hey enzo, i actually LOVE getting dressed up and dining out at fine restaurants. this is definitely my specialty. in fact, i actually have a list of my favorite restaurants, bars & hotels from all the countries i've visited! i've been to many fine dining establishments in SF but i found most of them have high prices and offer average food that's not worth the price.
following are restaurants i frequent in SF which are not extremely expensive ($15+ per entree), great food and ambiance. also marked w/ dollar signs to signify their prices. i'm confident your sister won't be disappointed if you pick any one of these. ;D
Absinthe - $$$
398 Hayes St, www.absinthe.com
Highly recommend the Croque Monsieur & everything else on the menu is good! Go to Jade Bar at 650 Gough St before for amazing happy hour menu, www.jadebar.com/html/information.html
Ame - $$$
689 Mission St, www.amerestaurant.com
New American cuisine w/ Asian influence.
Ana Mandara - $$$
891 Beach St, www.anamandara.com
LOVE this place!! Had my engagement dinner here. French Vietnamese food. Afterwards, take her to Buena Vista Cafe at 2765 Hyde St for their famous Irish Coffee, http://www.thebuenavista.com/
Asia de Cuba - $$$
495 Geary St, www.chinagrillmanagement.com/adecSF/main.cfm?pp=0
Go to Redwood Room next door (at Clift Hotel) before or after for a drink.
Chaya - $$
132 Embarcadero, www.thechaya.com
French Japanese w/ great happy hour menu M-F 4:30-7:30pm. If weather is nice, I like to sit outdoors w/ beautiful view of the Bay Bridge.
Cliff House - $$
1090 Point Lobos, www.cliffhouse.com
Go for the GREAT VIEW! Just go for drinks and view, food is good but not worth the price.
First Crush - $$
101 Cyril Magnun, www.firstcrush.com
Pork is excellent. Ambiance is intimate and romantic. I usually recommend this for a first date but i've taken friends there too.
Foreign Cinema - $$
2534 Mission St, www.foreigncinema.com
French, New American. With outdoor dining and foreign films playing during dinner. Go to Medjool at 2522 Mission St just for drinks (food no good) before sunset to see 360 degree view of city from rooftop terrace.
Il Fornaio - $$
1265 Battery St, www.ilfornaio.com
Italian. I always order Grigliata Costa Smeralda, it's an appetizer but I order 2 and ask them to make it into an entree. Pizza is great too, everything else is just ok. You can have drinks across the street at Pier 23 on a nice day.
Jardiniere - $$
300 Grove St, www.jardiniere.com
French Californian cuisine. Also near Jade Bar for drinks beforehand.
Le Colonial - $$
20 Cosmo Pl, www.lecolonialsf.com
French Vietnamese. Also great for cocktails only.
Oola - $$
860 Folsom St, www.oola-sf.com
San Francisco cuisine. Delicious!!
Osha - $$
149 2nd St, www.oshathai.com/3/
Contemporary Thai cuisine. Don't go to the one on Embarcadero...service there is horrible. I haven't been to the other locations yet, so my fav is 2nd St.
Ozumo - $$
161 Steuart St, www.ozumo.com
Contemporary Japanese. Excellent food & sake selection!
Slanted Door - $$$
1 Ferry Building, www.slanteddoor.com
Supper Club - $$$
657 Harrison St, www.supperclub.com
MUST SEE at least once for the ambiance. Surprise 3-course dinner service on beds.
Tommy Toy's - $$
655 Montgomery St, www.tommytoys.com
Expensive but worth it Chinese food.
For Brunch on a nice day with a view. Reservations A MUST:
Epic - $$$
369 Embarcadero, www.epicroasthousesf.com
Water Bar - $$$
399 Embarcadero, www.waterbarsf.com
I was literally msging you when ur post came through. I know you would be the hookup contact. This is a trove of info and maybe we can figure out a way to have this as a source reference.
My experience has been that the higher end dining experiences haven't had worse food but not much better than the lower price point places, and since we eat out every day and also lunch not dinner there's a whole trove of places outside my range of vision.
But this is helpful for clients, guests, etc. for those that don't really do much fine dining and want to be steered to the worthwhile places.
First Crush and Foreign Cinema are the two immediate standouts.
thanks so much!!
enzo, you're very welcome!!!
i tried flagging this thread but i obviously don't know what i'm doing...emmanual, you're the expert...pls flag. thanks!
i forgot to mention that Il Fornaio offers complimentary appetizers M-F at the bar from 5pm-7 or 7:30pm. they offer a nice array of apps including bruschetta, pizza, salami, olives, cheese and 1 or 2 desserts...enough to fill my stomach and skip dinner. ;D