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Jun 28, 2009 09:37 PM

SF Italian/Bistro 50th BDay Dinner Suggestion

I'd love some recommendations for a 50th Birthday dinner for my husband (party of 8 people for dinner). Italian or more casual French bistro would be ideal with great food and ambiance. We love food and are from Seattle, so we aren't fully familiar with SF restaurants. We've tried Zuni Cafe (good, but imo overated), Slanted Door (like it, but my mother in law hates cilantro and probably we are safer with Italian/French). I think Gary Danko, Coi, Quince, LaFolie may be a bit stuffy for our group (includes food loving teenagers that have loved Alinea and two seniors in their 80s). We're staying at the Omni Hotel and can take a cab within SF (others are coming from Hillsborough/San Carlos). I had thought Kokkari was a good option (I've been there and thought it was good and safe choice), but we are having a business dinner there the day before. Does anyone else had comments/suggestions about A16, Delfina, Incanto or any other restaurant that could fit the bill?

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  1. For a party of 8, I think the Dante Room at Incanto would be perfect for you.

    1. How was Kokkari? I haven't eaten there but am considering it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: howefortunate

        Kokkari is quite good, but I wouldn't put it in the same category as any "best of" lists for SF restaurants. Very good Greek food, huge menu, something for everyone, nice/huge dining area, very low risk for many people (would meet needs of kids/old people/picky people though I wouldn't bring small children because of the nice restaurant atmosphere). I also think the pricing is similar to almost top tier pricing (i.e. $25-30 for entree, have to pay for side dishes), and isn't particularly a food value bargain.

      2. If the teenagers were okay with Alinea then Coi should be no problem. Get the private room which seats 8. Otherwise if you must do Italian then I'd suggest Perbacco on California

        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1 Reply
        1. re: skwid

          Perbacco's convenient to the hotel, and the food's good, though I don't think the atmosphere's as convivial as the other Italian places mentioned.

        2. Thanks for all the suggestions and we had wonderful food with our family and larger groups in San Francisco. First, having a birthday dinner at Incanto for a group of 8 worked really well. We sat in the Dante Room which was very quiet and well suited for two people who were in our group that were elderly and hard of hearing. The menu was terrific--we started with salumi plates and then everyone had appetizers and either a meat/fish course or pasta. Desserts were delicious as well and the wine list had a nice range of Italian wines at all price points.

          For dinner on Friday, a large group went to Kokkari--which was delicious and again, had something for everyone. We had a family style dinner and everything was delicious, but quite rich (lots of feta cheese on the choices that were selected).

          Our group then went to La Mar (Peruvian food at Pier 1 1/2) and had a much lighter (but also delicious) dinner. My favorites were the mahi-mahi ceviche (but watch out for the habenero peppers) and the various seafood options. I was less fond of the stir fried beef but liked the mixed vegetables.

          On lunch on Sunday, our family went to the Ferry Terminal to graze on lots of different things. We stopped at Boccalone because our daughter wanted the Prosciutto and we found out that they were owned by Incanto. We shared a Muffeletta, which was delicious. We were hoping to sample items from the Slanted Door Cafe but it was closed. At Mijita, we had a sampling of tacos (fish, carnitas, carne asada) and would have definitely stopped at the Cowgirl Cremery for cheese if we were hungrier. We also had gelato at Ciao Bella and then incredible tree ripened peaches and nectarines at Frog Hollow Farm.

          Dinner that night was at Incanto.

          Before we left for the airport on Monday afternoon, we had lunch at the Slanted Door, and as usual it was delicious. Tops for us were the green papaya salad, the ribs appetizer, the Shaking Beef, the Vermicelli noodles with crab and the stir fried chicken and vermicelli.

          Next time we go to SF on our own, I'd like to try A16 (and/or SPQR).

          Thanks for everyone's suggestions

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jeanhea

            Wow! Sounds like an eating extravaganza . . . what a great way to celebrate a 50th birthday.

            1. re: Jeanhea

              Thanks for the great report. Hope you are able to visit again soon.

              Slanted Door
              Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

              Kokkari Estiatorio
              200 Jackson St., San Francisco, CA 94111

              Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
              1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

              La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
              Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111