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Oct 9, 2008 02:04 PM

A Rad and Romantic Night Out?

So, my girlfriend and I are heading to SF for a few days later this month and I'd like to surprise her by taking her out to a hell of a meal, while impressing her with my uncanny ability to squirrel out what would, if we lived there, be our favorite place in the city.
These are my criteria, in order of importance: creative and rich dishes (we are not big on, say, very classic French cuisine, or anything too delicate as a rule); romantic and/or hip atmosphere where we won't feel rushed; warm and helpful staff who can recommend a good bottle of wine without making me feel like an idiot (Chowhound has helped me find Ouest in NY, Splendid in Toronto, Clarklewis in Portland and they've all been outstanding). I've been saving up for this one for a little while, so for once, price will not be an object. Bonus points for being near main public transit lines, and even more bonus points for a place with great foie gras, duck, and lamb.
If anyone's got any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! I spent some time looking around on the net for SF's review-based websites and haven't come across anything too promising just yet. Any tips for a good user-review restaurant site? I am also looking for very inexpensive gems around SF and along the coast north of SF.
Thanks so much!

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  1. check out the menu at Michael Mina. .. it's not my most favorite place but it seems to fit your criteria. . . I am simply not a fan of his cooking style but most people find the restaurant to be pretty good.

    The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton is also pretty impressive food-wise but the room itself is sort of boring and staid. Service is outstanding.

    If you REALLY want to go all out and blow her socks off, Manresa in Los Gatos or Cyrus in Healdsburg would be a great splurge.

    as much as I hate to say it, Yelp is a good resource for delving into getting info on a restaurant. . it provides links to most of the restaurant's websites. . the user reviews are somewhat useless because there is a "look at me" spirit in how the website is run. . .so people tend to pepper their reviews with a lot of hyperbole.

    1. Hi there, what fun... there's a great new Peruvian restaurant on the waterfront called La Mar (it's at Pier 1 1/2 so you can take BART and get off at Embarcadero, walk over to the Ferry Building... it's one building to the left). The food is mainly seafood but they have some great meat dishes like the Lomo Saltado. They also have a great lounge area that you can hang out before or after dinner. The drink of choice here is Pisco but they do have a nice wine list as well. You can find more pictures of the place on Yelp. You'll get tons of points for delivering a really really new and fun restaurant.

      If you want something a bit more urban hip, there a bunch of killer restaurants in the Mission (on Valencia). Again, you can take BART, get off at Mission and 24th. There is Dosa, a really wonderful Indian place. Our friend from India says this is the best Indian food he's had in America; and I haven't been there yet, but everyone else I know has and raves about Spork.

      Good luck!

      1. Yes I will agree with La Mar it is a great place and most enjoyable and somehow Romantic

        1. How about La Folie on Polk Street in San Francisco? We ate there this week for my husband's birthday, and he had the best foie gras --quite a large portion as well. Duck was also on the menu. There is a tasting menu and an al a carte as well. Ted, the sommelier, was very helpful in recommending a flight of wines for each course. The atmosphere is quite romantic. Ask for the table in the corner where both seats face out into the restaurant. Their website menu hasn't been updated for a year, so you may want to call them for details. Here is the