Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reader Question: Business Dinner in SF?

I know there are a lot of you former San Fran residents out there, not just me. I need your help! A reader writes:

Hey Braingirl - sorry to go off topic but my husband is heading to San Fran next week for a big work deal. He wants to take his team of 3 to a good dinner while there. Although I was born and raised in the Bay Area I haven't lived there for (ahem) 20-some years and the restaurant biz has changed just a smidge since then! Do you have any recommendations? He is looking to spend about $100/person.

Also, there is a chance of a day trip to Napa. If they have their choice of 1 winery to visit which do you think they should hit?
First, the easy question, a day trip to Napa is completely do-able. In fact, the conceirge at his hotel should even be able to hire a car and driver. I don't have a particular recommendation for any particular place to hit for a first time visit. There are so many and they're all so close. I'd say plan your day around lunch -- Mustards or Rutherford Grill in Napa. Plan to hit Mumm for the end of day deck, view, and champagne. I know my readers will have opinions -- Anyone?

For restaurants, wow, depends on the neighborhood, the type of food, the chef, reservations, etc. I think we need more information. Aqua, Michael Mina, Zuni, Lulu, Boulevard. And so many more small, local options that are just as good but not known "names". I call upon my readers for assistance!


Jimmy said...

I'll strongly recommend Casa Nuestra in St. Helena. Particulary their Two Goat Red! By appointment, and make sure Bailey can give them the Tour.

"Casa Nuestra was voted
NATIONAL WINNER of the Significant Wine Tourism Experience Award presented by Best of Wine Tourism Awards in Great Wine Capitals 2007
"[Casa Nuestra] ..might well be Napa Valley's most endearing small winery." Matt Kramer, New California Wine "

Just my opinion, but I'd stay for dinner at the Culinary Institute of America... Of course, the French Laundry would be the first choice, but it wouldn't fit the budget, and getting reservations there is akin to winning the lottery!

zcalgal said...

Thanks for the response. We will be downtown. Don't mind a 10-15 minute cab ride. I am hearing a lot about Zuni and Aqua.

Christopher said...

Boulevard and Aqua are up there with me too. For a more SF flavor (and my favorite), I would go to Delfina in the Mission District at 18th and Valencia. My mouth is watering right now.

circlecitysweets said...

I would also definately recommend Aqua. I haven't been there is a couple of years, but it was wonderful. It is also very easy to get to if you are already downtown.

J. Silverheels Gray said...

A friend of mine, Jim B., travels to California on business frequently, and also entertains clients by taking on trips to wine country. He couldn't post his comment because he doesn't have a gmail account or Open ID, so he sent it to me to pass along. Here it is:

“I entertain clients in San Francisco frequently. While Aqua is very nice, I don’t think your budget of $100 pp is going to get you their best experience. For your consideration: Financial District - Piperade; SOMA - Bacar or Momo; Russian Hill - 1550 Hyde; Pac Heights - Quince or Balboa Cafe.

“If they are choosing just one winery to visit, I would recomment stopping at Gloria Ferrer. It’s close to the city, great view, good tour, and you can taste both still and sparkling wine. If they can stay longer, I suggest Chateau St. Jean with a wrap-up wine and food pairing at Mayo just down the street. Hope they have fun!”

You can get more ideas about what to do in wine country by reading Jim’s travel report at .

Erin Day said...

Another great choice if you like mussels is Plouf--on Belden Lane right in the financial district. Neat little alley with a European feel. Great mussels and other great seafood as well (try the potato wrapped scallops if they still have them). Very moderately priced.

Kenney said...

I'll second the vote for Delfina. A great local restaurant in the Mission. Great urban SF feel. I'll also endorse the suggestions of Bacar.

As for Napa, Mustards and Rutherford Grill are good suggestions, but if you should also check out Bistro Jeanty or Bouchon (Thomas Keller's more casual sister restaurant to the French Laundry).

Ishaan said...

San Fran is home to one of the largest and oldest-established Asian communities in the United States. Don't miss an opportunity to get some good dim sum.

braingirl said...

Yank Sing is good, but the best dim sum I had was always in downtown Oakland on Sundays. Mmmm.

(I miss great weekend a.m porkbuns from the bakery in pink take-out boxes.)