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Best Tasting Menu with Wine Pairing

I'm bringing my parents on a weekend trip to San Francisco, and we're looking for a stellar tasting menu with reliably good wine pairings and a good sommelier. The emphasis here is on the wine pairing, with a preference for a nice selection of California wines.

We're too late for Gary Danko, so I'm considering:

The Ritz Dining Room
La Folie
Boulevard

Any advice?

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  1. While the food is good at La Folie, I'd recommend against it if you're aiming for wine pairings. They don't actually have set pairings, and when I was there recently, I was most unhappy with what the sommelier picked - a man we never saw again after our initial request. Someone else will have to chime in about the other two: I've not been to the Ritz (shocker), and I was on a year kick from drinking during my two visits to Boulevard. Any openings at Michael Mina?

    1. Boulevard- I have been here about five times although it's been about two years since my last visit. They have been consistantly good and I have always had great experiences with their
      Sommelier. No matter how busy they are he will take the time with you on the wines and follow up to make sure you are happy with your choice.

      Rubicon- might be a consideration as well. They specialize in Californian wines.

      1. I'm a dolt - ditto on Lori's Rubicon recommendation. Wine is a huge +++, as are the desserts Nicole puts out. On that tangent, I still salivate when I think of her pecorino and plum tart with olive oil ice cream.... quite possibly one of the best desserts I've ever had.

        You could always do the DAT option and splurge on wine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jrhsfcm

          Does Rubicon offer a sommelier-selected pairing with the tasting menu? The wine list is amazing, but I've always been disappointed by the by-the-glass selection.

        2. Does Boulevard offer a tasting menu? I don;t remember seeing it, but I do really like Boulevard and is one place I keep going back to.

          We had a lovely meal at Fifth Floor this last weekend. Most of the wine pairings were French, but I'm willing to bet they would accomodate a CA request.

          We did the Ritz a year or so ago and that was nice as well. I'd choose Fifth Floor over it though, based on food.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SLRossi

            There's one thing I forgot to mention that I really liked about FF. I was dining with two ladies and we all had the tasting menu. The ladies had one menu and I had another. So with a seven course meal (plus various amuse)we got to try 14 dishes and 16 wines. Of course this is only a perk if you're willing to share.

            1. re: SLRossi

              With Boulevard and Rubicon I think it depends on how you order; you build it your own with the help of the sommelier. Both places are excellent and have a nice atmosphere.

              For actual tasting menus maybe
              Coi
              Fifth Floor
              Gary Danko
              Farallon
              Aziza - more causal
              Campton Place

            2. Rossi - you mentioned that the "ladies" had one menu, and you another. Was that because they had different menu options available... or because FF participates in the misogynistic practice of having gender-specific menus? Just curious as that's a huge pet peeve of mine.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jrhsfcm

                The chef and sommelier at Fifth Floor are women.

                When's the last time you saw a gender-specific menu? I thought they went out around the time that bars started serving unaccompanied ladies.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  On a date in 1983 I was given a menu with no prices. Crazy. However, I think the poster above simply meant that there were two options for tasting menus. I've never heard of gender-specific menus.

                2. re: jrhsfcm

                  There were no options available, we were just served two different menus. Personally, we got a kick out of it because we got to try so many things and then we discussed who got the better dish for each course. We didn't feel as if one menu was more or less adventerous than the other. I would never have framed it as misogynistic, particuallry because we were aware that of the female leadership at the restaurant.