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Rich Table or AQ?

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Hi SF folks. My husband and I have a rare kid-free weekend coming up in early November (we live in Portland, OR). Saturday night I have reservations at both Rich Table and AQ. I need to cancel one of them (soon... I don't want to take up a reservation unnecessarily). I am having a hard time deciding between the two. I eat vegetarian + fish, and my husband is an omnivore. Benu seemed appealing, but tasting menus are usually full of lots of meaty things that I don't want.Rich Table seems a bit more like places we have in Portland, but it's hard to tell. We are staying in SOMA, so AQ is closer to our hotel, but I don't know where we'll be pre-dinner, so that may not play into it. We want a great, memorable meal, but nothing too formal or stuffy. Looking for more unusual flavors and a more "modern" experience, food that offers a bit of a surprise, but nothing too cerebral or "trying too hard." Food that is prepared in more of a "clean" style- vibrant flavors, not crazy heavy is preferable. I know that AQ has been around longer than RIch Table, and it seems like RT is getting a lot of buzz right now, but don't know how many people have actually had a chance to eat there. Any insight or more detailed description of the food/experience at these two places would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I haven't been to Rich Table to compare, but AQ does really good and original things with vegetables and grains.

    1. I've been to both in the last month and would highly recommend....both of them. Really excellent dining experiences, and I think both are creative without that "try too hard" air that can make fine dining a drag.

      Dining room at AQ is much larger and airier--I'd give it the nod atmosphere wise. Both menus have excellent fish options--I think I ate primarily fish or grains at both. Both have full bars if that factors in: I preferred my cocktail at Rich Table and had great wine recommendations at AQ.

      Sorry if that's not a helpful, forceful answer. If I were you, I'd make it a gut-feeling question based on scanning their online menus. Which appeals more?

      2 Replies
      1. re: pane

        I am also trying to decide between AQ and RT for early November. Sounds like maybe we should hit both!

        1. re: grayelf

          Correct!

      2. I've only eaten once at Rich Table and eat at AQ every month so it's not a fair comparison but I would still pick AQ. Rich Table is still working out kinks I think.