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Honeymoon in San Francisco - Eating Tour Suggestion, $1000 Budget for 4 days

t
Tony Calgary Apr 8, 2010 11:50 AM

Hi fellow Chowhounders,

We're heading to San Francisco in July for our honeymoon and while there, we'd love to have some fantastic meals while we're there.

I think right now, (according to what I've read here) seems the Gary Danko and the Dining Room at the Ritz are the two "must eat" destinations. I'm curious about French Laundry and the other Keller restaurants to see if it's worth a trip out to Napa, but we're hoping to keep the budget for our four meals to $1000 total (is that number realistic? If not, we're flexible to change it if we must to not miss out on a great meal!!).

To give you a sense of our tastes, some of our favourite places that we've eaten over the last couple of years has been Momofuku Ko (NY), Shibuya (Las Vegas), Colborne Lane (Toronto), Joe's Stone Crab (Miami) and Matsuhisa (LA).

We love all sorts of food, so if there are some more budget suggestions (we loved Roscoe's for Chicken & Waffles in LA, the famous Halal cart in NY and noodles in the subway station in Tokyo), that would be fantastic as good food is good food and something more casual would probably be a nice change up too.

Thanks in advance to everyone for your help -- Chowhounders everywhere have always been so helpful in getting us to great food!

Sincerely,

Tony :)

-----
The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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

  1. p
    pattypatlv Aug 10, 2010 12:38 AM

    Michael Mina
    Gary Danko
    Boulevard
    Kokkari

    Those are my 4 suggestions of the best restaurant in SF

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: pattypatlv
      mariacarmen Aug 10, 2010 08:47 AM

      This honeymoon trip was supposed to have already happened, in July .... did we ever get a report back?

      1. re: mariacarmen
        t
        Tony Calgary Sep 1, 2010 10:34 AM

        Hi all,

        Apologies for not checking this sooner mariacarmen -- apparently the post that I had put up got taken down by one of the moderators for not putting in enough details. So I'll try my best to give you a feel of how our trip went. My wife (that still sounds weird!) is the better writer, so if my synopsis isn't detailed enough please check out the detailed reports on her blog for what we ate at each stop.

        Ame -- our first stop was just down the street at the St. Regis (we ended up staying at the W Hotel). The highlight of the meal for me was definitely the Chawan-mushi -- a savoury Japanese custard that we first experienced in Tokyo. The flavors were delicate and fresh. Overall, Ame was a good experience. We managed to "accidentally" order a whole 750mL bottle of sake, which of course we didn't finish, and they graciously let us take the rest of the bottle home :) We would go again to eat some of the favourites like the cuttlefish noodles and the custard, but as a Michelin star restaurant, we left a little bit disappointed. We feel like we've had some more elevated culinary and service experiences at less recognized restaurants in other cities.

        The French Laundry -- we had originally decided against going to French Laundry simply because it would crush our dining budget. But after much deliberation, we decided to take the plunge. As many have reported, the food is amazing. I think the two surprising things that I would mention is that it's actually quite a fantastic value. While the menu "only" lists nine items -- with the complementary bonus courses, it actually works out to more like 15 courses! Considering your total includes gratuities, it's quite a good value (relative to other fine dining)!! It's one of the few times in my life that I was so full that I literally could not eat any more, and the first time ever that that's happened at a fine dining restaurant! The second thing that I think that stood out in my mind (other than how good the food was) was how great the staff were. Service was excellent as you would expect, but the staff was quite friendly and not "stuffy" as you might expect to find in a high end restaurant. It really helped add to the experience. Overall, I think if you're in the area and you can get a reservation, it's definitely worth going for both the food and the experience.

        Etoile (Napa) -- we hadn't planned originally to make it here, but we had lunch the next day while visiting the Domain Chandon winery. I had wanted to try Perry Hoffman's food simply because of his background (his parents were the original owners of the French Laundry and he's grown up around fine dining his entire life). Quite simply, the food was amazing. My beef tartar appetizer was probably the best beef tartar I've ever eaten. If you're going to have lunch in Napa and are driving by Yountville -- THIS is the place to stop. The experience was so serene and pleasant -- don't let Hoffman's young age fool you, he is a culinary master an has already earned a Michelin Star! Even if you don't stop in for a full meal, the bubbly bar offers a range of mouth watering snacks, like caviar and dungeness crab! Who couldn't use a bubbly stop??

        V. Sattui -- after visiting a few wineries, we stopped here for a snack (actually, we stopped across the street at Dean and Deluca first!). After checking out both places, we decided on V. Sattui as they had more selection, the prices were slightly more reasonable and they had a nice area with picnic tables outside. The highlight of our mini-picnic was discovering Carboncino cheese -- a blend of cow, goat's and sheep's milk. Apparently the "hottest" thing in cheese (I'd asked the cheese guy for something unique), it definitely lived up to the hype.

        Redd -- a favourite of the Chowhounders here, Redd was a solid meal in the foodie jungle that is Yountville. Our favourite item that we had was Jen's main, a John Dory served with clams which I think captured the essence of West Coast / California style cooking with it's clean flavours. Overall, I'm not sure if it was because our previous two meals were at Etoile and French Laundry (which were outstanding), but while the food was good, we didn't feel like it was a "must-eat" stop.

        Grill at the Meadowwood -- wow. Another unplanned stop, we decided to go to the Grill because while it looked far on the map, after driving around the previous two days we knew it actually wouldn't take us more than 15 minutes to get to from Yountville. I heard rave reviews from Chowhounders who had gone, so we decided to go. The execution of the food (especially the appetizers) was flawless. Jen's dungeness crab soup and my calamari dusted with curry powder were both simple dishes that were done perfectly. It's two Michelin stars are well deserved. It was a perfect way to end our stay in Napa. Meadowood Grill was a wonderful treat and worth every visitor to the area's drive to the secluded resort for a delicious meal....and, it was actually one of the cheaper meals we had all week! You get great food for a very reasonable price!

        Coi -- we had high expectations for our meal at Coi, given that it's the highest rated restaurant in the San Francisco area and was awarded 2 Michelin stars. While room is nice and the service is good, the execution of some creative concepts seemed to be a bit off. Some dishes were too salty and in others, you could deduce what flavour combinations they were going for but it didn't hit the mark. In the end, we were disappointed in both the food and the value. None of the food was "bad", but we unfortunately caught them on a bad night.

