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$50 dinner for young, hip sommelier who likes French food and trendy atmosphere

Hi all. Longtime lurker, first-time poster here. I'd love your advice for the following. I'd like to get my friend (young, hip sommelier) a restaurant gift certificate as a thank-you gift. I'm looking for a restaurant in SF that has either a trendy or sophisticated vibe. In an ideal world it will also have a great wine menu, will have opened in the last year or so, and will get a girl through dinner on $50 give or take. Bonus points if the restaurant is in Castro, Cole Valley or surrounding 'hoods.

Thanks in advance for your advice... I confess to not having paid much attention to SF's restaurant scene for the past year (I tend to be all about the East Bay) and my own ideas are probably pretty stale.

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  1. Someone who knows more about wine than I do would have to evaluate their wine list, but Bisou in the Castro would seem to fit all of your other criteria.

    Unlike Bisou, I have not been to Frances, but reports seem to be very positive, with lots of great comments about the wine. However, it is very difficult to get a reservation

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    Bisou
    2367 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

    1. One person can have a great dinner at Sushi Time in the Castro for $50.
      The catch here of course is that they have sake and not wine.
      And it's been open a while, but it flies under the radar and a lot of people don't know about it, even though it's the best japanese restaurant in the castro (and some of their dishes -- hiya yakkoo, oshitashi, tsukune, cucumber sunomono -- are the best in the city IMHO).

      L'ardoise is great, in the castro, relatively new. But you can't do it for $50 if you include wine.

      And then there's been a lot of talk about Frances, but I have not yet been.

      Another idea would be a $50 gift certificate to True Sake.
      This is an amazing store, and while it's just sake and not food, a sommelier might appreciate it.

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      True Sake
      560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Sushi Time
      2275 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

      1 Reply
      1. re: pauliface

        L'ardoise can definitely be done for $50 with wine.

        However, while it's probably my favorite traditional French bistro in the city, it has more of a romantic vibe than a hip/trendy vibe.

      2. Frances is perfect for this, and should fit all of your criteria. Though it's tough to get a reservation, it wouldn't be as hard for a solo diner to get a seat at the bar.

        1. Frances. Great food, very good wine list. Just ate there w/ a winemaker friend and he agreed on the list.

          1. try "Cav" on Market St ,same block as Zuni. Nice wine list. Good Halibut Cheeks Barigoule, Grilled Squid. It's hip with very good food and wine list.

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            Zuni Cafe
            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            4 Replies
            1. re: stanbee

              Great suggestions- I'll look into Frances, Cav and L'ardoise. I know Bisou is one of her favorites, so I'm passing on that one, and she's not that huge of a Japanese food person (crazy, I know), so Sushi Time and True Sake are both out.
              Thanks for your help!

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              True Sake
              560 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

              Sushi Time
              2275 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              Bisou
              2367 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              1. re: albanyhunger

                Are you sure you're thinking of the right Bisou? The one I mentioned has only been open for a little over a month. Note that it is the same chef (and nearly identical menu) as Chouchou.

                Loretta Keller formerly had a restaurant called Bisou that is now Coco500, which might be what you're thinking of

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                Coco500
                598 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                Chouchou
                400 Dewey Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94116

                Bisou
                2367 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                1. re: vulber

                  Loretta Keller formerly had a restaurant called Bizou

              2. re: stanbee

                Second on Cav. It's not new, but the food is great, it's comfortable for solo dining, and the wine list is one of the most likely to please a jaded sommelier.