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San Fran special occasion restaurant?

Hungry30 Jun 15, 2008 03:10 PM

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!

  1. Robert Lauriston Jun 15, 2008 03:12 PM

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

    1. steve h. Jun 15, 2008 03:39 PM

      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. wdot Jun 15, 2008 03:42 PM

        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
          steve h. Jun 15, 2008 03:53 PM

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

          1. re: wdot
            Robert Lauriston Jun 16, 2008 11:43 AM

            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: Robert Lauriston
              rworange Jun 16, 2008 01:29 PM

              Is that one dish?

              1. re: rworange
                Robert Lauriston Jun 16, 2008 01:46 PM



            2. re: wdot
              klyeoh Jun 19, 2008 01:23 AM

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

            3. m
              Michael Rodriguez Jun 15, 2008 05:05 PM

              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. w
                whiner Jun 16, 2008 12:18 PM

                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
                  wdot Jun 16, 2008 01:27 PM

                  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.

                2. Paul H Jun 16, 2008 01:31 PM

                  The classic/oft-mentioned special occasion San Francisco restaurants (listed in my order of preference) are:

                  Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton
                  Gary Danko
                  Michael Mina
                  La Folie
                  Fleur de Lys (wouldn't go here at all, actually)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Paul H
                    whiner Jun 16, 2008 01:36 PM

                    Ahhh... never been to Coi, I keep hearing awesome things...

                    1. re: Paul H
                      ankimo Jun 19, 2008 10:03 AM

                      favorites not to be missed are:
                      Bar Crudo
                      Bar Tartine
                      Cafe Jacqueline
                      La Ciccia

                      special occasion
                      Dining Room at the Ritz

                    2. k
                      Kenois Jun 16, 2008 02:35 PM

                      For an unusual and delicious alternative to the typical American brunch, I highly recommend going to Ton Kiang for dim sum. It's near the Golden Gate Bridge in the Richmond District, so if you had plans to head north of the city, it's a nice combination.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Kenois
                        whiner Jun 16, 2008 02:40 PM

                        I'm a huge Ton Kiang fan as well, but it has been about 2 years since I've been tere and there have been recent mixed reports. But, every time I went there... awesome.

                        1. re: whiner
                          Robert Lauriston Jun 16, 2008 06:05 PM

                          Ton Kiang has been getting mixed reports for years. I don't think it has changed.

                        2. re: Kenois
                          Hungry30 Jun 18, 2008 05:51 PM

                          Thanks! I salivated reading the dim sum menu!

                          1. re: Hungry30
                            wdot Jun 19, 2008 12:42 AM

                            Yank Sing is a MUCH better dim sum option from a girl who spent a year in HK. ;)

                        3. s
                          SanMateoFoodie Jun 19, 2008 01:51 PM

                          I definitely second Gary Danko and Boulevard for a special occasion restaurant and can also recommend Jardiniere (Tracy des Jardin's restaurant). In addition to the number of restaurants already mentioned, other restaurants not to be missed while in SF are Khokkari (new Greek), Eliza's on California (fresh/new Chinese), Capannina (Italian) on Union, Yang Sing (Dim Sum - Rincon Center), Dosa (fusion Indian), Chez Papa ( French - Mint Plaza), Le Mistral Rotisserie and Mijita at the Ferry Building, etc..I could go on and on....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SanMateoFoodie
                            Bryan Gros Jun 20, 2008 01:28 PM

                            "Khokkari (new Greek)"

                            What? there's Greek food here now? Really?

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