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Jan 17, 2009 12:11 PM

Most fun restaurant for dinner in SF?

Hi all.

I am visiting the city for my birthday on the last weekend of January (nights of the 30th and 31st) with my girlfriend and I am looking for the most fun dinner experience possible. Of course, I want the food to be tasty, and I have a price range of about $50/person. But the most important thing is that I leave with a huge smile on my face, laugh a lot during dinner, and have a great time.

I don't mind noise too much, but I don't want to be the only couple in a place full of bachelorette parties. I also want to avoid a place completely full of tourists. It would be good if it was a little nicer of a place, but that isn't a deal breaker.

Some places friends have suggested are AsiaSF (though I know it will be mostly tourists, and possibly bachelorette parties... is it still good for a couple?) and Foreign Cinema (but I'm looking for something a little more upbeat.)

I'm open to any and all suggestions, but they should be in the city, and relatively easy to get to by car or muni. Also, does this match any of the DAT restaurants? (we'd be there Friday or Saturday night)


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  1. Slanted Door. Noisy atmosphere, but definitely frequented by locals who love good food. You can take the BART to the Embarcadero, not sure about MUNI. Cheers.

    1. It will be interesting to monitor replies to this thread. The only two restaurants I have ever been in that could be considered fun were a pizza place with a good ragtime piano player, and a place in Dallas with scantily clad women swinging on a trapeze. And neither of these places had particularly good food or were all that much fun.

      1. "Fun" is so relative it's hard to really pin-point a recommendation. I guess it depends on what you think is fun. For me, fun has more to do with the people I'm with than the place itself. I had a really fun meal last night at Ramblas Tapas Bar in the Mission. But I think we would of had fun anywhere we went. What cuisines do you like?

        Maybe a good food, loud atmosphere, casual place would fit the bill. Maybe something like Town Hall or Slanted Door. Tres Agaves might be a good choice if you like Mexican and margaritas. I hope that helps.

        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Tres Agaves Restaurant
        130 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94107

        Town Hall Restaurant
        342 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105

        Ramblas Tapas
        557 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

        5 Replies
        1. re: Shane Greenwood

          Good options, Thanks.

          I see your point about what is meant by "fun." I don't quite know myself, but here is a clue. I think AsiaSF sounds fun.

          I guess I am looking for an "experience." Try to pin-point that.

          1. re: davieboot

            What about Supperclub?

            657 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94107

            1. re: davieboot

              Teatro ZinZanni is probably twice what you're looking to pay, but it's very fun, and it's a full evening's entertainment.

              Teatro ZinZanni
              29 San Pier, Francisco, CA

              1. re: weem

                Yes, Teatro Zinzanni is definitely along the right lines, but quite out of my price range.

              2. re: davieboot

                This restaurant has nightly belly dancing and I've heard it's a lot of fun, but I can't vouch for the food since I've never been personally. And this being Chowhound, I'm sure someone else can chime in on the chow.


            2. If you want even halfway decent food, stay away from AsiaSF. The poor quality will definitely affect how much "fun" you have.

              My picks for great food and lively atmosphere are Dosa, Andalu, and Foreign Cinema. Yep, I think Foreign Cinema is entertaining. It's true! And I concur with Shane. Fun comes more from the experiences of those you're dining with, not the food on your plate. Unless you want a 7-course tasting menu. Then fun will cost you more $$$.

              995 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

              3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

              Foreign Cinema
              2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

              Dosa on Fillmore
              1700 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

              1 Reply
              1. re: rahir

                They're going to SF though, so I don't think food quality is a concern of theirs, just atmosphere.

                If food quality really is a concern (you don't plan on getting *that* soused) then I'd go with the earlier suggestion of Town Hall from the lot, the food is marginally above the SF average and the place bustles. However it is basically out of the way SOMa around the financial district which makes the surrounding area a bit bleak when you arrive and leave (though the Embarcadero is a short distance away for a post prandial walk).

              2. Cha Cha Cha? Lively, decent Caribbean tapas, good sangria...

                Cha Cha Cha
                1801 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117