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Need one more for list... House? Farallon? Other???

We're coming to San Francisco from Baltimore and staying downtown for 5 nights. Based on what I read, we've booked dinners at Slanted Door, Boulevard, Gary Denko, and Kokkari. We have 1 night left. My husband and I love Asian food and we were thinking of trying another Asian fusion restaurant. Would The House fit the bill? Is there a better place? We love all foods and types of cuisine, although our favorite dishes tend to be seafood ones. We're also ok with a casual or more elegant place, although we're definitely looking to "dine"-- i.e., linger and take our time over several courses and great wine. Given that, someone recommended Farallon, although I haven't seen much on this board praising (or criticizing) it.

I'd love your take on the 4 places we booked and suggestions for one more dinner!!! Thanks so much for helping us make our trip a fabulous and delicious one!

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Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

Farallon
450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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  1. Those choices are all very ... safe. My suggestion would be to take the occasion of being in San Francisco to not just pick the five top-rated restaurants on Zagat. I'd suggest dropping Gary Danko, which probably isn't any different than any high-end fine-dining restaurant in Baltimore and which many people think is coasting on its reputation. Since you love Asian/seafood, I'd replace it with Ame.

    For your fifth choice, I think you really owe it to yourselves to try one of the "mid-range" restaurants that are the strength of the SF dining scene (Canteen, etc.) or something a little more cutting edge (Commonwealth, etc.) or one of our regional Italian restaurants (La Ciccia, Perbacco, etc.), or one of our "Cal-" restaurants (Aziza, Piperade).

    Edited to add: I'd drop Kokkari, too. Not that it's not a good restaurant, but Greek cuisine isn't as strong on the West Coast as it is on the East -- my personal preference when travelling is to try restaurants that are characteristic of the area I'm visiting, and I don't think Kokkari is, particularly.

    Edited to add: I was just guessing, but it turns out that the four restaurant she listed are four of the top five restaurants on Zagat.

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    Perbacco
    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Piperade
    1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I would probably drop Gary Danko and switch it with Benu for Asian fusion fine dining.

      Instead of Kokkari, I would look at Saison

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

      Saison
      2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

      Benu
      22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        some safe choices:
        the house is good for asian fusion, like the seabass
        ame is good for new american cooked by an asian
        benu is good for high end dining -- like an asian TFL
        isa is good for asian influenced tapas
        if you care about taste, then it's worth it to head up to morimoto in napa (1 hr)
        kiss seafood is good if you're looking for an intimate coursed japanese dinner with fresh sashimi
        kabuto if you're looking for good fusion sushi
        out of towners like slanted door, but it's divided among locals
        crab from R&G is reliable
        i think you should check out So for the chicken wings
        since you want wine and to linger, could try RN74
        might also want to check out press club

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Ruth: "safe" is a very good way of putting it they've all been around 12 - 15 years so while they ARE doing something right, well...

          you're from Balto? Kokkari is good, but if you make it into DC or NYC on an occasional basis I sorta feel Kellari in either city is a bit better. or Komi. and focus on what the SF really excels in, as RL puts it the mid-range places. you'll find just as much attention to food and service in a lot of $18-30 places as you might at far higher ends and hey it's SF only a very few places discourage wading through a meal at your leisure (esp if you keep the wine flowing)

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            i'm going to agree with Ruth about dropping Gary Danko and Kokkari. If you want high end, maybe try Coi. and i second the recommendations for La Ciccia, Canteen, Piperade. I don't much like Boulevard or Farallon. And a lot of people here like La Mar Cebicheria for Peruvian fusion seafood - i've just not been yet. My sister loves Ame.

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

            Piperade
            1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

          2. i woudln't go as far as to say that gary danko is no differnet from baltimore fine dining, but it certainly isn't any different from new york fine dining, which is far closer, so drop nonetheless.

            i actually honestly wouldn't recommend any of the other restaurants to an out of town visitor. boulevard is the only one whose food i legitimately enjoy, but it's overpriced and uninteresting.

            try mandalay for burmese food - everything i've had there has been excellent, including several fish dishes.

            i love anchor oyster for sesafood; although you'd probably be disappointed by their crab cakes.

            farallon is great, but also fairly pricey.

            oh, for fusion, definitely go to Namu.

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            Namu
            439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

            1 Reply
            1. re: vulber

              Would Mandalay and Namu fit the description of places where the poster could "linger and take our time over several courses and great wine"?

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              Namu
              439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

            2. I recommend Kiss Seafood (japanese)
              It's tiny. They have a lovely 5 or 6 course omakase meal. You can hang out there for a couple of hours and have wonderful sake to go with it.
              This place is quite special and a little less well known.

              Another possibility is Bar Crudo. They have terrific seafood (best chilled poached lobster ever) and some nice wines -- including some light sicilian reds which go lovely with seafood.

              More hectic than the other two, but really delicious, is Dosa on Fillmore, a great South Indian place that's upscale and has food that's a little different from most other Indian food I've had.

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              Bar Crudo
              655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

              Kiss Seafood
              1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115

              Dosa on Fillmore
              1700 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

              1. Keep the Slanted Door res, most visitors love it, and if you like Asian food and fusion it's perfect for you. I love Kokkari, so I'd keep that rec, but I agree with other suggestions to go for some more midpriced options to see the biggest strengths of San Francisco dining. If you're coming soon, you might want to try PPQ Dungeness, since if you like seafood and Asian food it's the perfect combination.

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                Slanted Door
                Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                PPQ Dungeness Island
                2332 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                1. Thanks everyone for your excellent insights! I've begun looking at some of the recommendations, and will definitely be making changes to my list! One thing to note, though-- since we have 2 small kids at home, we rarely (if ever) enjoy fine dining, so we certainly won't feel like we could be getting the same type of meal back at home.

                  If anyone else has more thoughts, please chime in! The advice so far has been much appreciated!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: stephanieg

                    Here are a few other options I haven't see mentioned:

                    Quince
                    Wayfare Tavern
                    Flour + Water
                    Delfina
                    Prospect
                    Frances
                    Range

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                    Delfina Restaurant
                    3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    Wayfare Tavern
                    558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111