HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Are you making a specialty food? Tell us about it

dinner before Bourbon and Branch?

edgrimley Sep 24, 2008 11:06 AM

Small birthday dinner on a Saturday, with post-drinks at Bourbon and Branch on Jones near Geary. Any recommendations for a good group dinner beforehand that is walkable? Tall order in the neighborhood with the exception of Pakistani and Vietnamese. Any ideas? While I like some of those very chowish places nearby but looking for something on this occasion a little more upscale. Cuisine flexible.


  1. edgrimley Sep 24, 2008 01:19 PM

    Thanks for the great recommendations so far. I always have to remember to choose my words wisely here on the boards.

    True, there is no shortage of places in the general Nob/Tender/Union vicinity. I suppose I am looking for something *more* upscale than say Shalimar, but it doesn't need to be Postrio. Something in the middle - focus on the food not the dining room. And walking distance to B&B. Should have been more specific. Thanks to those above for reading between the lines.

    I've just moved back to the Bay Area from a 6 yr. stint on the east coast, so my old favorites are not always relevant these days. So some of the new places below - Brick, Bar Crudo, Fish and Farm - are all very new to me. So thanks.

    Side note - amusing to note the differences btwn the Philly, SF and Boston Chowhound boards. I'll generalize and say it reflects the focus on food in each of those communities. Boston is about twice as active as Philly (which doesn't even have it's own board - shares with the rest of PA). And SF is always on fire.

    2 Replies
    1. re: edgrimley
      lessleyellen Sep 25, 2008 11:01 AM

      Check out this story, too, for additional ideas.

      1. re: lessleyellen
        edgrimley Sep 28, 2008 09:51 PM

        We wound up at Lahore Karahi, mentioned in the Chow article above (thanks for the link). While not the "upscale" spot from the original post it was fantastic. Size of our group was changing on the fly so we bailed on our reservation elsewhere and walked in at LK. Highlights matched those of the article - the tandoori fish and garlic naan. Can't wait to get back again soon.

        Lahore Karahi
        612 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    2. tvham Sep 24, 2008 12:51 PM

      Bar Crudo

      1 Reply
      1. re: tvham
        Senor Popusa Sep 24, 2008 05:49 PM

        The OP mentioned good for a group.

        Katana-ya especially but also Bar Crudo are probably too small for a group birthday dinner.

      2. c oliver Sep 24, 2008 12:38 PM

        "Any recommendations for a good group dinner beforehand that is walkable? Tall order in the neighborhood with the exception of Pakistani and Vietnamese"

        I'm very confused by the above. You're surrounded by great places. One block up to Post, one down to O'Farrell, three blocks to Union Square. I think you'd be hardpressed to find a piece of SF geography that is any more "upscale" in terms of restaurants per square foot. Please explain; there's clearly something unstated here.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c oliver
          susancinsf Sep 24, 2008 12:52 PM

          Can you tell us the names of some of those great places that you have enjoyed?

          I don't think there is anything unstated: OP was looking for good, chowish suggestions, and actually, at least in my experience there is a shortage of *really good* upscale places in that neighborhood. For example, on Chutney's list Grand Cafe, Millenium and Scala's have all gotten mixed reviews (Scala's does occaisonally get good reviews though I thought it was sort of eh, I have seen few good reviews on Grand Cafe and my own experiences there have been very mixed, and the reports on Millenium are consistently poor on this site.) Cortez has also gotten mixed reports (and I didn't enjoy it that much), as has Colibri just down the street (though I like Colibri personally), and so has Fish and Farm, for that matter (which I liked more on visit number one than visit number two, though I think it would be worth trying for the OP.) Canteen might fit the bill for a couple, but isn't good for a group.

          Upscale and GOOD upscale are two different things.

          One place fairly close where I have had good meals and that meets the criteria (if it isn't too far away) is Saha. Excellent food, nice, quiet atmosphere.

          Scala's Bistro
          432 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

          Saha Arabic Fusion Restaurant
          1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

          Fish and Farm
          339 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Colibri Mexican Bistro
          438 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102

          Grand Cafe
          501 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94109

          550 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Millenium Restaurant
          580 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          1. re: susancinsf
            c oliver Sep 24, 2008 01:12 PM

            "While I like some of those very chowish places nearby but looking for something on this occasion a little more upscale. "

            It was this part that sounded like he didn't want chowish but rather upscale. He wants a "good group dinner." I like Fino on Post, Puccini & Pinetti on Ellis at Cyril Magnin, Kuleto's on Powell. I wouldn't call any of those "upscale" by SF standards, but I've always had good meals there. I honestly don't eat much in the Un. Sq. area but when I do, it's always easy to get a good meal. Oh yeah, what about First Crush at Ellis and Cyril Magnin? Farralon on Post (is it between Powell and Mason)? I've not eaten there but it's certainly "upscale." Just a few thoughts. I don't think the OP is going to have a hard time at all.

        2. l
          LarryNative Sep 24, 2008 12:26 PM

          Fish and Farm is a great choice. Our group is going to B & B first and then walking to Fish and Farm tomorrow night. Have fun.

          1. f
            fine wino Sep 24, 2008 12:13 PM

            Cortez and Le Coloniel are both within walking distance (in flat shoes) and you can probably get into either on Sat still.

            1. c
              chutney Sep 24, 2008 11:10 AM

              Grand Cafe
              Level 3

              Show Hidden Posts