Valentine’s Day is a week away and if you haven’t figured out where to book that dinner reservation, you came to the right place. Here are five places where we would love to be taken on a first or 50th date.
Spruce could be on many of our top five lists. It’s a great place for power lunches, has an awesome burger, and impeccable service. However, above of these things, Spruce is an ideal place for a date. It’s the sort of classic restaurant that can serve as the backdrop of a carefully planned celebration, but it works equally as well for a last-minute night on the town. The wine list is superb and the cocktails strong. The menu has something for every type of eater from adventurous to picky. It’s open virtually all day, so you could go on a lunch, brunch, or dinner date. The atmosphere is lively, the staff accommodating, and the vibe old-school, but in the most wonderful kind of way. When you go to Spruce, you know you’ll have a great time and a delicious meal. For the holiday, Spruce is hosting a Valentine’s Day cooking class on Saturday, February 11 at 11:30 a.m. On Tuesday, February 14, they are offering a special four-course menu that involves foie gras, housemade pasta with Dungeness crab, and caramelia mousse cake.
3640 Sacramento Street San Francisco, CA 94118
When SPQR opened it was A16’s more casual little sister spot. However, thanks to the expertise of chef Matthew Accarrino, over the year’s the restaurant has grown to become one of the best Italian eateries in the city. The most ideal table for a date? The chef’s counter where you can sit side by side with your love and marvel at the activity in the small, but very active kitchen. Accarrino is an inspired chef and his innovative pastas are insanely delicious. The restaurant has dark walls and wooden tables, so the focus is on the food and wine, as it should be. Shelley Lindgren has curated a selection of all Italian varietals. Ask her or the sommelier on hand to pair each course with a different glass and you’ve got a fun date activity and easy conversation starter.
1911 Fillmore Street San Francisco, CA 94115
The third restaurant from the Hi Neighbor hospitality group, Trestle in North Beach, is an intimate gem where reservations are required. Exposed brick walls, oversized branch floral arrangements, and abstract black-and-white art provide an elegant and understated environment for a date. The food is an affordable (only $35!) prix-fixe of three courses with an optional supplemental pasta dish. Diners get to choose their own menu from the daily changing salad and soup options, fish and meat main course selections, and chocolate and fruit dessert offerings. Whatever you order, you can rest assured that it will be delicious. Wine pairings are optional or you can indulge in a shared bottle of bubbly to celebrate the holiday. Speaking of the holiday, on Valentine’s Day, Trestle is serving a four-course menu that includes cauliflower soup with caviar, ricotta gnudi with white truffles, a duo of New York strip steak and braised beef short rib, and a chocolate truffle tart with sweet and salty almonds.
531 Jackson Street San Francisco, CA 94111
Gitane is quite possibly San Francisco’s sexiest restaurant. It’s so unbelievable sensual that even the bathroom is sexy—and perhaps the location of a post-date escapade? While you could sit in the alley outside the restaurant, it’s much more romantic upstairs in the sleek boudoir-like dining room. The Mediterranean menu is filled with sharable options like paella with chicken, chorizo, clams, and paprika aioli or poached prawns with avocado and baby lettuce salad. Gitane has an extensive selection of Sherry, so anyone who has a love of Spain will enjoy dining at the downtown haute spot. On Valentine’s Day, Gitane is serving a four-course menu with some of the following offerings: kale and arugula salad, lamb pastilla, seared diver scallops, and chocolate budino.
6 Claude Lane San Francisco, CA 94108
For a more relaxed date meal, we love Beretta. The Mission district Italian restaurant serves up craft cocktails and scrumptious pizzas in an unpretentious, often bustling and loud environment that is dark, moody, and romantic. There are so many delicious menu items that the food is best shared between you and your date. Order the meatballs in spicy tomato sauce or the walnut bread with burrata and mushroom-truffle honey to start. There’s also artisanal salumi, hearty salads, creamy risottos, and a larger main course that changes daily. Think classic lasagne alla bolognese or petrale sole with lemon and capers. Note that Beretta does not accept reservations and they are usually packed. You can call ahead to be placed on the list or show up, put your name in, and grab a drink at a nearby watering hole like El Techo.
1199 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110