Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Mar 31, 2013 05:26 PM

Saison and Coi for a Vegetarian (Almost)

I am going to San Fransisco in March with my girlfriend for our 3 year Anniversary and have reservations for Saison and Coi. I made these very early to be sure to get them. I am quite the foodie (snob) but my girlfriend is not. She eats extremely healthy and is getting better about trying new food but is almost entirely a vegetarian (she might try meat one or twice a week with me).

I started to reconsider taking her to these two restaurants after I realized how much of both menus are seafood.

My question is; should I just completely change our dinner plans. I am not against spending the money assuming she would enjoy the majority of the meals. Is there any other restaurant anyone likes that both of us would enjoy?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Both restaurants can accommodate just let them know (in advance, since you can) that one of the guests is a Vegetarian and you should have no problem. Best if you do Tasting menus.

    6 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      I think there's a difference, though, between a restaurant that will "accommodate" vegetarians and one that will put out a vegetarian menu that's as interesting and inspired as the regular menu. When I'm paying that kind of $$$$ I want the latter, so can someone speak to that?

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Whether their vegetarian offerings are good may be a bit of a moving target given that the restaurants in question change their menu ever so often depending on what is in season. Moreover, it may also be a general issue of whether it's worth the money to drag someone who is not a foodie to a place like Coi or Saison regardless of dietary restrictions. Even foodies who eat everything will have varying opinions about these restaurants (and Crenn as well, of course).

        1. re: nocharge

          Many of these places change their menus every night, and there's always a chance that the menu the night you go will not be to your taste. However, I was talking about the attitude of the restaurant towards providing a vegetarian menu, not the specific offerings on the specific night. As described in the comments above, the attitude at Saison is not at all "accommodating."

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          I know from doing that most of the Restaurants at the level of these two will do more than "accommodate". especially with notice. There is a point of pride to put out something exceptional when a challenge is given.

          1. re: chefj

            I agree. That's why it's important to make the distinction between those that see it as an exciting challenge and those that see it as an imposition.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Right, so what I am saying is most Chefs at this level would not want to lose face/or reputation by putting out a mediocre Dishes.
              In addition by calling ahead the Chef has the opportunity to decide whether it is a challenge he/she would want to take.

      2. At least for Saison, I would not bother having the restaurant tailor the menu for a vegetarian (if that's even possible). The star of the show at Saison is often the seafood, or seafood-centric dishes.

        It would be a waste of one of the few seatings and you would not be able to fully experience Saison in its full glory.

        1. Here is an article that includes both Coi and Saison about how restaurants deal with dietary restrictions that go far beyond vegetarianism.

          1. If you are looking for a high end place that is good for an almost vegetarian I would suggest skipping Saison for Atelier Creen. Saison was able to accommodate vegetarians with advanced notice but I found the dishes to far less inspired than the seafood dishes. On the other hand Creen really enjoys creating complete purely vegetarian dishes.

            Coi was also decent with it's vegetarian dishes with advance notice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tjinsf

              Yup, Crenn would be my choice.

            2. I think Coi's greatest strength is often their vegetarian or vegetable-oriented dishes. I wouldn't hesitate about keeping that reservation, but do be sure to let them know about the vegetarian menu in advance.


              1 Reply