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If you had one meal in san francisco...

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hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 08:23 AM

I'm going to be there for the weekend in November, collecting on a bet with a foodie friend who is buying dinner wherever I want.... I have to pick and I need help!

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  1. grayelf RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 08:33 AM

    If I had one meal in San Francisco, I'd spell it right :-(. Sorry, couldn't resist. Just a few pointers to ensure that you tap into the amazing resources available here from this Board's intrepid Chowhounds.You are going to get better responses if you narrow it down. There are about 5,000 restaurants in the SF Bay Area, in all price ranges and most every type of cuisine and the poor Hounds here get questions like yours literally dozens of times a month. You need to provide more info. Where are you staying? Are you willing to travel for food? What price range? What kind of food are you looking for? What day of the week (lots of places are closed Sun and/or Mon)? Have a great time!

    12 Replies
    1. re: grayelf
      h
      hungryinwdc RE: grayelf Oct 30, 2009 09:29 AM

      oops. that's embarrassing (and fixed now- thanks!)

      it will be a friday night, yes, we're willing to travel, (we're staying downtown but dining with friends who live near Palo Alto). as for price, the sky's the limit -- we just want to have the best possible meal we can have!

      1. re: hungryinwdc
        Robert Lauriston RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 10:14 AM

        Manresa.

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        Manresa Restaurant
        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        1. re: hungryinwdc
          Ruth Lafler RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 10:29 AM

          I think Manresa is a good choice, especially since your friends live on the Peninsula. Plus, it's a very California restaurant, compared to most of the high-end places in San Francisco which are similar in style to high-end restaurants in other parts of the country.

          The other hothothot place right now is Commis in Oakland. You can impress your friend, who probably hasn't even heard of it, by knowing about an amazing restaurant in a little storefront in Oakland.

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          Manresa Restaurant
          320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

          Commis
          3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            s
            skwid RE: Ruth Lafler Oct 30, 2009 10:37 AM

            Right now I want to go to La Folie as I haven't been able to make it there yet. Been to both Manresa and Commis and right now I'd probably pick Commis as the place to go. Afterwards you can head up Piedmont Ave to Adesso and have some of their fine salumis.

            If price is no object (and you are willing to travel a bit) then why not try The French Laundry?

            Btw why is the display of my post removing the capitalization of The French Laundry?

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            Manresa Restaurant
            320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

            The French Laundry
            6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

            La Folie
            2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

            Adesso
            4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

            Commis
            3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

            1. re: skwid
              h
              hungryinwdc RE: skwid Oct 30, 2009 10:40 AM

              Thanks for all the input! Unfortunately, we haven't planned it far enough in advance to get reservations at french laundry...

              1. re: skwid
                Ruth Lafler RE: skwid Oct 30, 2009 10:53 AM

                It also removed the capitalization of "Manresa" in all our posts. They should disable this feature until the get all the bugs worked out (or permanently)

              2. re: Ruth Lafler
                grayelf RE: Ruth Lafler Oct 30, 2009 09:32 PM

                It says on the website that the chef at Commis used to be chef de cuisine at Manresa -- so sort of two birds with one stone??

                ETA: I did not add the "old style" resto links here -- is that something new in the program.

                -----
                Manresa Restaurant
                320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                Commis
                3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                1. re: grayelf
                  Ruth Lafler RE: grayelf Oct 30, 2009 11:24 PM

                  Yup. Annoying, buggy new "feature" that turns every word that matches something in the database into a link, whether the post actually refers to the place or not.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    grayelf RE: Ruth Lafler Oct 31, 2009 08:07 AM

                    I know about the inline links Ruth -- this is the first time I've had it add the old style links "below" my post with the red squibs (which I actually prefer as they standout and you can see who is recc'ing them, unlike the places mentioned squibs on the right side).

                    1. re: grayelf
                      Ruth Lafler RE: grayelf Nov 1, 2009 08:00 AM

                      I don't see them. I did have an experience where I manually put in the links, they showed at the bottom, and then they disappeared when I actually posted. Do you still see them in your post above where you mentioned them? Maybe it's some weird quirk on my browser?

