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Dec 29, 2008 12:36 PM

Honeymoon is SF from DC suggestions?

Hello All,

Coming from DC, Northern Virginia and will be spending Sunday May 17 through middle of the day May 20 in SF, before heading to Australia for our honeymoon. I have been looking at threads for advice on where to eat and have some ideas, but wanted your advice. We will have dinner Sunday night, full days of eating Monday and Tuesday and probably just breakfast on Wedneseday.

I would like unique and fun SF experiences as this is my first time. They don't all have to be high end or romantic, but for dinners I would like someplace we could make reservations or that don't have ridiculous waits as Fiance gets impatient with that, but all ranges would be fine, I just want the best unique food I can't get in DC/MD/VA. We enjoy all types of cuisine, and will eat about anything. We will probably do some normal tourist things and lots of just perusing neighborhoods as I have never been. We are staying at the Fairmont.

Northern Virginia has very good Vietnamese, as we have one of the larger populations in the country, so we can get that here, but the food critic here said really good things about the Slanted Door, and I saw pretty good posts on here, thoughts?

Also we love seafood and really would like some fresh seafood, especially dungenese crab, something we don't get fresh on the East Coast.

I saw posts about good Mexican food what would be specific recommendations? We have very limited good Mexican in DC.

Also what would be good high end honeymoon appropriate eating? I would rather not go with La Folie as we have excellent French restaurants here. Gary Danko looked good as it had interesting game options would it be a good choice? If not what else?

And to top it all off, what are some great spots for well made interesting cocktails? Or some fun lounges or bars that have good cocktails?

DC area has very good: Middle Eastern, Soul Food, French Food, Thai Food, Heavier American Food, Meat and Potato types of places, Burgers and Pizza
DC area has poor: Chinese Food, Casual Italian, Mexican Food (Our Indian food is pretty good)

Thank you 1. for reading my long post 2. for taking the time to respond

If you come to DC I will repay the favor.

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  1. If you eat a lot of Vietnamese, don't bother with Slanted Door. If you want something with a similar vibe and view, then I'd recommend La Mar Cebicheria (just 100 yards up the waterfront).

    For you "high-end honeymoon" meal, I'd suggest a day in the wine country (including a gourmet picnic) finished off by dinner at Cyrus. The wine country in the spring is beautiful and romantic!

    I'm not sure what constitutes "casual Italian" but regional Italian is very trendy in SF at the moment: La Ciccia (Sardinia), A-16 (Campagnia); SPQR (Rome); Ducca (Venice). Our "causal" Italian is slanted toward Northern Italy (most of the Italian immigrants to SF were from Genoa, Lucca, etc.).

    You get a two-fer on your crab/Chinese request: go to Chinatown and order live Dungeness crab at one of the higher-end restaurants (Great Eastern, R&G Lounge).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      While I agree on The Slanted Door, especially since spending several weeks eating in Vietnam a few years ago, I will disagree on La Mar. Despite going as a guest of an owner, I found everything except the ceviche to be rather uninteresting and somewhat apathetically prepared. The chef is leaving after a very short time, or has left. For Vietnamese, I much prefer the more "authentic" Bodega Bistro but if you are not comfortable in rougher urban neighborhoods, take a cab.

      I think Quince is our best Italian place, with Beretta and Delfina as casual alternatives.

      And for crab, the local season will be over but R&G Lounge is a great place to have it. I may be an exception out here, but I think the crab I've had in Maryland is better than Dungeness.

      Canteen, referenced in another post, is a wonderful restaurant.

      For really good Mexican, try Mexico DF or Maya. Maya has been on a downhill trend but just went through a chef replacement and should be in good shape by the time you get here. Both are quality upscale Mexican, similar to what you might find in Mexico City. There are plenty of taquerias for cheap and good Mexican food.

      Chinese is tricky, other than the R&G Lounge. Do you want dim sum, noodles, dumplings, or major feasts? The good Chinese restaurants here tend to be somewhat specialized. Also, if you want great and unique Japanese, Koo is an excellent choice, and it's in a neighborhood you might not find if you weren't going to eat.

      For cocktails, Alembic seems to be in the in spot now and definitely has good drinks. However, the New York Times wrote it up this past weekend and it may be really busy from now on. I like the margaritas at Colibri, which has a great tequila selection and makes great drinks, but the food there isn't exceptional, except the phenomenal guacamole, which is made to order and served with fresh-made soft tortillas. The most well-known margarita spot in town is Tommy's, but the food isn't anything special. The margaritas, which are somewhat non-traditional as they don't have any orange liqueur, are excellent.

      1. re: realspear

        Just as an FYI with Canteen (which I highly recommend), your only option with your dates is Tuesday dinner, which is a prix fixe. It is a great deal ($36, I believe, for 3 courses).

        1. re: realspear

          I was thinking of La Mar for lunch, where a couple of ceviches and a couple of other small plates and dessert would be perfect. I agree the entrees are uninspired, but my host explained that tends to be true of Peruvian cuisine.

      2. Canteen is a great place for a low key, but great and very San Francisco dinner. It's a tiny little place, the food is delicious, you can see the chef cooking the whole time, and it's close to your hotel. You have to make reservations by phone, they're not on Open Table. If you go to their website, you'll be able to see their current menu (and can look again in future weeks) to see if it appeals to you, but the place is a lot more than what it seems from the menu.

