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Weekend visit - help an L.A. hound choose

Hi, I'm an L.A. 'hound who loves S.F. but never gets there enough. My husband and I are coming next weekend for a last minute trip. Just 2 nights so I want to choose carefully. After reading several posts, I booked the Ritz-Carlton for Sat. night. Good choice? We love tasting menus, wine pairings, etc., so I thought that would fit the bill. I had contemplated Boulevard instead though--even though it's a different type of place--I've always wanted to go and never made it there. Would you stick with the Ritz?

My big question pertains to Friday. Our flight does not get in until 7:15 so I am thinking a 9:30 dinner. Looking for a more neighborhood place. On past visits, we went to Delfina (4 yrs ago?) and Piperade (2 yrs ago) for that type of experience and really liked it (as to Delfina, actually, we fell in love). This time, I am thinking of these places:

A16
Incanto
Defina
Canteen
Bar Tartine
Quince

I know less about Bar Tartine and Quince than the others. Obviously we may not be able to get a reservation at all of them, but I'm hoping w/ the late start time, we will have more options than we'd otherwise have.

Also, we are staying at Hyde and North Point (someone gave us a free place to stay for the weekend). Any places to get an excellent cappuccino nearby?

Thank you in advance.

Megan

meganinlosfeliz.blogspot.com

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  1. This is a great example of how these requests should be written; nice, detailed information. I've yet to go, but pretty much all reports on the board praise the Ritz highly. Boulevard is fantastic, but probably not quite in the same league. My vote for Friday night would be for Delfina or Bar Tartine. I'll let someone else help with your cappuccino request.

    1. I'd say A16 based on what you liked in the past, where you'll be staying, and what time you'll be eating. Or, if you want a cute, cable-car-going-by-the-window type of spot, luella is perfect (but take a cab, don't drive).

      1. We won't have a car anyway (happy to be without it for a few days!) We tend to walk all over the city when we are there.

        How would you compare Delfina and A16? Also, has Delfina gone downhill at all?

        3 Replies
        1. re: meganinlosfeliz

          I would say Delfina or A16 are your best best for Friday night.

          In terms of comparing them, I would say A16 is maybe a little more a meat-lovers paradise and has a slightly longer menu. It is Southern, so the dishes are a little more complicated and there is lots of braising. In terms of atmosphere, A16 is casual but trendy. Perhaps both more casual and more trendy than Delfina. The wine list at A16 is longer and more well thought out but almost all Southern. Iwould give the slight edge to A16 but you can't go wrong at either.

          As for the Ritz, I hear great things. My favorite restaurant in the city is Fleur de Lys which is in a similar price range, but I do hear great things about the Ritz.

          1. re: whiner

            There's nothing trendy about A16. The Italian portion of its wine list is almost all southern but there are a lot of wines from California too.

            http://www.a16sf.com/WineBottle.html

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I wasn't calling the food trendy, I was more relating the young, chic vibe of the place. It is casual, but everyone there looks well put together.

              The stemware is excellent there as well...

        2. I would definitely try to get Incanto, Bar Tartine, and/or Canteen in on your trip. They offer something unique that LA doesn't quite have. Bar Tartine is a tad reminiscent of AOC in terms of style of food but it's not small dishes like AOC. The wines by the glass at Bar Tartine is also excellent even if it's not as extensive as AOC

          As for the Ritz, if you have to do a high end restaurant in the city, the tasting menu at the Ritz is as good as any. However, if you're willing to drive south, Manresa is rivaled only by The French Laundry and there are those like myself who feel Manresa has The French Laundry beat.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Porthos

            Would you recommend Incanto over Delfina? I think Italian would be nice because L.A. is thin on great Italian restaurants.

            1. re: meganinlosfeliz

              I haven't been to Delfina but there are many positive reviews on it. I haven't made it over to Delfina because Incanto's menu is more pleasing to me.

              Incanto is more rustic and has more pasta selections but the decor is a little tacky. The hankerchief pasta with pork ragu and the braised pork shoulder are crowd pleasers. Their wine flights are usually pretty fun and a great bargain. Check out the menu and see which you like better.

              www.delfinasf.com
              www.incanto.biz

              Be sure to go to Bar Tartine too. Great bread, and excellent food. I had a delicious cuttlefish with braised pork belly appetizer the other night that was enlightening. Of course tender cuttlefish goes with tender/crisp pork belly. Why hadn't I thought of that before? Salads are also excellent. They work wonders with vinagerettes.

          2. Too bad you couldn't make it over to Range (in the mission). I think that's by far the best place to go right now, especially when you are considering other restaurants in a similar price range.

            I used to eat at Quince every other week for nearly a year and it has gone down hill -- as far as I'm concerned. Too expensive for unpredictable quality.

            A-16 is good, but casual. Boulevard is unbelievable (I'd definitely recommend going there if you can get a reservation). Canteen is fun and unique; however, my meals there have been hit or miss.

            Myth could be a good option for you to consider. Or, the Salt House.