Intimate, reasonably priced, excellent food
Hi. I am taking my wife to SF for a bday weekend. For one of our meals, I'd like a low key, intimate dining experience. Excellent food (we tend to like organic, locally grown, seafoods, etc). Not a wallet buster. Not fussy (no towers, deconstructed foods, or foams). And not a power/glamour scene. I have made reservations at Spork, Pesce, Range, and Town Hall (Delfina and Slanted Door were booked). Given my needs, what do you think about my four options?
Only been to Town Hall. It's lovely, with brick and high ceilings, and the food is very good. Normally I'm not that big on rich Southern food, and I don't eat meat, but they make it work without being heavy. On the wallet question, well it's not exactly mid-range but it's not quite fine-dining pricing either.
i'd like to suggest L'Ardoise near the Castro. It's a charming small traditional French restaurant with friendly French staff (!), varied menu, intimate romantic atmosphere, a short but interesting wine list, and daily specials on the chalkboard (the "ardoise"). It can be booked on Opentable. They close Mondays. You'll really have an enjoyable meal there--I'm dying to go back!
Not on your list but I would recomment Perbacco. We recently had a meal there that was a pleasure from start to finish. Excellent service, great food and a beautiful room. We sat downstairs and I was amazed that 4 starters, 2 mains, a beer and a cocktail (there were 3 of us) was only $97 before tax and tip. The blue fin tuna tartar I ordered as an entree was fabulous, but everything I ate I would order again. (cured meat selection, vitello tonnato, fritto misto, pappardelle and gnocchi)