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Anniversary dinner advice

It is our 5 year anniversary this saturday. I have been tasked with looking for a "special occasion" restaurant for dinner. The stipulations are: great ambiance, good appetizers, great desserts and cocktails, interesting main courses. Our budget is $120-$150. I read through the previous threads and the following places are the ones I am thinking about. I would welcome opinions and/or additional suggestions.

Note: I do have reservations for commis on saturday night but I read the reviews on yelp and they commented on the portion sizes being small. Would like to know if I should just got to Commis.

- Aziza: seems to be a board favorite but was not sure on the desserts.
- Gitane: Was recommended as a special occasion restaurant and I liked the overall menu and looked to meet all the specifications.
- AQ and Prospect: Would love to hear your thoughts on these.
- Foreign Cinema and Plum: Do they fit the "special occasion" criteria?
- Haven: Was not really enthused by the desserts

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  1. Foreign Cinema is consistent and very good, but unless the film on the wall is a particular lure for you both, I wouldn't consider the food innovative or fancy enough for an anniversary. Good for relatives though.

    Based on a single recent experience, I wasn't that impressed with Plum and the delicious charcuterie aside, found the food consistently overcooked or under seasoned.

    1. Plum is very casual and doesn't read special occasion to me. Not only is the space casual, but the food/service is presented casually as well. It doesn't read "hip" so much as innovative neighborhood drop-in place. Also you may very well be sitting at communal tables.

      AQ is more hip, still pretty casual in terms of space and service - though food is definitely presented with ambition and flair. Pretty innovative so I would check out the menu to make sure is your speed. Reads very "SF" to me.

      Gitane has a lot of flair and the food is interesting. Not the best or stand-out food of SF but definitely has a vibe and reads special to me.

      1. Go to Commis. The portions are not small compared to other tasting menus I've had. They do special well (mention your anniv to them in advance).

        1. AQ is great.

          I like Plum and have always eaten well there but it's kind of spartan.

          Commis is $150 for two before drinks, tax, or tip.

          1. Thank you for the suggestions.

            Robert - yes, I forgot to mention that the budget stated for not for Commis.

            So at this point it is between AQ and Commis.

            1. Don't know that you'll get in on short notice, but Fleur de Lys is definitely special-occasion worthy. Bring your own wine and you could get out for $150/two.

              1. Just now got back from AQ, great dinner, really great. Wouldn't consider it anniversary worthy however. Pretty loud and not very intimate. Neighborhood is a bit dicey as well. If it is this Saturday be forewarned it is Bastille Day so avoid French restaurants. Check Open Table and see what is available and check back

                2 Replies
                1. re: sfgal2

                  Thanks sfgal2. From the looks of it I am leaning towards Commis.

                  1. re: SFNewbie

                    FWIW, the first time I went to Commis it was for my birthday. I received a card signed by the entire staff. I've sent friends there also for their birthdays and have received only glowing reports. The food is excellent and a great value and the service is very personable. It actually feels special.

                2. commis is _way_ better than foreign cinema or aziza imo.

                  1. Commis it is! They called to confirm and as rubadubgdub suggested I mentioned that it was our anniversary. Will report back.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SFNewbie

                      FWIW, we went to Commis to celebrate our engagement shortly after they first opened and it's been our anniversary spot ever since (all three years of it....) They've never disappointed. The portions are small, but there are multiple courses and I've never left hungry. The service and attention to detail set it apart from some of the other nice spots in the area. From your list, I've only been to Foreign Cinema (years ago, but didn't get the special occasion vibe), Plum (outstanding for a group with the chef's menu but only okay for a meal for two, in my experience), Aziza (love but not a special occasion feel for me), and Haven (have only been for brunch so not sure how dinner compares, but may be a good special occasion spot based on that experience). So I think you picked well--hope you have a wonderful meal!

                    2. I just wanted to report back on our dinner at Commis. It was fantastic!!! We had a reservation for 9pm but by the time they seated us it was closer to 9:30 (a group was late to leave). Not the fault of the restaurant though. Service was very warm and non-intrusive. My favorite dishes were the beef tenderloin, blackberry sponge and the poached egg yolk. And of course, I didnt leave hungry :)

                      Thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction. This is going to be our "special" restaurant from now on. I have added the picture of the menu that we were served.