Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Feb 18, 2009 10:20 PM

Gary Danko or Michael Mina?

Hello All,

I will be in town for a conference March 14-17 and want to splurge on some great cuisine on one of my nights. I am looking to go with the 3 course menu/meals at either Gary Danko or Michael Mina and was wondering which place is consistently better. The small difference in price between the two menus is not important, just looking for some great food!

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Danko is better. Though I would say that the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton is better than Danko.

    1. never ate at MM but danko is one of my faves in the entire country

      1. I prefer MM to Danko. I find Danko to have all the great execution and service that one would expect- but somewhat lifeless. A bit stodgy.

        1. There is no consensus here as to which is better. Detractors attack MM for being inconsistent, and Gary Danko for not being creative.

          Personally, I've had better experiences at Gary Danko, and prefer it because it is more consistent, and in the tradition of the Chef-owned and managed single restaurant. Gary Danko has been quoted as saying: "one restaurant is enough."

          1 Reply
          1. re: Paul H

            I absolutely agree. GD is very consistent and is an institution in SF. It's not that creative but that shouldn't be an issue if it's your first time since everything would be new to you anyway.

            I have only been to the MM in Las Vegas but I've definitely heard a lot of mixed reviews about MM in SF. Some people had amazing meals, some people were disappointed.

            I personally think there is a inverse correlation between the quality of the food at a restaurant and the number of restaurants that the chef has opened. Sure there are exceptions, but in my experience it seems like restaurants like GD are just more consistent and the distribution of the quality is pretty tight around the mean. Not that Gary Danko is in the kitchen all the time or that Michael Mina can't be cooking your meal the night you're there, but I think the odds are better for the first.

            So maybe the question is whether you want to take the risk? I've rarely heard people come out feeling very disappointed by their meal at GD, but I've definitely known people who were irritated by their meal at MM.

            You could always make reservations at both restaurants and call them the day before and see if the chef will be in the kitchen the next evening. If you ask them outright, they probably won't tell you or say they don't know, but if you say you're a big fan of the chef visiting from out of town and wanted to get a couple of autographs for your cookbooks, they might be more inclined to share what they know.

          2. Hi gmk1322: Miss both of them! Gary's sick, that's what his staff says and has been for quite a few years now. Does anybody know what's really going on there? I seem to remember when Jeremiah Tower was still here and I was walking around with him at a food expo at the Fairmont and Gary looked ill even then and that was at least 10 or 12 years ago. They are not allowing reviewers in either. What's the haps there? Honey, if you're going to spend your money, go somewhere where the food will be exquisite and worth your money. Try Spruce or Sociale on Sacramento. Spruce has excellent food, wonderful service and great atmosphere. For cheaper fare and good atmosphere, try L'Ardoise on 151 Noe (x Henry) or my new favorite, Cassis, it's run by two French brothers from the French Riviera. It's got style, its got class, great food, sex appeal and the bus stops right outside the door! For dinner & fun in one, but muy expensivo: Teatro Zinzanni! They've just started a new show! It's hysterical! If you're coming in from out of town, this just might be your best option! You'll have a blast! - IlanaW