My top three right now for food, service and decor/wow factor:
Cut by Wolfgang Puck
Also the new WP24 inside the Ritz-Carlton was incredibly great when we were there last weekend. Every dish a pleasure, great service and spectacular decor enhanced by a breathtaking view of downtown LA from the 24th floor of the hotel.
900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
i like servorg's recs a lot. to add...
you could also take them to the Farmers' Markets -- at 3rd/Fairfax, Santa Monica, Hollywood, etc.
also, perhaps a sweets tour? like Persian ice cream at Mashti Malone's, Nata's Pastries for natas, Porto's, Compartes' for chocolate, or Chocolatt!, Teuscher for champagne truffles, Primo's for buttermilk bars, Jin Patisserie, etc.
for a decadent brunch, Griddle Cafe, or for brasserie brunch, Anisette
other places I'd consider:
Lunch at The Getty for the view
somewhere in Malibu or the Lobster in SaMo for the view; or drinks at the Huntley Penthouse
Los Balcones de Peru or Mario's Peruvian
...and I could come up with many more if I wanted to give a show...
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
143 N Maryland Ave, Glendale, CA 91206
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
15720 Imperial Hwy, La Mirada, CA 90638
Father's Office Bar
1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA
As a former long time SF resident and still frequent visitor, I think you and servorg are both close to right on, even though I haven't eaten at all of your choices, just many of them....My few nitpicks:
1. take Peruvian off the list. Lots of good Peruvian options in SF and environs. Could it really be that much better?
2. Not sure about Osteria or Pizzeria Mozza. (though I've only eaten at the Pizzeria and there only once a few weeks ago). Liked it very much and both have the 'celebrity chef' factor that tends to be less common in SF (though we do have Incanto which is arguably run by a celebrity chef though not on the same level), but I think you can get just as good in SF. Italian is one of our big strengths....OTOH, what makes them interesting may be the chance to compare. So I guess it depends on how often these folks make it to the Southland....(and all you LA folks have to come up to SF to try my favorite Italian/Sardinian restaurant, La Ciccia).
Yes to the Getty though I am not sure you need to have lunch there.
641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036
oh yeah, and add Langer's to the list. SF lacks good, (some would even say decent) deli.
I guess my point is that OP shouldn't just put on a show, but should also concentrate on the cuisines and options that are harder to get in SF, unless his visitors will be coming frequently.
For Japanese - Urasawa
For Korean BBQ - Park's
For Creative Meat - (but they've got veggies and fish too) Animal
For Upscale CalMed&Seafood - Providence
For Italian - Mozza Osteria and Mozza Pizzeria
For Mexican - Babita
1823 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776
955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006
5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
641 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
For Mexican there are probably at least another 3 or 4 places that can be added like Huasteca and La Casita (before we even venture into the Oaxacan food corner of the Mexican world). I think Cut is great, but I keep waiting for my friends with the Corporate expense accounts to invite me... ;-D>