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My wife's 40th looking for good French

Hi - My wife and I are coming up from Los Angeles for her 40th birthday celebration and she is crazy for French food. Any recomendations would be welcome. High end is fine but also a good Brasserie or Bistro works too. We are big into funky wine lists and good oysters are an added bonus in our book!

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  1. The usual SF suspects: Chapeau!, La Folie, Fringale, Chez Spencer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      Note that La Folie is high-end and the others are more mid-range.

    2. Assuming the big 40 is gonna be somewhere special so La Folie would be the most special place in SF, but on of my other favorites is Cafe Claude, they often have live jazz and its got a true French bistro feel (plus amazing steak tartar to served table side). Now if i were you and here is what i would do, surprise your wife with a day//night in Yountville (in wine country) and go to Bouchon, amazing wine...seafood platters...classic French and how can you go wrong with Thomas Keller? Also in Yountville is Bistro Jeanty...also fantastic, gotta get the tomatoe bisque if you go there. If you go up to Yount...stay at the Vintage Inn

      2 Replies
      1. re: willstick

        I do like Cafe Claude but do you know it's now owned/run by Italians? Food seems to be the same, tho . . . I second the Bouchon or Bistro Jeanty suggestion.

        1. re: mariacarmen

          Third recommendation for Bouchon in Yountville. Funky wine list? Check. Great Oysters? Check. REALLY authentic Bistro atmosphere? Check.

      2. I agree La Folie to be one of our best high end French; however if you are looking for bistro true and tried excellent food, in an adorable "I'm in Paris" setting; I go to L'Ardoise on Noe @ Henry. This place serves delicious food at reasonable prices; excellent service in a relax atmosphere.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rfleit

          I agree that L'Ardoise is a great venue and in a nice neighborhood and I like the food. However, I think the food at Le Charm is better and it offers a greater variety. The neighborhood, though, is borderline but nearer to downtown, if that makes any difference.

        2. Not for the 40th birthday, but if you have time for another meal in S.F. since you like oysters, mussels etc. I say try Plouf on Belden alley in downtown. Or Foreign Cinema, in the Mission District; which also has great oysters platters.

          1. adding to this list with Bistro Central Parc
            I love both La Folie - and Bistro Central Parc.

            Bistro Central Parc
            560 Central Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117

            1. I wouldn't go to Bouchon in Yountville, not because it's not good (I think it's very good) but because one has just opened up in Beverly Hills, so you don't have to travel 500 miles to go to Bouchon. I would do La Folie for a more traditional experience, although they don't have the oysters. Or consider a different type of "French-ish" experience and look into Manresa in Los Gatos, or Coi in SF. Those would both be very special 40th birthday dinners.

              1. I recently dined at La Folie and it is definitely high end dining but perfect for a special occasion. They don't offer oysters but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening, food and service is top notch

                1. La Folie is a wonderful destination. I took my wife there in October for her birthday. We put our fates in the hands of the waiter and the wine stew. The end result was maybe the best meal we've had in San Francisco. The room is charming as is the chef. His wife runs the front of the house. High-end, family-run restaurants are throwbacks and should be treasured. Highly recommended.

                  1. High end: La Folie

                    There are no equal quality bistros, though Fringale (claims to be Basque, is not, is French) is quite nice.

                    1. If high-end French is in the mix, then Fleur de Lys should certainly be a consideration. My favorite everyday French place is Le Charm, very much in the bistro mold.


                      1. For part of your celebration weekend, I recommend 1550 Hyde St: low profile neighborhood resto with amazingly high quality French bistro food.

                        And i also enjoy the cooking at Le Charm.