Help Need Recs for Hip Spot with Great Food in SF
I have some friends who are coming in from LA in a couple weeks and will be staying near the Civic Center, although recs near the Civic Center are helpful but they are not necessary; we can take a taxi if needed. I am looking for 3 to 4 places to book reservations for dinner, they like Thai, Italian, Latin American/Spanish and American fusion. I want to really make this a stellar culinary experience for them, as I've kind of been hyping the SF restaurant scene ever since I moved here. The trick is, ambiance is key, these are hip professional 30 somethings who work in the arts and so they don't appreciate anything too stuffy. Mainly just great food, a lively atmosphere with great drinks if possible, but not necessary. Meals without drinks should be under 40 a person. I was thinking OOLA, Limon, maybe Absinthe but was wondering if this was too French and or stuffy, and wanted to throw in something more low key down home cooking like Inka's in the Mission. Where would you guys send people if dealing with something similar ? Thanks in advance for any comments.
Absinthe isn't too stuffy, I don't think (especially in the bar area) but I'd stick to the bar menu, personally. Haven't been impressed with the new dinner menu under the recently new chef.
I'd suggest Range as a great spot for all of what you're looking for.