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My wife's 40th looking for good French

stvjennings Feb 24, 2010 10:47 AM

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!

  1. m
    ML8000 Feb 24, 2010 11:00 AM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000
      Ruth Lafler Feb 24, 2010 11:16 AM

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

    2. w
      willstick Feb 24, 2010 11:27 AM

      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
        mariacarmen Feb 25, 2010 06:58 AM

        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
          Paul H Feb 25, 2010 07:59 AM

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

      2. r
        rfleit Feb 24, 2010 12:25 PM

        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
          b
          bobpantzer Feb 24, 2010 01:05 PM

          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. r
          rfleit Feb 24, 2010 12:31 PM

          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. Cynsa Feb 25, 2010 09:57 AM

            adding to this list with Bistro Central Parc
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687192
            I love both La Folie - and Bistro Central Parc.

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

            1. farmersdaughter Feb 25, 2010 10:48 AM

              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. j
                Justin L Feb 25, 2010 11:29 AM

                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. steve h. Feb 25, 2010 03:03 PM

                  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. w
                    whiner Feb 25, 2010 03:26 PM

                    High end: La Folie

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

                    1. d
                      DandySF Feb 25, 2010 05:37 PM

                      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.

                      -Aaron
                      http://www.thesluicebox.com/

                      1. escargot3 Mar 1, 2010 10:14 AM

                        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.

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