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Three nights in San Francisco

j
josephnl Mar 18, 2010 10:22 PM

We will be spending three nights in San Francisco next month. We are looking for three really nice places to dine with pleasant, quiet ambiance and excellent food. We were just totally turned off by calling Gary Danko where we were curtly offered reservations at 10:00pm or later on the nights we will be in town...6 weeks from now! We don't need that kind of place. We were just in New York City and ate wonderfully making reservations one week ahead. So...where would you recommend we eat. We don't need the highest rated restaurant in the city, and we certainly don't want the trendiest. What we are looking for is dependably excellent food, quiet and nice ambiance, and great service. Cost isn't too important, but we don't want to spend $200+pp as would be necessary at places like the French Laundry. We will not have a car, so we want to eat in the city, or nearby We prefer continental, American, French, or "California" cuisine. For those of you who have been in New York City, the Union Square Cafe is to us, the perfect restaurant.

Where would you recommend we go?

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The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Gary Danko
800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

  1. rworange Mar 19, 2010 12:00 AM

    Zuni
    1550 Hyde
    Azziza

    This might help for other suggestions

    Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.
    http://www.chow.com/lists/1591

    Hope SF posters will help you out since you contribute a lot on the LA board.

    If you wanted an upscale Danko type of experience, my favorite is The Dining Room at the Ritz.

    If you are here on a Saturday, the Saturday morning Ferry Plaza farmers market is really worth checking out.

    1. d
      dsheim Mar 19, 2010 03:14 AM

      Millenium Restaurant. Even though this is a vegan restaurant it is totally upscale. The food, decor and service all are 4 stars! And the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Saturday morning is fantastic. The line at Blue Bottle is well worth the wait for a cup of coffee.

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      Blue Bottle Cafe
      66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      Millenium Restaurant
      580 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1 Reply
      1. re: dsheim
        Tripeler Mar 19, 2010 06:54 AM

        +1 in support for Millenium. Last year I took a particularly difficult Vegan friend there, and it passed with flying colors. They have particularly dedicated staff in the kitchen there who work hard to make sure everything is beyond acceptable. Thoroughly recommended after going there from time to time over quite a few years.

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        Millenium Restaurant
        580 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      2. daveena Mar 19, 2010 07:44 AM

        Zuni was my first thought too, when you named USQ as your perfect restaurant. I also suspect you would really like Range (which I haven't been to, so I'll need someone else to vouch for the ambiance).

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        Zuni Cafe
        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        2 Replies
        1. re: daveena
          mariacarmen Mar 20, 2010 09:01 PM

          I second Range. Lovely ambiance, great service, wonderful food - i've said it before but i think their chicken beats Zuni's. if they have the leeks, get them - melt in your mouth. I'd also suggest Coi, as an alternative to Gary Danko's - much preferred the food at Coi, personally, more creative and just outstanding flavors - but not sure if you'll find it any easier to get a res. Canteen is always a favorite, for a more down-home feel but with top notch, exciting dishes.

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          Zuni Cafe
          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Gary Danko
          800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          1. re: mariacarmen
            Mari Mar 21, 2010 09:26 AM

            I agree with you about the chicken. I was there last night and from the moment I read the menu on-line I just had to book a reservation. I called Thursday afternoon as was offered a choice of 5:30 or 6:00. I think my meal last night was the most memorable and satifying I've had in a mid-high-end restaurant in SF in a long time. The chicken was served with cubes of bread that soaked up the chicken fat, fromage blanc and crispy brocollini. There was a slight lemon flavor in there as well. My partner thought his lamb was fine, but I had some of his green garlic spaetzle and they were very good. Their bartenders are great as well. The only problem with Range is that it can get loud at times. We were there early on a Saturday (6:00) and the noise level was fine, but I've been there before and it can get pretty loud.

        2. m
          mvukic Mar 19, 2010 08:23 AM

          The Hog Island Oyster Company has great food and is in the sunniest location in SF, the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. It's not quiet or fancy but the shellfish can't be beat, These guys live and breath oysters if that's your thing.

          1. m
            mvukic Mar 19, 2010 08:24 AM

            Aquarello!

            1. m
              Michelleoksf Mar 19, 2010 08:35 AM

              Aquarello is a great place , also love Spruce for it's amazing presentations, if you liked the Union square Cafe you will certainly like Scala's and for a more intimate experience i'd pick Rue Saint Jacques
              http://www.acquerello.com/
              http://www.sprucesf.com/
              http://www.scalasbistro.com/
              http://www.ruesaintjacques.com/

              1. w
                wanderlust21 Mar 19, 2010 06:21 PM

                Zuni and Canteen would be at the top of my list based on your description. Some other good candidates that I have not visited in a while: Boulevard, Range, Town Hall. For a little adventure into California cuisine with modern techniques: Coi.

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                Zuni Cafe
                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                Town Hall Restaurant
                342 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105

                1. bbulkow Mar 20, 2010 10:36 AM

                  The recs here are good - also spend some time perusing OpenTable.Com for the dates you're looking at. Although OpenTable isn't perfect (doesn't cover all restaurants, all restaurants don't give all their tables to OT), it can be a saviour if there's something in town on a weekend, or it's a high-tourist weekend for some reason. It does seem odd that GD wouldn't have a table 6 weeks out - it's not that good.

                  Is that pride weekend? Some graduation weekend?

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