My meals - Aqua, Pesce, Zuni
I just moved to SF and haven't done much exploring. The parents came in town (and my brother too, a foodie and wine snob) and this was our experience:
Aqua - yes, it's expensive - $75 prix fixe plus wine plus we had to pay for our cheese plate at the end...but it was a very good experience. I'd been told it was overrated but I thought it was a wonderful experience. Our waiter was the captain - he's the guy who looks kinda like Mark Ruffalo. He was VERY knowledgeable about the menu and the wine pairings. He spent about 10 minutes just explaining the menu and specials to us, which I was really impressed with. I started with the hamachi which was really great. My brother ordered the special seared foie gras which was EXCELLENT. Mom got the souffle that's on their tasting menu but because it was so well reviewed in some magazine they will serve it individually. She won in the appetizer category hands down - wow, that souffle was great!!! Mom and bro ordered the sturgeon for entrees. I wasn't impressed but I'm not a fan of the fish - Mom (picky!) loved it. I got the veal and halibut cheeks which was nice but I'd try something else next time. Dad got the special hawaiian fish which he really liked but I wasn't all that impressed. Another thing I liked about our waiter is he wasn't afraid to tell us when something WASN'T good, which he did for one of the desserts - I think it might have been the one with lemon but I'm not sure. All in all, if you have the money, it's worth a trip...a very expensive trip.
Pesce was dinner on Saturday night. LOVED it. Christian, the manager, is very knowledgeable about their French and Italian wines which are the ones my brother and I like. He was extremely candid about the wines on the list that were good and bad and we drank something that started with an M that I'd never heard of before that was yummy (red). I love tapas so I was happy with the portions. The octopus was AMAZING - very tender. By far the best dish. My brother got the squid ink risotto which was also delicious. We probably ordered one of almost everything on the menu and everything was good (sorry, the wine started kicking in so I don't remember too many specifics after a point!).
We happened on Zuni while shopping for danish modern furniture (if anyone knows where I can find some please let me know!). It was a very starchy, very delicious lunch. That polenta that they make is to die for - I don't usually order it but would go back to Zuni for theirs. I will go back once a week for the fries. We ordered their house-made mayo for it - yum! I looooove hand made mayo. The soup was spinach and garlic - very bright and delicious. The pizza was thin crust - amazing dough - not terribly flavorful but exactly what we were looking for.
I'm looking forward to exploring this city's food! I really miss BLD, Jones and Orso in LA but hope I can find some comparable places. If you're going to LA, DO NOT miss BLD. What a great place!!!