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1 Night in SF - Restaurant that can't be missed? Looking for a different experience... Any $$$

Will be visiting with my partner for 1 night who hasn't ever been to San Fran. We are both foodies and love an 'experience' dinner rather than run of a mill when in a new city.

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  1. Give a hint, please, on the kinds of food you like...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tripeler

      Fantastic Asian food (almost any type except Indian - we eat a load of that in Sydney), Degustations (modern,french, fusion). Great Italian... Doesn't really help that much I guess but I love all foods! :) Anything that's a bit of an SF insitution? Where would you take a visitor you wanted to show a great night out?

    2. Why did you tell LA about the vegetarian option and not us?:-)

      5 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        Hehe - after a little investigation it seems that most good, higher end places tend to have good veg options, similar to Syd. Definitely exclude steak houses though!!!!!

        1. re: yvettem

          Would fair dinkum be an appropriate response?

          1. re: wolfe

            Provided you don't suggest we go somewhere we can throw any kind of shrimp on a barbie...

            1. re: yvettem

              Never, although when I went to Paris Virginia for the wedding of a Melbourne native, whose family flew in, I did discover that Heinekens is Australian for beer if that's the best available.
              Here's a thread with some vegetarian suggestions for the mixed couple,omni/herb.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799722
              and places that have good steaks but are NOT steakhouses.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/559665

          2. re: yvettem

            I completely disagree about high end places with good veg offerings. Boulevard and Zuni are particularly bad. My sister is veg and I have to pick dinner spots carefully.

            If I was showing someone a good time? Saison! Took the parents there a few months back and it was a wonderful evening. Very relaxed and san Francisco style.

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            Zuni Cafe
            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            Saison
            2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Those are both good discussions. Since you mention $$$ is not a concern, I'll throw out there that Atelier Crenn either has or will have shortly a premium wine pairing option. They seem to be acquiring some really beautiful stuff as of late. Also, they have an all veg tasting menu starting Tuesday.

            Next on my list to try is Benu.

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            Benu
            22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            Atelier Crenn
            3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

            1. I would look at Delfina (Italian), Fleur de Lys and maybe Quince.

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

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Benu would fit what you are looking for. Minus the SF institution part.

                  Asian, modern, fusion, and French (kind of). Chef was chef de cuisine at The French Laundry.

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                  The French Laundry
                  6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  Benu
                  22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                2. Coi and Atelier Crenn are the two best bets for providing an "experience" dinner. Everything else will seem vaguely or overly familiar. Coi and Atelier Crenn have the capacity to surprise.

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                  Coi
                  373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Atelier Crenn
                  3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Paul H

                    Coi suprrised me by being incredibly disappointing, and making me feel like I'd paid a lot of money for something that did not deserve it.

                    I have not tried Atelier Crenn, but it's very high on my list of places to try.

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                    Atelier Crenn
                    3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                  2. Thanks so much for the great suggestions!! Atelier Crenn looks like the pick for us. Might even have to stretch to two nights though so we can try some more... Hugely appreciate all the help and suggestions. :) Let me know if you ever head Sydney way and I'll return the favour :)

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                    Atelier Crenn
                    3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                    1. I've always loved Fleur de Lys, it's a beautiful restaurant. Gary Danko is very well thought of.

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

                      1. If youre looking for something unusual, I think Commonwealth is one of the more interesting restaurants around. Also in the mission and very good is monks kettle. Alembic in the haight can be pretty adventurous. NOPA is an obvious choice, but also if youre in the mood for very fresh seafood, consider Bar Crudo.

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                        Bar Crudo
                        655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: chuckl

                          Really? Compared to, say, Incanto? I had a full calves brain for the first time in my life. I've never seen anything that adventurous at Commonwealth or Alembic.

                          1. re: bbulkow

                            Like beauty, I suppose adventurous is in the eye of the beholder. For me, this is a fairly interesting menu, the service is very good, and i thought everything was well executed.

                            http://www.commonwealthsf.com/menus/a...

                        2. If it's an institution you want, go to Tadich Grill on California.

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                          Tadich Grill
                          240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111