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Best Basque in SF ?

Price is not really an issue, I'm looking to take my girlfriend out to her first Basque restaurant and I want to wow her. I've read mixed reviews on Piperade and Lluna, also couldn't find Lluna online to look at their menu. What is the chowhound consensus ?

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  1. There's no consensus.

    It's Iluna Basque, not Lluna. The menu's on their Web site.

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    Piperade
    1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

    Bocadillos
    710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Iluna Basque
    701 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

    1. Correct link for the one other Basque place nearby:

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      Basque Cultural Center
      599 Railroad Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

      1. It's Iluna (iluna), not Lluna.

        I think the good old days of real Basque table d'hote spreads are long gone, unless you want to travel to Fresno or Nevada.

        http://www.ilunabasque.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: Xiao Yang

          Basque Cultural Center has both a la carte and old-school family-style daily specials:

          http://www.basqueculturalcenter.com/r...

        2. Bad timing, you just missed the food frenzy at the annual Basque picnic in Petaluma -
          http://www.basqueclub.com/picnic2002.htm
          So far I haven't gotten it together to go...but hope springs eternal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: larochelle

            Thanks for posting on the Basque picnic - will put it on the calendar for next year...

            1. re: larochelle

              Dagnabbit! Missed it again this year!!! *grrr* Thanks for posting about it though so I can add it to my calendar for next year.

            2. Piperade is one of those funny restaurants... Something ALWAYS doesn't go right. Whether the server is a bit cold, the seared raw Ahi is presented medium-rare, I've read that some have had experience with the usually-amazing orange blossom begniets being not super-fresh. But all that being said, there are few restaurants in the city that are as consistently good and universally liked among my friends as Piperade... it is *the* restaurant where when we cannot get into the new hottest thing, everyone can always agree upon.

              Fringale, which used to have the same owner and executive chef as Piperade, bills itself as Basque and it is every bit as good, if not better. However, despite claiming to be Basque, it is actually more Loire-based French -- at least, that is what I have found.

              2 Replies
              1. re: whiner

                Fringale's good but straight-up French, maybe one or two Basque-influenced dishes. I think they just didn't make much effort to change the marketing materials.

                1. re: whiner

                  I tend to agree about Piperade, but overall I love the restaurant. It's a crowd pleaser, but it's not usually hard to get a reservation. The food is unique and generally well executed, the wine list is lovely and not expensive, the service is friendly, and the room is lovely. I love the almond mousse dessert. And FWIW, the owner has been very responsive about criticism in my experience.