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$1000 budget 1 week in SF

Fellow Hounds,

Ok, it's been a LONG time since I posted, but asking for your help seems the wisest thing to do. So, in advance, I thank you very much.

I have been charged with designing a culinary tour of SF and surrounds for one week for 10-16 dedicated foodies from Florida, in October. I have a budget of $1000 per person - just for restaurants. They're eaters, as opposed to cooking class attendees.

I haven't been to the boards in forever because I haven't been dining out much for a while, so I'm a bit out of touch.

I need your help. And this is the tricky part. Coming up with a clear enough question that doesn't take a lot of quailfying, or waste your time.

If you had $1000, which three to five restaurants would you make sure you went to, to get the most bang for your buck over one week's time, based on the following criteria (doesn't have to be 100%)?

Food and service are impressive (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
Anything good, from Food Truck to the French Lauundry (in fact, such a spectrum would be great)
Celebrity chefs are a plus (I know...yawn)
Open to groups
Good variety of flavor/ethnicity/style/ambiance
Memorable

Here are some I'm considering:

Atelier Crenn
AQ
Michael Mina
Gary Danko (although I don't think they like groups over 10)
Aziza
Yank Sing
Wayfarers Tavern
Nick's Crispy Tacos
Flour and Water
Acquerello
L'Ardoise
Saison
Cotogna
Mission Chinese
Off the Grid

Any top faves from this list? What's missing?

Any help would be sincerely appreciated.

Thank you.

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  1. I really enjoyed Benu. I thought it was creative without being overly precious, and read "formal"/special occasion" while being effortless. The beverage pairings are a must.

    I would take Saison off your list as the ticketing system + price make it, I imagine, not worth it for the group:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836418

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95

      Benu looks really lovely, thanks goldangl.

    2. Cotogna over Flour + Water (similar menus).

      1 Reply
      1. add Mayflower or some other "real" chinese restaurant with seafood in the tanks
        add Jai Yun
        replace Nick's Crispy Tacos with La Taqueria and Taqueria Cancun or El Farolito
        add Roli Roti Porchetta Sandwich
        add Sawa in Sunnyvale (call ahead to get a $100 per person menu from him.)

        4 Replies
        1. re: Dustin_E

          Thanks, Dustin. We will be going to Ferry Building for breakfast on the Saturday they're here. I'll make sure Roli Roti is on the collective menu, thanks. Don't think we'll make it down the Peninsula. Would Jai Yun be the Chinatown choice?

          1. re: tom in sf

            yes, it's innovative, nothing like any other Chinese place around. pre-fixe. Highly recommend. If you want something more straightforward, Z&Y Garden is great for sichuan.

            1. re: mariacarmen

              jai yun is really amazing and really unique (at least for outside of china), if it is within the budget. highly, highly recommended for a group of visiting foodies.

            2. re: tom in sf

              What's unique about Jai Yun is that you can get a banquet-style multicourse Shanghai meal for a small party, or sometimes even a solo diner.

              Since you have a big group, you might be able to arrange a more amazing Chinese banquet somewhere else, though on the other hand I'm not sure there's a better Shanghai place in town.

          2. I was just in SF for a trip and really enjoyed my experience at Tacolicious, http://tacolicioussf.com/
            They have 3 locations, with one being the Ferry Building on Thursdays only. I will say that the only downside was that it was busy and we had to wait 30 minutes for a table (first come first served.

            )

            I also really liked Foreign Cinema, http://www.foreigncinema.com/home.html
            The venue is unique and so much fun...they play old black and white films on the outdoor patio's wall all night. The pricing on the menu is in the higher range, but the selection of food is worth it. And if your group is into oysters, well, they got em'...lots of them.

            Have a fantastic time!

            2 Replies
            1. re: MaggieFSW

              Foreign Cinema, good idea. Something they wouldn't get in Jacksonville. Thanks, Maggie.

              1. re: tom in sf

                The food is pretty straightforward California Cuisine. If you go, time dinner to coincide with the start of the film (get there right before dusk) and make sure to reserve outside seats. It can get chilly, even with the heat lamps, so dress appropriately.

            2. Baker and Banker, Spruce, Nopa. Canteen.