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Group dinner, Union Square - suggestions?

Nothing like a near last minute request. We're coming to SF for a major medical conference this week, and someone just asked me to find a good place to eat for Friday night dinner for 8 of us. You all helped me last time I was in Union Square by sending me off to Canteen, but I was a lone diner at the time and the dynamics change with this big of a group.

Our hotel is in Union Square, near the Moscone Center. We'd like a good spot that is within walking distance. It'll need to be a place that will take reservations at this late late time or will not have too long a wait for an 8-top on a Friday night at the beginning of a major medical conference. One vegetarian is in the group, and most of the group favor cocktails but enjoy wine as well. Cuisine options are pretty open. Thanks so much for your help with this!

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  1. I don't consider Moscone Center as being in Union Square. Which hotel is it? Near Moscone Center Lulu comes to mind as a place you could probably get into at this late date and it has a full bar. Nearer Union Square, E & O Trading can take large groups and also has a full bar. If you want to go more upscale than these, try Fifth Floor or Ame, both in hotels. Midi in the Galaria Park hotel on Sutter also comes to mind.

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    Fifth Floor Restaurant
    12 Fourth St., San Francisco, CA 94103

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobpantzer

      Ran Lulu through Open Table, actually showed times for 8. It is near to Moscone but about 1/2 from Union Sq.

    2. last minute notice makes it tougher for more popular restaurants. Ame might work as suggested already. another large restaurant that is in the heart of union square is Grand Cafe. Try also Farrallon...

      1. Just curious, are you going to the medical meeting at the Marines' Memorial on Saturday morning?

        1 Reply
        1. re: bobpantzer

          It's the annual meeting for ACOG, so expect several thousand obstetricians and gynecologists invading the city.

        2. Thanks, guys. The hotel is Hotel Nikko (Mason & O'Farrell) but a few of the group will be coming from the Marquis Marriott.

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          Nikkos Cafe
          408 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA 94062

          2 Replies
          1. re: meuri

            I ran it through Open Table as well and one that popped up was First Crush. Someone who made a similar request a while back ended up at First Crush and reported back that they had a successful dinner.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              My employer did a group dinner a while back (quite a while actually) at First Crush, and it was a hit. Our dinner with the same group at LuLu wasn't a hit, mostly because it was so loud.

              Piperade was the favorite of all the spots we chose for similar dinners, though they are further from Union Square and may be less available at the last minute.

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              Piperade
              1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

          2. Thanks, everyone. I took your general search pattern and ran opentable against prior similar requests for restaurants in Union Square, and obtained reservations at Brindisi. I'll report back!

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            Brindisi
            88 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

            1. So we got to Brindisi. The seafood was very fresh, but not particularly interesting (but a lot of talking and wine was going around, so maybe it didn't matter so much). It got better once I could break the group up - a lone diner visit to Gary Danko, a threesome to Zuni Cafe and another threesome to Canteen made the week much better.

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              Zuni Cafe
              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

              Brindisi
              88 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

              2 Replies
              1. re: meuri

                Thank you for the report. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink we didn't recommend that one did we? ;-)