Recommendations for romantic honeymoon eats in SF, points north and wine country?
The FH and I will be heading your way in late March. What would you recommend for "not to be missed" dining experiences? We'll be lodging in Bodega Bay, Sonoma and San Francisco. I'd prefer the best food vs. the most popular. What say ye hounders?
In Sonoma, The Girl and the Fig is fine french in an old hotel. THe atmosphere is wonderful--white table cloth but not too fancy. Nice bar to wait in (get a lemon drop or try one of the wines from the Burgandy region--their speciality). The Cassoulet is wonderful but incredibly rich. And the frites are great as well.
If you want something a little more casual, the girl and the fig cafe is north of Sonoma in Glen Ellyn. Here you can bring your own wine with no corkage. THe food is good and the atmosphere is genuinely friendly. We ended up conversing with the table next to us and sharing their wine. The waiter also gave us a free glass of wine at the end of our meal. I ordered a risotto with butternut squash and pine nuts that was excellent, if not very "risotto" like. The pizza was fresh but I would not highly recommend it. The cheese plate to start was excellent, featuring local cheeses.
In San Fran, we like Town Hall. Having tried several of the more fancy/expensive highly rated restaurants in the city, Town Hall offers a very friendly (and less expensive) alternative. The wait staff is patient and there is no rushing. The food is good, simple but well prepared.
Also in the city, if you can get a reservation, Canteen is an experience. Here there are only two or three seatings each evening in a very small diner. THe chef cooks literally behind the counter (so if you sit up at the counter, you can watch the whole thing). The restaurant only sits maybe 20 people. The food is excellent, the menu small and the selection very local and fresh. I will have to say that the wait staff was not particularly cheerful when we were there, but we didn't really care. Eating here, however, entails a quick meal. They have to get you out to get the next seating in.
The wine bar in the ferry building is a fun pre-dinner stop if you are looking to try some regional wines without going to allt he wineries. It's a crowded place but the wait staff is friendly and the flights are great.
Be sure to hit Hog Island Oyster at the Ferry Building. Awesome stew, awesome half-shells. Nice wine selection. Great staff. Amazing views. Walk around and enjoy the views after after lunch.
Willow Wood Market Cafe - breakfast-9020 Graton Road (half-mile west of Highway 116)
a great place to have breakfast, fun and causal always good.
13648 Arnold Drive
Glen Ellen, CA 95422
Telephone (707) 938-4844
Very innovative food with a spanish flair, intimate bistro style.
The Girl and the Fig- lunch or dinner
The Girl and the Fig
110 W. Spain St.
Sonoma, CA 95476
Telephone (707) 938-3634
Cafe La Haye- dinner
140 E. Napa St. (1 block east of Sonoma Plaza)
Tel. (707) 935-5994
Excellent American Cal/Mediterranean food is really good here..small and very pretty little spot.
If you cut over to Napa be sure to check out Graeser Winery Estate on Diamond Mountain.. this is one of my favorite spots. They don't do tastings here but you can buy a bottle and sit on the patio and enjoy this old estate. There is a picnic table on top of the hill that you can reserve and have a picnic with a view of the valley, amazing.
If you drive into Point Reyes Station the Pine Cone Dinner is a great spot for lunch.
If you take hwy 1 to Bodega Bay, stop at Tony's in Marshall.. a very casual spot old time classic on the water.
Bar Tartine- Mission area- food is excellent and it's a pretty restaurant in that real simple rustic way.
Ai6- Marina area-sit at the bar, the bartender is very nice and makes perfect wine suggestions.. I think it's romantic when my boyfriend and I go there..
La Terrasse- new in the Presidio, have not been but sounds great and what a location.. you can take a walk down to crissy fields and enjoy the view of the golden gate bridge and the birds. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...
re: Lori SF
A16 is stellar. Try to get a table right across from the pizza ovens. The service is great, the food is exceptional, and the pizza guys are really cool to watch as they feed the ovens with sticks of hard wood and raw pizzas, one after the other. This is a taste of Italy that America is lucky to have. One of the best restaurant experiences we have ever had, anyway, top 3 easily.
Note to couples in love: never be afraid to sit side-by-side as a two-some at a 4-top. We were timidly inquisitive about it, but our server was so gracious and sweet, and sitting that way makes any dinner so much more intimate and romantic. Plus you can share plates of food more easily and less obtrusively. And you can whisper and giggle together, rather than shout across the table....
Staying in Bodega Bay? Then don't miss the Seaweed Cafe. Not only will you have a wonderful meal, but it will be a meal of and from the local area. So you get a taste of place in addition to a large dollop of graciousness and talent. This is a place to linger and enjoy.
I mainly cook for myself because--although I'm nowhere near a starred chef--I rarely find restaurants that make something better or more complicated than I can. I don't know how hard their menu items are, but I can say for sure they're a tastebud delight. My very favorite meal there was when, after a long drive and too many decisions, instead of ordering I just asked to be surprised. After a few questions about things I like (most everything) and hate (alfalfa sprouts), I got the brunch everyone else at my table wished they'd ordered. (Sorry, it's been way too many years ago for me to recall the specific dishes, but I can say it was FAB.)
1580 Eastshore Road
Bodega Bay, California
In San Francisco, Aziza has a very romantic atmosphere with excellent, upscale Moroccan food. You can reserve one of the booths in the front room. It's dark enough that you have a lot of privacy, but light enough to read the menu! They also have a very reasonably priced wine list that compliments the food.
A little north and east of Bodega Bay is a wine shop called Wine & Cheese Tasting of Sonoma County, which is in the tiny village of Duncans Mills. The cheese selection can be hit or miss, but the wine selection is spot on. You can grab and go or enjoy your goodies at the shop.
Out in Freestone (a bit southeast of Bodega Bay), Wild Flour Bread is so worth a stop to get some of their amazing bread or the big-as-your-head sticky bun.
A bit further north of Freestone in Occidental is the fairly newish Bistro des Copains. I have not tried it but have been desperate to go based on press reviews and my nostalgic fondness for Occidental itself.
re: Ruby Louise
Wild Flour Bread is ridiculous good bread love the Cheese bread too good you might eat too much and not be in the mood for nothing else, wink wink. Next door is a wonderful Japanese style Cedar Enzyme Bath place that you might enjoy, this is a very special little spot and this area is a very nice drive.
In Sonoma go to Preston Winery. Really lovley winery with gardens to wander around in, usually they have freshly baked bread and their wine is really great and organic. It's a nice little romantic place to have a picnic and some wine.