40th Anniversary - Need advice for 2 dinners!
I am helping to plan my parents 40th wedding anniversary trip to San Francisco and would love everyone's advice on dinners for a Saturday and a Sunday night.... They have been to Chez Panisse, Boulevard and Slanted Door on previous trips so I am looking other similar, amazing, "wow" restaurants... Ideas are Quince, Spruce, Aquarello, La Folie... Money is no object, so let me know wherever you think they would have the most amazing experience!!
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709
Aquerello would be a lovely choice for a 40th anniversary celebration, especially for diners who would appreciate an opportunity to "dress" for dinner and save their khakis for another evening. Food and wine list are both outstanding and service is impeccable. It's more of an old-world, fine dining atmosphere, with tables spread far enough apart to enjoy conversation. They also have a cheese cart, a nice touch for cheese lovers, which always helps to make a dinner feel special. The pictures on their website will give you an idea if the atmosphere is suitable to your needs. It will never be a trendy, hip place, that's not what they're going for. It will, however, always be a dependably delicious way to spend an evening and leave feeling like you have been treated as a special guest. Book early for a Saturday evening and they are closed on Sunday.
A suggestion for Sunday which you have not mentioned is the new Michael Mina on California St. Thoroughly enjoyed our dinner there last weekend. More of a sexy, cool vibe, excellent service, and nice touches on the menu- ricotta honey spread for grilled bread, grilled cheese and tomato soup amuse bouche, compressed watermelon/fig salad, all meats chosen - duck, steak, chicken and pork chop, were tender and flavorful and came with interesting accompaniments.
Good food doesn't mean much if it's not backed up by professional waitstaff. Neither of these restaurants will disappoint in either regard.
I have very much enjoyed delicious tasting menus, elegant atmosphere and impeccable service at Jardiniere, Masa's, and Gary Danko. All were excellent... Jardiniere was the most exquisite food-wise, Masa's the most private atmosphere (tables luxuriously far apart) -- but the service at Gary Danko was just incredible. They were attentive but unobtrusive, friendly without being familiar, and my favorite part: not everyone at the table has to do the same number of courses, so for example one person can get a five-course while the other gets three, and you can share cheese and dessert. If you're into that moderation thing. I highly recommend the wine pairings at all three.
800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109
648 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
more traditional fine dining places would be gary danko, la folie, acquerello, fleur de lys.
more modern fine dining places would be saison, coi, benu, crenn, commis (oakland)
somewhere in the middle is quince -- very modern space and service, food somewhere in the middle between traditional and modern.
jai yun and kappa are also really nice for authentic upscale chinese and japanese food, respectively.
all these places are good, you can't really go wrong with any of them -- i'd suggest just looking at the menus, some pictures and reviews from yelp, and deciding for yourself which looks best.
i think it depends a lot on what type of food your parents like. would they rather have a big chunk of foie gras, or some organic vegetables prepared in a way they've never seen before? if the former, go to la folie. if the latter, go to coi.
but overall i'd say acquerello and fleur de lys or la folie would be your safest bets.