        Fisherman's Wharf (Alito's and others) -- One of the highlights for us on both our first and last day in San Francisco was heading down to Fisherman's Wharf for some crab. Not only is the crab delicious at most of the stands by the iconic Fisherman's Wharf sign, it's a great value. We had it in a number of ways -- cracked whole, in a poorboy sandwich or just some clam or lobster chowder -- and it was delicious EVERY time. Definitely worth a stop for anyone visiting San Francisco.

        Pictures -- instead of posting pictures of everything we ate, just go to the July archives of my wife's blog and look under the name of each of the restaurants above -- you'll find pictures of everything there -- http://jeniseating.blogspot.com/2010_...

        Once again, I want to thank all the generous Bay area and Napa Valley Chowhounders for all the fantastic advice that everyone here gave us on not only where to eat but on our honeymoon in general. You made this once in a lifetime experience extra special.

        Sincerely,

        Tony :D

        -----
        Coi
        373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

        The French Laundry
        6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

        Ame Restaurant
        689 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

        V Sattui Winery
        1111 White Ln St, Helena, CA

        Domaine Chandon - Etoile Restaurant
        1 California Dr, Yountville, CA 94599

        Redd
        6480 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

        Meadowood Napa Valley
        900 Meadowood Ln St, Helena, CA

        1. re: Tony Calgary
          v
          vulber Jan 26, 2011 01:53 PM

          i thought the grill at meadowood was pretty much an entirely different entity than the restaurant...

          1. re: vulber
            t
            Tony Calgary Jan 28, 2011 12:43 PM

            We went to the Grill at the Meadowwood for our meal. They have different phone numbers, different entries on OpenTable to book, different menus and different entrances, but they're actually both in the same building!

            Once you get to reception (if I remember correctly), there's a path up to the Restaurant at the Meadowwood and there's a path down to the Grill at the Meadowwood. It's a bit confusing as I read it, but it's easy to find once you're there!!

            Hope that helps!

            1. re: Tony Calgary
              wolfe Jan 28, 2011 12:47 PM

              And different chefs.
              Grill:Executive Chef: Richard Jensen
              Restaurant:Executive Chef: Christopher Kostow

              1. re: wolfe
                t
                Tony Calgary Jan 28, 2011 12:58 PM

                Ooops, important omission - thanks for that wolfe!

                Our lunch at the Grill at the Meadowwood was fantastic though and if you're in the area, I think it's one of the best spots for lunch!

    2. k
      kdgregory Jun 3, 2010 07:26 PM

      When you are in SF do not miss Zuni Cafe, even if it is for lunch. One of the best burgers around!
      For wineries, see Robert Sinskey and Miner off Silverado Trail. Sinskey is all about pairing food with their wine, his wife is a chef...
      Also see Rombauer further up the valley. Cosentino is great for a first stop just past Yountville.

      -----
      Zuni Cafe
      1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1 Reply
      1. re: kdgregory
        e
        Ethnicaddict Jun 16, 2010 01:31 PM

        I'd add another restaurant to the mix as a consideration, Kappa in Japantown. Having lived in Japan and loving Japanese food that I can't find in the Indy area, we loved Kappa on our last trip. Expensive but, true Japanese style, seasonal food. Reservations can be difficult on the weekend since it's a long meal in a small place. Look it up and have a great honeymoon!

      2. t
        Thomas Nash May 1, 2010 11:57 AM

        Here are selections with estimated cost for 2 with reasonable wine picks adding up to just about your budget:

        Manresa $550 (tasting menus)
        Rental car for Manresa $50
        Delfina $150
        Zuni ($175) or Chez Panisse Upstairs ($200)
        Koi Palace Dim Sum $60 and/or Hakka or Spices II ($50)

        This would give you an excellent taste of the best of the variety SF has to offer.
        If you can do Manresa on a Friday evening, keep the car and get to Koi by 10:30 (to avoid long wait) for Dim Sum then drop the car, if you only want to keep it for one day.

        -----
        Zuni Cafe
        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        Manresa Restaurant
        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

        Koi Palace Restaurant
        365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

        Spices II
        291 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

        Chez Panisse
        1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

        Delfina Restaurant
        3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Hakka Restaurant
        4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco, CA 94121

        1. m
          michparent Apr 29, 2010 05:32 PM

          Some suggestions I may also through into the mix are Pizzeria Delfina. Could be a fun, casual lunch. For a Michael Mina experience, I would go to RN74 their new wine bar/restaurant. A16 is great. Boulevard might be a lunch option (and a little less expensive at lunch). I agree with the shared chicken suggestion at Zuni. If it is nice weather, you may want to consider a Ferry ride to Sausalito. The sushi at Sushi Ran is amazing. Le Garage (although a little bit of a walk from the Ferry is good for French food sitting out looking on the bay. Slanted Door is also a great option - good food a great view. Hope your trip is super!

          -----
          Slanted Door
          Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

          Zuni Cafe
          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          A16
          2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

          Sushi Ran
          107 Caledonia St., Sausalito, CA 94965

          Le Garage
          85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

          Pizzeria Delfina
          2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

          RN74
          301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

          11 Replies
          1. re: michparent
            t
            Tony Calgary Apr 30, 2010 10:27 AM

            So in agonizing over our Napa options, I began to think -- is it worth spending two days in Napa? This would mean sacrificing one of Coi / Commis / La Folie / Fleur de Lys for one of Redd / Ubuntu / Cyrus.

            Right now (with our choices as they currently stand), I think this would mean trading one of Ubuntu / Cyrus for Coi (our SF meals would be Ame & the Dining Room and our 1st Napa meal would be Redd).

            Thoughts?

            1. re: Tony Calgary
              Ruth Lafler Apr 30, 2010 10:47 AM

              Tony, take a deep breath. Now relax. I think you're overthinking this whole thing. You're turning what should be a delightful honeymoon into a foodie forced march. There are, as you can see, many, many options for great meals in this area. I think obsessing about trying to find the four most perfect meals is detracting from what you're going to be doing the other 22 hours each day. Think about each day as a whole. Where do you want to be? What do you want to do? What will make you and your bride happy? Leave some room to be spontaneous. Maybe you don't want to commit to four multi-course fine dining experiences. Maybe you want to walk down the street holding hands and wander into a little neighborhood restaurant you can think of as "your place." You can do that in San Francisco and still have a great meal.

              I think that if you're going to go all the way to Napa Valley you should spend more than one night. That's my opinion: I'm not a big fan of rushing back and forth. I think you should try Ubuntu (unless reports start trickling in about declines under the new chef). It's the most different and most purely Californian of your choices. I'd drop Redd from your list -- too many reports about it being stark/cold and not the romantic setting you'd want for your honeymoon. But really, I think you should start thinking about this experience more holistically and not nitpicking between a bunch of restaurants of roughly comparable quality.

