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Want to treat my wife to special dinner in Bay Area - both vegetarian

Hi all,

My wife is from the Bay Area but has lived in London with me (I'm Irish) for the past ten years or so. She's recently had to move back to the Bay Area for an extended period of time to look after a family member, and I'm visiting in a few weeks.

I'd like a really special venue to take her out to in the SF to Palo Alto area - though we visit several times a year we usually don't venture much outside her family haunt (Santa Cruz). We've been to Greens, which though nice, wasn't what I was looking for (would prefer somewhere less 'homely' and more gastronomically interesting).

Difficult to describe the menu she likes if you've not been to the UK but her favourite is the vegetarian tasting menu of :

Greenhouse: http://www.greenhouserestaurant.co.uk...

She found the attention paid to each ingredient as the main focus of the dish was fantastic.

For pure vegetarian restaurants she likes:

Vanilla Black (in London): http://www.vanillablack.co.uk/menus/a...
David Bann (in Edinburgh): http://www.davidbann.com/mainmeals.php

She also had a great time at the Fat Duck, though don't except this for our meal:
Fat Duck (vegetarian menu not on their website, but review here): http://gaztronomy.blogspot.com/2008/0...

Essentially I'd like somewhere elegant, modern, romantic, and with really nice vegetarian options/tasting menu (though by no means needs to be a vegetarian restaurant).

Any suggestions most welcome.

Many thanks.

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  1. You might consider Millennium, which is fairly cutting edge for vegetarian cuisine. I have taken two different friends there, and the response was good.


    1. If you can get a reservation, French Laundry has a wonderful vegetable tasting menu. I haven't been to Fleur de Lys for several years, but their vegetarian tasting menu was also great. La Folie is still top-notch, and they have an excellent menu jardiniere. Cyrus in Healdsburg too.

      The French Laundry
      6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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

        1. re: Beach Chick

          Recent downhill report on Ubuntu:


          Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
          1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Well that blows..

            Robert...listening to your brilliant 'oh death and mutations'...can't get enough of it..

        2. Looking at the pictures of the Greenhouse's food, Manresa is the easy choice.

          Manresa Restaurant
          320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            It sounds like they are coming from Santa Cruz so Manresa is also much easier to get to and from than the further north options.

            It also sounds like (coming in a few weeks) that the dinner needs to be planned during the festive holiday season when reservations are even harder to get. Last year I was able easily to get a reservation at Manresa for my mid-December birthday.

            Manresa Restaurant
            320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Here's the blog for Manresa's farm: http://www.growbetterveggies.com/

              Manresa Restaurant
              320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

            2. I haven't had it, but I've always wanted to try the vegetarian tasting menu at Fleur De Lys, which I believe is the restaurant that made Hubert Keller famous.

              Fleur De Lys
              777 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94109

              1. Coi's tasting menu is vegetable-driven, and they can swap out any meat tastes you don't want.

                1. I think Coi or Manressa would be perfect.

                  1. Fleur de Lys has a great vegetarian tasting menu in very traditional romantic setting, Quince made a vegetarian tasting menu for us and nice setting. Saha has lots of vegan and vegetarian choice. Greens which is all vegetarian has great view of the marina but I find the food hit or miss. Going to Manesa next week and the spouse is vegetarian so will check that out. We've been to Coi and had the vegetarian tasting menu, it was good but not as good as at Fleur de Lys. Millennium is good vegetarian food but it's not terribly exciting and creative with it's dishes.

                    So my first choice would be Fleur de Lys.

                    1. Thanks everyone for your great suggestions - sounds like whatever we visit we have plenty of future places that we need to check out!

                      She has always wanted to visit French Laundry, but 512window is correct that I'm coming over Thanksgiving time so though I'll try today to get a reservation, it seems very unlikely.

                      We're staying around Palo Alto/SJ area so Manressa would be great, and Robert, you're right from the pictures of Manressa's food I think that's exactly what she'd love. But may also try to sneak in a SF dinner at Coi/Fleur de Lys if they have availability as well.

                      Will let you know how it goes - Cheers!

                      The French Laundry
                      6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: foodieguitardoc

                        we just had dinner at Aziza on Geary. in SF My husband's a vegetarian and he thought there were some great choices on the menu. it's also along the line of more gastronomically adventurous
                        The sommelier was very good too

                      2. I agree emphatically with the recommendations of Manresa and Coi: They both fit "elegant, modern, romantic, and with really nice vegetarian options/tasting menu" to a T! They are the best Bay Area fit with the criteria and examples you've laid out.

                        Have fun!