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Where to Go With Your Partner for a Fancy Date in San Francisco

Where to go when it's date night

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It's date night for you and your partner, which shouldn't just be your favorite neighborhood joint. On nights when you want to spice things up, these restaurants have an extra interesting element to them to add a little excitement to your 244th date night. So rather than just head to your neighborhood joint — again — why not make going out feel like an event by getting fancy at places with friendly service and fun vibes. These 17 restaurants check off all the LTR date-night necessities, so based on which neighborhood you want to head to, take your pick.

Want to stay a little more low-key on date night? Here's where to go when you want a more casual experience.

— Noelle Chun, Andrew Dalton, Ellen Fort, Anna Roth, and Stefanie Tuder contributed to this map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. L'Ardoise

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151 Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 437-2600
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This charming Parisian-inspired bistro oozes romance, with its soft lighting, warm tones, and classic French fare. It might be a staid date spot, but there's a reason Paris is called the romantic city in the world — because the French know how to set a sexy tone.

2. Mister Jiu's

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28 Waverly Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 857-9688
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The gorgeous dining room at Mister Jiu's is a joy to discover amidst the typically lower key restaurants in Chinatown, especially paired with chef Brandon Jew's contemporary takes on Chinese food (served banquet-style for the two of you to feast on). It all makes for a surprising evening out in a neighborhood that hasn't changed in recent decades; don't skip out on the cocktails or dessert.

3. Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

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1398 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 864-7468
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It's surprisingly hard to find a truly expensive, let's-go-all-out dinner in the Haight, but you can still manage to ring up a sizable tab at Magnolia. Like any long-term relationship, there are things you love above Magnolia (good beer!) and some things that bug the crap out of you (it's so loud!), but you'll stick by it anyway.
Eater Archives

4. MINA Test Kitchen - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

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2120 Greenwich St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 625-5469
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The concept changes at Mina Test Kitchen every three months, but you always know it's going to be good. So far there's been Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, and barbecue prix fixe food in three-month tenures. The decor is not exactly pretty, but the Mina-quality food, knowledgeable service, and interesting (in a good way) experience make up for it.

5. Akiko’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar

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431 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 397-3218
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With chefs who have worked at some of the country's best sushi spots (Sushi Ran, Ota, etc.) and with details such as Japanese applewood-aged soy sauce, Akiko's takes its sushi very seriously. The huge key here, though, is being sure to sit at the sushi bar — the vibe just isn't as good at the tables. Then, simply put yourself in the hands of the sushi chefs behind the bar and freak out with your SO over the expert nigiri.

6. Cala

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149 Fell St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 660-7701
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Chances are the two of you are dying to make it to Mexico City. Instead, head to Cala, where the Mexico City-native chef brings fresh flavors to the table. Be sure to get the mussels over toast and the charred sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra.

7. SPQR

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1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 771-7779
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So, you've been together a while. It's time to go all-out on a high-end, white tablecloth Italian dinner and spare no expense on the wine. Perfect for anniversary celebrations or question-popping.
SPQR

8. La Folie Lounge

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2316 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 776-5577
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The lounge at La Folie is the more casual younger sister of French fine dining restaurant La Folie, located just next door. At the lounge, you can experience the best of La Folie, without the sticker shock. It's the same great service, and you can order La Folie food a la carte here. It will still cost you (just not as much), and still be very special (just with a little more flexibility).

9. Nopa

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560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 864-8643
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Let's face it: Unless you're a super-regular, you're not getting a prime-time reservation at Nopa. So, make a night of it and submit to the wait. Head to the bar for snacks and drinks to pass the time, or scoot next door to Horsefeather. Once you're sitting down, all will feel right when you gorge on the pleasing menu and dive deep into wine director Lulu McAllister's excellent wine list.

10. Chapeau!

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126 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 750-9787
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Maybe it’s just because we’ve been programmed by pop culture, but there’s nothing more romantic than a French restaurant. This yellow-walled, family-owned bistro on Clement offers the classics like escargot, cassoulet, and seared foie gras, and a combination of tasting menus and a la carte selections let you pick how lengthy you want your meal to be. The wine list is heavy on French vintages, naturally.

