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2 Nights in San Francisco - Dinner Choices

Hi All, we will be in San Francisco for two nights in June. I have never been. In reading all the reviews I've narrowed it down to these restaurants: Gary Danko, Boulevard, Incanto, Oliveto (liked the menu over Chez Panisse) & Lalime. Please help me choose! We love great food but want a more quiet - - - but not stuffy atmosphere - views would be a plus! Thanks so much!

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  1. Of that list of 6, I would rank Boulevard over Gary Danko, Incanto over Oliveto, and Chez Panisse over Lalime. I would definitely do Incanto, as it's my favorite restaurant. It's a toss up between Boulevard and Chez Panisse. Very different style of food and atmosphere - Boulevard is more upscale and flashy, Chez Panisse is more home style. Both are excellent restaurants. Boulevard has great views, if you can get a window table.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Morton the Mousse

      I would say that assessment is spot on.

    2. Incanto and Oliveto are fairly similar in style. I prefer Incanto but it's a close call.

      Boulevard's quite different and is a very only-in-SF place. It's the only one of those places with a view, though not all tables have one.

      Gary Danko's got less local flavor than the others. Its menu could be served in any big city in the world.

      Lalime's isn't at the same level as the others.

      1. Boulevard is the only place on your list with a view, and even if you don't get a table in the back with a view of the Bay Bridge, it's a great space with very good and consistent food. Boulevard for sure. As to your 2nd night "not stuffy atmosphere" tips the scales in favor of Incanto when compared to Gary Danko. I think Incanto is more interesting than Oliveto. The chef from Incanto was recently on Iron Chef America, something it is extremely difficult to image about the Oliveto crew.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Paul H

          You guys are good . . .and fast! Ok I'm pretty sure you have talked me into Boulevard and Incanto. I hate to ask this because I know it will start my head spinning again - but if there is another restaurant that you think meets my criteria - that I have missed or at least need to take a serious look at please pass it on. Thanks so much, I can't wait.

          1. re: INNeed

            There are many great restaurant in SF, but I think you will be very, very happy with Boulevard and Incanto.

            1. re: Morton the Mousse

              Thanks Morton I appreciate all your input. It will be a fabulous time.

            2. re: INNeed

              you might also consider Zuni cafe, which is very popular on here. I've come to regard it as quintissential san francisco. Try the roasted chicken and caesar salad. incredible. not at all stuffy, though no view

              1. re: chuckl

                Zuni's pretty noisy, unless you specify the back upstairs room when reserving.

                1. re: chuckl

                  Perhaps a lunch option? I will add to my "impromptu" list. Thank you.

                  1. re: INNeed

                    Zuni is great for brunch. Be sure to order a bloody mary...they are fantastic.

                    1. re: christineb

                      Zuni's bloody mary is outstanding! That and a plate of oysters with their delicious bread would make a wonderful brunch. What view there is is of Market Street, but on a sunny day that can be delightful.

                      1. re: Euonymous

                        Love the Marys. If they still serve them with paper straws, a common inside joke (my friends) was: what are the 3 best things about Zuni's bloody marys? They come in a tall glass, chock full of stuff, and served with a paper straw. What are the 3 downsides? They come in a tall glass, chock full of stuff, and served with a paper straw.

                        1. re: Euonymous

                          This would make my husband very happy - I must fit this in! Any recommendations for Sausalito casual dining?

                    2. re: chuckl

                      I think Zuni's caesar is the best I've ever had. If you don't want the chicken (long wait and it must be ordered for 2), go before 6pm or after 10pm and get their delicious, very special cheeseburger -- they grind the meat there.

                      1. re: walker

                        I do love a really good caesar salad but I have to say I have been spoiled 'cause hubby makes the best I've ever tasted - seriously - but Zuni's sounds like a wonderful brunch local which I will try. Whenever good bread is involved I am there. Thanks for all the tidbits!