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May 4, 2012 08:09 AM

After Manresa and French Laundry

My partner and I are coming up to the Bay Area for a long weekend in June. We have a Saturday night dinner reservation at Manresa and a Sunday lunch reservation at French Laundry. We are staying in the city (Mission) and still have Monday night free. Where shall we go next!

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  1. Are you looking for a break from those, or more of the same?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbulkow

      I've been considering that. My extravagant mind was thinking Coi or Crenn to keep the theme going, but I think something more down to earth might be in order (and they are not open on Mondays).

      1. Monday suggestions:

        Personally I'd cancel either Manresa or the French Laundry. I can't imagine eating two meals like that so close together.

        17 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          And it's a lot of driving in those two days. djquinnc would basically drive home from Los Gatos, sleep and then need to head off to FL.

          I'd cancel Manresa. My opinion may be in the minority, but I found the place to be over-rated and over-priced. I'd go instead to Commis in Oakland--closer in, better food and value--our current favorite special meal.

          For Monday, I note that Gary Danko and Quince both serve on Monday, as does Piperade (maybe not in the same category, but very good IMHO and worth a meal).

          1. re: Rapini

            Have to agree with Commis, one of the best meals of my life. Go for the wine pairing, the sommelier was great fun to talk to and the wines well matched.

            1. re: Rapini

              Haven't been to Manresa, but I spoke to the French director of a documentary on restauranteur Michel Bras and he told me that the meal he ate at Manresa last Saturday was the third best of his life. Didn't ask him what #1 and 2 were.

              1. re: Rapini

                I was considering Quince, but it looks like it has become significantly "elevated" from the last time I looked at their website (I'm probably not picking the right adjective). I've wondered about Cotogna, as I love Italian the most - esp. pasta. On my last visits, I found both Perbaccco and Flour+Water quite lovely on their own merits. although my second visit to Flour+Water wasn't as consistently good as my first.

                1. re: djquinnc

                  If you liked Flour+Water, definitely check out Cotogna. There are a dozen or more places in SF doing menus more or less like that, I think Cotogna's the best.

                  Seems like Quince is going for a second Michelin star and has gone even further in the Frenchy direction.

                  1. re: djquinnc

                    Another possibility--casual, good, open Monday: Delfina.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        We will be staying walking distance from Delfina. Thanks for the confident recommendation. Plenty of friends speak quite highly of meals had there.

                  2. re: Rapini

                    I wanted to report back that I had always filed your recommendation for Commis in the back of my mind. I just had a work trip up North this week and dined alone at the counter. Along with Manresa and Annisa in NYC, it is one of the most memorable meals I've had this year - the food, the attentive and warm service, and the ambiance. I loved watching the meditative, mindful way that the cooks were preparing the food. There was this one dish - "goats milk and honey, candy cap mushrooms with sunchokes and yarrow" - I could eat this every day. Chef James has something really remarkable going on up there and I am eager to return upon my next jaunt up North.

                  3. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Absolutely disagree - we have been eating at Manresa one night and then the next day driving to Yountviile and eating at French laundry that evening for years.

                    1. re: lizziee

                      This is dinner one night and lunch the next day.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Dinner and than lunch is a bit much but if you don't live in the Bay Area it makes sense. Also you could in theory order prix fixe at Manresa and the tasting menu at TFL but if you're going to travel that far, might as well go for the tasting menu.

                        1. re: ML8000

                          If the choices were French Laundry for lunch, or no French Laundry for lunch, I would go to French Laundry, regardless of where I ate the evening before.

                          I would switch it up on Monday though. How about Sushi Ran in Sausalito? Or maybe Jai Yun? Or Slanted Door, or Burma Superstar for something less expensive.

                          1. re: calumin

                            The best antidote of fine dining is something rustic yet light. Asian food usually works great.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Usually we go to Manresa on Wed night for dinner, then drive to Napa - light lunch and then dinner at French laundry on Thursday night. Trust me it works out perfectly.

                          1. re: lizziee

                            Obviously mileage varies. If you know from experience you enjoy it, that's great, but when I ate at Manresa, I couldn't look at food until about 6pm the next day.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              After an extended tasting menu at Manresa, I got a Double Double and a milkshake.


                    2. Canteen

                      oops... they are closed Mondays.

                      Would have been a nice, casual but wonderful contrast to your other high end meals.

                      1. You will have a lovely, memorable time dining at both even if you only get to taste a bit of each course of the lunch and the early morning drive up to the French Laundry should be beautiful with mist off the vineyards (get up early!)

                        Book a spa treat somewhere for Sunday afternoon if you can or visit stunning Point Reyes for an appetite stimulating before/digesting walk after lunch on Sunday and then on Monday explore the City and, if possible, make a reservation at the Michelin-starred Moroccan restaurant Aziza in the Richmond, which is open Monday night (but not Tuesday).

                        You sound like savvy, experienced Bay Area visitors for getting both those reservations, so you've probably already done the Ferry Bldg (for breakfast/lunch/brunch and stuff to carry home on Monday) but that leaves wandering the Mission for tacos or a hippie breakfast at Boogaloos.The tofu scramble and pile of potatoes are great.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rccola

                          Aziza has been on my radar for a while. Sounds like a good treat, and a nice switch up from the uber high end stuff we will have had the days prior.

                          I'm always able to sneak a trip to the Ferry Building when I visit! Still haven't had that porchetta yet - hopefully I can cross that off my list too.