HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

Must try tasting menu in SF (besides Benu)?

My boyfriend is taking me out to dinner for my birthday and I'm rapidly running out of time to pick a restaurant. I would prefer a fine dining establishment with a tasting menu that will blow me away (I already took him to Benu for *his* birthday). Something in the French/new American vein would be great, but I'm also down for something a bit fusion-y in the same vein as Benu. Currently I'm considering Commonwealth, Saison, Masa's, Quince and La Folie. Thank you in advance!

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

Masa's Restaurant
648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Saison
2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Benu
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
    1. Some additional ideas:
      The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton. French with Japanese influence.
      Also, if you like truffles, Alexander's might still be doing their $390 tasting menu which has some Asian stuff.
      http://www.alexanderssteakhouse.com/d...

      1. Personally, I was fairly disappointed in Benu. Perfect, but uninspiring and underwhelming.

        However, I adored Saison and am itch'n to go back...

        -----
        Saison
        2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

        Benu
        22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

        1. Thanks for your replies! I'm very intrigued by The Dining Room at the Ritz, which wasn't even on my radar. Would we rank TDR above Coi, or..?

          I read the Somm at Coi is kind of bad. Is this still the case?

          2 Replies
          1. re: mtranny

            I loved The Dining Room...probably my best dining experience in the city. I enjoyed it more than Coi, Masa's, or La Folie. Definitely very highly recommended.

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

            Masa's Restaurant
            648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

            1. re: mtranny

              Was very recently at Dining Room at Ritz and overall quite disappointed in the food (uninspired, boring) and underwhelming service.

              1. re: vulber

                Aziza doesn't have a true tasting menu, as far as I know. It has a prix fixe, but that's not the same thing, since you can choose from everything on the menu for most of the courses.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  when i was there; you only got to choose the entree and the dessert, the soup, salad, dips, and bastilla were pre-selected. i'd say it's more of a hybrid between a prix fixe and a tasting menu

                2. re: vulber

                  Aziza calls their (now $73) prix fixe a tasting menu, but I wouldn't, since it's only five courses and the portions are normal. To me, "tasting menu" means small portions of more dishes than a normal person could eat normal portions of.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I agree that the tasting menu at Aziza is not a classical tasting menu (but we liked it as it allowed my wife and me to taste 9 different dishes) but I wouldn't define a tasting menu by the number of courses. Spago (LA) is well known for the tasting menu which also consist of "just" five courses. For me a tasting menu is define by the small portions of food which is not on the regular menu but is driven by what is available to the chef on that day to showcase is cooking philosophy.

                    1. re: honkman

                      Spago's five-course tasting menu comes with three amuses and an entremet, so it's actually nine tastes, though judging from reports the ten-course version (15-20 tastes) seems to be more popular.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        We have eaten several times the 5- and 10-course tasting menu and the 5-courses has only two amuses (and I wouldn't call any amuse bouche in any restaurant a course. There is a significant different between amuse bouche and course. In addition you also get amuse at Aziza, so with your argument you should also count them for Aziza) so that you get only seven tastes (one more than Aziza).

                      2. re: honkman

                        "For me a tasting menu is define by the small portions of food which is not on the regular menu but is driven by what is available to the chef on that day to showcase is cooking philosophy."

                        Well put! At Aziza even the courses "selected by the chef" come off the regular menu, which is why I don't consider it a tasting menu.