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SF Reservations made... now what to eat?!

My husband and I (from Philadelphia) are celebrating our 10th anniversary with a trip to SF next week. Over the last several months I have crafted a set of dinner reservations, based primarily on what I read when scouring this board - and I would like to go into each restaurant with some idea of what dishes are "not to miss." Any advice on menu items or cocktails - or general words of wisdom - are greatly appreciated!! We like everything.

Tuesday dinner: we arrive late, thinking we'll do dinner near hotel on Union Square - I didn't make reservations because I'm not sure exactly what time we'll get in - I was thinking maybe Colibri Mexican Bistro? (Just looking for something fun and easy where reservations aren't necessary)

Wednesday dinner: Aziza

Thursday dinner: State Bird Provisions
(lunch at Ferry Bldg Roli Roti?)

Friday dinner: AQ
(possibly Sushi Aka Tombo for lunch?)

Saturday dinner (now staying in Sausalito): Pizzeria Rossetti
(possibly a crab roll at Fish for lunch?)

Sunday dinner: Copita
(possibly brunch at Le Garage?)

Monday dinner (now staying on Rt 140 near Yosemite): Savourys? Not sure about this one, might just play it by ear

Tuesday dinner (back in SF): Nopa

Thanks for any input, we are very excited for our visit!

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    1. re: superbigeater

      Hmm, looks like I'm out of luck there, the earliest reservation available for any night we're there is 9:30...

      1. At Statebird: Garlic bread with burrata, duck liver mousse, State Bird, any of the raw fish items and oh so many more. Pace yourself.
        At Nopa, the pork chop or what I think is the best upscale burger in SF.

        1. I don't think Sushi Aka Tombo is open for lunch.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

            Good to know - thanks. We actually have two dinner reservations that evening (AQ and Sushi Aka Tombo) but were planning to cancel the sushi one...

            1. re: nonajean

              I'm in the minority, but I would have a better time sitting at the sushi bar at aka tombo and ordering omakase than I would at AQ. For me, AQ has a couple things they do brilliantly. Anything with a sunflower seed. :-) But the vibe is too hipster for me, the mains are not nearly as good as the apps, and I come away feeling like I've spent more than they deserve. But I"m like the only person that feels that way. In contrast, Aka Tombo is a fun, easy going, tasty consistent meal that is well priced. One more caveat, though, I've only eaten at Aka Tombo once, and it was early so I had the chef to myself. Not sure whether it's the same on a Friday night at prime time...

              1. re: pauliface

                The main course of grains with brassicas, egg yolk, and smoked truffle I had at AQ in February was one of the best dishes I've had in a long time.

                I think I often order a bunch of things from the two cheaper sections of the menu and no mains.

          2. Colibri is just ok—around Union square I would tell you to go to Sweet Woodruff (Sons & Daughter's counter service cafe) or R&G Lounge in Chinatown for something cheaper.

            1 Reply
            1. re: W42

              Sweet Woodruff looks perfect - thank you for the recommendation.

            2. State Bird:

              Lobster, honeydew, creme fraiche, fresh cilantro bud oil

              Guinea hen dumpling, aromatic broth

              Pancakes, sauerkraut, ricotta, pecorino, sauerkraut salt

              Rabbit croquette, Fontina, pimentón aoili

              Balsamic figs, fonduta

              1. For your first, not-sure-when-you're-arriving dinner, you might consider Lers Ros if you like Thai that isn't sweet. It's open late and a cheap, quick cab ride from Union Square. Get a few appetizers/salads for a light and delicious dinner.

                1. Mariposa belongs on the California Board, so perhaps the monitors will move this part there...., but assuming you are heading up 140 to go to Yosemite, the big question is: you do know it is a 4.5 to five plus hour drive SF - Yosemite via 140 each way, big emphasis on the plus if you go either way during rush hour....and that 120 is faster (only four plus hours depending on traffic)? Well, assuming you know all this and have never been to Yosemite so are determined to get there (which I can understand), and are going to take 140 instead of 120 (which I only recommend if you are a scared of heights and/or a very nervous driver in the mountains, as 120 has some steep drop offs in places), well, then yes, Savoury's is the right choice for upscale if you stay in Mariposa. If you are staying in El Portal further up 140 you probably won't want to back track to Mariposa for dinner. (Mariposa to El Portal is a 45 minute drive, not counting the five to fifteen minute wait at the point where traffic is one way at a time due to a rock slide that will probably never get a permanent fix...)