              -----
              Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
              1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                daveena Apr 30, 2010 11:37 AM

                Redd doesn't ooze romance, but it is a nice, light-filled room. I think it could still be a lovely lunch.

                Tony, I'm not sure if this has been made clear to you or not, but Cyrus is in Sonoma, and the rest of the restaurants you're looking at are in Napa. For a trip this short, I would just choose one region. Ruth gives great advice re: don't kill yourself trying to squeeze in all of "the best" restaurants. For that reason, I'd probably drop Cyrus and Commis (even though I love both restaurants), just to decrease the amount of driving.

                I like the idea of heading up to Napa late in the morning to get to Ubuntu for lunch, heading up to Calistoga (1 or 2 wineries along the way), get a spa treatment, dinner at Solbar, stay at the Solage (or one of the inexpensive motel/spas nearby, if budget is a concern). One winery the next morning, lunch at either Redd, another winery or two on the way down, return to SF for dinner.

                1. re: daveena
                  JasmineG Apr 30, 2010 11:45 AM

                  Daveena definitely has the right plan.

                  1. re: daveena
                    t
                    Tony Calgary Apr 30, 2010 12:40 PM

                    Thanks for the kind words of concern Ruth & daveena!!!

                    Sorry if my obsessive nature is showing through -- generally I like to have a full spreadsheet of possibilities to choose from as my mind is often blank when I'm hungry!!

                    We haven't actually booked our hotel reservations, and since we love food and there are (what seems like) endless accommodation options -- I'm hoping that our dinner picks will help steer us to the right places to stay!

                    If it helps, here's what I'm envisioning -- we arrive Tuesday, drop our bags off at our clean & comfy hotel, go for lunch and wander until our reservation that night at a great restaurant. Repeat for the next 3 days -- get up late, do some wandering and have a great meal at night. Whether those days are in San Francisco or Napa isn't a big concern.

                    We don't need to visit any of the traditional tourist sites, and while we enjoy wine, we're not connoisseurs by any stretch of the imagination -- so any wine tours will be more about fun visits than appreciating subtle nuances in the wines between neighbouring wineries.

                    But we do LOVE food, and for us, some of our best memories are highlighted by fabulous meals!! And even though I carry a crazy looking spreadsheet with meal options, most of our trips are pretty relaxed.

                    So please keep your opinions coming -- it is GREATLY appreciated!!!! I'm using it to help develop a framework for our trip.

                    Thanks again everyone and have a great weekend!

                    Sincerely,

                    Tony :D

                    1. re: Tony Calgary
                      Ruth Lafler Apr 30, 2010 01:30 PM

                      My point was that whether you spend much time in Napa (or any time in Napa, or all your time in Napa) should be guided by what else you want to do and not on which restaurants you want to eat at. There are more than enough restaurants in either location to provide great dining experiences for four days. There are so many potential restaurants that when it comes to choosing between them an important factor is how you want it to fit into your overall day. Unfortunately, four days isn't very much time to visit two different areas. What are your priorities beyond great restaurants, which both places have? Is more than one day of wineries going to make your eyes glaze over? Do you want a relaxing resort-type experience, or would you rather wander city streets or enjoy more urban activities? How much driving do you really want to do? Or to be even more clear: I think, given your stated preferences, that The Dining Room and Ame are great choices. But beyond that you have a bunch of great choices that are pretty much a toss-up. We can't make that decision for you: my perfect day might not be your perfect day!

                      1. re: Tony Calgary
                        bbulkow May 1, 2010 10:05 AM

                        Tony, for the kind of wine drinker you are (and I am, too), you should be on the lookout for wine tasting flights. You'll notice at different places - although not the high-end places you're loading up on for dinner where you'll get a meal pairing instead - where they'll do 2oz pours of 4 or 5 different wines. Wine bars like CAV specialize in flights, but you'll see them at many places - I think I had one at Fig Cafe in Glen Ellen. With two diners, you might have a different flight for each person and share around, or even just get 1 for two people. A great way to sample the wines the restaurant chooses without going broke or getting overly toasted.

                        This is one reason you're getting steered to have some great smaller restaurant meals, not focus solely on the big tasting menu experience. There's a lot of great to be had among the insanely competitive smaller restaurant world.

                  2. re: Tony Calgary
                    c
                    celeryroot Apr 30, 2010 10:54 AM

                    not to confuse things more but some other suggestions......... Cyrus serves lunch on weekends or you can eat in the bar which is lovely any night and you order ala carte. You might skip Napa go to Healdsburg(Sonoma County) and stay here

                    http://www.madronamanor.com/property.htm

                    Excellent restaurant and 1 1/2 miles from Cyrus.

                    Healdsburg is lovely and dozens of wineries within a few miles

                    http://www.healdsburg.org/hbg_chamber...

                    I am some what biased as I live here.
                    Enjoy yourself no matter where......

                    1. re: celeryroot
                      t
                      Tony Calgary Apr 30, 2010 08:48 PM

                      I think those are all excellent suggestions! I'm going to take a step back and look on the boards at which wineries look most appealing to us / are "can't miss" ones in both Napa and Sonoma (as celeryroot has suggested) and report back on our final considerations.

                      Thanks everyone for your guidance!

                      1. re: Tony Calgary
                        Ruth Lafler May 1, 2010 08:25 AM

                        Good idea. Just a suggestion, though, that you take a serious look at driving distances and people's comments about what is practical/impractical. Basically, in the amount of time you have you can do Napa OR Sonoma, but not both. Napa is more compact and easy to get around; Sonoma is much more spread out (but also more diverse and less touristy). Please realize, too, when reading the discussions, that the terms "Napa" and "Sonoma" are both used to refer to both the *towns* of Napa and Sonoma and the *counties* of Napa and Sonoma, which can be confusing and misleading. Basically, I think you should put aside your spreadsheet and get out some good maps!

                        1. re: Tony Calgary
                          c
                          celeryroot May 1, 2010 09:37 AM

                          This site might help you
                          http://www.wineroad.com/maps/3/

                          Cyrus is about a block from the square (green)

                  3. j
                    jlfoodie Apr 9, 2010 03:12 PM

                    I would add Frances to your MUST TRY places.. I'm a fan of the perfectly executed food, although I will say it's not necesarily the most romantic of atmospheres since all the tables are somewhat close together, BUT it is VERY VERY GOOD - and moderately priced/reasonable - you can even pay for the wine by the oz. For Japanese food, I'd recommend Kappou Gomi. Very authentic - delicious - fresh!

