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Gary Danko or The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton?

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  • lizgo Sep 30, 2010 02:38 PM
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I'm coming to SF to celebrate my mother's retirement and I'd love to take her to a dinner that will absolutely knock her socks off. I've been to The Dining Room for brunch years ago and it was really fantastic, but I've never been there for dinner and experienced their much talked about tasting menus. I've heard RAVES about Gary Danko but have never had the opportunity to eat there either. Given that this is a very, very special occasion - money isn't an issue. I just want the food to be superb, service excellent, and the ambiance to be something to remember. Any suggestions?

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

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  1. I don't think you can go wrong with either place. I would take a look at the menus and choose whichever looks better to you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Scott M

      I was thinking the same thing! The tasting menus at each restaurant look really great. Hard choice - but you're right, between the two it seems hard to go terribly wrong. Thanks!

    2. I was more impressed with the Dining Room in SF at The Ritz Carlton in SF the three times I have been there than any restaurant in NYC, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago or LA. I absolutely loved the Dining Room at Ritz in SF. I also loved Danko and Boulevard but DR was the Best. Good luck. Bon Appetit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Littleman

        Thanks so much! The Dining Room seems to be exactly what I'm looking for. But I will most definitely give Danko a try on another trip. I appreciate the input!!!

      2. I have not eaten there, but I think you might need to wear a tie for the dining room at the Ritz. I'm pretty sure you at least need to wear a jacket. You can get by at Gary Danko without a jacket or tie.

        (this could, of course, be a negative or a positive to you).

        I love the food at GD. My only complaint is that the menu doesn't change much; it's seasonal, so the winter menu does differ somewhat from the summer menu, but year after year I see the many of the same dishes on the menu.

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: atjsfo

          Since we're celebrating mom's retirement, we're all going to be pretty dressed up. It sounds like the Dining Room might be exactly what we're looking for to make it a memorable night. Thanks for your response!

        2. As Scott M said, you can't really go wrong with either place. However, I had more fun and I felt more comfortable/relaxed at The Dining Room than I did at Gary Danko. The food was also more creative at The Dining Room. I'm not sure if it matters to you, but The Dining Room has brighter lighting. If I were to take my mother out, that would be a concern for me. I can already hear my mother saying that it's too dark to see what's on the menu and that she can't see what she's eating at Gary Danko. Neither place requires a jacket. I don't recommend it but I've seen people in jeans at both places. Enjoy!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ieatstuff

            Thanks for the jacket info, ieatstuff, I apologize for my ignorance.

            T

            1. re: atjsfo

              The Dining Room
              Dress Code: Jacket Preferred
              Gary Danko
              Dress code: Elegant, dressy attire is requested
              Well you can't always get what you request or prefer.
              Think of the pleasure it would give you to look around and see all those guys looking sheepish because they are underdressed. ;-)

            2. re: ieatstuff

              Good to know! I think I'll check out Gary Danko on an anniversary - sound like the dim lighting might be great for a romantic dinner instead.

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

            3. For me, it would be Danko all the way, scene of the crime of one of the best meals I've ever eaten in my life. I enjoy the ambience, too. No complaints on the Ritz-Carlton; I do find Gary Danko to be a little more original though.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: mamachef

                I've heard nothing but wonderful things about Danko - glad to hear that you enjoyed it too! I think that we're going to try The Ritz for my mother's retirement dinner, but my husband and I will make reservations at Gary Danko for our anniversary - it sounds fantastic as well. Thanks!

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

              2. Too close to call...however the higher formality and better service at the Ritz might mean special occasion more.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ML8000

                  That's what I wanted to hear! The Ritz it is! Thanks so much.

                2. I adore TDR - call and let them know it is a special occassion, you just might find an elegant written wish on your moms dessert plate :D

                  1. Another vote for The Dining Room. Went to GD on Monday night, and the whole place seemed mired in the past, from the too well-oiled machine efficiency of the operation (down to the slightly unctious tableside patter from the staff), to the near darkness (though clearly enjoyed by the many snuggling couples), static menu (surprisingly similar to our last visit two years ago), overly complicated dishes which often buried the essence of the central ingredient (including a huge misstep on a lemon-pepper duck in which one couldn't taste the duck), zero information on sourcing, spectacular but stratospherically expensive wine list (how about an $800 Cote Rotie from 2000?). The tasting menu looked particularly retro, uninspiring, and unseasonal (at $102, plus $67 for wine pairings). All in all, I think the food at the DR is more innovative and more passionate., and the place feels more...honest.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bienmanger

                      I recently dined at Gary Danko and overall was happy with the experience but wouldn't rush to go back. It seemed like fancy food that you can get anywhere. The tasting menu looked boring but I think service is really good there.

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

                      1. re: Justin L

                        It tends to alienate people when I say this, but I describe that type of food as Generic Haute International. Same expensive ingredients flown hither and yon around the globe, same haute French techniques, same expensive tasting menu; slight variations in flavor combinations with a signature dish or two from the chef. It's delicious and amazing the first time, then it rapidly grows stale no matter how many countries you encounter it in.