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Jan 2, 2008 10:14 AM

help me choose just one (restaurant)

Gettin' hitched in SF on 2/4, need an extra-special resto in SF that's open for dinner on Monday nights. Considering Michael Mina, Ame, Boulevard, Fleur de Lys....what others should be on this list? I want the place to be lovely and the food to be memorable; not looking for a "business" atmosphere or hipper-than-thou attitude. Most interested in a menu that's not totally seafood (I get plenty of that good stuff at home in NOLA), so Acqua won't work. Suggestions, please...right now, MM seems to be the front-runner.

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  1. Hey Celeste. As a New Orleans ex-pat, I always make a point to read your posts on the N.O. Board. Makes me feel like I'm still in touch. Also had the pleasure of working alongside of you at Willie Mae's 2 years ago.
    You might consider Aziza. It is a unique restaurant that could only exist in the Bay Area even though it's Moroccan in origin. Festive, the food is definitely memorable and unlike anything I've ever had in the Cresent City:

    2 Replies
    1. re: gumbolox

      Second Aziza. Very different and special.

      1. re: gumbolox

        Thanks so much for the Aziza rec...I'll check it out. I love north African food, so it just might be the ticket. And if you get back to NOLA, Willie Mae's chicken is as good as ever.

      2. I would go with Ame if I were you. The restaurant is beautiful, food is excellent. I love Aziza and Boulevard, but to me neither is really special enough to qualify as extra-special. Fleur de Lys seems to be having problems of late - mostly with service, but extra-special means service too. MM is very nice, but on balance I prefered Ame. Congratulations!

        1 Reply
        1. re: dinnerout

          I third Aziza. Just had a really wonderful special occasion dinner there and it was unique and delicious.

        2. Of your choices, Michael Mina is clearly the one most likely to deliver an extra-special memorable food and service experience. Another possibility open on Mondays is The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton. Great formal service, and food by Iron Chef winner Ron Siegel.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Paul H

            Except that it's NOT open on Mondays, according to and the hotel's own website.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              That's too bad about the Ritz.. The one thing to be said for a big-time hotel dining room is that it will probably be there for your 25th anniversary. It may be a different restaurant but it will still be there. That is the one thing in favor of Michael Minna.

              Here's a recent thread on Fler de Lys. As long as I've been reading the board the reports have been mixed and often it is service issues.

              I am not a fan of Boulevard. It is ok but I agree with this recent report and even if it was better I wouldn't choose it for a wedding. It has somewhat of a business feel to me.

              I upmteenth the recommendation for Aziza. They also have great cocktails. Speaking of which, before dinner at Aziza you might drop in to the Cliff House which isn't too far, have a celebretory drink while drinking in the expansive view of the Pacific. Just don't eat there. The view is very nice though and if nothing else if there's a San Francisco there will be a Cliff House in one form or another so for future anniversaries you can stop by.

              Another place to consider that is open on Monday is Rubicon which has a Michelan star and a great wine list. Haven't had the food recently but I was always pleased and the reviews on CH remain positive

              PS: I'm a fan of your posts on Chowhound too. Congratulations and my wishes for many, many years and happy aniversaries in the future !!!

              1. re: rworange

                Thanks for the good wishes, and the info. You're the first person to suggest Rubicon...another possibility that I'll investigate.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  I forgot to put my 50 cents in about Michael Mina. I'm in the smaller group that liked the food ... though I haven't been back in a few years ... just a matter of lacking the opportunity.

                  That being said it is noisy and a little stark decor-wise. The service was fine but it seemed more geared toward business. MM is a place I wouldn't hesitate to take an out-of-town client and wouldn't often consider for a special event.

                2. re: rworange

                  I agree with rworange about Boulevard. It always feels like an after-work place to me. I enjoyed the food at Michael Minna, but it can feel like you're in the middle of a busy hotel lobby because the restaurant is open to the St. Francis lobby.

                  I too recommend Aziza. The neighborhood isn't sexy (or romantic), but Aziza has fantastic food, drinks and a nice decor.

            2. I would go with either Aziza or Ame -- I agree that Aziza isn't as special as the other choices, but the food is great and it's a very fun atmosphere (and not businessy at all). I loved the food at Ame, and the service was excellent when I was there, but it is close to the Financial District and in a hotel, so it may be a little more businessy than you want. I like the food at Boulevard, but I don't think it's the location for this kind of meal, and there have been a number of not great reports about Fleur de Lys recently. I haven't been to MM, so have no advice to give there. And congratulations!

              1. Has anyone said Quince yet? It's a lovely, intimate room, very romantic. Excellent apps and phenomenal pastas, entrees seem hit or miss (most people would recommend getting an app and pastas... although, that means we haven't seen a review of an entree in a while, so don't know if they've improved.). People who found it disappointing mostly cited the high prices and so-so entrees. Most visitor reviews have been very positive.


                If you do decide on Quince, make sure you call one month to the date at exactly noon (although, maybe getting a Monday night reservation won't be as difficult. I wouldn't take any chances, though).

                Hey, if you're still in town on Feb 5th, you should BART to Oakland for the Whole Hog dinner at Oliveto. Reservations are still available on Opentable.

                2 Replies
                1. re: daveena

                  Thanks for the Quince rec. I checked out the website; it looks like a lovely room, very small & quite intimate, then I discovered that the chef is a fellow Tulane alum, and I was sold. Reservations were quick & easy on a Monday night. I'll be sure to post a complete report. Thanks to everyone who posted on this thread....

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Great! Looking forward to your report...