Anniversary Dinner please help narrow them down!
My lady and I will be celebrating our Anniversary next month and would like to go someplace nice. Her only requirement is that it is a more "upscale" place, as in the men are wearing jackets and the better halfs in dresses. Right now what's floating around in my head is Quince, Acquerello and Perbacco. I hear a lot of good things about Perbacco but it seems more of a business type of joint. I'm curious about the new Quince place, it is very "upscale" and has very positive reviews as well. Finally my co-worker just ate at Acquerello and she loved it, the 3 courses for $60 doesn't seem bad either.
Another place I'm curious about is La Folie however we did eat French the last time we went out so I was thinking something different. I guess a nice place that is romantic and upscale for her and good food for me. If there are any other places please let me know. Thanks!
PS: Our Anniversary is near V-Day so we will kill two birds with one stone but I never really dined out here over Valentines before. Is it really that bad and should be avoided if possible? I figure these higher end restaurants know how to handle these special occasions.
I like Perbacco. It's not a special place, just one I can count on when staying in the Financial District.
The old Quince was one of my San Francisco favorites: wonderful pasta; good wines; very good service. The new Quince sounds every bit as good plus they now have David Lynch in charge of wines. I knew Lynch back in his Batali days. I've taken his classes, I have his book. The guy is good.
At the end of the day, however, I would recommend La Folie. I took my wife there for her birthday in October. The meal exceeded expectations. I asked the waiter to supervise both our menu and our wine pairings. It was memorable.
My choices in order:
I think Acquerello has the nicest and intimate dining room and the food is well executed. La Folie is also very nice but the back dining room is not as nice as the front, and I just didn't feel it was as intimate/romantic feeling as Acquerello (the La Folie bathroom is also a bit of a hassle to deal with).
I haven't been to Quince since they moved. My experience at the old location overall was positive but the food was more hit/miss then either Acquerello and La Folie. I had the tasting menu at Quince and the pastas were the standout dishes. The other courses were not as successful.
I enjoy Perbacco but it doesn't have that "special" night out feeling that Acquerello and La Folie do. At Perbacco the food and service are very good but it's not as comfortable and can be loud and cramped depending on where you are seated.
Your assessment is right on of Perbacco -- too businessy for a true occasion dinner. i also fear that Quince, while fabulous, may not meet the "men are wearing jackets" requirement, as it is elegant but still somewhat trendy.
And while you cannot go wrong with any of these ideas, it might be worth considering Gary Danko if you can get a booking and have not yet been. If you are a looking for a place where the EXPERIENCE, beginning to end, will feel elegant and completely special, I have yet to visit a restaurant in SF that matches Gary Danko. From the second you step in until you leave, lagniappe in hand, Gary Danko is a class act, The price point is quite comparable to Acquerello (assuming you don't start ordering ounces and ounces of Osetra), so I think it is a matter of which menu you find the most appealing (and where you can get in!).
I don't know of any fancy restaurant where everyone dresses up. The only restaurant I know of around here with a dress code is the French Laundry.
I think Acquerello is the least likely to attract people who are dressed down.
You may wish to try Jardiniere. If what she's seeking is 'fancy ambience' it really fits the bill. I'm not sure you could stll get a reservation for V-day itself, but if, as you say, your anniversary is close, you could see if you can get one of the upper floor tables with a view of the gorgeous bar.
I personaly also love the food there, but for romance, the setting is really first rate.
hubby and I went to Jardiniere for a late anniversary dinner in October, after a symphony concert. Never got around to doing a full report, but while ambiance was nice (we did have one of those tables you mention) the food was only ok, service was very slow and poorly paced, and our server had a bit of attitude. We chose it partly for location close to Davies Hall, but mostly because I've been a fan of Traci des Jardins and have wanted to try it for a long time. Afterwards, I was sorry we hadn't just taken a cab to Acquerello instead, or perhaps gone to Boulevard, where we've had a very nice anniversary dinner in the past, and where the food has been excellent the two to three times I've eaten there (in a similar price point).
On Valentine Day's Jardiniere has a pre-fix, $125 a person. Pretty pricey, which is why I would recommend not having the dinner on VDay. By comparison, hubby and I spent about $250 total but that included a bottle of wine, tax and tip. Granted, we did skip dessert, mostly because we figured it could take forever to get it....