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Recommended SF restaurants in the $50-$75/person range -wine not included?

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luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 09:58 AM

Some friends of my parents (in their 60s) are visiting SF from South America and want to treat us to dinner next Sat evening. They are wealthy and foodies, and they are also wine connoisseurs. Since they want to pay for dinner (for 5 people) I didn't want to go overboard and go for the $1000 dinner, but more for the $500 meal for 5, wine not included -we will bring a bottle of wine, but they may want a second bottle at the restaurant. With that said, do you have recommendations for a restaurant within that price range, that has an excellent wine list, and where I could make a reservation with only one week advance?

I was thinking maybe:
-Jardiniere
-First Crush
-Piperade

Other suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 10:12 AM

    Acquerello or La Folie.

    http://www.acquerello.com/wine_list/a...

    http://www.lafolie.com/wine_list.pdf

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

    Acquerello Restaurant
    1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

    1. w
      weshoke RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 10:24 AM

      I really like Bar Agricole in this range. Great food served tapas-style. The building and interior are absolutely beautiful. It can get pretty noisy at peak times, which is the only downside to this place. The wine list is wonderful and uniquely presented.

      http://www.baragricole.com/

      cquerello has one of the best wine lists I've ever seen, but I didn't think the food was worth the price. Basically, its Michelin star IMHO is for service and wine, but the food doesn't deserve it. It was soulless cooking with really good ingredients. I went here last October. Maybe they've upped their game since. Our bill with wine came to $500 for 2 people.

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      Acquerello Restaurant
      1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

      Bar Agricole
      355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1 Reply
      1. re: weshoke
        l
        lrealml RE: weshoke Jun 3, 2011 05:47 PM

        Hmm, I went in September last year and thought that the food fantastic. By far the best one Michelin star restaurant experience I've had yet. I thought they were gunning for 2 stars... Sounds like we had very different experiences.

        My fine dining experiences in Paris/France were two and three stars.... and both mind blowing, So I don't know how good a one start would be there. However, Acquerello is way better than the one star restaurants I've been to in London, NYC, and around here.

      2. Ruth Lafler RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 11:09 AM

        There are very few places in the city where you can't have dinner for $75/person short of a tasting-menu only restaurant. The three you named wouldn't be in my top 50.

        What do you actually envision in the way of food, atmosphere, etc.? For wealthy foodies from South Africa, I'd see if I could get a reservation at Atelier Crenn.

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        Atelier Crenn
        3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

        7 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler
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          luciacoronel RE: Ruth Lafler Jun 3, 2011 11:40 AM

          I am envisioning a place that is not too loud, so we can catch up; a place that has innovative/somehow adventurous cuisine (not French or Italian traditional, for example); that uses mostly seasonal organic ingredients; that is not super trendy, so I can get a table for next Saturday, but has a great atmosphere/decor; that has a great wine list; a place that would showcase the amazing produce that we have in the Bay Area, and where service is impeccable.
          Friends are from South America, not South Africa. They travel a lot, mostly to Europe, Americas, Caribbean and always try to get the best dinning experiences where they go. I am hoping to show them a dining experience that would feel very "San Francisco". I did like the La Folie suggestion, so something along those lines.

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

          1. re: luciacoronel
            w
            weshoke RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 11:57 AM

            Atelier Crenn isn't French despite the name. The chef just happens to be French. It's in its own category and is easily the most innovative restaurant in SF. It will blow your mind, but is going to run $115 per-person for the full tasting menu non including wine which is an extra $75. That said, it's well worth it.

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            Atelier Crenn
            3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

            1. re: weshoke
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              luciacoronel RE: weshoke Jun 3, 2011 12:05 PM

              Yes, I am loving the Atelier Crenn website; looks fantastic. The only "buts" about it is that, as you mention, I don't want to go over $100/person with tip and tax, and I feel that the out-of-towners may need a menu that is a little more expanded. If not this time, I am definitely trying Atelier Crenn soon. Thanks for the recommendation.

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              Atelier Crenn
              3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

              1. re: luciacoronel
                Ruth Lafler RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 05:38 PM

                Atelier Crenn does have a $75 option. I'm going to throw out Prospect -- it's modern and trendy but not too loud.

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                Atelier Crenn
                3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

              2. re: weshoke
                Windy RE: weshoke Jun 3, 2011 07:18 PM

                There's no need to get the tasting menu. We got 4 courses each and shared. It was plenty of food, and exceptional, without costing a fortune.

                If anything we spent less on wine because we were so entranced with what we ate. (Full report with pictures if you search on Atelier Crenn.)

                few weeks ago we had the tasting menu at Commonwealth, which was much less expensive to start but is a much less fancy place. It ended up costing basically as much as we spent at Atelier Crenn.

