clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
SPQR

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

Where to go when it's date night

View as Map

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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Akiko’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Copy Link

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.

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.

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).

Chapeau!

Copy Link

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.

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.

ICHI Sushi

Copy Link

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

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.

L'Ardoise

Copy Link

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.

La Folie Lounge

Copy Link

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).

Lazy Bear

Copy Link

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.

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

Copy Link

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

MINA Test Kitchen - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

Copy Link

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.

Mister Jiu's

Copy Link

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.

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.

Saison Salon

Copy Link

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.

Serpentine

Copy Link

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.

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

Akiko’s Restaurant & Sushi Bar

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.

Cala

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.

Camino

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).

Chapeau!

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.

Gather

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.

ICHI Sushi

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.

Darren Samuelson

Koo

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.

L'Ardoise

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.

La Folie Lounge

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).

Lazy Bear

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.

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

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.

Eater Archives

MINA Test Kitchen - TEMPORARILY CLOSED

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.

Mister Jiu's