11. Koo

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408 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 731-7077
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There’s something sexy about spoiling yourself with pristine raw fish, and this cozy Sunset restaurant will certainly oblige. Each omakase ($50 and up) starts with spoons of happiness, bearing uni, ankimo (monkfish liver), and a shot of sake, and then follows with a parade of sashimi and nigiri. The dining room is more comfortable than romantic, but the best seats in the house are at the sushi bar anyway, and a few fabric panels provide semi-private nooks at the tables.

12. Gather

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2200 Oxford St
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 809-0400
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Across from Cal's verdant campus, Gather is a welcoming oasis of locally-sourced comfort food. Dine under strung lights on the heated patio, or pack into the busy dining room where jars of pickled vegetables line the walls. After, walk down the street for drinks in downtown Berkeley amongst the students, to feel young and unattached again.

13. Camino

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3917 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 547-5035
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Just because you've been together forever doesn't mean you have to be boring. This rustic, chill spot offers some of Oakland's best food straight from the wood-fired hearth. It's cozy and upscale, making it the perfect place to catch up over craft cocktails, rosé, and whole-roasted Dungeness crab (when in season).

14. Serpentine

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2495 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 252-2000
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Like your relationship, Serpentine is steady and in it for the long haul, offering up simple but well-executed dishes like oven-roasted chicken. It's not an adventure, but it's a welcoming place to catch up with your significant other over a cocktail and one of SF's best burgers.

15. ICHI Sushi

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3369 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 525-4750
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Ichi Sushi offers a lovely omakase that incorporates both classic and new sushi offerings, while also focusing on sustainable fish. When you and your SO want a big-ticket night out in the neighborhood, Ichi is the way to go. Be sure to sit at the bar for chef interaction, and do note that Ichi downsized recently, back into its original, petite space at 3369 Mission St.
Darren Samuelson

16. Lazy Bear

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3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 874-9921
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You're in for a real treat at Lazy Bear, where the meal plays out in a way you've likely never experienced before. This ticketed, tasting menu restaurant employs a service model entirely its own, one in which diners eat communally and chefs present each dish with a passionate speech. There are a lot of foraged ingredients, which come together in the tastiest of manners through surprising and expert preparations. Experience the delight with your SO, but do be prepared to make friends, too.

17. Saison Salon

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178 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 828-7990
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The three-Michelin-starred Saison may be the state's most expensive restaurant, but the salon offers a way to experience it for way, way less. The area, which has six bar seats and a few tables, has its own menu with a la carte options that are often pulled straight from the tasting menu and range between $18 and $50, as well as some very elegant drinks. (The regular $398 tasting menu is available there, too, should you want to go all the way in more ways than one.) If you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking to get fancy, there is no better place to go than here.

1. L'Ardoise

151 Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114
This charming Parisian-inspired bistro oozes romance, with its soft lighting, warm tones, and classic French fare. It might be a staid date spot, but there's a reason Paris is called the romantic city in the world — because the French know how to set a sexy tone.
151 Noe St
San Francisco, CA 94114

2. Mister Jiu's

28 Waverly Pl., San Francisco, CA 94108
The gorgeous dining room at Mister Jiu's is a joy to discover amidst the typically lower key restaurants in Chinatown, especially paired with chef Brandon Jew's contemporary takes on Chinese food (served banquet-style for the two of you to feast on). It all makes for a surprising evening out in a neighborhood that hasn't changed in recent decades; don't skip out on the cocktails or dessert.
28 Waverly Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94108

3. Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

1398 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Eater Archives
It's surprisingly hard to find a truly expensive, let's-go-all-out dinner in the Haight, but you can still manage to ring up a sizable tab at Magnolia. Like any long-term relationship, there are things you love above Magnolia (good beer!) and some things that bug the crap out of you (it's so loud!), but you'll stick by it anyway.
1398 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

4. MINA Test Kitchen - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

2120 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94123
The concept changes at Mina Test Kitchen every three months, but you always know it's going to be good. So far there's been Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, and barbecue prix fixe food in three-month tenures. The decor is not exactly pretty, but the Mina-quality food, knowledgeable service, and interesting (in a good way) experience make up for it.
2120 Greenwich St
San Francisco, CA 94123

5. Akiko’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar

431 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
With chefs who have worked at some of the country's best sushi spots (Sushi Ran, Ota, etc.) and with details such as Japanese applewood-aged soy sauce, Akiko's takes its sushi very seriously. The huge key here, though, is being sure to sit at the sushi bar — the vibe just isn't as good at the tables. Then, simply put yourself in the hands of the sushi chefs behind the bar and freak out with your SO over the expert nigiri.
431 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94108