                    -----
                    Kappou Gomi
                    5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: jlfoodie
                      t
                      Tony Calgary Apr 13, 2010 05:50 PM

                      Hi all,

                      Hope everyone had a great weekend! Still going through all the fantastic recommendations, so we'll keep you all posted.

                      Right now I think we're planning on Ame, Coi, the Dining Room (at the Ritz-Carlton) and Gary Danko. We're pondering a trip out to Napa, where we're currently considering Redd and a choice between Ad Hoc and Bouchon.

                      If we're on the wrong track, please let us know!

                      Your suggestions have made us so excited about our honeymoon -- thank you everyone for your help!

                      Tony :)

                      p.s. once we figure out our dinners, we're going to need help for lunch/breakfast too. Don't worry, I'll try to do some research on some other threads before I ask!!

                      -----
                      Ad Hoc
                      6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

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

                      Bouchon
                      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                      1. re: Tony Calgary
                        w
                        whiner Apr 13, 2010 06:09 PM

                        I think your SF dinners sound FANTASTIC!!! If I had one minor quibble, at the same basic price, I might replace Gary Danko with La Folie, but other than that you've really hit the nail on the head! (And Danko is great, too...)

                        Personally in Napa I like Martini House but you cannot go wrong at any of the places you listed.

                        cheers!

                        -----
                        La Folie
                        2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

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

                        Martini House
                        1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

                        1. re: Tony Calgary
                          ankimo Apr 13, 2010 06:16 PM

                          i would be very happy with a trip to Ame, Coi, Dining Room. Gary Danko might be "boring" if you have high expectations. Redd is a good choice. Preview some old menus at Ad Hoc since the daily menu is set. I'd check out Bouchon bakery instead.
                          try the samusa soup at burma superstar. hog island oysters. ti couz sausage mushroom sauce savory crepe and banana nutella ice cream sweet crepe.

                          1. re: Tony Calgary
                            bbulkow Apr 13, 2010 06:35 PM

                            Drop gary danko and go with something more specifically californian and a little more laid back. The other three are perfect.

                            My choice: go with a less all-encompassing restaurant, and pick two. Especially good if you like cocktails. Your list is shy of the rather astonishingly good cocktail scene. Like Beretta then Flour and Water, Salt House + SPQR, Heaven's Dog + Delfina. A pairing like that (there's other good ones) will give you a real entree into SF's food scene, which I think you deserve! Day 3 should be a local pairing : you'll still have Day 4 for a big finish.

                            Given the list you've got, I would only go to Napa if you'd really enjoy hanging out for a day in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even though they eat well out there, your list is rather stellar.

                            -----
                            Delfina Restaurant
                            3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            SPQR
                            1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                            Heaven's Dog
                            1148 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            Flour + Water
                            2401 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            Salt House
                            2 Shaw Aly, San Francisco, CA 94105

                            1. re: bbulkow
                              bbulkow Apr 13, 2010 06:47 PM

                              Oh. We've all forgotten.

                              Since you said San Francisco, we've forgotten Commis.

                              Commis is the only place mentioned that can is cooking in the same range as the other places you've mentioned (and far above GD by all accounts). But it's in oakland, which means a little voyage. If it was my honeymoon, the perfect day is a ferry ride over to oakland, little walk around chinatown, taxi to commis. Coming back you get a taxi straight to macarthur bart.

                              Read up and consider it.

                              -----
                              Commis
                              3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                              1. re: bbulkow
                                daveena Apr 13, 2010 07:30 PM

                                He could also consider stopping in Oakland on the way back from Napa.

                                Tony - you have a great lineup - but you're going to have to push your spending limit way higher if you you want to pack your whole trip with high-end dinners. I think it's better to go all-out with fewer high-end dinners - get everything you want, supplements, wines, etc - than it is to have to economize at several high-end dinners. And as has been mentioned before, there are a lot of great mid-range restaurants that might actually get you a better feel for what SF dining's really about.

                              2. re: bbulkow
                                c
                                ceekskat Apr 13, 2010 07:35 PM

                                Agree with your assessment. I would also throw in Gitane for food, incredible cocktails, not to mention sexy vibe.

                                OP...don't know where you're staying but Gitane is tucked away in a little alley off Union Square. Nice to walk to if you're staying nearby.

                                -----
                                Gitane Restaurant & Bar
                                6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

                              3. re: Tony Calgary
                                JasmineG Apr 13, 2010 07:51 PM

                                Those are all great places, but after four days of that, I'd have high end dining fatigue that wouldn't let me appreciate the meals as much. By the end, it's just more of the same, and nothing is as impressive (even though they are all great places). I'd choose two of Ame, Coi, and The Dining Room, and make your other two dinners two of the midpriced places that, as others have said, San Francisco really excels at, and will give you more of a San Francisco kind of experience. Zuni, Delfina, A16, Incanto, La Ciccia, those are all more low key places with excellent food, and would be more relaxing and fun. Your Napa plans are a nice idea, as long as you don't feel too rushed.

                                -----
                                Zuni Cafe
                                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                La Ciccia
                                291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                A16
                                2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                Delfina Restaurant
                                3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                1. re: JasmineG
                                  n
                                  nocharge Apr 14, 2010 01:06 AM

                                  I think Ame, Coi, and the Dining Room are sufficiently different in style that it wouldn't just be more of the same. If I were to do three long tasting menus on consecutive days, I would definitely be more than fatigued, but all three places have more casual dining options. And I think of both Ame and Coi as upscale without necessarily being particularly stuffy.

                                  That said, I would happily agree with getting Gary Danko out of the mix and replacing it with a more casual place like Zuni.

                                  -----
                                  Zuni Cafe
                                  1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

                                2. re: Tony Calgary
                                  a
                                  arlenemae Apr 14, 2010 04:36 PM

                                  Wow, I guess you guys really are busting your budget here! With all those restaurants you will definitely be >>$1K. As others have mentioned, I would consider maybe trimming one of the high-end choices in SF (3 is most definitely enough), and going to a more moderately priced restaurant. You can also order a la carte for some of the high-end places, though I do think that if you're going to the Ritz you should definitely do the tasting menu!

                                  For Napa, I would nix Bouchon since you can pretty much find French bistro-style food anywhere (they also have a Bouchon in Vegas). Redd and Ad Hoc are definitely good bets.

