SF, a graduation dinner - one more try for recs
I'm trying once more for recs to plan a celebratory dinner for my sister who is graduating from Hastings in a couple of weeks.
Please chime in as the budget, at least, has changed since my first post a week ago (?). I'd like to keep the restaurant either between the Marina and Hastings, or not too far a drive (and not too much a hassle parking). Budget approx $30-40 pp food only. Cuisine - american, regional, or european. Not ethnic asian, due to some more euro-centric folks in the party (self not included). One less adventurous eater, 2 somewhat well behaved kids (6 and 2), on a Sunday night. Group of 11-12.
I've gotten consistent recs for Zuni cafe and A16. Mixed recs (yea and neh) for Bar Tartine and Two (mostly because of the kid factor). Chez Panisse is closed. Lots of recs on the board for Aziza - is this going to be too "edgy" for any of our group's conservative eaters or should it go on the short list? We're generally openminded and adventurous, but some certainly more than others.
Please help! My family is relying on me, and I am relying on you :) I've looked briefly through the boards, but everyone seems to be looking for a dinner in Oakland, Berkeley, or Palo Alto.
I also am not a LuLu huge fan (went with groups and with just hubby): service was pretty good with the group, not so good when it was just hubby and the food was not that great. and it is noisier and less intimate than Aziza.(plus out side the parameters in terms of location, though I guess Aziza is too, and if you aren't willing to shell out for the valet, parking can be a hassle at Aziza)
If reservations are still available, I'd go to Aziza, and don't consider it too 'edgy' ....more mainstream dishes might include their lamb chops or chicken, with one of their salads. Unlike the reports from visitors that JasmineG mentions, I've had good luck taking visitors there (in fact, it is one of 'go to' places for out of towners, because it is somewhat unique).
Edited to add: I don't know why Two would be a problem with kids and Lulu wouldn't, unless it is just that Two is quieter if the two year old decides to raise a fuss.
i guess your sister and i are classmates!
disclosure: i am a huge aziza supporter. it's also a straight shot from nob hill masonic (where graduation is) down california, which parallels geary. so, down california, left at franklin, right at geary and off you go to the richmond.
aziza is not too "edgy." if you do a board search for posts, you'll find several recent ones on aziza, including my own. you can also pull up their menu online at aziza-sf.com and see for yourself. there are lots of "recognizable things" there. to give you an idea, i would be ok taking my "meat and potatoes, italian or french, no asian food" grandfather there. it would be a bit of a stretch, but i know he would end up liking it.
the spreads are great, and everyone understands grilled bread with creamy spread. couscous aziza is wonderful, and the spicy harisa is on the side. nothing "weird" in that dish, for example. maybe talk to the staff ahead of time and voice your concerns, see what they recommend for unadventurous eaters. this can't be the first time they've encountered that!
firefly isn't convenient, but would satisfy everyone. a classmate of mine is going with his family to bacco, a great italian restaurant, also in noe valley. i'll probably be at mayflower (chinese). frascatti is small, but very near graduation (and is my conservative eater grandfather's favorite), and very good.
if i think of more while i sit here studying, i will edit.
That's so funny. I think she's probably studying too - some wills/trusts final :). I'd hook you up, but she's the kind of foodie who thinks she is, but really isn't, not so much.
I checked out your remaining suggestions - do you think they're all good for the grad/celeb/with kids atmosphere?
Have you called around yet to see if you can get reservations? Because I would do that asap, to see if you'll have choices, because those places are going to fill up fast, especially on a graduation weekend (and for large parties).
I think that yes, Aziza may be too edgy for some of the conservative diners, but you should check out their menu online to see: http://www.aziza-sf.com/dinner_&_... I liked Aziza a lot, but a lot of the meats are on the sweet/cooked with fruits side, and many people may not like that, and it's gotten some iffy reviews on the board by visitors.
Chez Panisse closed = this is a Sunday night?
Lulu's basically a knockoff of Zuni, so I'd do Zuni if you can get a reservation. Lulu has had its ups and downs over the years as regards both food and service. On the plus side, they put large groups in the room behind the bar (former Lulu Bis), which is quieter.
The enclosed back patio at A16 would work if you can reserve it. Otherwise, I would not go there with a group of more than four, since it's so noisy that conversation would be limited to the immediately adjacent diners.
Luella might work if you can get a reservation.
re: Robert Lauriston
Oooh, I second the Luella rec, plus if the kids (big or small) are still hungry they can go across the street to the original Swensen's afterwards. I've mentioned Bistro Aix somewhere awhile back on another post. They have a lovely covered patio in back and can handle larger groups of mixed ages.
1896 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
3340 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94123