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Honeymoon splurge dinner in SF

We're locals planning to honeymoon in Stinson then head to the city to finish the honeymoon off with one spectacular splurge of a dinner.
I'd like to spend around 200-250 including tax and tip and either including a bottle of wine, a beer and glass of wine, or corking fee for our own wine. (Aka, a moderate amount of alcohol but not a ton). This should include a few courses (appetizers, entrees and dessert, or a tasting menu). If it is TRUELY spectacular and worth it, we could go up to 300, but not over.

We're students, and so our usual splurge fancy date night budget is about 50 for two. We have been to some nice restaurants in the Bay Area though with my parents.

I'm a fan of small plates, lots of little bites. My parter is not, he likes big hearty portions. Feel free to suggest either. We like most types of food. Strong flavors with lots of spices are great. In terms of places we've loved, we loved Ippuku in Berkeley, Sea Salt in Berkeley when it was around, T Rex before it went downhill, Kang Tong Degi, La Limes, Anchor and Hope, Insalata in San Anselmo, Casanova in Carmel, Smoke in Berkeley...

I'm hoping for someplace that feels really special. Not too hip and loud, a little more quiet and romantic, but quality food is more important than atmosphere. Someplace we can linger over the meal.

I have a couple of dietary restrictions (no pork, no shellfish, no meat and dairy in the same course, although my sweetie loves these things) so a place where they are a little flexible is helpful. Or a tasting menu where they can sub a vegetarian course for a course I can't eat.

We'll be going on a Thursday night in August, and I'd like to be able to make a reservation.

Thank you so much!

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  1. Hi!

    So a kosher meal? or just not in the same course?

    First few places that come to mind are

    Bix
    Ozumo
    Aziza
    Verbena (accommodating to dietary restrictions)
    Roka Akor
    Gitane
    Cocotte (request the table under the stairs)

    3 Replies
    1. re: smatbrat

      No, I'm kosher-ish. Just not in the same course is fine. Not looking for a kosher restaurant (I know we only have about two of those in the Bay Area). Thanks. I'll look at these.

      1. re: smatbrat

        For me, Ozumo feels a bit stark and corporate. I am also not the biggest fan of their sushi (Roka Akor is better but it has a sleek W hotel/Vegas type vibe)

        1. re: goldangl95

          In so far Roka Akor's sushi is better than Ozumo's, it's not by much. Both places serve good sushi. I was back to Roka a couple of days ago only to be told that the sushi bar was sold out. Not too surprising since it only has a handful of seats. So I was directed to the bar/lounge which serves the full menu. Of course, the bar/lounge is in the basement and has the ambience of a bat cave, far inferior to Ozumo's bar/lounge in terms of ambience.

      2. Michael Mina does a 6 course tasting for $130 pp, which might be just at the upper edge of your budget, and is posh without being too hip/loud (i think the window seats are quieter than the seats further in.) You can also do ala carte there. I wasn't as impressed by the tastings at Campton place or Ame. If you do Roka Akor, try the lounge downstairs for a more intimate setting.

        1. baker & banker would fit nicely into your budget. The lighting and sound levels are softer - it feels upscale but cozy. Though the tables are close together.

          1. Maybe consider dinner at Sir and Star instead?

            AQ's in your price range and I think could accommodate quasi-kosher.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Sir and Star sounds really exciting, and just up our alley, and a little less expensive (at least, without much alcohol, which we rarely do and will do just for this one splurge). I just made a reservation there for Wednesday night, and we'll do something in SF also. We have enough money in the budget to dine well in Stinson as well, mostly cooking our own from the great local ingredients, but it can stretch to Sir and Stars.

              1. re: estnet

                I was just about to say La Folie. $85 for the 3 course menu was MORE than enough food for my husband and myself.

                Plus you can choose your courses (example: we don't love love love dessert, so between the two of us we had 5 savory courses and 1 shared dessert). The "pick your course" option also means you get a lot of flexibility to avoid foods you can't eat. And everything is just exquisitely prepared. La Folie is one of those restaurants that just seems to nail consistency time and time again.

                I dined there with a $250 gift certificate someone gave me, and it was just the right amount for 2 people to eat and have 2 glasses of wine.

                Other restaurants that I remember having $85 set menu options are Acquerello and Gary Danko, both also famously consistent and high quality. If you're shooting for a budget because you're students, going in knowing exactly what food will cost is a big bonus!

              2. Not necessarily a splurge, but a delicious romantic dining experience that would seem to be a great fit for a honeymoon in my opinion would be Sociale. I've always enjoyed my meals there and my wife loves the romantic setting of the restaurant as you walk down a small alleyway that opens up to a heated terrace. You get the feeling you've been transported to a small European bistro, while not having to take the airplane ride!

                http://sfsociale.com/
                3665 Sacramento St
                San Francisco, CA 94118

                  1. Gary danko or baker and banker

                    Not ozumo nor Roka akor

                    1. "Quiet" is a dirty word to most restaurateurs these days. I'd fourth La Folie. Passot's desserts are very good but not really great, so like pei we stay with savory and go straight to cappuccinos. If Passot has lobster risotto on the menu do NOT miss it; it's one of the best things LF does.

                      Definitely not Roka Akor. It's a fun place, but the sushi costs a fortune, the robata chef doesn't always know what he's doing, and the place is ear-splittingly noisy, in addition to the really amateur service and outrageous prices.

                      1. La Folie sounds like a good choice for a future fancy dinner.

                        For our special dinner, we decided to go to Sir and Star. It was lovely. It was plenty quiet enough, and we loved the slightly quirky atmosphere. The taxidermied goose in a waistcoat delighted my husband. The service was great, and we had a lovely dinner.

                        We ordered a tremendous amount of food and had two glasses of Heidrun Meadery Lehua Blossom mead each which was fabulous.

                        Our favorites:

                        Kale Fritters with Veggie Stew - I forget the exact description, it involved Rye Bread, Barley, and some other stuff, but the kale and ricotta fritters had the texture of good falafel, and they were on top of cauliflower delicately cooked in a rich barley sauce. It was amazing.

                        Corn Soup - This was the platonic form of corn soup. Intense, sweet corn flavor but also rich and creamy.

                        Kennebec potato chips with creme fraiche and salmon caviar - The thinnest potato chips I've ever seen, with a shot glass of fresh salmon roe and a dollap of creme fraiche. This was very good, and the combination was my husband's favorite.

                        Bone Marrow with Caramelized Onions - This was perfectly done, a little jelly-y with a nice crust on top, but not at all burned. The sweetness of the onions offset the richness of the marrow perfectly. My husband says it was the best marrow he's had at a restaurant.

                        Overall, it was a delicious meal. I would say that getting the caviar, duck liver, and bone marrow was a little too much intensity and richness for one meal. We enjoyed our meal very much, and it ended up being in the ballpark we wanted to be in.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Magelet

                          Thanks for reporting back!
                          And, congratulations :)