                                  -----
                                  Ad Hoc
                                  6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                                  Bouchon
                                  6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                  1. re: arlenemae
                                    t
                                    Tony Calgary Apr 23, 2010 01:00 PM

                                    Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful suggestions and apologies for taking so long to post a follow-up -- it's taken quite a while to go through the list provided as well as reading a bunch of other related posts.

                                    Here's where we are after going through all the suggestions:

                                    1. Ame & The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton -- are "in", likely for our first and last dinners in San Fran. All the reviews are consistently great and looking at their sample menus, they were the ones that inspired the most food lust. :)

                                    2. Third SF Dinner -- Our next choice is a difficult one. Were were compelled by the reviews, but while the menus all seemed our style, we weren't "wowed" like we were by Ame or the Dining Room. In order, we liked -- Coi (too similar?), Commis (worth the trip?), La Folie (inventive/unique enough?) and Fleur de Lys (is Keller still a presence there?). Boulevard seemed nice enough, but the reviews here have been so-so and we were afraid it might be too similar to Ame/Dining Room. Gary Danko still gets solid reviews, but most of you suggested passing on it for one of the suggestions above. Anything that I've missed here? Thoughts?

                                    3. Napa -- we were stunned by the depth of great food, even outside the Keller restaurants. I think we're going to try to fit in a lunch/dinner here though the long drive back to the city after a big meal was a bit of a concern. We had trouble narrowing the field here, but are considering Redd, Cyrus, Ubuntu, ad hoc, Solbar and La Toque. Since we have only two meals, we painfully eliminated Bottega, the Martini House and Manresa, just to narrow the options. I do realize that these restaurants are all over the place, but since we haven't been able to settle on accommodations (both in the city and in wine country), we thought we'd try to be as open as possible! I guess what do you guys think we would like the best/fits best with our other choices?

                                    3. Mid-range meal -- several of you have warned of high-end restaurant fatigue, so I've tried to look up some mid-range meals. This is what I've been able to find on the boards that seemed compelling -- Bar Crudo, Kappou Gomi (worth the trip?), The House, Koo (is Japanese a good choice considering we had a recent trip to Japan & have lived/dined frequently in Vancouver?), Chez Panisse (cafe), SPQR, Brix, 1550 Hyde, Canteen, A16, Zuni, Isa and Nombe (is Izakaya great in San Fran?).

                                    Apologies for the large list -- but got carried away reading too many threads. I guess I wonder if one of these is a better fit than one of the high end places listed above in #2.

                                    4. Budget -- I think with the Napa trip, we'll have to expand the budget to the $1250 - $1500 range. With the great wines in California, our plan is to drink Californian exclusively to keep our wine budget to $100 per day and ideally, to $300 total (less if that's possible). We like good wine, but we're not connoisseurs and we love food more!! This will leave us with $1000 - $1250 to spend on food. Hopefully everything above will fit into it!

                                    5. Other meals -- I think our plan is to play it by ear for breakfast (if we get up in time!) and lunch. I think some great chinese food would be nice as well as some of the great local specialties, but trying to focus on a) dinners, b) finding a great honeymoon hotel in San Fran and/or Napa before focusing on that. Don't worry -- I've started to delve into the boards already and have made some notes!

                                    Thank you to everyone for all their help so far and thanks in advance for your help on the questions above to make our honeymoon perfect! I look forward to hearing everyone's comments!!!

                                    Sincerely,

                                    Tony :D

                                    -----
                                    Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
                                    1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

                                    Zuni Cafe
                                    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    Manresa Restaurant
                                    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                    A16
                                    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                    La Folie
                                    2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                    Chez Panisse
                                    1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                    Bar Crudo
                                    655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

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

                                    1550 Hyde
                                    1550 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                    Martini House
                                    1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

                                    SPQR
                                    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                    Brix
                                    7377 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA 94558

                                    Bottega
                                    6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                                    Izakaya Restaurant
                                    1335 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95112

                                    La Toque Restaurant
                                    1314 McKinstry Street, Napa, CA 94559

                                    Kappou Gomi
                                    5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                    Commis
                                    3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                                    Nombe
                                    2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                    1. re: Tony Calgary
                                      e
                                      estnet Apr 23, 2010 01:44 PM

                                      I'd strongly suggest Cyrus over Bouchon (but you may have too many yummy high end dinners). I like Redd a lot and my memory is that it is a bit less caloric (and a bit less expensive) than Redd but the food is quite good. The settings are very different too.
                                      btw - congratulations!

                                      -----
                                      Bouchon
                                      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                      1. re: estnet
                                        t
                                        Tony Calgary Apr 28, 2010 03:30 PM

                                        I think we've decided to pass on the The French Laundry (too expensive) and Bouchon (we've been in Las Vegas). I think our decision lies between Redd, Cyrus, Ubuntu, ad hoc, Solbar and La Toque.

                                        I know some of these aren't in the same regions, but we haven't settled on where we would stay in Napa or if we would just make it a day trip.

                                        Would you suggest Cyrus over Redd and I guess why? :)

                                        Thanks!

                                        1. re: estnet
                                          e
                                          estnet Apr 29, 2010 12:18 AM

                                          I meant to type that Redd is less expensive than Cyrus (but my memory may not be correct). Cyrus setting is elegant and a bit more traditional than Redd which has more modern decor. I would happily eat in either in a heartbeat - so maybe it depends on your other plans and proximity.

                                        2. re: Tony Calgary
                                          daveena Apr 29, 2010 09:01 AM

                                          Coi is pretty unique - they're doing the most innovative food in SF proper. I wouldn't worry about it being too similar to your other high end choices, but given your wine country candidates, it would break your budget.

                                          Of the mid-ranges you listed, Canteen and Zuni are my favorite, but I've heard consistently good things about The House. My one concern with The House is whether it will suffer in comparison to the high-end fusion places you've chosen.

                                          For your Napa picks, I'd do Redd for lunch (or maybe Solbar, which I haven't been to) and Ubuntu for dinner (makes for less of a drive coming back). I would only do Ad Hoc if you can hit it on a fried chicken night (alternate Mondays) - otherwise, they seem a little uneven. There are more than a few reports of people coming away disappointed. I had a great meal at Cyrus a while ago, but I think the optimal experience there would be a long, leisurely dinner with lots of cocktails and wine, then staying in a hotel nearby overnight.

                                          -----
                                          Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
                                          1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

                                          Zuni Cafe
                                          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                          Ad Hoc
                                          6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                                          1. re: daveena
                                            t
                                            Tony Calgary Apr 29, 2010 12:16 PM

                                            Thanks daveena -- your suggestion of considering Cyrus based on location is a good one. I think we may end up passing on Ad Hoc then, as we're going to be in San Fran/Napa from a Tuesday-Saturday.

