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Apr 11, 2014 08:17 PM

Birthday dinner in SF for 18 year old

My son is turning eighteen soon and wants to head into SF for a birthday dinner meal. Would like to have a restaurant with a fun atmosphere and great food. He loves meat but will eat almost anything. Thinking of a place like house of prime. Would like a restaurant that is a little more formal than a hole in the wall place. Price is not a consideration. Thank you.

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  1. I think the House of Prime Rib is an excellent idea. But also consider Lolinda. It's a happening place and the food is great and offers a little more variety.

    1. I think Foreign Cinema would be a fun place for an 18th birthday. Good atmosphere and if it's nice you can sit outside. There's something for everyone on the menu.

      1. If I was turning 18 and love meat (which I still do), I'd want to go to Espetus Churrascaria. Assorted high quality, spit roasted meats carved table side until you can't take any more. The atmosphere is lively for small parties and less stuffy/old school than HOPR. There is also an interesting salad/side bar for those not wanting completely OD on proteins.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Civil Bear

          Disagree on this one. HOPR, despite its old-school concept, is a way more happening place than Espetus. It's teeming with young people to the extent that I have been shaking my head in surprise when going there. Espetus is not a very happening place even though the food is great and the all-you-can-eat concept is nice if you are a big meat eater.

          Plus the ambience of HOPR is an attraction in its own right,

          1. re: nocharge

            Fair enough. Re-reading my post I agree that I made HOPR to come off as stuffy, but I have always had a great time there. I just meant to say I felt Espetus was more lively, Full disclosure: my last few visits to Espetus have been for staff Christmas parties and the like, and have found the atmosphere to be great.

            1. re: Civil Bear

              I think part of what makes a restaurant feel vibrant is how crowded it is. Looking at OT for a table of two for next Thursday, HOPR shows availability at 9:30. Espetus shows availability for every time slot throughout the evening.

              Of course, crowded restaurants can have their own drawbacks. Here is an anecdote: At HOPR with a party including a New Yorker, a Wall Street bigwig. There is a wait for us to get seated. The guy goes up to the maitre'd and tries to slip him a large bill in order to speed up the process only to be rejected. "Sorry Sir, our policy is that we only accept tips after meals." The guy comes back shaking his head saying that it had worked in a number of other SF restaurants including Boulevard.

            2. re: nocharge

              I was at HOPR not too long ago and the crowd was surprisingly young and diverse, during the second seating. (Got there at 7:30.) This was after walking through one dining room that was serving the senior crowd. The physical space is old and creeping towards decrepit but the crowd was modern SF. Seems more fun with a big/bigger group.

              That said, Espetus could work...depends on the birthday boy, if he's into massive amounts of meat. I think you'd do fine either place but HOPR has age on its side.

              1. re: ML8000

                "I was at HOPR not too long ago and the crowd was surprisingly young and diverse"

                That has been my exact same experience. "Surprisingly young and diverse" given how old-school the concept is. You'd expect to see only 80-year-old fogies in there, but that's not the case.

                I really like Espetus, but I think both HOPR and Lolinda are more "happening" if that's part of the criteria for choosing a restaurant.

          2. not that it's necessarily a huge drawback, but part of the appeal at house of prime rib is the giant martinis served with the shaker glasses - if you do a birthday dinner in SF every year, house of prime rib might be better for a 21st birthday (orrrrrrr if your son can pass for 21, you can have him order one anyway and hope the server assumes that no responsible parent would ever let their son drink underage at such a classy establishment :-p)