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        grayelf RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 1, 2009 08:43 AM

                        Yup, still there for me. Weird.

              3. re: hungryinwdc
                m
                ML8000 RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 01:32 PM

                A 3rd on Manresa. I liked it more then the French Laundry. Mind stretching is what I experienced. Besides being convenient to the south bay, it's also a "bargain" compared to French Laundry. Get the tasting menu. Order some local wines and you should have a fine meal and save a little in the process.

                -----
                Manresa Restaurant
                320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                The French Laundry
                6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

            2. b
              bronwen RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 08:42 AM

              I've always loved Fleur de Lys and Julius Castle. I'm out of the loop now as I moved out ten years ago though. Others I think fondly of are Boulevard, Zuni Cafe, Washington Bar & Grill, North Beach Restaurant.

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              Zuni Cafe
              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              Fleur De Lys
              140 Bryce Canyon Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

              3 Replies
              1. re: bronwen
                Robert Lauriston RE: bronwen Oct 30, 2009 09:03 AM

                Julius' Castle is currently closed. Fleur de Lys has gotten mixed reports in the past year or two. The Washbag has gone through major changes but the latest owners (since March) reportedly have tried to bring back the original style. North Beach Restaurant gets more pans than raves here. Boulevard and Zuni haven't changed much in the past decade.

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                Zuni Cafe
                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                Boulevard Restaurant
                1 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105

                Fleur De Lys
                777 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                Washington Square Bar & Grill
                1707 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

                North Beach Restaurant
                1512 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  b
                  bronwen RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 3, 2009 08:27 AM

                  Robert, thanks for an update - I also used to go to Moose's which is now closed, I udnerstand, Did anything open up in that space?

                  1. re: bronwen
                    Robert Lauriston RE: bronwen Nov 3, 2009 08:31 AM

                    Yeah, it's an East Coast-style Italian place.

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                    Joey & Eddie's
                    1652 Stockton, San Francisco, CA 94133

              2. w
                whiner RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 12:52 PM

                My favorite restaurant in San Francisco is La Folie. The PROBLEM with La Folie is that it is an excellent, classic French restaurant, the type you might find in NYC... or France. It is not unique to SF.

                If I wanted a unique-to-SF experience, I would go to Coi or Ame. Coi is experimental small portions 11 courses and you might leave needing more food before the night is through. But it really is something. Ame is a Japanese/Italian/French fusion restaurant unlike any you will find elsewhere. In terms of "dinner" vs. "culinary experience" I'd probably prefer Ame to Coi... but Coi is the more significant "culinary experience".

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                Coi
                373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

                La Folie
                2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner
                  mariacarmen RE: whiner Oct 30, 2009 04:18 PM

                  Second Coi. I did not leave hungry at all - maybe I ate a lot of their delicious bread. I still dream about my dinner at Coi. But I've never been to Ame.

                2. steve h. RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 01:53 PM

                  I thought long and hard about your dilemma. I love La Folie and that's a documented fact. Still, if I were to select one restaurant that puts the biggest smile on my face, that place would be Incanto. Not the fanciest, not the most expensive, just satisfying. Taking the J-Church from downtown to the Noe Valley just makes it better.

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                  La Folie
                  2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: steve h.
                    Robert Lauriston RE: steve h. Oct 30, 2009 05:19 PM

                    The wine list is wonderful and with perseverance can make up for the food not being so expensive.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      steve h. RE: Robert Lauriston Oct 30, 2009 05:56 PM

                      the only thing better would be bringing in a half-dozen friends so you could share the entire menu.

                      incanto is time well spent.

