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20th Anniv. Scrapped the Italian idea and still need a romantic restaurant but not French [San Francisco]

Thanks to all who applied to my last thread. Since we are CT foodies and both have Italian grandmothers, we decided to scrap the idea of an Italian restaurant for our Anniversary. Can you please recommend a romantic restaurant that isn't French in San Francisco? Need to keep it under $35 an entree since the majority of our budget will be spent in Napa the four nights prior to being in SF. Thank you so much for your help!

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  1. You might want to look at Gitane.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/914545

    Some suggestions in this recent anniversary dinner thread though most are Italian.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9135...

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Aziza's menu looks pretty Frenchy to me these days.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            agreed - i can't think of a single item on aziza's menu that would be found in the same form on a french menu

            1. re: vulber

              Sure, but the French influence seems to have pushed the Moroccan way into the background.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                no, i disagree. you still go there and think "moroccanish" flavors, as opposed to french. i'm not a fan, anyway. i found both mostly short changed. plus decor is disneylandish, plus service was sub-par. just my experience.

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Went to Aziza last night (before it moves and tries to go even more upscale and touristy à la Slanted Door). Totally agree with mariacarmen's comments.

                  Very pricey, sometimes to a ridiculous extent ($15 for a parsimonious plate of spreads, and $3 more for extra flatbread if you are dumb enough to order it, $24 for a tasty duck confit basteeya).

                  Trying sophisticated modern French type cooking techniques. Sometimes successful as was the Cornish Game Hen ($27), sometimes well executed but not thrilling (Squab, $33). Both had very interesting Moroccan flavoring. A tasting menu for $99.

                  I think the chef is good, competent, but not in the league with Manresa, Coi, Commonwealth, etc. Benu much better. Our dinner price with cheapest wine on list ($44) was around $150 with smallish tip for 2, about the same as Delfina, which is far less pretentious and orders of magnitude better.

                  And, BTW, terrible clueless service, bad pacing, ugly decor (presumably will improve downtown)...

                  Delusions of grandeur.

                  1. re: Thomas Nash

                    yup, yup and yup. i, too, did really like the duck confit basteeya.

        1. While it was my reply, I'd hate to turn you away from Italian entirely as there are some good possibilities listed in your earlier thread.

          But that said, exploring cuisines you can't get at home is always fun, so take a look at this Eater list for a start (I don't think all 38 places are the best of their kind, but it's a good overview of the diversity in the Bay Area):

          http://sf.eater.com/archives/2013/07/...

          3 Replies
          1. re: W42

            The only places on the Eater 38 that seem romantic to me are Absinthe (French) and Perbacco (Italian).

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Perbacco is not romantic to me at all - too much corporate-dress.

              1. re: mariacarmen

                I haven't seen that except for the after-work crowd in the bar. In the restaurant I see a typical downtown SF mix of locals and tourists, some dressed up, some casual. Usually we go on Friday or Saturday night, I suppose on weeknights there are probably more business people.

          2. You should consider that SF "Italian" is really California Italian and is very different from anything you get in CT or New England or NY. The restaurants suggested are really very SF.

            Having said that, for romantic, expensive, big views, etc. you might consider Waterbar. Cheaper, less fancy, excellent food, Bar Tartine (recently described as Cal-Hungarian-Asian)... or Range. Both in the Mission. Or Zuni.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Thomas Nash

              Bar Tartine's one of my favorites, but I would not go there for a special occasion.

              I've celebrated many at Zuni. For special occasions I ask to be seated upstairs.

              1. re: Thomas Nash

                Ok, cal-hungain-Asian??? What? I'll check it out.

                1. re: acervoni

                  Bar Tartine's a very bustling bistro kind of a place. I love it but more for a fun night out with friends than a special occasion.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Seems to me a special occasion should be a fun night out with a friend.