                  Personally, I would only follow your Yosemite schedule if I had never been, and even then I would try hard to stay in Yosemite proper (where the food will be totally besides the point) .There have been openings every night the past month at one of the in-Valley locations; so I'd check daily if there wasn't anything when you first looked; and right now the Yosemite lodge site does show availability at the Yosemite Lodge for a week from Monday).

                  There is a large grocery store in Yosemite Valley, and plenty of picnic areas, so if you have limited time in the park, consider a picnic dinner. I recommend the El Capitan picnic area for its views of the rock climbers....or Cathedral for just being beautiful and by the Merced River...

                  In short, you won't have time to see much of Yosemite given your schedule, and you will spend most of your time in cars and shuttle buses once in the park; keeping in mind also that summer is a very, very, very busy time in Yosemite for day visitors like yourself, and parking is a hassle, best solved by parking the car in one place, preferably the Yosemite Lodge if you are staying there, and using the park shuttles to see the sites..... If you do go, I wouldn't plan dinner at NOPA, unless your reservation is ten pm or later. After driving four to five hours or more the day before to get there, are you really going to want to leave Yosemite mid afternoon to make a dinner reservation back in the City?

                  1. Aziza - Whatever sounds good, and all the desserts.
                    SBP - Whatever sounds good, the duck, and the state bird, and all the desserts.
                    AQ - Tasting menu.


                    1 Reply
                    1. Fish serves fresh, in season, locally harvested seafood, and dungeness is out of season. a couple of weeks ago for lunch, we had excellent crispy, delicate fried anchovies over an exceptionally fresh organic salad and a broiled halibut collar (something more typically seen on izakaya menus), meaty, perfectly cooked, served over fresh hand made linguine. not only the freshest fish we've enjoyed in a restaurant but the pasta also equalled any we've had.

                      their menu will change according to the fresh catch. the menu will name the specific sources of the ingredients including the names of the boats and the farms growing the produce.

                      1. I love the duck basteeya at Aziza! They also have many excellent cocktails - maybe read up on the drink menu and go early to try some before dinner.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: vday

                          +1 for the cocktails at Aziza. My husband and I think they have some of the best in SF and always look forward to them... perhaps more than we look forward to the food :)

                          The lamb has always been fantastic, no matter the preparation. Would suggest the tasting menu if you have time.

                          1. re: bobabear

                            Thanks - I'm actually leaning towards Aka Tombo now - after two delicious but mentally complicated meals at Aziza and SBP, a big platter of sashimi sounds pretty great.

                            1. re: bobabear

                              Thanks for this! We had the guinea hen dumpling, a lobster salad (ours was with tiny tomatoes and corn) and the sauerkraut pancakes which were great. Also the state bird was delicious, and the ice cream sandwich.

                              1. re: bobabear

                                Thanks for all of this, I appreciate it tremendously. You are right, we are first-timers to the region (celebrating our 10th with a week in CA without the little ones). We'll head out from Sausalito very early Monday morning - I appreciate the heads up regarding rush hour, and we'll take 120 to get there. The picnic dinner idea for Monday is perfect, there is no reason to rush out of the park for another sit-down dinner. We are staying in the Mariposa area (Rancho Bernardo B&B) on Monday night - kind of awkwardly located I realize.

                                We have to head back to SF Tuesday anyway - we fly out early Wednesday morning - so I figured might as well eat there! Thanks again for the thoughtful response.

                                1. re: nonajean

                                  You are going to pass a lot of places to stay before you get to Rancho Bernardo, and from there back to Yosemite will be at least a 1.5 hour drive, probably more depending on traffic in the park and where you go in the park.....Seriously, if I were you I would rethink it as your place to stay Monday night; even if it means eating (sorry for the pun) a deposit on your stay. Cathey's Valley is pretty in spring and fall, not so much this time of year, when temps will be in triple digits and it is fairly brown, and when you wake up in the am you won't want to go back to Yosemite and then back to SF. Which means basically you will have an afternoon in the park. The good news is that if you leave Sausalito early you may be going against rush hour traffic most of the way, but you still face two long days in the car.