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Best Tasting Menus in SF?

Any recommendations on SF restaurants with the best tasting menus? For the life of me, can't seem to get a reservation at The French Laundry. So in the meantime, I'm focusing on alternative fine dining options here in the city. Basically, I'm looking for restaurants with amazing tasting menus that would be comparable to FL (in quality and price). A friend recommended Michael Mina ... anyone have thoughts on "The Cookbook" tasting menu? Is it worth it, compared to the Seasonal & Classics option?

Or any suggestions besides MM?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. For elegant Italian food, Acquerello (Sacramento St. SF) has a very good tasting menu at $110. HIghly recommended.

    1. I have not been to Ame yet, I wonder if their tasting menu is the way to go, maybe someone can comment on this.
      http://www.amerestaurant.com/dinner.html

      1. Brick has an innovative yet approachable and delicious menu. They don't offer a tasting menu, but I still recommend them as a stop during your trip. In fact, the chef might even make a tasting menu if you ask (and they're not too busy.)
        http://www.brickrestaurant.com/

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Thanks all for the suggestions! ... and thanks for the links. All very helpful indeed.

          2. I like pasta, and I like Quince's pasta, so I'd pick Quince's pasta tasting menu. I don't think you can do it with a party of 2, but a party of 4 or 6 should definitely be able to do it.

            My boyfriend had the Ritz' Salt and Pepper tasting menu and wasn't particularly thrilled. He did not think it stood up to either the tasting menu we had at Fleur de Lys or TFL. He really enjoyed the pasta tasting menu at Quince but unfortunately I haven't had it yet.

            We cook a lot, so we really value preparations that include subtle saucing and masterful treatment of food texture which is something we've found at Oliveto and Quince. I got the sense the Ritz' Salt and Pepper menu was more about obscure ingredients and surprising combinations than working them into a cohesive and pleasing whole through good technique.

            We didn't have the tasting menu at Acquerello, which may have been the problem, but we just weren't thrilled with the food we ordered a la carte. We'll go to Incanto or Quince over Acquerello every time. Your mileage may vary, because we were definitely treated as the young inconsequential customers: we were seated near a particularly idiotic young couple under the care of a young and not very good waitress, instead of in the "grownup" area of the restaurant with the better server and people who weren't making up excuses to send dishes back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SteveG

              Just a reminder that there are multiple tasting menus at The Ritz and this is the first report that th salt and pepper menu was less than great. Frankly the S&P menu seems set. I would go with the tasting menu where the chef is being creative that night.

            2. Again I said elsewhere Masa's has an excellent tasting Menu but MM is worth visitng atleast once.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Mission Terrace Foodie

                Haven't heard much about Masa's lately. How long ago did you eat there? Why did it impress you? Do you know who the current chef is?

                1. re: rworange

                  The current chef is Gregory Short. He replaced Ron Siegel, who is now at The Dining Room.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Gregory Short (former sous chef at French Laundry) has been there for two years now. There's been at least one report:

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35573

                2. For tasting menus I recommend La Folie, Fleur de Lys and Gary Danko. For French Laundry quality in that neck of the woods I hear rave reviews of Cyrus and Redd, both are on my list. I love Ame and am eager to try their tasting menu because I've only eaten a la carte there, but since their a la carte is great I bet their tasting menu is as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mrsricho

                    Cyrus is worth it, Redd is not for a total experience of food, wine, service and ambiance. The service staff at Cyrus is knowledgeable, accommodating and willing to "make it happen". Redd has been the antithesis.

                    Alternatively, I have had great fun at restaurants where there is no tasting menu promoted, only to discover that the chef is willing to create one (slower evenings are better for this type of request). I select the wines we want to enjoy with our meal and provide tastes for the chef for inspiration. Incredible things seem to happen!

                    Have fun!

                  2. Not in the same price league (how many are), but in addition to those mentioned, Jardiniere has a nice tasting and wine pairing.