                                            Solbar really seems to be picking up recommendations on multiple threads, but I haven't been able to find an actual review. I think we're seriously considering it simply b/c I was thinking about staying there and booking the "mudslide" spa treatment for my fiancee as a surprise treat! I don't want to sacrifice a great meal for convenience though.

                                            Anyone have any comments or reviews of Solbar? (or compelling options outside of Redd & Ubuntu which we're seriously considering as well as Solbar)

                                            Thanks everyone!

                                            Tony :)

                                            -----
                                            Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
                                            1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

                                            Ad Hoc
                                            6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                                            1. re: Tony Calgary
                                              Ruth Lafler Apr 29, 2010 12:24 PM

                                              I'd go for Solbar. I haven't been to either Redd or Solbar, but I've read nothing but good things about Solbar. It seems to me that even if Solbar is a teensy step down from Redd in the food department (and I'm not saying it is), the spa treatment would more than make up for it. I know it's heresy on this board, but there are pleasures in life other than food.

                                              If you only had room on the schedule for one meal and wanted it to be "the best" that would be one thing. But you have a lot of great meals planned, and I'd take "very good + spa" over a fourth or fifth "great" meal any week.

                                  2. w
                                    whiner Apr 9, 2010 03:03 PM

                                    Tony,

                                    Please take to heart the consistency of recs for Ame (and Coi) relative to your list of favorite restaurants. One thing I will point out though... Ame is $60-$65/pp for food (pre-tax, pre tip) Coi is $125... and 11 courses with very little choice, so very different experiences.

                                    Also, consider Perbacco for a 'moderate' dinner. Overall, my favorite restaurant, that I can actually afford to eat with some frequency, in the city.

                                    -----
                                    Perbacco
                                    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: whiner
                                      n
                                      nocharge Apr 9, 2010 03:26 PM

                                      The five course tasting menu at Ame is $85pp + $65 for wine pairings, but you can also order a la carte. If you dine in the lounge at Coi, you're not bound by the tasting menu and you can order dishes a la carte from both the lounge and the tasting menu.

                                      1. re: whiner
                                        h
                                        Hopester Apr 9, 2010 03:33 PM

                                        I second Whiner's suggestion of Perbacco. This was by far my favorite meal in San Francisco during my last visit. The prices are unbelievably reasonable and the food was spectacularly perfect. I can't wait to go back again! I hope you have a great trip.

                                        -----
                                        Perbacco
                                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                      2. daveena Apr 9, 2010 12:30 PM

                                        Oh good, you posted your NYC trip report. It does look like you have a strong preference for Asian flavors/French technique - I'm standing by my original recs of Ame and and Coi for your upscale meals (although you could consider Terra, Ame's sister restaurant, in Napa - I vaguely remember hearing that one was better than the other, but I can't remember which - hopefully someone who's been to both can chime in. I think it's supposed to be more romantic, too). You could also consider Redd, in Napa, which also does some nice Asian-inflected food.

                                        You should take a look at this thread on porchetta:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/663070

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: daveena
                                          t
                                          Tony Calgary Apr 9, 2010 02:32 PM

                                          Porchetta! Is there a great Porchetta place in San Fran? If so, we'd love to go!

                                          We're also partial to other local specialty places, so if there are any "can't miss" places (I remember having the biggest burrito in the world at the end of Haight street when I visited as a kid) -- please let us know!

                                          Thanks for all the suggestions Chowhounders -- I'll be researching all weekend, so let me know if there's anything else that I need to add to the list!

                                          Have a great eating weekend!!! :D

                                          1. re: Tony Calgary
                                            j
                                            jlfoodie Apr 9, 2010 03:11 PM

                                            Roli Roti - Saturday Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Unquestionably good.

                                            -----
                                            Roli Roti
                                            , Hayward, CA

                                            1. re: jlfoodie
                                              h
                                              Hopester Apr 9, 2010 03:35 PM

                                              I agree with jlfoodie. The porchetta sandwich at Roli Roti can't be missed.

                                              -----
                                              Roli Roti
                                              , Hayward, CA

                                          2. re: daveena
                                            w
                                            whiner Apr 9, 2010 02:58 PM

                                            daveena,

                                            Ame is unquestionably better than Terra, imo.

                                            1. re: daveena
                                              d
                                              dietndesire Apr 13, 2010 06:30 PM

                                              Ate at Terra. Very good but some significant issues with 2 dishes.
                                              One dish was just poor for a restaurant of this caliber and the other was an execution error in the cooking time.
                                              I still enjoyed the latter. Meal was a success, overall, I think.

                                              1. re: dietndesire
                                                v
                                                vantuck Apr 15, 2010 01:53 PM

                                                Going to Napa (while so close) is certainly a great side trip...

                                                I spend time there each year and have been to Terra numerous times. It was spot on the nights I've been there - with sweetbread and pork chop dishes that rival any I've ever had.

                                                Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen isn't a bad stop in St. Helena either. Delicious meal without the pretentious atmosphere of Laundry. Wines and food are both great - and not crazy priced. Bistro Jeanty in Yountville is also great price-to-food stop - quenelles are not to be overlooked.

                                                -----
                                                Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
                                                1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

                                                Bistro Jeanty
                                                6510 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                            2. daveena Apr 8, 2010 10:52 PM

                                              I think it's really interesting that you list M. Ko as a favorite - it's definitely the quirkiest of the restaurants you had planned for your NYC trip. Given that piece of information alone, I think you should drop Gary Danko. Not even GD's most dedicated fans would characterize it as innovative.

                                              I agree that Coi will be more to your liking - I think you'll like Ame as well, but not having been to Matsuhisa, I can't make a direct comparison.

                                              Unless you don't drink wine, realistically, I think you probably only have room for one upscale dinner. Assuming 2 drinks/glasses of wine per meal and including tax and tip, two upscale ($150-200 pp) dinners + two moderate ($80 pp) dinners = $920 (using a low estimate for the upscale dinners), leaving you with $10 pp per day for breakfast + lunch. It's doable, if you eat a pastry for breakfast and banh mi/burrito/pupusa for lunch, but I would propose 1 upscale dinner + three moderate dinners - this should leave with just under $30 pp for breakfast + lunch (and snacks! Musn't forget snacks).

