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Looking for a restaurant with an exceptional cheese plate.

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Can anyone recommend a restaurant in the Bay Area (preferably South bay or SF) that has a particularly good cheese plate? Looking for somewhere special to take my wife, for whom the cheese plate is the best part of any meal. The ideal cheese plate would come from a large selection with good variety and some unusual cheeses that we may not have had before. I thought Gary Danko's cheese cart was good, but we were just there, so looking for something new to try. Thanks!

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

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  1. Manresa. I think it was the best I've had outside of France.

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    Manresa Restaurant
    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

    1. Absinthe in Hayes Valley of SF carries exceptional cheeses with food pairings that most other restaurants don't carry (honeycome with the stilton..). Although their prices are very steep compared to other restaurants, I thought it was worth the bill on a special occasion.

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      Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
      398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1. Cav used to do a great cheese plate with pairings (both food and wine) but i'm not sure if they still do it since they've pared down their food program, tho their website still says Cav Wine Bar and Kitchen. http://www.cavwinebar.com/contact/

        3 Replies
        1. re: mariacarmen

          Cav closed. It has been taken over by the Yield people and will reopen as Pause.

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          Cav Wine Bar
          1666 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            oh, sad. had no idea. have you been to Yield, any good?

            1. re: mariacarmen

              Yield's good.

        2. i had a really yummy cheese plate at the flea st. cafe in menlo park. great meal and drinks, too!

          1. The Dining Room at the Ritz has had a great cheese cart, but I have not been in a few years so things may have changed. I am sure a quick phone call could confirm.

            1. it's not the most expensive or the best cheese plate, but one of my faovrite ones that i've had in a while is at willi's wine bar; and it wasn't just the cheese that was exceptional, but the innovative bread and spreads they paired with it

              1. Maybe I was younger and more impressionable and knew a lot less about cheese then, but in the early 90's I ate at fleur de lys and remember thinking the cheese course was wonderful.

                Does anybody who knows what they're talking about have an opinion on this?
                Is it wonderful? Or am I just living in the past?

                1 Reply
                1. re: pauliface

                  I don't know about FdL specifically, but thanks to the crackdown on raw-milk cheese from France in the past decade, it would be hard to match what you could get around here then without going to France.

                2. I don't think you will ever be able to get a cheese course like they have in France. I was amazed that they would roll out this cart with 20 to 30 cheeses and just let you pick to your hearts content. I really liked this part of French meals :)

                  All that said IIRC The Dinning Room at the Ritz Carlton hotel in San Francisco had something like this. You should call to make sure they are still doing it though.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: skwid

                    Manresa imported their cheese cart from France. They don't have that many cheeses to choose from, but the quality is as high as I've found in the US.

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnjoh/...
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepixel...

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                    Manresa Restaurant
                    320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Nice cheeses there but the carts I got in France had two levels on which the cheeses were placed. Just not enough cheese in those pictures. You pretty much have to say "some of everything please" to the Manresa cart.

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                      Manresa Restaurant
                      320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                  2. Cyrus has a great cheese cart, thought it was way better than Gary Danko.

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

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Candice

                      ditto on Cyrus -- I think it is the best of the area's cheese courses. Many selections on the cart, with good accompaniments. But not really in the area of your search.