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Jerry_A

Looking for Downtown SF restaurant recommendation.

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Hello everyone. I am quite out of the loop with respect to San Francisco restaurants, so I am hoping someone here can help me out.

We will be in town for a three day weekend in December and one of those days will be my dining partner's birthday so I am trying to find a decent place to go for dinner on that oh so important day. I tried to get a reservation at Gary Danko because I have always wanted to go there, but no dice, they are full.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a nice, moderately priced, restaurant in the Downtown area? We are staying at The Clift, so anywhere we can easily reach on foot or by cab would be ideal. I was looking through the one-starred Michelin restaurants to see if anything stood out, but it was hard to tell.

Last time we were in SF we went to Foreign Cinema, which was quite good and had a very cool environment, so something in that vein (read price range) would be great.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Cheers,

Len

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see this link for union square suggestions - posted today by michael bauer in his blog:

click me

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see this link for union square suggestions - posted today by michael bauer in his blog:

click me

Well what wonderful timing, thank you!

From that blog and the comments below it I have found three intriguing places:

1. Lark Creek Steak

2. Anjou

3. Cortez

Anyone have any particular comments on any of these? Or any other recommendations?

Thanks,

Len

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Jerry - I have not been to Anjou but I find Cortez and Lark Creek (a steak house is a steak house, after all...) both very pedestrian. You haven't indicated where else you intend on eating during your visit but I think there are some spots that are far superior.

From Union Square, I would at first consider Myth. Also in the news today as it was sadly purchased and chef Sean O'Brien will be leaving in February. Go before he leaves! There is also Canteen which has frequently been lauded on this and other sites. For exceptionally high-end (read: expensive), there is Michael Mina which some have loved (I have not yet been).

I still constantly recommend Aziza. It is not near Union Square and would involve a cab ride, but is consistently the best and most innovative $50 meal in the city.

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I'm not sure where this fits into your price range or location or what not, but this spring I dined at Quince, which was absolutely wonderful... formal yet almost relaxed with impeccable food and service. I had a terrific experience there and would highly recommend it (also, just awarded one Michelin star):

http://www.quincerestaurant.com

Also, the Zuni Cafe is always a favorite.


Edited by orangeman747 (log)

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Thanks Carolyn!

I am very inexperienced when it comes to steakhouses. I'm from Vancouver and I don't think we have very many great steakhouses here, so I thought it may be a good opportunity to try a decent one and Lark Creek looks better than any steakhouse I have seen recently.

Canteen looks very interesting and very minimalist. Is this the entire menu: http://www.sfcanteen.com/menu.html or just a sampling?

Myth looks great; a very definite possibility.

Michale Mina still seems way overpriced to me.

Aziza is out as the friend I will be with actually dined there a couple of years back and had a terrible experience.

Thanks again for all the help!

Len

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I'm not sure where this fits into your price range or location or what not, but this spring I dined at Quince, which was absolutely wonderful... formal yet almost relaxed with impeccable food and service. I had a terrific experience there and would highly recommend it (also, just awarded one Michelin star):

http://www.quincerestaurant.com

Also, the Zuni Cafe is always a favorite.

The food sounds great, thanks. I have added it to my short, but quickly growing, list!

Also, as a side note, our other dining plans are just to hit somewhere fun/relaxed for lunch on Monday. Everything else we will be playing by ear. Zuni may fit the lunch bill very nicely and I have always wanted to go there.

Len

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Jerry - sorry to hear about your friend's visit to Aziza. Canteen would be a good choice for a lunch, a brunch, or another dinner; probably not a "special" birthday dinner. No, that was not a sample of a menu. It changes daily and as the restaurant barely sits 20 people, it requires reservations and the menu is deliberately small.

I guess I just don't see steakhouses as generally "special" which is why I dismissed it. A hunk-of-meat with sides is just that and rarely shows the genius of a chef. Quince is an excellent choice but I think might be just as difficult to get a reservation as Danko was/is.

In case you haven't figured it out from other threads, don't forget to go to the Ferry Plaza on Saturday morning for breakfast/lunch and the farmer's market. You can eat there for hours on a Saturday...


Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)

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Great information Carloyn, thanks again!

Cheers,

Len


Edited by Jerry_A (log)

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Salt House

545 Mission St

We went there with friends this past August and really enjoyed it. A bit noisy.

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Belden Place is not too far from Downtown, just a short cab ride or a moderate walk. I recommend B44. Wonderful food and great atmosphere.

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I've always enjoyed Cortez, although I've heard mixed reviews from others. I think it's got a great atmosphere, and many of the small plates are excellent. The cocktails are pretty good, if somewhat less inspired now than they were before Todd left for Bourbon and Branch (if you like cocktails, do go there -- it's right around the corner from Cortez). I also had a great meal at Salt House, but it's not close to where you are, and it is loud.

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Great stuff, thanks all! B44 looks very cool, particularly becasue we were just in the Catalan area of Spain in the Summer!

Len

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I disagree that Canteen shouldn't be a special occasion restaurant. I thought it was very special. The cooking is dynamite. It is certainly not the fanciest place, but it is quite intimate and unpretentious. If you would like something very fancy, Michael Mina, Ame and the Dining Room at the Four Seasons are all within easy walking distance from the Clift. I stayed there in October. Another place a bit further afield, but within walking distance if the weather is good is Coi. Quince is a restaurant that I would have liked to get to, but didn't.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

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