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Range, Spruce, Orson or?

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I'm planning a birthday dinner (for me) with my mom and sister, and so far the above places are the places in consideration. I'd like someplace that is fun and relaxed, with great food, and good wine/cocktails, and somewhere I haven't yet been. Any opinions on the above (has anyone been to Orson lately?). I thought about Nopa, but was a little worried that it would be too loud to hear ourselves talk, am I right about that? Places that I like: Zuni, La Ciccia, Pizzaiolo, Dopo, Wood Tavern, A16, Aziza, Bar Tartine, etc. I'd love any feedback!

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  1. Range. I've never been disappointed there food-wise and they have great cocktails...

    1. I would skip Spruce. We ate there last week. Average service and average food for a huge price. It wasn't bad, it just was not any better than lots of less expensive places. And they don't have such attitude.

      1. Went to Orson last night for their special Whiskey & Pig dinner. I've been there twice now and loved it both times. Very cool atmosphere, innovative cocktails (good but I prefer a single malt, neat), and spectacular food. Worst dish I've had there was Skate, but I normally don't eat fish at all and I still finished it off...

        1. I really like Spruce. . one of my favorite meals ever was a mom, sister and me luncheon there. . .great service, sumptuous seating and really good food. . their charcuterie plate, especially their duck liver mousse with madeira gelee is still one of my most memorable bites ever. It is spendy. . .but birthdays are worth a splurge. Lunch is very "Pacific Heights" ladies who so it tends to be a bit botoxy and staid but dinner is lovely.

          I recently went to Range and was underwhelmed. I found the food to be only okay and the setting to be loud and - it was also very expensive for the amount of food, surroundings and general execution. . I had extreme sticker shock when I got the bill . . but please keep in mind that when I dine with people, I like to carry on conversation and actually hear my table mates so trendy, hip places that are loud are really not my cup of tea.

          Just to compare, my favorites are places like A Cote (I like to sit in the back where it's quieter), Pizzaiolo, Ad Hoc, Rivoli & Kokkari)

          1. I've only been to Range of the three, and haven't been there in a while, but I really like their food and love their cocktails, which I'd rate right up there with those at Aziza. The bar area had a pick-up spot feel the last time I ate there; if you choose it I'd go for the back room, which is a little quieter.

            In a post below, someone mentions Firefly, which I think isn't in the same league at all, though it is certainly cheaper, and one important caveat: Firefly does not have a full bar, so no cocktails (beer and wine only)....

            Hope you have a great, happy birthday and do report back!

            1 Reply
            1. re: susancinsf

              Currently the plan is Range, unless I get off the waiting list at Spruce, and then we'll reevaluate. I like the sound of those cocktails at Range, though...I'll report back (dinner isn't until next weekend)! I have to say, the reservationist at Spruce was incredibly nice on the phone, even while telling me that they were booked, and that always makes me think pleasantly towards a restaurant (and I usually find that that tends to be an accurate reflection of the service that I'll get). Thanks, all.