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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.