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May 27, 2014 07:02 AM

Request for your Best of the Best in SF to WOW my Fiance!!

Dear Chowhounds,

I’m a San Franciscan by birth and upbringing and I used to be an avid eater in the Bay Area but I’ve been living abroad for about 10 years. My fiancé and I will be visiting SF this June. I have been raving about how wonderful San Francisco and its food are and I want to make sure to wow him with a few amazing, out-of-this-world meals.

I've done a lot of searches on here but many of the posts are older and I'm not sure how relevant they are today.

Can you recommend the absolute most amazing places for nice dinners (+ lunch recommendations also great if you have them!) in SF? Pretend money is no object and you are recommending the best food, ambiance, and overall experience. If there is a view that is a plus too but great food and ambiance are more important.

***We are coming from the Middle East so we’d rather not seek out Middle Eastern or Indian food.***

Although we are open to everything, it would be great if you could include recommendations for:
- Best places for seafood
- Best places for steak
- Best place for unique SF experience (not touristy)


P.S. Some of the places we are planning on eating are Gary Danko (from many recommendations on CH), Cafe Zuni (old favorite w/ my parents), Slanted Door (not sure if it's still good but will have lunch there w/ parents), and Chez Panisse cafe (when we are in Berkeley). Also, in Napa, French Laundry (booked for his birthday) and Bottega (invited by friends).

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    1. I would allow for some lower end diner/ethnic fare. If nothing else but to give your palate a break from all the high end stuff. Hole in the wall breakfasts or Mexican. With TFL and Danko, you have "Out of the world" sewn up. Balance it with greasy burgers and Chinese.

      1. " Best place for unique SF experience (not touristy)"

        Ferry plaza Saturday morning - plenty inside and farmers market. Search the board to find out different recs.

        "Best places for seafood"

        Seafood - surprisingly, seafood isnt that big in SF. Tadich grill for sand dabs (and cioppino). sam's is another old school seafood place. swan oyster. Here's a recent and relevant thread

        1 Reply
        1. re: majordanby

          Thank you! Yes... we wii definitely do the Ferry Building & farmer's market. I've never been to Tadich grill but I will look into it.

        2. If money is no object, a meal at Saison will include some remarkable seafood.

          Maruya for sushi.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thank you, Maruya was one I had read recommendations for but had never tried before. Since it seems seafood options are somewhat limited I will definitely add this.

              Also interesting about Saison; sounds very interesting. It was also on my list to consider but very useful to know they use a lot of seafood.

            2. jai yun for chinese.

              kappa and/or ino for japanese.

              cotogna for steak (if they have it on the menu; it is a sometimes thing). if not cotogna, then harris', bobo's or alfred's. but at alfred's i wouldn't go for anything other than their big ribeye.

              at tadich, sand dabs, halibut, crab+lobster thermidor are good dishes. swan's and hayes st. grill are also good for old school / american style seafood.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Dustin_E

                The "Chicago rib steak" (bone-in 32-oz. ribeye) is the thing to order at Alfred's. Big enough for two.


                I was not as impressed by Harris' ribeye.


                Tadich is very touristy though it's popular with locals too. Food is hit and miss, if you don't order the right things you can have a bad meal. Sam's is the same style and has an almost identical menu but is pretty much only locals.

                Hayes St. Grill is sort of a new-school rethinking of the Tadich / Sam's old school. The cooking's more precise and the sourcing is much, much better.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  porterhouse at harris'
                  ribeye at alfreds

                  is probably the way to go. i did not like alfred's porterhouse, nor their smaller ribeye.

                2. re: Dustin_E

                  Thank you for the recommendations. I have always been curious about Jai Yun so that would be interesting to try. I will take a look at the places you've suggested for steaks, thanks for the advice!

                  I had forgotton about Swan's, that could definitely be fun. I will look into Tadich and Hayes St. Grill as I've never tried either of these.