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One Great San Francisco Fine Dining Experience?

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My husband and I will be coming to the Bay Area in early October to celebrate his 40th birthday. We'll be heading out to Napa for two of the three nights, but will have one evening in San Francisco. We're looking for a special meal - tasting menu, ideally with wine pairings, that is extremely well executed with service to match. I've been pouring over the boards and am a bit conflicted. From the menus alone, Quince seems to be top on my list (but saw mixed reviews on the boards?). Saison looks great, but don't really want to do a $500/chef's counter and I don't get much from the regular menu? Benu looks interesting, but the current tasting menu didn't wow us. Atelier Crenn also came up, but not sure the cooking will live up to the hype/techniques? Manresa looks fabulous, but don't want to go to Los Gatos. We are game for adventurous, but not for the sake of it. I suppose our preferences tend towards European/French but we really enjoy Farm to Table and Contemporary American. So SF 'Hounds, where would you send us?!?!?! Thanks in advance....

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  1. Take a look at the tasting menu at Acquerello. High-end food with an Italian flair and excellent wine pairings. The dining room is very pleasant and the service is good.

    http://www.acquerello.com/menus/degus...

    2 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Here is a very positive recent thread on Acquerello:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/803773

      1. re: DavidT

        The menu looks great!

      2. Recent topic on hign-end tasting menus: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831229

        1. i'd say just go to quince.

          it fits what you're looking for exactly (european / frenchish / new american / farm-to-table). any restaurant at a high price point is going to have mixed reviews on the board, as people expect to be 'wowed' and different people are 'wowed' by different things.

          the downside of quince is that the cooking is straightforward. i think this makes some people feel they aren't getting a good value there. other people feel this allows their ingredients and techniques to shine.

          i like quince, don't love it, but think it is probably your best bet here.

          1. >> I don't get much from the regular menu

            I assume this means you don't know what your meal will contain. these are two very descriptive blogs posts of meals, which are very close to what i was served there last summer:

            http://www.alifewortheating.com/calif...
            http://www.andyhayler.com/show_restau...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dustin_E

              thx.

            2. Also, I should say that in Restaurant Years in San Francisco, six months leeway is HUGE.

              You might get recommendations now that will be wildly different a month before your trip; there might be a new place that is the hot spot in town or a local favorite might plummet or close.

              I'd check back in late August and early September to confirm whatever choice you make now.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Another good point...I will stay tuned to the SF board!

              2. if you're fine with mostly veggie courses, coi

                1. I would go to Atelier Crenn. The techniques are one part of what makes it such a different dining experience. It's not hype; they are actually using different methods, things that you can't easily do at home. The wine pairings are also good and interesting.