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Jun 15, 2008 03:10 PM

San Fran special occasion restaurant?

Hi - my husband and I (from Toronto) are taking a trip to California this summer and spending 3 nights in San Fran. Looking for recs for an interesting special occasion restaurant, and other restaurants not to be missed while in SF.

We are also going to Monterey, Santa Monica, and San Luis Obispo on this trip in case people have recommendations for great restaurants there. Thanks!

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  1. Santa Monica's discussed on the Los Angeles board, Monterey and SLO on the California board.

    1. in san francisco, deb and i are really fond of incanto and quince for dinner. zuni for lunch. you can't go wrong with any of the three.

      1. Some suggestions:

        Top dollar, money-no-object places that are commonly known:
        1. Aqua
        2. Michael Mina
        3. Chez Panisse (in Berkeley across the bridge)

        People will add Gary Danko to the list, but my last two meals there have been less than stellar. I haven't been to Jardiniere and Fifth Floor, but I have heard good things.

        My current go-to special occasion place is Foreign Cinema or Campton Place. The former has a cool concept - they play black and white films in an outside seating area. There's a rooftop bar next door which is a great place to go to drinks beforehand.

        I think Campton Place is the most romantic, intimate dining space that I've been to in the city.


        5 Replies
        1. re: wdot

          campton place, back in the day, was my favorite breakfast spot. great hotel.

          1. re: wdot

            Aqua doesn't get much love here, and people seem to have lost some of their enthusaism for Michael Mina, much as they previously did for Gary Danko.

            I see the chef at Campton Place changed again, Srijith Gopinath. "Sardine Confit, Knoll Farm Arugula, Ginger Sorbet and Coffee Crumbs"?

            1. re: wdot

              You may need to call ahead for reservations at Chez Panisse, though.

            2. My wife and I very much enjoy the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton for special occasions. The wine list is very extensive, and the sommelier very helpful. The food is inventive, interesting, and wonderfully flavorful. The service is attuned to what one wishes. And the room is lovely, the chairs comfortable, etc.

              1. My Special Occasion list for SF proper would be:

                Fleur de Lys (but recent reports are that it has slipped)
                La Folie
                Dining Room at the Ritz

                Food at Aqua is great, but I think it is too corporate. I've heard very few good reviews of Mina from foodies.

                For more moderately expensive, interesting places, I love:

                Slanted Door

                <space for slightly less love>


                And I keep on hearing wonderful things about Incanto

                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner

                  I agree with the Aqua statement. I had a meal there last week that was fairly memorable but wish I could transport the restaurant out of the Financial District.