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fancy lunch near SF MOMA?

Hi -- we are thinking of going to SF MOMA on the evening of Thursday the 28th, and are thinking lunch makes more sense than dinner. Is there are place nearby that does a fairly late but really nice lunch?
any style but interesting and good. Pricey is ok.

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  1. Ame is pretty close. Boulevard isn't so far. Don't know if either does lunch but I bet Ame does.

    5 Replies
    1. re: whiner

      Boulevard definitely does lunch, but is a fair walk from SFMOMA. Town Hall is a bit closer, though it seems to be getting mixed notices lately. Palace Hotel is close by, and the Garden Court is a great room for lunch, though I don't know how the food is these days.

      Didn't an upscale Asian Fusion place replace Max's on Third Street?

      1. re: Gary Soup

        I don't know what Max's is, but Ame is a very upscale Asian Fusion place on the corner of Third and Mission and Bong Su is an upscale modern Vietnamese place on Third at Folsom -- same people as Tamarine in Palo Alto. I was thinking Town Hall, too, but I haven't been in over a year and, like you, I've taken notice that recently the reviews seem to be more mixed.

        1. re: whiner

          Bong Su took over the place formerly occupied by Max's Diner, of the Max's chain. All I know about Bong Su is that they take their tea service seriously, according to the folks at Red Blossom Tea, their vendor. That's a detail which often doesn't get enough attention, if you ask me.

          1. re: Gary Soup

            They also serve a complimentary tea with sweet lotus seed as a palate cleanser before dessert. nice.

          2. re: whiner

            Calling Ame Asian fusion makes it sound like you're going to get coconut shrimp with your mai tai :)

            It's Japanese food (sashimi, chawan mushi, kumamoto oysters) but with a decidedly upscale French sensibility (the way food is plated, the sauces it's served with, the lobster in your chawan mushi). The food is delicious, if a $50 lunch is what you're after. We got out at $30 each, and were being very restrained and not drinking.

            Samovar's international flights are a fun choice if the entire upper deck of the gardens aren't fogged over!

      2. Samovar's international flights aren't cheap for what they are (~$15 each). But they're pretty tasty and of course the tea is wonderful and the atmosphere is charming. It's above Moscone North.

        1. The Palace would be very cool. Lulu is also about 2 blocks away.

          1. Try Roy's. Great seafood with a Hawaiian flair (http://www.roysrestaurant.com/). It's right around the corner from MOMA.

            1. Had a great lunch at Town Hall a couple of weeks ago. Arrived after 1 and had a long, maybe 2 hour lunch with wine and lots of conversations. It's not nearly as noisy that time of day.

              1. I had lunch recently at the Palace's Garden Court and thought it was delicious. I ordered the crab salad. As I recall, it was a green salad with avocado, tomato, blanched green beans, and a very generous helping of dungeness.

                The bread basket was yummy (but I don't remember specifics).

                I like the atmosphere there a lot, relaxed, luxe, traditional, visually sumtuous.

                I've also been going to Samovar and enjoying it quite a bit. You can order a la carte there, but I'll disagree with Windy, I think the prices for the Flights are quite reasonable.

                1. I had a late lunch at the cafe inside of the Emporio Armani store a couple weeks ago, and thought it was decent. Food was fine, atmosphere is decidedly nice (high ceilings, lots of granite and marble, racks of expensive clothes, lots of natural light). I sat in the upper terrace where lunch is served, though you can opt to sit at the huge bar in the middle of the store when you walk in. Prices were between OK & expensive, and commensurate with the experience. One major plus is that you can actually have a conversation without having to raise your voice, which is where places like Town Hall can fall short.

                  XYZ @ the W Hotel is steps away from MOMA, though I haven't eaten there for a couple of years. You could walk over and browse their menu that's posted in the window.

                  1. Thanks for all the suggestions.
                    Is Hawthorn Lane any good? We are still considering all your suggestions and others.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Kim Cooper

                      I believe Hawthrone Lane closed and is turning into another restaurant owned/operated by the same people. For a fancy place it would have been the obvious choice. Here's the thread.


                      1. re: Kim Cooper

                        Hawthorne Lane was scheduled to close on Christmas. Of the suggestions above, I'd recommend Ame or Bong Su if you are looking for something upscale and Lulu if you are looking for a good lunch but more casual. And if you want quick and casual but still good, SFMOMA has a cafe that serves perfectly fine food, thought it is better when it is warmer and you can sit outside.

                      2. I know you're planning to eat lunch on the 28th... but for future note: Ame will not be serving lunch anymore after December 31st, 2006. They will still have a light menu available at the Ame Bar, and now lunch service will be extended at the St. Regis' breakfast restaurant Vitrine (open to public). Different kitchen and different menu entirely.

                        1. Thanks again -- we will be trying all of your suggestions sometime soon.
                          We ended up having an early dinner at B44.
                          It was good. Not spectacular. Though dessert was really really good so we left on a very positive note.
                          The service was good, but the room was cold.(temperature, not looks.)
                          I had sea bass, my partner had rabbit.
                          The dessert was fresh cheese with walnuts and honey and cherry wine in a glass thing whose name I can't remember but the waiter showed us that you are supposed to pour it into your mouth in one of those displays of daring-do. Not wearing my new Christmas present (dry-clean only) blouse! With it we shared a glass of Muscatello. Next time we each get a glass of our own! We have recently discovered the world of dessert wines, and some of them are just spectacular. (with dessert)