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Festive French Dinner for Bastille Day, Sat. 7/14

I am looking for good food (a given), and a great place for dinner this Saturday.

We have been to restaurant in the hotel downtown (I forgot the name) on Bastille Day a few years ago and wasn't all that impressed with the food, and the festivities.

We like Le P'tit Laurent on Chenery, and have eaten there numerous times, although it is good, it is not that special food-wise and is always jam packed. This Saturday night they will have a DJ playing music.

Can anyone recommend something else in SF. Not formal, just excellent food and celebration.

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  1. I assume Cafe Claude is the type of place you are looking for. I haven't been to Amelie but it also may be worth a look.

    Chapeau! has solid classic french food, so you may want to look into that as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thanks, we were thinking of Cafe Claude too.

      Chapeau! is not one of our favorites. The last time we were there, a few years ago, the owner absolutely drove me nuts with his yammering and glad handing. He spent almost as much time at our table as we did.

      I don't know Amelie, but I'll check it out.

      I am basically looking for a small bistro type of venue. Nothing fancy or downtown... Any other neighborhood choices.

      What do you guys think of Le P'tit Laurent? We have eaten there more than a few times. It is good, but again, nothing special. Same with Chou Chou, sometimes excellent, sometimes so so.

      We haven't eaten at Spencer ... any comments on it?

      1. re: Canthespam

        Baker St Bistro is a dependable choice. I believe Alamo Sq Seafood Grill is French-owned and offers tasty food at excellent prices. Both are small neighborhood bistros. I haven't been to Chez Spencer but friends love it. It will be finer dining than the others.

        Was Jeanne d'Arc in the Cornell the place you've been to? It's quite a throwback!

        1. re: rubadubgdub

          Yes, I think it was Jeanne d'Arc. I was underwhelmed. Again the owner (the old man) drove us nuts. He sat down at our table, nothing else for him to do, and right in front of his wife, flirted with out single woman table companion. She was about his age and loved every second of it, especially when he shared his bottle of wine with HER, not us!
          Boy was his wife p*ssed.

          Thanks for the tips, I'll do some homework tomorrow. I have heard good things about Garcon. I'll check out Baker St. and Alamo Sq.

        2. re: Canthespam

          Too bad about Chapeau. One of our favorites. They always send out something extra like another dessert and I love being greeted so warmly by Ellen and Philippe. They even let me observe in the kitchen one afternoon which inspired me to try to make stock again. Fascinating to watch how they made the praline for the cake they were making. Their food is always consistently excellent.

      2. i am currently in love again with Garçon.

        http://www.garconsf.com/

        1. The places on Belden Lane hold an annual Bastille Day "block party". Google or call one of the restaurants.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            i love belden place - but the op didn't want to go downtown...

            1. re: mariacarmen

              Actually mariacarmen, Belden was my first choice, but the alley gets pretty nutsy on Bastille Day.

              I will have to make a decision ASAP as I'm sure they all be booked for Saturday.

              1. re: Canthespam

                it's very true - you'd lose some of that festive spirit as the alley devolves into a frathouse!

                you inspired me. i just made a res at my own fave, Garçon!

          2. La Folie Lounge?

            Belden is an insane zoo on Bastille Day. I think Cafe Claude is, too.

            1. Presidio Social Club is doing something on BD that involves foie. Le Charm is doing a prix fixe menu. Fringale also comes to mind. Absinthe is a very good brasserie but may not be doing anything special for the day; nonetheless, the bar area (serves full menu) is always lively.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rubadubgdub

                rubadub, i was just at Absinthe last month, and while it's still a really lively, fun place, we didn't find the food to be as good as i remembered... in particular, their salade lyonnaise was just terrible - it seemed like it had an almost "french" dressing on it - sweet and orange.... the fries were still good....

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Absinthe disappointed us a few months ago when we were there. The service and the food was just not up to par.

              2. L'ardoise in the Castro? I can't see any special celebration notes for Bastille Day on their website, but it might be worth a phone call.

                http://www.ardoisesf.com/index.html

                2 Replies
                1. re: Frosty Melon

                  Thanks for all of your suggestions - I'll save them for future use. We ended up at Le P'tit Laurent for drinks and dessert and to listen to the DJ that came on at 10:30. We had fabulous oysters at home. It was a night like any other there, crowded, slow service and my husband's cheese cake was bland and absolutely tasteless. My escargots were a bit salty, as always, but my profiteroles were excellent. The wine and kir royale were excellent too.

                  We were very disappointed as Laurent had told us that the DJ was part of their Bastille Day celebration. The music was LOUD and indescribable. Yes, I had hoped for Piaf, Trenet, Aznavour, etc.. as the crowd is generally older. No festive vibe, flags waving, etc...

                  1. re: Canthespam

                    sorry you had such a bad night.... i don't think I'd keep going there....

                    I didn't end up going to Garcon - busy day/evening. we ended up doing a quickie meal at Rice Broker (across the street and down a block.) But it's still on my short list to revisit.