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                Atelier Crenn
                3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

              3. re: luciacoronel
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                Calvinist RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 04:08 PM

                I have had a bettter experience at Acquerello than the other poster, and the wine list is exceptional. I would consider it as the atmosphere is a notch quiter than most other San Francisco places.

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                Acquerello Restaurant
                1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                1. re: Calvinist
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                  weshoke RE: Calvinist Jun 3, 2011 05:22 PM

                  I would agree that the atmosphere is great. They have the most amazing wine decanters (some a couple of feet long). I may have had unrealistic expectations having just moved here to SF from Paris where it seems a Michelin star means something very different. I would try it again if I wasn't paying.

            2. m
              morningbun RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 12:54 PM

              What about Quince? Is that too expensive?

              1. c
                ceekskat RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 01:00 PM

                How about Ame?

                1. t
                  tripit RE: luciacoronel Jun 3, 2011 02:21 PM

                  Aziza seems like it might fit all of your criteria. Adventurous upscale Moroccan food with a California sensibility--there probably aren't too many places in the world that specialize in this cuisine at this level. The decor is great and I think a lot of the larger tables do offer a good bit of privacy. They have a tasting menu for $73 or if you just did appetizer + entree + dessert, that would probably be in the $50 range.

                  I'm not sure if the wine list is top-tier or not, but they do have a great cocktail program. Since you are already bringing a bottle of wine, it might be a good opportunity to show off cocktails, which are becoming a major part of SF foodie culture, to some out-of-town guests.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: tripit
                    Robert Lauriston RE: tripit Jun 3, 2011 02:37 PM

                    Aziza's wine list is quite good.

                    http://www.aziza-sf.com/wine.html

                    1. re: tripit
                      m
                      ML8000 RE: tripit Jun 3, 2011 04:42 PM

                      +1

                      1. re: tripit
                        Civil Bear RE: tripit Jun 3, 2011 05:10 PM

                        Good call tripit. I am not sure how their tasting menu now works as they seemed to have replaced the pre-fixe option with it, but the beauty of the pre-fixe was that a table of five would pretty much get to sample the whole menu.

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                        Aziza
                        5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

                      2. w
                        whiner RE: luciacoronel Jun 5, 2011 01:31 PM

                        In descending order:

                        Ame
                        The Dining Room At The Ritz
                        Boulevard
                        Perbacco

                        If you can go up to $85ish before tax and alcohol, La Folie is the best restaurant in the city, imo.

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                        Perbacco
                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: whiner
                          Windy RE: whiner Jun 5, 2011 01:35 PM

                          3 courses at La Folie is $75 (4 is $85); the vegetarian prix fixe roughly the same.

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

                          1. re: Windy
                            w
                            whiner RE: Windy Jun 5, 2011 01:41 PM

                            Yes, but who goes to La Folie and gets 3 courses?! ;-)

                            That is why I said "85ish" - I've never not gotten 5. Granted, 5 is a 3 hour 20 minute meal with several additional courses brought out, but still...

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

                            1. re: whiner
                              Windy RE: whiner Jun 5, 2011 01:46 PM

                              Fair enough, but who gets out of Ame or The Ritz for less than La Folie?

                              And I agree, I much prefer La Folie for a fancy occasion to almost everything on this thread so far.

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

                              1. re: Windy
                                w
                                whiner RE: Windy Jun 5, 2011 02:07 PM

                                Obviously we are in agreement re: the quality of La Folie. But re: the price differentials, I think I generally spend about $65/person before tax and tip at Ame, assuming I'm ordering dessert.

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

                          2. re: whiner
                            m
                            ML8000 RE: whiner Jun 5, 2011 01:54 PM

                            Is the $75 per/person out the door, tax, tip, drink...or is it the menu price?

                            I ask because those are very different. Typically if you double the entre price, you get the rough price per/person when drinks, apps, tax and tip are added...actually now it's probably double plus 10%.

                            1. re: ML8000
                              l
                              luciacoronel RE: ML8000 Jun 6, 2011 07:33 AM

                              I tried making a reservation at all the places mentioned above by everyone (aside from Aziza, that although looks fantastic may be too adventurous for the out-of-towners) and the only place that had a table for 5 for next Sat is Ame, and only at 9 pm! So Ame it is this time...

                              1. re: luciacoronel
                                w
                                whiner RE: luciacoronel Jun 6, 2011 08:27 AM

                                You'll love it. One of my very favorites in the city.

                              2. re: ML8000
                                Ruth Lafler RE: ML8000 Jun 6, 2011 10:26 AM

                                According to her original post it was the menu price -- she specified she wanted to be out the door for $100/person total (not including wine).

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