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Nov 29, 2010 09:21 PM

Specical Occasion in Holiday Season: Dining Room or La Folie?

I am planning to celebrate our 25th anniversary with the family (wife and I, plus 2 college-aged daughters). For this special occasion, we are looking for somewhere quiet, relaxed, and of course with great food. We are currently debating between the Dining Room and La Folie.

Like many on this board, I think the strength of Bay Area dining is the mid-range places. Among the board favorites, we like Piperade, La Ciccia, Bar Crudo, Koi Palace, Sakae, and Ubuntu. However Aziza, Incanto, Zuni, Slanted Door and Boulevard just did not work for us. My wife and I have only been to a couple of fine dinging places in the Bay Area, and we have never been to either the Dining Room or La Folie. I have a hard time to decide between the two.

• Our daughter’s colleges have different winter break dates. The only overlapping period when both are with us will be between Dec. 20 and Jan 2. Is it a good time to go? Is either chef likely to be in the kitchen during the holiday?
• I understand the Dining Room does a parallel tasting menu. This seems to be a great format for 4 of us (and a great introduction to fine dining for the girls). However we could not find it on their web site. Are they continuing this practice?
* La Folie is known for large portions. If each of us orders 4 courses, there will be 16 between us. It's actually a customized tasting menu. Are the dishes conducive to sharing?

Thanks in advance, I know the toppic hascome up numerous times.

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

Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

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

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

1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

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  1. I have been to The Dining Room many times. It's one of my favorites for any kind of celebration. My wife celebrated her BD there recently. It's one of the finest restaurants in the US. Good luck and best wishes.

    1. Been to La Folie and love it. Saving Dining Room for a special occasion myself.
      I think that with either, you can't go wrong. But from what I hear, I'd recommend the Dining Room for this particular occasion.

      I do remember reading recently that the Dining Room has stopped their parallel tasting menu. Can someone else confirm?

      so if you want everyone at the table to have different things, you might go with La Folie. They have a menu from which you can pick 3, 4, or 5 dishes at different price points. So you get the variety, but you lose the surprise.

      Sharing at La Folie. Hmmmm. You can pass around tastes to each other, but sharing per se, I don't know. Some of the plates tend to have several different elements to play around with in different combinations. While there's enough to share, it could get complicated.

      (And so you know who you are dealing with, our tastes are not identical. We agree on liking Bar Crudo and Ubuntu, and agree on disliking Zuni. But we disagree about Aziza and Boulevard.Boulevard -- I love them both. The others you mention, I have not tried or no strong opinion).

      1. We are currently on a culinary trip to SF/Napa etc. and went to the Tasting Room on Saturday and had overall an underwhelming exepience. Food was not bad but not really creative and anything outstanding like we had at other fine dining restaurant anywhere. Service was some of the worst we had in any high-end restaurant. (They don't do the parallel tatsing menu anymore). Hopefully La Folie today will be better.

        3 Replies
        1. re: honkman

          I'll be interested in your La Folie experience. Mine was very underwhelming. I think I need the restaurant equivalent of a palatte cleanser. All my fine dining choices have been let downs this year.

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

          1. re: honkman

            I'm doing a special occasion dinner in early January and had reso's at The Dining Room and was going to switch to La Folie but these reviews are making me nervous! I know everyone has a different opinion but I almost feel like there is too many fine dining restaurants to choose from in SF!!

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

            1. re: AnonymousWaitress

              Based on our experience yesterday we enjoyed La Folie much more than the Dining Room. The service was much, much better at La Folie with a server which was personal, showed interest in food etc. The food at La Folie is classical french with some interesting modern twists and executed on a very high level. We normally prefer very creative and unusual food (e.g. Bistro LQ in LA) but for us food at La Folie was a good mix of classical and modern components. The food at the Dining Room was also well executed but was at least for us less memorable than La Folie (and having bad service over four hours has also an effect how you remember the food). If we would live in SF La Folie would be on our regular rotation but not the Dining Room.

          2. The original comment has been removed