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Great food, drinks and atmosphere in SF

s
senoreata Jun 9, 2011 02:13 PM

Hello all,

Please recommend a dinner spot in San Francisco for two couples in our mid-thirties (visiting from Orange County). First and foremost, we're looking for somewhere with amazing food, but also a fun atmosphere (not stuffy - no jackets) where we can spend a couple of hours enjoying dinner and drinks. We are open to cuisine, but are less interested in Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese for this particular dinner.

Friends have recommended the following:

Gitane
Prospect
Cotogna (my first choice but can't get a res)
Wayfare Tavern
Canteen

We'd like to keep the cost to maybe $60 - $75 for food (not inclusive of tax and tip).

Also, if there are any places that offer a great tasting menu, we'd be willing to go higher.

Many thanks in advance for the input. If you need more info or direction, please let me know.

Cheers!

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Gitane Restaurant & Bar
6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

Wayfare Tavern
558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

Cotogna
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. wolfe RE: senoreata Jun 9, 2011 02:37 PM

    Aziza.
    http://www.chow.com/restaurants/23/aziza

    2 Replies
    1. re: wolfe
      k
      katielp RE: wolfe Jun 9, 2011 11:50 PM

      Strongly second Aziza. Terrific drinks--the gin and celery juice cocktail gives the Alembic a run for its money. Surprisingly refined, delicate food--I particularly enjoyed the simply cooked cod with mustard seed and peas; the sardines; the meatballs with roasted grapes; the ridiculous chocolate ganache dessert on a recent visit. Atmospheric lounge-y Moroccan decor.

      It is, however, a bit inconvenient unless you're driving. In the Mission, I would recommend Range or Foreign Cinema, which both score highly on the fun/atmosphere factor, and have terrific food too. Commonwealth also good, though in my mind more seriously foody, with no liquor license, and a bit of molecular gastronomy stuff going on (not always a hit, though it can be)--and threatening to get pricey.

      Canteen I think is less good, though haven't tried the other places you suggest. You might also think about Zuni for some old-school SF style--and a pretty great gin gimlet.

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      Zuni Cafe
      1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Foreign Cinema
      2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: katielp
        Windy RE: katielp Jun 10, 2011 01:06 PM

        To clarify, Commonwealth has a beer and wine license, and a great selection of wines.

    2. Ruth Lafler RE: senoreata Jun 9, 2011 02:45 PM

      That's a super-broad question, especially when you added the "willing to go higher" for great tasting menu. There are very few restaurants in SF that are stuffy and/or require jackets.

      That said, how about Bar Agricole?

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

      1. farmersdaughter RE: senoreata Jun 9, 2011 02:51 PM

        I just ate at Prospect a week ago and would recommend it for your group. Great energy in the room and nice bar area with good cocktails. The wine list was interesting and all of the dishes we tried were excellent. The seared calamari and octopus and the black cod appetizers were especially popular with us, and the scallops and the goat mains were terrific.

        Canteen is very small and doesn't have cocktails, just beer and wine, if that makes a difference to you. I love the place but probably would consider another place. Wayfare Tavern would be good as well.

        For a great tasting menu experience, consider Commonwealth in the Mission, which is serving some of the most interesting food I've had recently. The tasting menu is $65 and $10 of that goes to a local non-profit.

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        Wayfare Tavern
        558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Commonwealth
        2224 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. JasmineG RE: senoreata Jun 10, 2011 10:17 AM

          Definitely Gitane, it's the most fun atmosphere of that whole group, I think. Prospect has a stuffier feel to me, Canteen is too small (and no cocktails), Wayfare Tavern feels like an old boys club, and Aziza has an older crowd than you're looking for (and also, it's pretty far out to get to).

          -----
          Gitane Restaurant & Bar
          6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

          Wayfare Tavern
          558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

          1. w
            whiner RE: senoreata Jun 10, 2011 02:54 PM

            Perbacco
            Delfina
            Ame (no jacket, but a bit "sleek" for lack of a better word)
            NOPA (if you sit upstairs, downstairs can be too noisy)

            Second tier choices, but still good:
            Piperade
            A16 (but haven't been in a while)
            Bistro Aix

            If you are really willing to go higher than $75/p for food before tax, tip, and wine for a multi-course menu... go to La Folie. No brainer. IMO, the best restaurant in the city; the most relaxed of all the very high end restaurants in the city, too. Between the amuse buche, palate cleansers, and petit fours, ordering the $75 3 course meal is ordering at least 6 courses, the $85 4 course is about 7 courses, and the $95 5 course is about 8 courses. I wouldn't walk in in a t-shirt and jeans, but it also is not a suit and tie place either, though obviously, like anywhere, some men will be dressed like that.

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            Perbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            A16
            2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

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

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

            Piperade
            1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

            Bistro Aix
            3340 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94123

            2 Replies
            1. re: whiner
              JasmineG RE: whiner Jun 10, 2011 03:35 PM

              I wouldn't call Ame a place with a fun atmosphere. The food is great, but it's seemed like a pretty quiet and borderline stuffy place to me in the past. Perbacco is great, but a little businessy. Nopa is a great call.

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              Perbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

              Nopa
              560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              1. re: JasmineG
                s
                senoreata RE: JasmineG Jun 10, 2011 04:16 PM

                Thank you all for the input. We will give either Gitane or Prospect a try. I'll definitely keep La Folie on the list for the next time my husband and I are visiting (and it's just us).

                Thanks again!

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

                Gitane Restaurant & Bar
                6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

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