                  2. p
                    Paris Dreamin RE: hungryinwdc Oct 30, 2009 04:08 PM

                    I'd vote for Manresa as well. As its location has not been mentioned, I think, I would mention to you that Manresa is in downtown Los Gatos, about a 20-40 minute drive from Palo Alto, depending on traffic and where in Palo Alto you will be. Manresa is our favorite restaurant in the area, enough so that we venture there 4 to 5 times a year at least. Although taste is certainly subjective, I personally like it better than many of the area's other best restaurants, including The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Gary Danko, Coi, Boulevard, etc. I do have to admit that I have not been to Commis before. I also like the suggestions for La Folie and Incanto, very good for French and Italian food respectively, but neither is of the quality of preparation or presentation of Manresa.

                    -----
                    Manresa Restaurant
                    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                    The French Laundry
                    6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                    La Folie
                    2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Gary Danko
                    800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Commis
                    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Paris Dreamin
                      steve h. RE: Paris Dreamin Oct 30, 2009 04:35 PM

                      What do you like at Manresa?

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                      Manresa Restaurant
                      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                      1. re: steve h.
                        Robert Lauriston RE: steve h. Oct 30, 2009 05:21 PM

                        The menu changes daily, but the "Into the vegetable garden ..." is a must. I'm planning to do the four-course next time, nothing specific to Manresa but I'm through with tasting menus.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/548333

                        -----
                        Manresa Restaurant
                        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          steve h. RE: Robert Lauriston Oct 30, 2009 06:18 PM

                          I look forward to your report. Tasting menus can be problematic in the sense of too much food, too much presentation, too much pretension. Done right, a tasting menu can be special but when everyone does it, it's just not that big a deal.

                          Just my $0.02.

                          1. re: steve h.
                            p
                            Paris Dreamin RE: steve h. Oct 30, 2009 06:42 PM

                            There is nothing that I have ever had at Manresa that I haven't liked, but I would note a few things that I find to be incredible, with obviously things being seasonal. The vegetables are out of this world, due to Kinch overseeing their growth and cultivation. As Robert Lauriston said, "into the vegetable garden" is probably the best salad that you will ever have. Also, I love Kinch's Tidal Pool, lamb, and sucking pig dishes. But the best of them all, when it's available, is the abalone in brown butter, which I still rank as one of the top ten things that I have ever put in my mouth.

                            1. re: Paris Dreamin
                              steve h. RE: Paris Dreamin Oct 30, 2009 06:53 PM

                              I'm a big fan of abalone.

                              1. re: steve h.
                                p
                                Paris Dreamin RE: steve h. Oct 30, 2009 07:47 PM

                                Better eat it (but sparingly, save some for me) before it no longer exists in the world.

                                1. re: Paris Dreamin
                                  steve h. RE: Paris Dreamin Oct 30, 2009 08:05 PM

                                  there's a little island off the coast of hong kong island that serves a very good abalone. they're kind enough to sail me home after a day of excess.

                                  1. re: Paris Dreamin
                                    Frodnesor RE: Paris Dreamin Nov 1, 2009 01:16 PM

                                    The abalone served at Manresa is local Monterey abalone, is sustainably farmed, and is listed as a "best choice" in the Seafood Watch guide ->
                                    http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                                    It was also, hands down, the best dish I had there on a visit a couple months ago and generally just a fantastic dish, even though I did not love everything we had at Manresa (i.e., we were more impressed by the concept and presentation of the "into the vegetable garden" than by the flavors).

                                    -----
                                    Manresa Restaurant
                                    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                              2. re: steve h.
                                Robert Lauriston RE: steve h. Oct 31, 2009 10:42 AM

                                The tasting menu I had at Manresa last year was extraordinary. If you like to eat that way, it's great. I've just realized that I have a better time when I eat larger helpings of fewer courses.

                                -----
                                Manresa Restaurant
                                320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  w
                                  whiner RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 1, 2009 04:10 AM

                                  Me as well. That is why I prefer La Folie to Coi. 4 or 5 courses, for me, is perfect.

                                  -----
                                  La Folie
                                  2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    steve h. RE: Robert Lauriston Nov 3, 2009 02:12 PM

                                    Manresa sounds very good. I look forward to dining there.

                                    -----
                                    Manresa Restaurant
                                    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

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