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Mar 20, 2008 12:55 PM

4 Days in San Francisco

Hubby and I will be winding up our vacation with 4 days in San Francisco. We are sophisticated NYers and do not mind spending money if it is worth it. We do not eat sushi or spicy food. That said, we are torn between Fleur de Lys, Gary Danko (second time), Ritz Carlton Dining Room, Acquerello and Delfina. We also need some casual lunch suggestions. Is Kokkari good? Would any of the above work before an 8 pm performance of Beach Blanket Babylon or can you recommend somewhere good in North Beach that takes reservations? Thanks in advance.

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  1. hi-I am also not from SF. My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Kokkari last year before going on to the theatre to see jersey boys. we will be in SF again soon and plan to go to Kokkari again. We loved it. We're also going to Gary Danko (been before and loved it too!). Have a great time

    1. There have been lots of positive reports lately about Rose Pistola which is near Beach Blanket Babylon. Here's the link to the Place record which has links to the website and reports.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        Rose Pistola would proably be the best bet before Beach Blanket Babylon.

        Although Kokkari could also work if you didn't mind a 15 minute walk (slightly uphill) to get to the show. I like the place, but realize it's not in the same class as Gary Danko or the Ritz Carlton Dining Room.

      2. Described by one enthusiast as cheesy but fabulous BBB is fun. On the same level is Capp's Corner. Not sophisticated but fun. The food can be good, not great. Will get you in the mood.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wolfe

          Bonus: right next door to BBB - just plain good grub!

        2. I just did the tasting menu at FDL with some friends, and was disappointed at how it compared to the Ritz. The dishes weren't as creative or varied, and the flavors weren't as exciting--which to me means colorful, bright, well-contrasted, and palate pleasing. The food at FDL was certainly above average, but there weren't as many wows. Also, we ended up spending as much on the 9 course and corkage as we did on a 9 course with shared wine pairing at the Ritz (and yes, the 1 wine pairing had us both tipsy by the end of the meal). So for people who are used to dining in NY and not afraid to spend, I think the Ritz will make you much happier. For example, I think the Ritz could give L'Atelier du Robuchon a run for its money, but FDL cannot (in my opinion).

          Kokkari is excellent! If you can do the Ritz, Kokkari and Delfina in one weekend, you will have lived out one of my many food related fantasy weekends.

          As for lunch; what part of town are you staying around?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Pei

            Hi, Pei. Thank you so much for your thoughtful Email. Really appreciate the advice. We are staying at the Hotel Monaco, Union Square. Any other tips are further appreciated. Thanks again for your help!

            1. re: LL Bean

              Kataya-ya is good for a simple, cheap ramen meal.

              Colibri has excellent guacamole, mixed tableside. The other food is good too; I love the chicken tortilla soup. The style is kind of haute Mexican.

              There are a lot of casual-to-divey Indian restaurants around where you're staying. Naan n' Curry, Chutney, Lahore Karahi, and Shalimar are all good.

              Dottie's True Blue Cafe and Canteen are board favorites for breakfast/brunch. Dottie's is more down home and serves all the traditional American breakfast/lunch favorites and then some--great pancakes, french toast, black bean cakes, and more. However, it is in what some consider a rough neighborhood. Canteen is a nicer/cleaner/arguably safer walk, but the restaurant has only a handful of offerings, mostly unique twists on old favorites. I've enjoyed every meal, including duck confit with curried sauce, fish hash, or homemade corned beef hash.

              1. re: Pei

                FWIW, here's my journal excerpt from our Nov 07 visit to Colibri:

                Colibri Mexican Bistro (438 Geary btwn Taylor and Mason). Our 8 pm reso found us entering a cosy if overheated slightly postmodern take on a classic Mexican restaurant. Arches and wrought iron with dark wood booths but somehow not as cheesy as it sounds. The menu was similar: regional tapas with some unusual dishes not regularly seen outside Mexico, given a bit of a spin. The guide book I got this recommendation from said “unpretentious, delicious and atypical” and I would agree with one exception. The tortilla soup has gone downhill since that review, or they were having an off night soupwise, as it was bland, too sweet and kinda Campbell’s Tomato-y. Not inedible but not stellar. The other items we sampled were all winners: tamales with mole, chicken with mole (BIL is a big mole fan), chiles rellenos with a delightful cheese and veggie stuffing, three sopes with beef, chicken and again a delicious mixed veg topping, and carnitas (chunks of slow cooked pork whose rather rustic appearance belied a serious yummy factor). Service was attentive and informed, and extra tortillas and limes were brought without complaint or charge. The tab was about $90 with a beer and we were too full to contemplate dessert.

                1. re: grayelf


                  Colibri Mexican Bistro
                  438 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102