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I need a fun first date restaurant (Union Square area [think broadly]) [San Francisco]

First, money is not a concern, but that doesn't mean I'm only interested in the most expensive places.

I'm interested in some place kinda near Union Square ("kinda near" does not necessarilly mean only walking distance ... a relatively short cab ride is fine too). Some place that is fun and casual enough for a first date, but also some place that will impress more than a little.

Not looking for French cuisine or too fancy, but something more than burgers or sandwiches, etc.

And if it has a fun bar or one close by for drinks before hand, that would be great as well.

Thanks for any help you can offer. I will continue to browse as well, but thought I'd try a possible shortcut by starting this discussion.

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    1. re: Scott M

      Thanks! That certainly looks like it has possibilities! Any others?

    2. Here are some suggestions:

      1) Canteen has a nice casual vibe in the decor, even though it serves a prix fixe menu. The only thing to consider is I feel it's often quiet dining here, so that means you'll really be forced to entertain and chat your date or else it may create a "boring" feel.

      2) Tropisueno in the Yerba Bueno alley is a more lively spot if you like Mexican. This definitely would be a more fun vibe.

      3) Cupola, it might seem weird to have a date at the mall, but this restaurant at the top of the Westfield is pretty good, with quality pizzas. I feel pizza is always a nice casual, non-threatening date meal.

      Too bad a lot of restaurants in Mint Plaza closed up because there were a few "romantic" type places. I think 54 Mint, the Italian spot, is still open but it's been awhile since I've been. From what I remember, it had a casual, family decor that might be nice for a date. The downstair dining area is darker and would be more "romantic."

      Sons & Daughters would be too fancy, although I love the food, because they only do tasting menus. But I feel they're solid cooking in Union Square area.

      5 Replies
      1. re: singleguychef

        I wouldn't take someone to a prix fixe restaurant on a first date. If the date isn't going well you're stuck, and you probably don't know a lot about your date's food preferences.

        If you're talking about this week -- with the weather projected to be nice all week -- I like the Belden Place idea.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Do you like any of the restaurants in Belden Place? I haven't found any that I like. Although it is really nice eating outside on a warm evening.

          I think the rooftop bar at Lolinda will open next month -- that would be one to check out for outdoor eating (although not that close to Union Square).

          1. re: calumin

            I've never eaten at any of them -- they're really not my style. I think the atmosphere is great, though, on a warm evening. And it's walking distance from Union Square. For a first date, I think atmosphere is more important than food; as long as the food is good, it doesn't have to be amazing.

            1. re: calumin

              I had a nice dinner at B44 last year. I wouldn't return to Cafe Tiramisu, I haven't been to Plouf in ages, but it used to be good.

              1. re: calumin

                I've eaten at Belden Taverna a few years back and it was decent. Good size dishes that's not necessarily inventive but also not awful. I guess you could say they're like classic California Italian fare. Seems neutral enough for a first date if you're sitting outside enjoying the weather and company.

          2. With the nice weather recently, I would suggest pre-dinner drinks at Rickhouse and then outdoor dining at one of the restaurants at Belden Place.

            1. Going a little further away from Union Square I'd suggest Bar Agricole.

              1. I second Bar Agricole, I havent been since the chef change. but I love that place.

                anything in the alley with Gitane, and I also highly recommend Gitane.

                Can never go wrong with Bix.

                1 Reply
                1. re: smatbrat

                  I would agree with Gitane (as well as Bix, although that's farther away).

                  If you're going to do drinks only, Hakkasan has a really nice bar.

                2. this is admittedly getting off topic, but i personally prefer to never do dinner on a first date, always something like drinks or coffee as there's more flexibility in terms of cutting it off. as long as it's still a nice place , it will still "impress" even if it doesn't have food.

                  if you do agree, i would recommend cantina - had a great first date there the other week - excellent drinks, moderately priced, and they have that little cozy area in back that has enough, but not too much privacy (assuming you get there early enough).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vulber

                    If you go this route, perhaps Bourbon and Branch? They have a very cool vibe, are walkable from Union Square, and have excellent cocktails.