San Jose / San Francisco - best Italian restaurants?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Benny G, May 16, 2005.

  1. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    I'm looking for an excellent Italian restaurant in the San Jose or San Francisco area. Closer to San Jose is preferable, but definitely not necessary.

    Here's what I'm looking for:

    - no formal dress code (i.e. no suit and tie, but expected to be somewhat dressy)
    - prices do not matter
    - good food
    - great atmosphere (not loud)
    - place where you might take a girl [​IMG]

    I'd be very grateful if anyone has recommendations, comments, websites, etc... [​IMG]
     
  2. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Man, it's been way too long since I lived in SJ, but let me plumb the depths of a ravaged memory.

    First off, for food SF >>> SJ. It's just a way bigger city with a lot more glitz. I can't name a particular Italian place in SF that I remember, maybe the Stinky Rose (means a Garlic bulb.)

    In SJ, there used to be a joint downtown called Original Joe's that was a decent upscale italian place. Otherwise, a little cheaper but the Spagetti Factory is always a favorite place to grab a bite. Also, Gumbas in Sunnyvale was a fun place (surrounded by upscale bars in the preppy area of Sunnyvale.)

    If you aren't attached at the hip to Italian food, do yourself a big favor and go up to SF to get some Asian cuisine. Brandy Ho's restaurant (if it still exists) might be the best Chinese food I've ever tasted.

    Ah, here you go:

    http://www.brandyhoshunan.com/
     
  3. Ari

    Ari Stunt Coordinator

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    Rose Pistola in SF North Beach....it's been a while since I've been there but it was fantastic....
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Try La Hacienda out on Hwy. 9 between Los Gatos and Saratoga. Despite the name this place serves continental cuisine with an emphasis on Italian. www.lahaciendainn.com/restaurant.htm This is where I would take a lady.
     
  5. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    One word...

    [​IMG]

    As a former 17 year resident of San Francisco & the Bay Area, and as an epicurean with a special affinity towards Italian food I can promise you that you will not find another restaurant in the entire Bay Area that will match the criteria that you are looking for, any better than Acquerello.
    • no formal dress code (but somewhat dressy) It is a classy restaurant, but no formal dress code.
    • prices do not matter While not nearly the most expensive restaurant in the city, expect to pay about $100 per person on average.
    • good food Uh, no... GREAT FOOD! [​IMG]
    • great atmosphere (not loud) It has a wonderful ambiance to it that makes you feel like you have been transported to a small town in Tuscany. Very romantic in a subdued way.
    • place where you might take a girl It is consistently rated as one of the most romantic restaurants in the city.
    For each of those categories I can think of other Italian restaurants that do a better job, but none of them comes close to meeting all of these categories in the way that Acquerello does.

    If you really want it to be a memorable romantic evening, discus your intentions with the Maitre'd and I'm sure they can work with you to make it even more special.

    A nice touch to consider is to get a special flower arrangement and have it delivered to the restaurant on the day of your reservation so that the Maitre'd can have it on your table before you arrive. In addition, pick out a favorite bottle of champagne when you make your reservation and ask that your server have it waiting for you at your table on ice before you arrive.

    BTW: If you are going the champagne route, my suggestion would be a bottle of NV Laurent Perrier Rose Brut.

    [​IMG]

    Rose champagnes are notoriously romantic, and this is an excellent choice at a very reasonable price.

    I would also strongly recommend pre-ordering the Chef's four course tasting menu. Not only will it likely feature the best dishes of the night, but it will allow you to do away with the menus when you arrive such that all the focus can be on each other.

    One last tip, be sure to get to know the names of the Chef, Maitre'd, Sommelier, and your server before you arrive. It will make your date feel all that much more comfortable in your choices when she sees that you are familiar with your surroundings. I would also recommend at some point in the evening that you invite the Chef and Sommelier to your table to discus what it is you are having. Showing your appreciation for their knowledge and efforts will go a long way in assuring their assistance in making the evening unforgettable.

    Hope you have a great night!
     
  6. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    Wow..these look like some great places. Maybe I'll have to try all of them! [​IMG]

    I sincerely appreciate all of your suggestions!
     
  7. Alex-C

    Alex-C Screenwriter

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    I'll second Rose Pistola. Can't be letdown going there.
     
  8. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    So where did you end up going and how was it?
     
  9. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    I haven't gone yet. I'll be going in the very near future. I'm gonna make a decision sometime today...and hopefully the restaurant(s) aren't already booked during my visit.

    I'll post a message to say where I ended up going and how it was.

    Thanks again!
     
  10. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    In case anyone wants to offer more suggestions...

    The most important quality now is....fairly quiet. I'd really prefer a quiet place.

    I'd also prefer something that's not toooooo far from the Curran Theatre.

    Nils - your suggestion of Acquerello looks very good. I'm only afraid that I might freak the girl out if we went there..because it might be too perfect! [​IMG] Right now, I'm definitely leaning toward it. (and there are open spots for my time/day!)
     
  11. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    Reservations have been made for Acquerello.
     
  12. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Hey Benny
    You will be very close to North Beach which is the Italian Part of Town. Basically it is bounded by Broadway and Columbus with Chinatown being South of Broadway. There are many great Italian home style restaurants within a few blocks. Most have been there for 50 years at least and would have been boarded up if these sucked. The New Pisa comes to mind as great reasonable food. I never heard of the restaurant you made reservations for but I am sure it's good. Mooses is a fun place that's kind of classy. Try some of these on another night.
     
  13. Benny G

    Benny G Second Unit

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    If anyone knows...are there any nice little shops near the Curran Theatre that might be open at 11 pm? Something that..perhaps..sells ice cream? Or some other enjoyable thing?

    Also...we'll be dressed formal for the restaurant. (just so no one worries [​IMG])
     
  14. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Shouldn't be a problem around Union Square.
    It caters to tourists in the theater district and when they let out
     
  15. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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