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Mar 19, 2013 05:47 AM

special occasion dinner

Coming to SF for to celebrate a 30th birthday with our son. We are looking for 2 restaurants, one on Saturday, one on Sunday night. He is a big foodie, loves to experience new places. He lives in SF and goes to many of the cool bars and restaurants in the Mission area. We have 2 vegeatarians, and the rest of us eat everything. I'd love a great food, lively atmosphere. I also was thinking about a chefs table for one night, but with the 2 vegetarians, wasn't sure that would work. Any thoughts, advice?

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  1. Atelier Crenn is pretty amazing, and offers a vegetarian tasting. It's quite pricey, and not really "lively", more a subdued, beautiful experience. Worth reading up on it. The food is, I'd say, other-worldly.

    5 Replies
    1. re: xscientist

      Yea. I'd say for SF, Atelier Crenn is the opposite of lively (the atmosphere is relaxed for a formal restaurant but still somewhat hushed).

      Quince may be a good inbetween. It's not hushed and is a beautiful room with great food it has vegeterian options but I don't know fi they do a full vegetarian tasting the way they do at Atelier Crenn.

      1. re: xscientist

        I'd been searching for a month or more for a place to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I'd given up and chosen CP when the fire hit, so, back to drawing board.

        I'm big on delicious over experimental, bigger on grass-fed, etc.

        Prefer not to drive out of city, though I guess we could stay over.

        How does anyone decide to go to Atelier Crenn without seeing a menu first? It's a lot of do-re-mi for a pig in a poke.

        I like to be able to converse at dinner (indeed am baffled by how many seem not to care about that aspect of dining out!).

        Atelier is spitting distance from our home. What did you eat?

        Thanks for any and all advice.

          1. re: Fine

            I find that the trend now-a-days for higher end dining is you show up and the chef cooks whatever they want and you just sit and eat it. I am with you, I like to have a descriptive menu and choices; but many are willing to just go and eat whatever is put in front of them.

            1. re: Fine

              i visited crenn a few weeks ago. the menu was almost exactly like the one from this blog post:


              i suspect the menu is still very similar. if you are curious, you could call and ask.

              i don't think crenn is at all similar to CP, though.

              keiko's nob hill might be a good choice for you -- their menu is set, but their dishes are pretty straightforward (like CP).

          2. could you give us more info about what places you or your son has been to and liked, what your budget is, etc?

            quince, atelier crenn, benu, keiko a nob hill, etc all offer long, expensive, multi-course tasting menus in a somewhat hushed atmosphere. they're usually considered as "the best" food. they are priced at around 100-200 per person.

            "lively" usually doesn't go along with "the best" food in sf. So maybe "pretty good" food is good enough?

            One Market, Farina, Kokkari, Chotto are all lively places with really good food. They accomodate vegetarians easily. Their food is very good, though not usually considered "the best". They are priced at more like 50-75 per person.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dustin_E

              Farina's a good place to be taken out to. Very expensive for the style of food.

              Bix is another place like that.

              1. re: Dustin_E

                We have eaten at Slanted Door, Farina, and a few others that are slipping my mind this minute. A great vegetarian restaurant? My son loves craft cocktails, and usually takes us to the latest, greatest place. Budget would be about $100pp. I do think I want lively, it's just more fun when celebrating with your family! I will look into those listed, I am so appreciative of your replies!

                1. re: Dustin_E

                  I would say Benu and Atelier Crenn are much more hushed than Quince. I found Quince pretty casual and bustling in comparison. Especially with the bar/lounge area.

                2. Very good food, lively atmosphere, vegetarian friendly and incredible service.


                  1. How about Rich Table? Lively atmosphere, excellent cocktails and wine and very good, creative food.

                    1. Commonwealth might be a nice choice. I'd describe it as "affordable molecular gastronomy" I'm pretty sure they could accommodate your party with a vegetarian tasting menu.