Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 5, 2007 10:22 AM

One Evening in San Francisco - surprise birthday dinner

I have a friend who is going to surprise his wife by dropping into San Franciso en route elsewhere on holidays.

They are going to be staying in the Union Square area and just have the one evening for dinner.

He did mention that they would probably head down to the Fisherman's Wharf area via the cable car. Yes, I know it is oh too "touristy" but that does not concern him. It has been a decade since my last visit so I could not give him contemporary recommendations. We had been warned off McCormicks & Kuletto's in Ghiradelli Square as being a "tourist trap" but ended up there for lunch shortly after our arrival and had a very good meal and interesing wine. My first introduction to one of the "Rhone Rangers" in fact.

Mind you, my friends probably not enjoy my recommendations in any event. Money is not an issue but they are not very adventurous.

To quote him, they are not interested in "fancy schmancy" or "wierd food like you like" [grin].

He is definitely a steak house kind of fellow so a spot which serves good beef or perhaps Italian rather than exotic or seafood dominated would "fit the bill" despite the Fisherman's Wharf comment. A view of the Bay would probably add to their evening.

Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Off of the trolley line (towards Embarcadero) is Fog City Diner. it's upscale diner food and the wine list is decent.

    Americano Restaurant at Hotel Vitale is also very good and not to "fancy". If you want to go all out, you can rent their penthouse suites that have decks overlooking the bay bridge. it is beautiful and the hotel does a wonderful job catering.

    1. Cityscape Bar & Restaurant California cuisine $31-$50 per person

      There is no view like this one. Love the food, love the service. Often they validate up to 6 hours parking. You can walk it easily from Union Square.

      Cityscape Bar & Restaurant
      333 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1. If you take the Hyde Street cable car to Ghirardelli Square (which is within easy walking distance of Fisherman's Wharf) it will pass directly in front of Gay Danko. That would be something that would be a complete and fun surprise, and it would be a perfect venue for a birthday dinner.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paul H

          Gary Danko sounds like exactly the type of place his friend wouldn't want to eat at...

          1. re: susancinsf

            Yeah, definitely.

            Albona might work.


            Albona Ristorante Istriano
            545 Francisco St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        2. Leatherneck Steakhouse supposedly has one of the best steaks and the best views in the city.

          Plus it's kind of a "secret" restaurant, which is fun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Where did you hear the steak was good? Lori's report was pretty harsh: