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Christmas in San Francisco

budman61 Nov 28, 2009 04:43 PM

This is my first time sending a message on Chowhound, so please bear with me. My wife and I will be in SF for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day until we head for the airport around 6:00 PM. We will be at the JW Marriott and in need of advice for dinner on Christmas Eve and earlier dining on Christmas Day in that general vicinity. Love Italian, American, Seafood, French, pretty much anything.

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  1. wolfe RE: budman61 Nov 28, 2009 04:56 PM

    Hints from Christmas past.

    Marley's ghost

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe
      budman61 RE: wolfe Nov 28, 2009 05:17 PM

      Thanks, it seems I need to go on Opentable for starters and work my way thru the list. Should be fun.

    2. rworange RE: budman61 Nov 28, 2009 05:20 PM

      Check Opentable.

      As far as Chirstmas, Opentable is not as good as they are for New Year's and Thanksgiving.

      I'm putting together a list of Christmas and Christmas Eve restaurants, but I wont post it untill next week when restaurants replace their Thanksgiving links with Christmas links.

      Chowhoudn always gets Jul;y -August inquiries about where to eat on Thanksgiving,, Christmas and New Years I figure if I document that this year, it willl be usefull in the future.

      I have about a dozen places so far. What is your budget?

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange
        budman61 RE: rworange Dec 1, 2009 03:17 PM

        This sounds great. I hate to say it, but the amount is not part of the equation. We love great food and great service and realize you get what you pay for. Looking forward to your suggestions.

      2. s
        skwid RE: budman61 Nov 29, 2009 12:17 PM

        If you want a very nice dinner I'd suggest The Dinning Room at the Ritz Carlton hotel. It will be pricey but very nice. We went last year and it was pretty good. For Christmas night they serve a special menu.

        Btw, which Marriott are you staying at as there are a couple in San Francisco.

        6 Replies
        1. re: skwid
          wolfe RE: skwid Nov 29, 2009 12:26 PM

          "JW Marriott"
          500 Post St, San Francisco

          1. re: skwid
            budman61 RE: skwid Dec 1, 2009 03:20 PM

            My wife says it's the JW Marriott. If there are more than one of those, please tell me.
            Thanks for the info on the Ritz. We have one here in VA and they are usually very good.

            1. re: budman61
              rworange RE: budman61 Dec 1, 2009 04:08 PM

              The Dining Room at the Ritz has earned Michelan stars under Chef Ron Siegel. It is a bit different than the usual Ritz experience. Here's the Ritz Holiday schedule.

              The dinners at The Dining Room are a whole different thing from the kitchen that takes care of the Lobby Lounge or the buffet ... the latter I wouldn't recommend as other big hotels do the food better.

              Unfortunately The Dining Room doesn't have the holiday menu online. Here's the restaurant's regular link

              I'm sure Christmas Eve dinner will be fabulous though ... expensive but fabulous. It is on California and there are midnight services at Grace Cathedral on top of the hill. St Mary's down the hill has midnight mass. It is a festive area at Christmas with buffets also at the Mark Hopkins and Fairmont.

              Siegel got his start at Masa's which is also having a Christmas Eve dinner

              I'm a day or two away from putting the rest of the lsit I have out.

              1. re: rworange
                budman61 RE: rworange Dec 2, 2009 04:17 PM

                If the Christmas Eve is close to the regular menu on the site, it looks too good to turn down. Can't wait for the list. I hope it also includes Christmas Day.

                1. re: budman61
                  rworange RE: budman61 Dec 2, 2009 04:59 PM

                  If the Ritz is something that interests your, you might call them and see if they can give you an idea of the menu. They might have a preliminary menu they could send you though since the kitchen relies on seasonality it wouldn't be set in stone.

                  Given that is an active area on Christmas Eve, I'd suggest booking a reservation now. You can always cancel it if you find something better.

                  Restaurants have been really dragging their heels on putting up Christmas links. A good many still haven't taken the Thanksgiving links down.

                  1. re: rworange
                    budman61 RE: rworange Dec 6, 2009 05:07 AM

                    Good idea. Will do.

          2. toitoi RE: budman61 Dec 2, 2009 04:20 PM

            Had Christmas dinner last year at the Americano in the Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission Street. It was a very satisfying meal. Will be back there this year.

            2 Replies
            1. re: toitoi
              budman61 RE: toitoi Dec 6, 2009 05:08 AM

              Was that Christmas Day or Eve? We are looking for both.

              1. re: budman61
                toitoi RE: budman61 Dec 6, 2009 10:58 AM

                We ate at the Americano for Christmas Day dinner - in the early evening. Christmas Eve we had dinner at 1550 Hyde, which rworange had recommended. Scroll down here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/586867 to read my report. I live in LA, so I've not been back, but I don't think I will anytime soon.

                This Christmas Eve, we're going to Fior d'Italia We've eaten there twice at Christmas time, and I've enjoyed their osso buco with polenta. The restaurant has a homey atmosphere, just what a Christmas meal needs.

                Website for Fior d'Italia http://www.fior.com/:

            2. rworange RE: budman61 Dec 7, 2009 11:30 AM

              Okie Dokie, here's the lists finally

              Christmas Eve 2009 – San Francisco

              Christmas Day 2009 – San Francisco

              There will be more additions over the next few weeks. Restaurants have just been dragging their feet about putting up the holiday links and it was only this past weekend that I got this much info.

              Though I'll add info as I get it, it seems the pattern has been for restaurants to update websites at the week end

              There are links to online menus if any. You will have to cut and paste those in your browser if interested.

              The list map can give you a feel for how close to your hotel they are.

              Here's the pricing I used
              $ Under 30
              $$ 30 – 49
              $$$ 50 – 69
              $$$$ 70 and over

              I didn't add restaurants that are not advertising special menus or are just serving their recular menu.

              Americano is mentioned in this thread, but they haven't put up their info on the website yet so until they do I'm not listing them. I know there are a lot more places that have Christmas meals like Americano, but until it is on the website it won't go in the list.

              Finally, there's another 'charming' software bug. You may have to refresh the list a few . times to see all entries ... or maybe not

              As of this post there are 16 Christmas Eve menus. Pay attention to the numbers. They should be sequenced from 1 - 16 not 12,7,8,9, 11, 12, 16 ... or something like that. Christmas Day has 21 entries as of this post.

              If a restaurant menu interests you, ask about it. Some look good on papaer. As an example, The Hornblower cruises are a pleasant boat ride on the bay but the food is average buffet stuff.

              6 Replies
              1. re: rworange
                toitoi RE: rworange Dec 7, 2009 11:54 AM

                rworange.... thank you for your extraordinary informative work.


                1. re: toitoi
                  rworange RE: toitoi Dec 7, 2009 12:08 PM

                  You are welcome, but this was partly for me too. I usually eat out on holidays and just get annoyed having to wait close to the date before seeing who is offering special menus.

                  Of course, next year there will be new places. Some places that serve this year, won't next ... and visa versa. Still about 80 percent of those places next year will be serving holiday meals.

                  As a bonus I discovered events I didn't know about before.

                2. re: rworange
                  TJKirby RE: rworange Dec 7, 2009 01:15 PM

                  Thanks for putting these informative lists together. I was looking at the Christmas Eve buffet at Top of the Mark and was wondering if anyone had any experience with an event like this there. The menu looks great, I'm just hoping for some reassurance that it would actually be great (or at least very good).

                  1. re: TJKirby
                    rworange RE: TJKirby Dec 7, 2009 10:46 PM

                    There was a postivie Chowhound report about the Sunday brunch by a reliable Chowhound. Out of all the buffet menus I've looked at , this seemed the best. If you go, hope you report back.

                    That area is so festive on Christmas with all the grand hotels having special holiday meals with midnight mass later at Grace Cathedral.

                    1. re: rworange
                      toitoi RE: rworange Dec 8, 2009 05:08 AM

                      Last Christmas Eve was a rainy and windy night. Taxis were difficult to find, so we waited for the cable car to take us to California St, then walked up the hill from Powell, hiding behind our golf umbrellas, which wanted to turn inside out. We pushed against the wind.

                      When we entered - at a time I thought early, 10:30, the cathedral was chock-a-block with worshipers and seats were at a premium. After finally finding two seats - whew !!, we sat and sat until the service began at midnight. It was a long wait, and although impressive, not something I'd want to endure again.

                      Plentiful taxis were outside after the service, but you had to hustle down the steps to make certain you got to their door first. Would more cabs be coming, only The Lord can answer that question.

                  2. re: rworange
                    budman61 RE: rworange Dec 12, 2009 06:48 AM

                    Wow, these lists blow me away. Thanks so much. This is my first time on a board and it has been a great experience. Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks again.

                  3. m
                    melly RE: budman61 Dec 8, 2009 01:51 PM

                    Zare at Fly Trap on Folsom..downtown. Seriously!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: melly
                      rworange RE: melly Dec 8, 2009 02:18 PM

                      Are they open on Chrismas Eve or Christmas Day? While they have since changed ownership and format since I lived nearby, that is a bit of a odd nabe that usually relies on the Financial District being open. Don't see anything about Christmas on the website

                      1. re: rworange
                        Robert Lauriston RE: rworange Dec 9, 2009 10:46 AM

                        Per Opentable Zare's open Xmas eve. Since the hotel opened that stretch of Second is livelier at night.

                    2. d
                      DavidT RE: budman61 Dec 9, 2009 11:24 AM

                      FINO is a good small Italian restaurant in the Andrews Hotel (in the 600 block of Post Street). I don't know if they are open Christmas Eve.


                      1. Beach Chick RE: budman61 Dec 9, 2009 11:39 AM

                        Everyone has given you great advice...make sure you have a couple of Irish Coffee's at the Buena Vista..


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Beach Chick
                          budman61 RE: Beach Chick Dec 12, 2009 06:49 AM

                          That looks like a must. Thanks

                          1. re: budman61
                            walker RE: budman61 Dec 12, 2009 11:51 AM

                            Yes, Beach Chick's advice of Buena Vista is excellent. Best Irish Coffee I've ever had and it's a very friendly place, a mixture of tourists and some locals, too. If you take a cable car to the wharf, there are 2 routes and the most scenic one ends up at Beach/Hyde across the street from the Buena Vista. It's in between Ghiradelli Square and The Cannery and maybe walking distance from crab stands on wharf and then Pier 39 (full of little shops and restaurants).

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