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

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. 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. 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

        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. 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

          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

            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

              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

                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

                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

                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

                  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. What about Quince? Is that too expensive?