                                              Within these constraints, my recs would be.
                                              Breakfast:
                                              Liguria Bakery for focaccia
                                              Sentinel for muffins
                                              Tartine Bakery
                                              Thorough Bread and pastry

                                              Lunch:
                                              Lers Ros Thai
                                              Osteria al Forno
                                              Taqueria Cancun for burritos
                                              Balompie for pupusas

                                              Dinner:
                                              Coi or Ame
                                              Zuni Cafe
                                              Canteen
                                              La Ciccia

                                              -----
                                              Zuni Cafe
                                              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                              La Ciccia
                                              291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                              Tartine Bakery
                                              600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                              Liguria Bakery
                                              1700 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                              Taqueria Cancun
                                              2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

                                              Osteria
                                              247 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                                              Balompie Cafe
                                              3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                              Lers Ros Thai
                                              730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: daveena
                                                ankimo Apr 8, 2010 11:30 PM

                                                I agree with daveena.
                                                which days of the week will you be?

                                                breakfast:
                                                at tartine bakery have an open-faced croque monsieur with niman ranch ham
                                                at thorough bread, have an almond croissant
                                                at bar tartine have a pork belly sandwich at weekend brunch
                                                at arizmendi have a scone
                                                consider brenda's french soul food

                                                lunch
                                                lers ros thai is amazing, try pork belly basil and boat noodle soup
                                                roli roti sandwich on thurs at farmer's market at 11 am
                                                pizza at pizzeria delfina followed by salted caramel at bi-rite or secret breakfast at humphry
                                                torta los picudos in the mission for a torta de jamon, chorizo, y huevo, con queso fresco
                                                SO in soma for chicken wings and noodles

                                                Dinner:
                                                Coi or Ame for high end
                                                Zuni for chicken for 2
                                                Incanto for handkerchief pasta with rustic pork ragu
                                                Isa small plates like seared foie, baked butterfish, dayboat scallops
                                                the House for seabass

                                                -----
                                                Zuni Cafe
                                                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                1. re: daveena
                                                  Ruth Lafler Apr 9, 2010 08:56 AM

                                                  I agree with daveena, especially her dinner recs, and I'd put it another way: there are so many great, interesting restaurants in the mid-price range in San Francisco, I wouldn't bother with more than one high-end meal. After all, high-end restaurants everywhere tend to be pretty much alike (especially, as people have noted, Gary Danko). You can have a wonderful time eating in San Francisco without blowing your budget and get a real feel for what's special about the San Francisco restaurant scene.

                                                  1. re: daveena
                                                    t
                                                    Tony Calgary Apr 9, 2010 09:11 AM

                                                    Wow, wow, wow! Thanks everyone for the detailed suggestions!!! Especially daveena and ankimo with the customized eating menus!

                                                    I think with all the suggestions, I'm going to "grow" the budget to $1250, so that we can fit one more great meal in.

                                                    I think you've all convinced us to go to Napa (hopefully we can find somewhere to stay that won't break the bank!) and I've seen a few recommendations for Bouchon (since French Laundry looks like it would consume the entire budget), but if we've got one day there, what's the "gotta eat" breakfast, lunch and dinner?

                                                    I'm going to do some menu research this weekend with all the choices and hopefully I'll have a short list with some specific dish questions then.

                                                    Thanks again everyone for the great advice. Keep those suggestions coming!!

                                                    -----
                                                    The French Laundry
                                                    6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                    Bouchon
                                                    6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                    1. re: Tony Calgary
                                                      Ruth Lafler Apr 9, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                      Bouchon would not be on my list of places to consider for a one-day trip to the Napa Valley. First, it's not unique to Napa, and second, people have had disappointing experiences unless the order specific things. There are lots of great restaurants in the Napa Valley, and they're discussed extensively on this board.

                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                        Splendid Wine Snob Apr 9, 2010 10:01 AM

                                                        Couldn't agree more with Ruth Lafleur here. Especially her point about not having to eat out in expensive restaurants in San Francisco or Napa Valley. The great thing about Northern California is that you can eat like a King (or Queen) for relatively little money. I like Daveena's and Ankimo's recommendations. I also wouldn't miss a drop in to the Ferry Building. Drop Bouchon and Gary Danko, they really aren't unique to Northern California, and I would do Chez Panisse or La Folie for a high end meal.

                                                        Enjoy your honeymoon-IMO, San Francisco is a perfect place to go!

                                                        SWS

                                                        -----
                                                        La Folie
                                                        2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                        Chez Panisse
                                                        1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                                        Bouchon
                                                        6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                                                          j
                                                          jlfoodie Apr 9, 2010 03:10 PM

                                                          In Napa, I'd recommend Redd, Martini House, or Bottega. Granted I haven' t been to Martini House since it lost a Michelin star. For breakfast or a snack, go by Bouchon bakery and pick up some pastries (or if snacking some of their desserts or the Thomas Keller Oreo). Another idea for breakfast is Boonfly Cafe - I like their doughnut holes for breakfast/brunch. Also, to keep it cheap, you could grab some sandwiches somewhere and do a very romantic picnic. Tons of great wineries that have a picnic area.. with great views!

                                                          -----
                                                          Martini House
                                                          1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

                                                          Bottega
                                                          6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                          Bouchon
                                                          6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                  2. JasmineG Apr 8, 2010 08:54 PM

                                                    The thing about French Laundry for your honeymoon is that if you have dinner there, you'll really want to stay over in Napa Valley. If you go there for lunch, that would be a lovely day and would allow you to experience some of Napa and drive back down to San Francisco in a leisurely way. But even without TFL, you can go up to Napa, have a nice relaxing day at a few wineries and maybe a nice picnic lunch and some cheese and bread before you leave or dinner at the oyster bar at Bouchon, and save your big budget meals for San Francisco. Given what you've listed, I agree that it seems like you would like Ame and Coi, and your other meals can be some of the mid priced Cal/Italian food that San Francisco does so well, with some good and cheap Mexican or Asian food in there (Burmese, Poc Chuc, a few taquerias).

                                                    -----
                                                    The French Laundry
                                                    6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                    Poc Chuc
                                                    2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                    Bouchon
                                                    6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: JasmineG
                                                      s
                                                      sfbing Apr 9, 2010 09:40 AM

                                                      I think having a lunch at the French Laundry (avoiding of course the expensive supplements), and having more casual meals in SF is a very good idea. TFL is not that stuffy and actually more romantic than Danko or the Dining Room (which kind of reminds me of a grandmother's sitting room).

                                                      Of course, this assumes that you are lucky enough to score a reservation...

