and cab to Aziza $20. Perbacco would be a good choice given your considerations.

              2. Personally, I'd do Range, Aziza, Perbacco and drop Kokkari which I've never found to be that special.

                Your hotel is very centrally located (easy access to BART, the underground & buses) so unless the money means nothing to you or you're in a hurry, I'd recommend taking public transit.

                You can use Transit 511 Trip Planner to get reliable instructions - http://www.transitinfo.org/tripplanne...

                And while Aziza is "far", its easy to get to via the 38 Geary.

                1. For other ideas, how about Boulevard?

                  1. If this is a Christmas meal you might consider that the buses run on cut back holiday hours. Personally, I'd at least take a cab to Aziza and then see given the route if you wanted to take the bus back. Yes, this particular route is not rocket science, but given the reduced schedule and the number of stops along the way ... I don't know, it doesn't seem like the festive way to go on Christmas and I'd worry about being either too early or late for my reservation.

                    Just curious if they mentioned the restaurant in the Hotel ... The Americano.

                    1. Well,thank you all. I had to cancel Range and book Aziza. Like I said, we will only have three nights,one being christmas night. I wish range was open for lunch. We are having lunch at Kokkari on our last day before we go back to LA, because I love greek food.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: mrsjoujou

                        I think you'll like Kokkari. I love their moussaka and the appetizer with white beans in tomato sauce...it's not often that you get to have Greek food served in an upscale setting...most of the other Greek places I've experienced over the years were kind of little holes-in-the-wall, which are great, but the dining room at Kokkari is lovely and the service is always good.

                        Have a great time at Aziza - you won't regret it!

                        1. re: megamalone

                          My favorites at Kokkari are the taramosalata, tzatziki, fried smelt, grilled whole fish, moussaka, and braised lamb shank.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Oooh, how could I forget the smelt! They are FANTASTIC.

                        2. re: mrsjoujou

                          I'll join the chorus for Azziza. I visit the City as often as possible, and we LOVE the place. and for what it's worth....we stay at the Vitale and, as others have said, take the easy bus ride. You'll have no problem...and a great dinner.

                          1. re: mrsjoujou

                            I'm glad that you're keeping Kokkari, because I love it, especially in the winter (ask for a seat near the fireplace). Get some of their braised or roasted meat, or the moussaka, and definitely get the spreads and bread at the beginning. And congratulations on your hotel, the Hotel Vitale is great.

                            1. re: JasmineG

                              one of the reasons I am not terribly fond of Kokkari is that, both times I've been there I have not had good luck in being seated where I requested (in fact, on one visit I was seated in the one area where I specifically asked we NOT be seated, and was told nothing else was available when we asked to be moved)...which is partly a reflection on the fact that there is a great variety in the type of seating, I suppose.

                              As for the spreads, they will pale besides the ones at Aziza, (just IMO of course) which you should definitely order! (by all means order them at both, and do report back on your thoughts).

                              1. re: susancinsf

                                I've only ever been there for lunch, and have had great service (and have been seated where I asked) each time -- have your experiences been at lunch or dinner?

                                1. re: JasmineG

                                  dinner. Though I would actually expect it to be more crowded (and thus harder to get seated where wanted) at lunch, given the location, at least during the week.

                                  I am not trying to discourage OP, since they love Greek food and since her other top choices aren't open for lunch, just adding a small reality check based on my very limited experience.

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    I've been there for lunch a lot, and while it's always really crowded, I haven't had any problems with service or getting seated where I want. I also suspect that it will be really empty right around Christmas, because the Financial District folks keep it in lunch business, and a lot of people are out that week, so I'd imagine that it won't be a crowd.

                            2. re: mrsjoujou

                              It wasn't too adventurous, but I had some of the best lamb chops I've ever had at Aziza last night.