        For casual (well, mid-range) Italian, SF has lots of great options: Delfina, A16, Incanto, La Ciccia are some of my favorites (there are lots of posts on these restaurants, so you can search and look at their websites for the menus to see what appeals to you). The most romantic of those is definitely La Ciccia, and the service is just lovely, so that might be a great place for honeymooners (definitely tell them it's your honeymoon), and you can reserve there on OpenTable.

        You won't get fresh Dungeness crab in the summer time, the season is right now. I like Slanted Door a lot, but there are a lot of people who aren't thrilled with it, so you can look at some different posts and see how you feel. It's open and is great for lunch, so that may be a good option (it's also open on Sunday night, which a lot of places aren't), and you'll have a nice view at lunch. It's nice to link it to a morning or afternoon around the Ferry Building, which is a fun place to explore.

        Aziza is great for visitors, and has a very romantic dining room (though parts of it are a bit loud); it's a Moroccan/Californian place (not traditional Moroccan) . It's also a trek from downtown, though, and takes a while if you're not renting a car, so that may be something to consider, especially since you have limited time. They do have great cocktails there, so that may be something that you'd really enjoy.

        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

        La Ciccia
        291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

        817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Delfina Restaurant
        3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        2 Replies
        1. re: JasmineG

          You will get fresh Dungeness crab -- it just won't be *local* Dungeness. It'll be from farther north. I don't think it matters much if it's live up until you order it.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Can't agree more on Canteen. So romantic, especially sitting at the counter.

          2. We are a town with great cocktails. I would recommend excellent cocktails at Nopa (a restaurant) and Alembic (a bar with a limited menu of good quality food). Range (a restaurant) also has great cocktails and good food.

            I very much like Bar Crudo, a raw fish restaurant, which is next door to Tunnel Top, a pleasantly divey bar.

            Alembic was just covered in this NY Times article about the cocktail renaissance in SF:

            Bar Crudo
            655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

            560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

            1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

            2 Replies
            1. re: pane

              Wow thanks everyone for not only responding but doing so very quickly, I can tell this is going to be a good honeymoon.

              Thank you pane for the cocktail places I was looking at the Alembic sight and that place looks great! It reminds me of the places we like to go here.

              If you ever come to DC find PX our speakeasy of choice or Restaurant Eve right across the River in Virginia and get a Todd Thrasher concoction trust me on that one.

              Ok so this ferry house it is like a farmers market with permanent food stalls?

              1. re: ktmoomau

                My pleasure. I love a good cocktail.

                Ferry building: there is a farmer's market with stalls on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The other days of the week, the interior of the building is like a super high-end food mall, with a Sur La Table, Far West Fungi, Recchiuti chocolate...many delightful (and expensive) options.

            2. Not a lot of time but getting a burrito or taco for lunch would be very SF.


              I'd also probably stop by the Ferry Building. Tues and Sat has a farmer's market.

              Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
              One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

              1. First of all... If you think DC has poor casual Italian, PLEASE GO TO DINO IN CLEVELAND PARK!!! I used to live in DC and I *love* Dino.

                However, one thing that SF has is casual *regional* Italians. Specifically, A16 (Southern) and La Ciccia (Sardinian). I've still yet to get myself to La Ciccia, but all my friends love it and I've had their food in a catered environment and it was exellent. A16 is one of my favorite places in town. Absolutely wonderful food. And a pretty decent value, too.



                Ok, that having been said... There is nothing like Slanted Door in DC. It is upscale Vietnamese in a way that nothing in DC is lik and it is a very 'San Francisco' type restaurant. I highly reccomend it. (Though, to be fair, its prices have gotten a bit high.) If you go, order the shaking beef -- yes, yes, I know you've had that dish in a million different restaurants in DC, but Slanted Door does it better than anyone. I promise.

                I would go to the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton over Gary Danko based both on atmosphere (more romantic) as well as upon food. Danko, is very good, though. (As is La Folie -- and I don't think DC has anything quite at that level.)

                Another higher end restaurant in SF that is NOTHING like you can find in DC is Ame. It is Japanese/Italian (with French accents) Fusion. It is not super-romantic, however.

                I LOVE the Afgahni food at the wonderful and moderately inexpensive Helmand Palace on Van Ness in Russian Hill.

                For Mexican I would go to the Mission and get a burrito at Papalote (very non-traditional, but my favorite) or else La Tacqueria or Tacqueria Cancun.

                For seafood, there is always Aqua - quite expensive, not very romantic. But very good.


                For less expensive really San Francisco-y type food and atmophere, there is nopa. I love the food there, but it can be *very* loud.


                Medjool is a good, young crowd as far as lounges go:


                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner

                  In regards to the most expensive places in the area:
                  We've been to both Gary Danko and the Ritz Carlton several times each and while Danko is very good, we would place the Ritz above it in every category. It also seems much easier to get into for whatever reason.
                  While the French Laundry remains the pinnacle, it is extremely hard to get into, is extremely expensive and is more of a one-time deal IMO. If you are going to be traveling north of the City, I would highly recommend Cyrus which I think is at least as good as any of the others here with service just as good as the food.