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Recommendation for new place to take parents

An unusual pair, my parents.....great at complaining, but willing to try unusual things.
Always difficult, because they may love it or hate it.

They are coming this weekend (short notice) and I am to find a new place "with great atmosphere" says my mom.

Places I have taken them that were successful:
- Aziza
- Incanto
- Kokkari
- Canteen (see what I mean....)
- Mandalay (we always go, in the hood)
- Troya (when it was good....not now)
- Alegrias
- Boulevard

Places I'm thinking about - with hesitations
- Perbacco (more for atmosphere than unusual food)
- Coco500 - may be too loud
- Nopa - they would like the food, may be too loud, can't get in anyways
- Town Hall

Suggestions are most welcome! What am I forgetting about?

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  1. Are you limiting it to the city? My current favorite place in Marin for a casual-but-fine-food lunch or dinner is Le Garage in Sausalito. It's on the water (at a boat harbor), very casual, and very French. Here's a recent thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/682532

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mick Ruthven

      Thanks Mick.
      I like the look of that quite a bit. Not too far, as we are very close to the Golden Gate bridge.
      Is the inside pretty spacious? I can only see the patio on their site.

        1. re: Dana B

          I'd call it spacious in the sense that I've never felt crowded inside. For the winter, they've enclosed an area in front of the open area in the photo linked to above so it's larger inside now.

      1. If Coco500 or Nopa are too loud, Town Hall is that +++ (as is Salt House). For more "unusual" food and atmosphere, maybe Colibri or Mexico DF for Mexican. Not new, but Rose Pistola has good Italian seafood (especially iron-skillet roasted mussels) and a modern atmosphere like Perbacco. Perhaps something on Russian Hill -- Frascati or 1550 Hyde?

        Susan

        1. Bistro Central Parc - 560 Central Ave San Francisco
          Sociale - 3665 Sacramento St. San Francisco
          Saison - 2124 Folsom St. San Francisco
          La Mar Cebicheria Peruana - Pier 1-1/2 San Francisco
          Piperade - 1015 Battery St. San Francisco
          The Moss Room - California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
          Yoshi's Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant - 1330 Fillmore St. San Francisco

          Murray Circle - 601 Murray Circle, Sausalito

          "with great atmosphere" = ?
          L'ardoise Bistro - 151 Noe Street, San Francisco
          1550 Hyde Cafe & Wine Bar - 1550 Hyde Street

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cynsa

            Thanks for more good recs.
            I had Moss Room on my list, but the open table reviews were not great. Almost all complained about rude waiters. Have you been personally? And what was your experience.

            I was at 1550 a long time ago, but remember it being small...is that correct?
            Small and quaint or small and rubbing elbows?

            1. re: Dana B

              yes, 1550 Hyde is quite small and quaint, I love the tree-lined street on the cable car route, that's atmosphere... is "small" a drawback? Since we like to dine early, rubbing elbows has not been an issue. We've been at 1550 at six o'clock with only one other table on the other side of the room from us.
              At the Moss Room, we have dined twice between 7 pm and 8 pm both times, we were delighted with the food, the room, and the service - we would return without hesitation.

              Would you consider Spruce -3640 Sacramento Street, San Francisco?
              www.sprucesf.com

          2. My parents actually sound a lot like yours, and they loved Coco500 when I took them there. Try an early dinner if you're worried about noise, but honestly, that wasn't a problem for us at all. They have amazing food and a killer cocktail list, if your parents are into that sort of thing.

            1. Acquerello? Quiet and great atmosphere.

              La Ciccia is quiet if you go right when they open. The atmosphere is mostly the hospitality of the Italian couple who own and run it.

              1. Recently had the inlaws in town, and we took them to Nopa. The key is to get an early reservation. Mom has hearing issues (as do I) and there actually are a couple of areas that are less noisy. We asked for one and they accommodated us nicely. However, if you're unwilling or unable to do an early dinner, I would think Nopa would be way to loud.

                I've only been to the Moss Room once, and had a very nice dinner. Didn't notice any rudeness at all. It's pretty quiet, and would probably be a good place for the 'rents as well.

                For a casual meal, my mom loves when we take her to Fish in Sausalito. Of course the weather needs to cooperate for this to work. Tadich is so classic San Francisco -- we took the parents there as well. Again, an early dinner, followed by an Irish Coffee outing at the Buena Vista. Touristy? Of course. But I have to say, those Irish Coffees were really yummy (they actually beat out Nopa's, which are delicious!).

                2 Replies
                1. re: mrs bacon

                  My experience with Town Hall as well. We were one of the first tables seated at 6:00 on sunday, and by the time we left (half full) it was getting loud. Early enough, off night enough, it was fine.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Town Hall is fine if you're willing to sit outside in their covered, heated patio. The noise level outside is much less than the noise level inside and we've found the service is just as good outside.

                2. I think Spruce is a good idea and my parents (early 70s, in great health) love Acquerello and Jardiniere. They also enjoyed Kokkari and Incanto and Boulevard.

                  1. I'm just such a fan of Perbacco... I'd go there.

                    Nopa is awesome but I agree on volume... I'd think twice about bringing 50+ yo people there.

                    The service at Piperade is sometimes too quick, but it is always a good time and no one disslikes the food there.

                    A16, if you could get in would be great.