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Dinner with the family...Help!

t
tigersmom Sep 11, 2007 09:21 PM

My husbands family is coming to town and I am looking for a nice restaurant the request was...not trendy, not loud and good food. These are older folk who are pretty picky. Can anyone suggest something? I don't think price is an issue, but I don't want to offend either. Any neighborhood will do. The menu should be safe but not hotel food. These people are hard to please. I feel like I have to impress here otherwise I wouldn't be such a pain! Thanks!!

  1. i
    iwantmytwodollars Sep 13, 2007 12:30 PM

    I don't know if it's quite formal enough for your needs, but Firefly in Noe Valley is nice, tasty, and not too crazy with the menu. It's also in a safe, quiet 'hood without the uppercrust vibe of Nob Hill or Pac Heights.

    But if you've got more money, jeez, I'd go with a Boulevard or maybe even Fleur de Lys.

    Now this next part will sound sacreligious (except that I can't spell it), but I was completely underwhelmed by the Chez P cafe last time I went. I think the problem was I asked where the sardines came from, and they told me, "from a can." Even though that's probably true everywhere, hearing it was a killjoy.

    I second/third Clementine. I don't know that Foreign Cinema is what you're looking for.

    Good luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: iwantmytwodollars
      lexdevil Sep 14, 2007 09:05 PM

      You sure that wasn't anchovies? I've only seen fresh sardines at Chez Panisse. Anchovies are a different story.

      1. re: lexdevil
        i
        iwantmytwodollars Sep 14, 2007 09:28 PM

        I feel like they were way too fat and long to be anchovies, but perhaps you're right.

        1. re: iwantmytwodollars
          rworange Sep 14, 2007 11:24 PM

          I can't think of an upscale restaurant that serves canned sardines. That comment is so out of line with Chez Panisse ... foodwise and servise-wse. That was some sort of unusual situation.

          Though it is not my personal choice, it sounds like Gary Danko would fit the bill perfectly here ... and hey, it has a Michelin star ... so you can dazzle them with that.

          I think Piperade would be risky for picky people.

    2. w
      whiner Sep 13, 2007 01:34 AM

      Chapeau! might fit the bill nicely. Problem is, you are packed in -- very "bistro-y". Fringale is also a tight space, very moderately priced, and great food. Aziza could also work if you think they would be willing to go for Moroccan food. But my choice would be Piperade. It isn't the very best in its price range, but it is very good, consistent, tables are well spread out, relatively quiet, a feeling of upscale, but still casual. It just seems like one of those restaurants that everyone can always agree on, which it sounds like may be what you are looking for.

      I've also heard the new chef at Plumpjack Cafe is doing great things, but I haven't been able to check it out, yet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: whiner
        c
        Calvinist Sep 13, 2007 11:48 AM

        I'd second Piperade if downtown/FiDi works for you, and maybe Bacco in Noe Valley for something quiet and a bit out of the way. If you're over in that part of town already that might work.

        -----
        Ristorante Bacco
        737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

        Piperade
        1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

      2. s
        sfbecky Sep 12, 2007 08:16 PM

        I think some of these recommended places are too trendy or too expensive to take your friend's cautious family to...while we love Boulevard or Gary danko, it's a stretch for people you don't know. I like the suggestion of Bay Wolf, or a middle-range place like Clementine or Chapeau. Or a quiet conservative place like The Richmond. Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: sfbecky
          c
          ceekskat Sep 12, 2007 08:29 PM

          Clementine is a great idea sfbecky! I went there recently for the first time & thought, "wow, nice little place". Nice variety too...beef, poultry, seafood. The warm blue cheese tart appetizer was delicious not to mention the "french toast" dessert. I would go back just for the dessert! Haven't been to Chapeau but heard that is also very good.

          http://www.clementinesf.com/

        2. JasmineG Sep 11, 2007 11:41 PM

          Foreign Cinema has good food and I think would please safe eaters, and I didn't find it noisy when I was there a few weeks ago (though we were outside, that could have helped). I also second the recommendation for Chez Panisse Cafe.

          1. lexdevil Sep 11, 2007 09:38 PM

            If you're really fine with a big budget, Boulevard or Gary Danko don't do anything crazy or avant garde, and their servings are ample (I find older folks can be critical of the small serving sizes at trendier places, at least in part because they don't get the tasting menu concept...that said, my husband's 80 year old aunt loved the Fat Duck tasting menu, so the stereotype can be wildly incorrect).

            Downstairs at Chez Panisse can be a problem for folks who can't get past the lack of choice, but most people I know of all ages are more than happy upstairs.

            My husband's parents (72 and 81 years old and from the UK) have enjoyed Bay Wolf and Fleur de Lys. They also enjoy sitting outside at Dopo, but that's probably too casual for what you have in mind.

            If it were me, I'd probably do the Chez Panisse Cafe, but that's my lazy answer to just about anything.

            1. steve h. Sep 11, 2007 09:36 PM

              jardiniere might fill the bill. modestly trendy, modestly loud. nothing more. food is pretty good. give it a shot.

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