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One night only! Please vote...

Hey all,

I'm a Chicago hound trying to decide where to have a delicious, memorable meal for the one night I will be in your city! I have limited my decision to the following:

Zuni Cafe
The House

Please let me know which place you would recommend for two fun, female foodies in town for a night (staying in Union Square).

Thank you!

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  1. For only one night...Zuni or Delfina for me. I never hear anyone talk about Andalu.

    1. I'd have to say A16 or Zuni, depending on what kind of food you prefer. (Too bad you're not considering Aziza, that would be my top recommendation - for food, experience, and amazing cocktails).

      Definitely not Andalu (very mixed reviews, and I personally have had 2 disappointing experiences there), and The House is not what you're looking for.

      1. If you are looking to 'go out' A 16. Hands down. Great neighborhood. The restaurant is trendy but not touristy or pretentious, great service, awesome wine list and stemware...

        The food at Delfina is probably as good, however. And Zuni is classic SF. Still, my vote goes to A 16.

        2 Replies
        1. re: whiner

          Depends on your taste in neighborhoods. Personally, I'd rather hang out near Delfina than A16. I'd vote for Delfina or Zuni.

          1. re: pane

            Me, too. The only upside to the Marina for me is that you can stroll down to the beach afterwards...

        2. A16 if you've spent a lot of time in Italy, otherwise Zuni.

          1. Reservations will be tough, but I'd recommend these:
            1. Delfina
            2. A16
            3. Zuni
            4. Myth
            5. Piperade

            1. As a former Chicagoan, I'll answer by recommending an experience that is very San Francisco, and as far as you can get from Chicago. A16, though great, will be just like eating in Lincoln Park or Bucktown, and the crowd in that neighborhood (the Marina) will be very similar. If you're looking for something really different from Chicago, I'd choose Delfina or The House. Both have fabulous food, and both offer neighborhoods that are fun and distinctive to SF (The House in North Beach, which is great to stroll around in - get coffee at Cafe Trieste afterward), and Delfina, in the Mission. You can get pastries and coffee down the block at Tartine if you want to be indulgent. If you go to the House, get the Black Cod - it's among the best seafood dishes I've ever eaten anywhere.

              As for Zuni, I'm consistently unerwhelmed. I know many love it, but for me, I think people love the idea of it as much as the actual restaurant. Also, Zuni isn't really in a nighborhood where you can walk afterward. It's not dangerous, but just not much right there.

              Have a blast

              2 Replies
              1. re: sfoperalover

                I'm not recommending Zuni above the others but "not much right there"? --- errr, how about Cafe Trieste across the street? Cav next door? Hotel Biron on the alley behind it? Martuni nearby? Zeitgiest a couple of blocks away? How about the short walk to riches of Hayes Valley? How about a short picturesque ride on the antique trolleys & a walk around the Castro - visitors love that!

                1. re: larochelle

                  I wholly agree with your basic point, larochelle, but, just to avoid any confusion for our out-of-town OP, I'll add that, while there's a new branch of Caffe Trieste across the street from Zuni, the famed, historic, original Trieste is far away in North Beach. I've never been to the new branch, so am not knocking it (can anyone report on it?), just ensuring that OP doesn't think s/he can hit two SF institutions with one cab ride to Market & Gough.

              2. Part of your problem might be getting reservations at your preferred location for the one night you're going to be here. Start calling around and seeing what you can get now, your top three picks (the ones that I'd pick between) can in high demand. I'd also add Aziza to that list, though it's a pain to get to.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JasmineG

                  If they don't want to take a cab, the Geary bus is easy from Union Square, just one bus.

                2. Zuni hands down and yeah, skip the Marina.

                  1. I'm a long-time Delfina regular, so biased, have never been to Andalu and only once long ago to The House, but I must say, as to Zuni, I've been a few dozen times in recent years and *never* felt truly welcomed or at home--service was almost always competent and food very good, but as an institution it just never seems pleased to have you, as an indvidual, there. But it is a San Francisco institution for good reason (food and scene). A16, however, is not. I went once and quite liked the food, but my friend and I kept looking at each other and the surroundings and our co-diners and asking, "Are we still in San Francisco? Really?" You won't ask that question in Delfina or Zuni. Whatever position one takes on the relative food quality at those three places, I don't think anyone would say that A16 is head & shoulders above the other two in a way warranting the sacrifice of an appreciably, distinctly San Franciscan experience if you just have one night to have one (esp. since, as one poster noted, if you go to Delfina, you can visit some very nearby, distinctly SF institutions--e.g., Bi Rite and its new Creamery or Tartine--and your visit, if not on a Monday or Tuesday, will include Tartine bread, and neither A16 nor Zuni has anything to compete with that).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: readingstand

                      I totally agree with this. That block with Delfina, Bi-Rite, Tartine, and Bi-Rite Creamery is a very happy place. I adore Delfina.

                      1. re: Atomica

                        Yes, Delfina with Tartine right around the corner. Perfect.

                        Zuni strictly for the rockin chicken dish.

                        1. re: brekkie_fan

                          I would never miss ordering the caesar salad; best I've ever had.

                    2. For what its worth, I dissagree with the assesment of A16 as not SF-y. The Marina (and Cow Hollow) are pretty dissimilar from much of the city, I'll grant you. But, A16 epitomizes those neighborhoods which are young and chic. And, you really don't find restaurants like A16 in most of the rest of the country...

                      1. Well, whiner, we agree that A16 epitomizes its neighborhood and that said 'hood isn't distinctively SFy, so I'll refine my point from that agreed base: like sfoperalover, I find the Marina a very generic neighborhood (i.e., could be in any city); to the extent the 'hood suffuses the restaurant, one's experience of the latter is thus not distinctively SFy. I hasten to repeat that I've nothing bad to say re A16's food, so really, sweet 'n' salty, it's about how much the scene (glossy post-frat/sorority) will or won't affect your experience of the food. You might also check this thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/381438), which compares A16 and Delfina with another soon-to-be visitor's top candidates . . . .

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: readingstand

                          A16's popular not just with the local Marina crowd, who tend to go early, but with Italians, who tend to go late. I think that's one reason it's so hard to get a reservation.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Thanks for the great recs, SF hounds! My friend and I had an amazing time on our trip. We ultimately decided on Delfina for dinner (I will never forget the roast chicken!) and dined at Zazie and Mama's for brunch. All were delicious experiences.

                        2. delfina or a16.

                          personally, i'd go for delfina.

                          1. Your restaurant choices are great but I would add Boulevard's to the list. An elegant restaurant along the waterfront and very near Union Square. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed.