Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Sep 17, 2009 03:50 PM

Frascati or Boulevard?

I'm travelling from Mexico to SF in two weeks, I was looking for a space in Gary Danko but it was too late... I'm looking for a very good-kind of romantic dinner spot, and after read a lot of reviews and discard other pretentious options like Masas or M.Mina, I can't decide between these two... Any help or another sugestion?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Boulevard is good food (not amazing IMO), but you're gonna pay extra for the location

    If you're set on one of those two, that's fine, but if you're looking for similar cuisine in a romantic setting, I'd recommend looking at RNM (about on par with Frascati pricewise)..

    I also wouldn't consider Boulevard particularly romantic, but if that's acceptable, I'd also recommend looking at Spruce (about on par with Boulevard price-wise).

    12 Replies
    1. re: vulber

      Thanks for your recomendations... I know both restaurants are different type, my first thought was an up-scale kind, but the reviews about Frascati food are raving althought is more like neighborhood place... I was in RNM in my last visit to SF, it was good but nothing memorable... I checked th Spruce website and it looks a little cold... I think Frascati is winning... Anyway, I'm in the waiting list of Gary Danko and I'm crossing fingers, have you been there?

      1. re: miltonnotbradley

        Haven't been to Frascati, although strongly recommend Spruce. And unlike most restaurants of this type in SF, it's enormous, spacious, and uncramped (but not to the point where agoraphobes will get uncomfortable). Absolutely gorgeous interior, and a stellar wine list, with amazing food and flavor combinations to boot.

        1. re: vulber

          You sound very enthusiastic about Spruce... hope you're not the Manager of the place :)... I'll do a doublecheck of the place, sounds great... Tnx again for your posts.

          1. re: miltonnotbradley

            For full disclosure, I only went there once, and it was for lunch, but it was probably the best lunch I've had in San Francisco.

            1. re: vulber

              I agree with vulber - Spruce is excellent. The food, the vibe, etc. Very different from Frasacati, though. Very hip, very sceney, hard to get a reso, whereas Frascati is a little more homey. Both are great!

              1. re: meggie t

                That's an excellent point Meggie, Spruce always seems to be booked for dinner very far ahead in advance.

                Lunch would actually probably give you more bang for your buck.

                Spruce also seems more romantic, as it is not crowded so close together like Frascati, although the sheer volume of the dining room could make it very loud.

                1. re: vulber

                  I think lunch would solve my issue with Spruce. I thought the food was excellent, I was thrilled by the bread 'pairings' (for each thing I ate they had a different type of bread to go with it) but the egregious upselling of cocktails and wine turned us off enough that we can never go back in there. Actually it was so excessive that we were dying laughing for the second half of our dinner. But hardly romantic.
                  At lunch perhaps they would dial that down a bit and you could enjoy the fabulous food.

                  1. re: Meredith

                    I've never been much of a wine person so I could be way off base, but doesn't the size of a restaurant's wine collection allow them to charge more for wine because of the cost of having so many varied, rare bottles?

                    If true, this would seem justified, as they have one of the most stunning wine collections in the city?

                    1. re: vulber

                      Oh I wasn't speaking of pricing, I agree if the wine is better, it should be more expensive.
                      I meant that we were held at the bar (in a mostly empty restaurant) just long enough to order a cocktail but not to drink one, and that though our wine glasses would be only partially touched, our waitress would try to talk us into a different glass. We aren't big drinkers and one cocktail (ordered because they parked us at the bar for our 5 pm reservation though there were a few patrons already seated and the entire restaurant was set) and a glass of wine basically does it for us. But each and every course would have her explaining what flight of wine we should have with it or how we couldn't possibly pass up the 'classic pairing of foie gras and reisling' (I had always thought it was foie and sauternes). It had grown to the level of farce by the time dessert hit. And to finish it off she listed verbally practically all of the dessert wines they offered though we had dessert menus in front of us. It was just off putting and seemingly unstoppable.

                        1. re: vulber

                          But for all that, I still have visions of their fries and the pate on their chatucherie plate. I love the idea of going for lunch where the push to drink can't possibly be as strong.

                          1. re: Meredith

                            I didn't sit at the bar during lunch. However, I'd imagine that the push to drink would still be stronger than similar restaurants (like Boulevard) during lunch, as the lunch crowd here is mostly people who work odd hours/don't work at all, rather than people who are there on lunch break who need to get back to the office and work.

    2. Since you were considering Gary Danko, what about Acquerello, La Folie, or Fleur de Lys. All are pretty much in the same price category as GD and all three could be considered romantic. As far as Frascati versus Boulevard, Frascati is a small neighborhood restaurant on the Hyde Street cable car line whereas Boulevard is a large, bustling restaurant in the downtown area. Probably, because of it's size and location, Frascati could be considered the more romantic of the two.

      1. Frascati is the perfect choice! Only downside is the partking, there isn't any in the area. Take public transportation or walk. The tables are a bit close together, but you almost don't notice because the atmosphere is really upbeat -- not in that noisy way, but in a professional, but casual neighborhood restaurant way. At least a few tables are regulars, or at least that's been my experience.

        4 Replies
        1. re: stacyc

          Actually, a few months ago a garage opened about 1/2 way up the block from Frascati's. A great addition to that area!

          1. re: stacyc

            Yes, I read Frascati's food is amazing... about the parking, I'll be a tourist, so I will get there in a cab. Tnx!

            1. re: miltonnotbradley

              Frascati has great food and a lovely atmosphere. Enjoy!

              1. re: meggie t

                Frascati is very romantic, and a great neighborhood choice. I had one meal in the bar area at Spruce and found the dining room kinda sterile and the complete opposite of romantic. Plus the famed burger was just 'ok' in my opinion.