Michael Mina, La Folie, or other options?
I am looking for your recommendation for a fussy, inventive meal. The Dining Room, Masa's, and Fleur de Lys are all closed on the day I would like to go. Already been to Gary Danko.
So the options seem to be Michael Mina or La Folie. Fifth Floor, Campton Place, Aqua would be the other options but they don't seem to garner the same praise.
Has anyone been to both restaurants? I have read the board and I am leaning towards Michael Mina... but I would like to hear from someone that can compare the two spots.
-no cost issue, though we will be ordering wine and I like restaurants with reasonable mark-ups (100% is reasonable IMO)
-fussiness is not an issue
-eat everything and a well-executed foie dish is a big plus
La Folie is the obvious choice. Perfect French Bistro Food well prepared. Depending on your consumption requirements you may wish to split some of the courses , they are huge!
We have a resy late Jan. The wine list is reasonable for SF and they have a Corkage Waive for every bottle you buy off the list, a nice touch. So feel free to take a fine bottle with you.
Mina has inventive food(small portions)and I'm not a big eater, but is aggressive with his Wine markups over 200 percent if not more? I hate it when my total bill is 30 percent Corkage after I've bought a bottle from the list?
We much prefer La Folie.
I find Michael Mina too much of a tourist destination, the likes of restaurant you would find in Vegas, the factory type of place that has no reel soul. I dont think it is the SF spirit. Unlike La Folie where you have a chef behind the stoves producing his food night after night. It seems to me to be a better option
Just because a restaurant is popular and the chef a celeb doesn't mean it isn't good, imho. I haven't been to La Folie, I'd like to someday. For you, that might be the right place. But Mina is special. Just depends on your taste.
AND...Michael Mina is arguably the chef that put San Francisco on the map for dining. That's soul in my book.
I would also consider Ame for creative Japanese/Western fusion in SF.
Personally I am more into food then wine and I have done three restaurants in one nite to maximize the sampling of cuisine (sit at bar at Aqua for tuna tartare, dine at Myth for main courses, dessert in Chinatown).
I would like to try Ame, but this crew is not into sushi and I have heard mixed reviews of the non-sushi items (from "okay for the price" to "delicious").
Thanks to everyone for the input. Didn't seem to be a clear favorite, so I went to Michael Mina. The winelist is huge, with a big focus on Burgundy, and silly mark-ups. We'll bring a couple bottles (you can BYO 2 bottles, corkage is $35, and they cannot be on the list) and buy a couple more to match with food. Will report back.
rtmonty, The Dining Room was my first choice but it is closed the night we want to go.
To balance, I enjoy Mina more than La Folie, especially given your criteria. The board seems to love the huge portions of food La Folie puts on a plate, but that is rarely what I look for in the best of restaurants.
Many Mina plates are a well constructed sample of tastes around a single ingredient or theme, like lobster or ceviche. The wine is expensive, but there is a deep selection of white burgundies to peruse.
At Folie I did love the Foie appetizer, where quantity is appreciated, but didn't care for the Sturgeon which I thought was too heavy and didn't mesh as well as I would have liked.
I agree with Cary, La Folie is awesome. We had an anniversary dinner there earlier this year and can't wait to go back. Certainly didn't feel the same about Michael Mina's. Had perhaps the largest piece of foie I've ever seen on a restaurant plate. Finally, it is not a "fussy" place at all, in fact, almost casual for as upscale as it is. We did the wine pairings so really don't remember markups.
For another suggestion, you might look at The Dining Room at the Ritz. Took my wife there for her birthday and it was lovely. Ron Siegal is perhaps the best chef in the city and does a great job. It is a bit more formal that La Folie, that's for sure, but still didn't feel like I needed to be wearing a tux.
La Folie has a good wine list with some good values. Michael Mina's markups are over 200% which is typical of these type of restaurants. Mina's markups aren't as high as Gary Danko's though, the last time I checked. La Folie also has an awesome foie gras dish with a big portion, enough for yourself and your companions to sample several times. I find myself wanting to go back to La Folie more than Michael Mina.