                                                      -----
                                                      The French Laundry
                                                      6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                      1. re: sfbing
                                                        Ruth Lafler Apr 9, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                        Just to clarify: lunch at French Laundry is the same menu and same price as dinner. In many ways, lunch is preferable to dinner: it's more relaxed, you can enjoy the gardens in the sunlight, visit their kitchen garden across the street, and you can take a stroll after your meal, walk off your wine, and not worry about it getting too late. Lunch reservations are also slightly easier to get.

                                                        -----
                                                        The French Laundry
                                                        6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                    2. s
                                                      SOMAFoodie Apr 8, 2010 05:16 PM

                                                      French Laundry will take most of your budget and will be challenging to get into (but it deserves its reputation).

                                                      I would definitely go with Gary Danko, but for a little more variety some suggestions are Quince and Chez Panisse.

                                                      -----
                                                      The French Laundry
                                                      6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                      Chez Panisse
                                                      1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

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

                                                      1. w
                                                        whiner Apr 8, 2010 04:40 PM

                                                        Given the other restaurants you say you have enjoyed, Ame would be my first choice for you.

                                                        My favorite restaurant in the city is probably La Folie, though it is not without its minor faults.

                                                        -----
                                                        La Folie
                                                        2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                        1. Scott M Apr 8, 2010 01:01 PM

                                                          Given that some of your other favorite places seem to have a Japanese influence you might want to consider Ame over Gary Danko.

                                                          http://www.amerestaurant.com/home.html

                                                          -----
                                                          Ame Restaurant
                                                          689 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                          1. a
                                                            arlenemae Apr 8, 2010 12:56 PM

                                                            You may want to check out another post I just made this morning about high-end restaurants in SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3512...

                                                            I do agree with your assessment that the Dining Room at the Ritz are probably the best high-end restaurants in the city, and I highly recommend both of them. As I mentioned in the above post, if you can only go to one, go to the Ritz ($125/pp), but if you can accomodate 2, the you can go to both of them if you stick to the 3 or 4-course menu at Gary Danko ($68/$85). You may or may not stay under $1K depending on how much you spend on wine. I say go to GD first and make the Ritz your last dinner since it will probably eclipse any meal you eat afterwards. Then eat very cheaply the rest of the time! (lots of very good and very cheap mexican, chinese, and other ethnic restaurants here) :-)

                                                            The French Laundry is an experience and all, but at ~$250/pp(inc. service but they still ask for additional tip at the end!), you'd probably spend around the same or less going to *both* Gary Danko and the Ritz. To give you an idea of how much things cost, for a party of 2 we spent ~$1K on dinner at French Laundry including tax/tip (this is even after setting a wine budget!), while we spent ~$600 for the Ritz (2 9-course tasting menus w/ full wine pairings), and ~$400 for Gary Danko (2 5-course tasting menus w/ wine). You may be able to save a bit more if you just go for the 3-course at Gary Danko, which would still have more than enough food.

                                                            -----
                                                            The French Laundry
                                                            6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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

                                                            The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton
                                                            The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94108

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: arlenemae
                                                              t
                                                              Tony Calgary Apr 8, 2010 02:55 PM

                                                              Thanks Arlene & Scott!

                                                              I read your other review Arlene -- very helpful!

                                                              I guess what are everyone's thoughts on Boulevard? Worth it as a #3 choice?

                                                              Or would Ame top this? Having been on a recent trip to Japan and frequented Vancouver sushi often, we've had trouble finding true "wow" appeal in Japanese recently. I guess for a comparison that most of Cali foodies might be able to make is how does it compares to Matsuhisa?

                                                              Also if we put La Folie or Michael Mina on the itinerary, is this going to blow our budget?

                                                              With French Laundry out as a budget buster, is Napa worth a foodie trip? Are the other Keller restaurants worth the trip?

                                                              Thanks again guys -- lots of questions from this soon-to-be groom!!

                                                              -----
                                                              The French Laundry
                                                              6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                              La Folie
                                                              2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                              1. re: Tony Calgary
                                                                a
                                                                arlenemae Apr 8, 2010 03:44 PM

                                                                If you add La Folie or Michel Mina as a 3rd restaurant to go to you'll probably going to blow your $1K budget! But you'll eat very well! :D I did 3 michelin-starred restaurants in a week when I was on vacation in NYC and it was totally worth it for me since I don't go there often....I just ate a lot of street food, hot dogs, and pizza in between since they used up most of my eating budget.

                                                                It's been a while since I've been to Boulevard, though it was good, not sure whether I would put it above La Folie/Michael Mina. Never been to Ame so I can't say much about that. Do note that the Ritz has a Japanese influence also (though not as much as Ame), since Ron Siegel got into it after competing in Japan for Iron Chef (he beat Sakai!)

                                                                If you're planning to go to Napa Valley (could be done in a day trip), other good Keller restaurants you could go to are Ad Hoc (which is very highly regarded on this board) and Bouchon (they have that one in Vegas too). If choosing between those two I would pick Ad Hoc. Redd is also very good, they have a five-course tasting menu for $75, and you and your dining partner will get 5 different courses so you actually get to try 10 different things...probably the best value in Napa Valley. Michael Chiarello's Bottega is also very good, and Italian might be a good choice if you're going with French/California food for your SF restaurants. Not sure if they would be worth the trek though unless you want to go to Napa Valley for some wine-tasting anyway.

                                                                Have a great trip and hope you and your wife enjoy your visit to the Bay Area!

                                                                -----
                                                                La Folie
                                                                2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                Bottega
                                                                6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                                Bouchon
                                                                6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                                                                1. re: Tony Calgary
                                                                  n
                                                                  nocharge Apr 8, 2010 03:44 PM

                                                                  You might also want to consider Coi. I'm not a big fan of the ambience, but the food is very creative and more unique than that of many of the other high-end places. If you eat in the lounge, you can order dishes from the lounge menu or tasting menu a la carte. That way you can try the food at the only San Francisco restaurant with two Michelin stars without necessarily breaking your budget.

                                                                  As for Ame and Boulevard, I like both of them. Their styles of food are quite different and you might want to check out their menus to see which one seems the most appealing to you.

                                                                  1. re: nocharge
                                                                    a
                                                                    arlenemae Apr 8, 2010 03:51 PM

                                                                    I've never been but that's certainly a good suggestion...it's on my list to try for my next special occasion! Michael Mina used to have 2 Michelin stars at the time I went, but since they dropped it's possible the quality of the food might have gone down.

                                                                    1. re: arlenemae
                                                                      mariacarmen Apr 8, 2010 08:13 PM

                                                                      I'd have to second Coi over Gary Danko.

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

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