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Zarzuela or Lolinda (or other) for great Argentinian steaks and authentic tapas? [San Francisco]

Hi there, taking my boys out for their birthday dinners up in the city - weeknight and I was thinking of House of Prime Rib for the special occasion, but they are booked up. Both are meat lovers and I am a seafood- exotic- etc lover so I thought tapas/steak would be a good solution with a little flair. So which is more recommended>? they both sound pretty good... It is an occasion but the food is what counts the most, second is ambiance and fun atmosphere.
Appreciate any and all recs
p.s. they are turning 23 and 25... so just 'boys' to me....
thanks!

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  1. I haven't been to Zarzuela, but I've been to Lolinda many times. It's great, both when it comes to meat and seafood dishes. And it has the vibe and energy that "boys" in their 20s might appreciate.

    1. Zaruela is Spanish and Basque not Argentinean. Lolinda has more of a party atmosphere with a big bar. Lolinda takes reservations, Zaruela doesn't and the waits can get long but you are going a weeknight so maybe no wait.

      There are also more streak choices at Lolinda.

      1. Why not go to one of the Brazilian steak places, like Espetus Churrascaria. It has the all you can eat option.

        I personally like Zarzuela. The food is very subtle and isn't over-salted like many tapas. I don't recall steak being served, and if it is, that's not the focus of the place. The other thing, parking is a major hassle, so use the valet.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          I like Espetus and I think it's an excellent suggestion. I do find it a little more one-dimensional than Lolinda, especially if someone in the party is into seafood. And the ambience is a little less vibrant.

          1. re: ML8000

            Espetus doesn't make much sense unless everybody wants to pig out on meat.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              The desire for HOPR suggests slab 'o meat dining. Seems to make sense if the boys are in their 20s.

          2. Whoops- sorry for the mix up- re Zarzuela being Spanish and not Argentinian. I was thinking tapas and ... never mind. So it sounds like the consensus is Lolinda unless I want to provide an opportunity for massive amounts of meat (which they can easily consume), in which case I should go for Espetus.

            My preference would of course be Zarzuela, but it's not my birthday (though I am the meal ticket).
            if anyone has suggestions beyond these options, please feel free (until next Thursday) and they are located in Potrero Hill
            thanks to all

            1 Reply
            1. re: laterible

              Most places with gourmand-friendly steaks don't have too much much else going on.

              Epic Roasthouse did, before the chef change, but the menu has changed quite a bit.

              Wayfare, maybe.

            2. Lolinda, no question.Gorgeous spot, full bar, great food. Bife de chorizo (steak) for them, Pulpo (octopus) for you.