6. Cala

149 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Chances are the two of you are dying to make it to Mexico City. Instead, head to Cala, where the Mexico City-native chef brings fresh flavors to the table. Be sure to get the mussels over toast and the charred sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra.
149 Fell St
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. SPQR

1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115
SPQR
So, you've been together a while. It's time to go all-out on a high-end, white tablecloth Italian dinner and spare no expense on the wine. Perfect for anniversary celebrations or question-popping.
1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

8. La Folie Lounge

2316 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
The lounge at La Folie is the more casual younger sister of French fine dining restaurant La Folie, located just next door. At the lounge, you can experience the best of La Folie, without the sticker shock. It's the same great service, and you can order La Folie food a la carte here. It will still cost you (just not as much), and still be very special (just with a little more flexibility).
2316 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

9. Nopa

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Let's face it: Unless you're a super-regular, you're not getting a prime-time reservation at Nopa. So, make a night of it and submit to the wait. Head to the bar for snacks and drinks to pass the time, or scoot next door to Horsefeather. Once you're sitting down, all will feel right when you gorge on the pleasing menu and dive deep into wine director Lulu McAllister's excellent wine list.
560 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

10. Chapeau!

126 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
Maybe it’s just because we’ve been programmed by pop culture, but there’s nothing more romantic than a French restaurant. This yellow-walled, family-owned bistro on Clement offers the classics like escargot, cassoulet, and seared foie gras, and a combination of tasting menus and a la carte selections let you pick how lengthy you want your meal to be. The wine list is heavy on French vintages, naturally.
126 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

11. Koo

408 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
There’s something sexy about spoiling yourself with pristine raw fish, and this cozy Sunset restaurant will certainly oblige. Each omakase ($50 and up) starts with spoons of happiness, bearing uni, ankimo (monkfish liver), and a shot of sake, and then follows with a parade of sashimi and nigiri. The dining room is more comfortable than romantic, but the best seats in the house are at the sushi bar anyway, and a few fabric panels provide semi-private nooks at the tables.
408 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122

12. Gather

2200 Oxford St, Berkeley, CA 94704
Across from Cal's verdant campus, Gather is a welcoming oasis of locally-sourced comfort food. Dine under strung lights on the heated patio, or pack into the busy dining room where jars of pickled vegetables line the walls. After, walk down the street for drinks in downtown Berkeley amongst the students, to feel young and unattached again.
2200 Oxford St
Berkeley, CA 94704

13. Camino

3917 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Just because you've been together forever doesn't mean you have to be boring. This rustic, chill spot offers some of Oakland's best food straight from the wood-fired hearth. It's cozy and upscale, making it the perfect place to catch up over craft cocktails, rosé, and whole-roasted Dungeness crab (when in season).
3917 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

14. Serpentine

2495 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Like your relationship, Serpentine is steady and in it for the long haul, offering up simple but well-executed dishes like oven-roasted chicken. It's not an adventure, but it's a welcoming place to catch up with your significant other over a cocktail and one of SF's best burgers.
2495 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

15. ICHI Sushi

3369 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Darren Samuelson
Ichi Sushi offers a lovely omakase that incorporates both classic and new sushi offerings, while also focusing on sustainable fish. When you and your SO want a big-ticket night out in the neighborhood, Ichi is the way to go. Be sure to sit at the bar for chef interaction, and do note that Ichi downsized recently, back into its original, petite space at 3369 Mission St.
3369 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Related Maps

16. Lazy Bear

3416 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
You're in for a real treat at Lazy Bear, where the meal plays out in a way you've likely never experienced before. This ticketed, tasting menu restaurant employs a service model entirely its own, one in which diners eat communally and chefs present each dish with a passionate speech. There are a lot of foraged ingredients, which come together in the tastiest of manners through surprising and expert preparations. Experience the delight with your SO, but do be prepared to make friends, too.
3416 19th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

17. Saison Salon

178 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94107
The three-Michelin-starred Saison may be the state's most expensive restaurant, but the salon offers a way to experience it for way, way less. The area, which has six bar seats and a few tables, has its own menu with a la carte options that are often pulled straight from the tasting menu and range between $18 and $50, as well as some very elegant drinks. (The regular $398 tasting menu is available there, too, should you want to go all the way in more ways than one.) If you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking to get fancy, there is no better place to go than here.
178 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94107

Related Maps