30th Anniversary Dinner...
My wife and I are coming to your fair city for a week to celebrate 30 terrific years of marriage. The specific date is Saturday, May 22nd, and among other places, Farallon and Boulevard caught our eye.
Some details: we'll be staying at the Mandarin Oriental, no plans to rent a car, but we're zip car members, so a car isn't out of the question for a specific destination. We both like a good bottle of wine (and often more than one) with dinner, but we don't want to break the bank on one meal. We thought about Gary Danko, TFL, Michael Mina, but they all seem wildly expensive and not easy to get a reservation.
But this is why we are turning to the SF Chowhounds for advice. And while you're at it, maybe you'd suggest some places for Friday and Sunday as well (why limit the celebration to a single day?).
Thanks in advance. We haven't been to SF in almost 10 years, very much looking forward to it...
Here's the website for Ame where one can order a la carte as well as the tasting menu. This may not be the case at some of the restaurants you mentioned. Having said this, DH & I usually order 2 drinks each (cocktail + wine) vs. a bottle of wine so...
I second dinnerout's suggestion of Perbacco; however, it is bustling, loud and may not feel "special occasion". We had a very nice meal (with absolutely gracious service) there recently & our bill was $120 before tax & tip. We ordered quite a bit too.
I just had a lovely birthday dinner at Globe, which I'd say is within walking distance.
Plenty of fine dining near your hotel, though some might be too expensive (Aqua is a block away, The Carnelian Room is two blocks, One Market, Boulevard, Rubicon, etc.). More affordable options include Osha Thai, Yank Sing, Cafe Claude, Slanted Door, etc.
Granted I like to walk a lot in the city, but I would argue that Union Square, Chinatown and North Beach are all within walking distance of your hotel, too, which should open up more options. It's kind of fun to just stroll through Chinatown and/or North Beach, which are packed with restaurants. Approach it without a plan, and just pick one that looks fun and explore it. (This is a suggestion for Friday or Sunday, or for lunch, in case it's disappointing.)
I've read that you're in very tight quarters at Gary Danko & Michael Mina, while upscale with nice decor, is just off the hotel lobby (not really an enclosed restaurant). Celebrated my anniv. at the latter a couple of years ago. I think Ame is a great place to celebrate a wedding anniversary given its excellent fusion cuisine & refined yet contemporary decor.
I would suggest Ame in place of Farallon for sure. Other names just off the top of my head - Zuni Cafe, Aziza (Cal-Moroccan), Perbacco or Tadich - easy walk from your hotel. Uh oh, brain freeze. Do you have plans to be in certain areas and want meals there? Any thoughts on ethnic food or favorite cuisine? Price ranges would help also!
Thanks for the suggestions. Hopefully my responses to Pane above will answer your questions about price and cuisine.
Re locations: Best would be someplace easy to get to and get back to the hotel from, like maybe a cab ride (esp. after some serious wines). But we'd be willing to get a zipcar and forego the wines to try something really special some distance away.
Curiosity prompts this question: why Ame in place of Farallon? They both look great in Zagat's and Open Table. Question is, why pick one over the other?
Thanks again for your response...
Feels to me like Farallon has faded away in recent years - don't hear much buzz about it at all. Lots of good reports here on Ame - do a quick search. I think it is great!
Bar Crudo and Canteen are also quite near your hotel and get a lot of great comments. They are both on my list, unfortunately, I've never been to either.
We're pretty open to different cuisines, really like Japanese, Chinese, American, Mexican, Greek, Indian in particular. That's not to say we wouldn't try something else, but any of those cuisines would definitely get our attention.
Budget would be along the lines of around $200 - $250 per meal, with a lot of flexibility up and down.
One thought is Mexican because Mexican in New York just ain't the same as Mexican in California.
Other likes: seafood and steakhouses (this is NYC speaking here)...
And thanks for the congrats. You would be amazed at how fast those 30 years have gone...