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Help a fellow procrastinator out... [San Francisco]

Anniversary is coming up on Monday and I haven't done my homework. The plan is to go out to dinner after work in SF before heading home in Marin, so anything more formal than clean jeans and a sports shirt is out. That said, we would also like to go somewhere more upscale than our typical bargain-bite lunch spots.

So the criteria are:
Casual with great food.
Open Monday's and able to get a reso this late in the game.

Open Table shows the following open for 5:30
Perbacco - possibly too formal?
Barbacco - do they have individual tables for two?
Zero Zero - don't really want pizzas
Gitane - Chowhound reviews seem hit or miss
Cafe Claude - ?
Range - too cramped?

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  1. I'd go for Perbacco--don't think it's too formal--and it's delicious and maybe more special-feeling than some of the other options. Happy anniversary!

    1. I find Perbacco casually elegant. Some customers dress up, others are in developer casual.

      Barbacco has individual tables for two and could probably hold you one if you mentioned your anniversary when making your reservation.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Thanks. I find the price difference at Barbacco difficult to pass up. Or is the food at Perbacco that much more refined? Looking at just the large Sulami plates it is $18 vs $28.

        1. re: Civil Bear

          The food at Perbacco is more refined. Plus Barbacco is very casual, noisy, more of a bar atmosphere (including TVs). For an occasion like an anniversary I'd definitely go for Perbacco.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Unless something has changed at Perbacco it is one of the noisiest restaurants other than La Ciccia, but great food. Have never tried Barbacco

            1. re: stanbee

              I don't know what day you were there, but I had a business dinner there - upstairs - and the noise level was just fine. It wasn't quiet, and all participants had to speak clearly, but after the fact I don't remember it as loud - just good conversation.

              1. re: bbulkow

                upstairs is a lot quieter than downstairs.

          2. re: Civil Bear

            I personally much prefer Perbacco over Barbacco even though Barbacco is definitely very good value. For a special-occasion dinner, Perbacco is one of the best deals you can get if you are looking for high-quality food in a white-tablecloth setting with entrees in the $25-30 range.

            1. re: Civil Bear

              Some of Perbacco's food is more refined, but the salumi is shared with Barbacco. Perbacco's platter might be larger with more variety. Otherwise I think the menus speak for themselves.

              I haven't found Perbacco all that noisy. The side section of the dining room that's under the stairs is quietet.

              At Barbacco the seats are closer together, you might get seated at a communal table, and there are TVs with sports.

          3. From your list, I'd go with Perbacco. If you don't mind going farther from downtown, Delfina has an opening at 5:30, and Aziza has availability as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rapini

              If they're heading home to Marin, Aziza isn't that far out of the way.

            2. I wouldn't discount Gitane. It changed chefs last year. I had a memorable meal there a few months ago. Recently I sent some friends who live in the North Bay there for an early dinner on their anniversary and they adored it. They had a late night flight to catch out of SFO and were concerned about being dressed too casually, but I told them not to worry. Gitane's a place where you can dress up or dress down. The atmosphere is quite romantic.

              I've been wanting to go on a Monday night because that's when they have more unusual dishes as specials. Some of the tables with bench seats might feel cramped, you'll want to inquire about this when you make a res. As with most places, the small plates were more interesting then the larger ones, and that's what I'll focus on next time.
              http://www.gitanerestaurant.com/

              1. +1 on Perbacco from that list

                My GF has a late-monday standing meeting so we've gone up and had dinner a couple of times on a monday. Would not recommend Bar Agricole.

                State Bird is that fun hotspot kind of way, and is NOT that expensive. If you're hanging around with your partner, the wait for opening is kind of fun, it is very informal ---

                Here's other elements for your possible list:
                Kokkari, NOPA, Quince, Aziza, FC, Hakkasan, Flour & Water, Commonwealth, Maverick, Skool

                Maybe that'll jog some thoughts of others...

                1 Reply
                1. re: bbulkow

                  State Bird, closed for renovations, alas....