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17 Fancy Restaurants for Second Dates in San Francisco

Get to know your new potential partner at these special spots

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So you've had a successful first date, which begs the question: Where are you going for round two? Second date spots shouldn't be too loud (since they're all about getting to really know one another), and the ability to make a reservation is a must. Good second date spots inspire you to start with cocktails and segue into a bottle of wine that you can linger over. In the case that you're willing to unleash a larger portion of your paycheck on a second date, this group was chosen with those fancier vibes in mind.

These 17 restaurants check off all the second date necessities, so based on which neighborhood you'll be meeting up in, take your pick.

Rather go a little more low-key on your second date? No problem; these restaurants are ideal for that. Second date go so well that you're ready to lock it down? Head to these restaurants for that sort of special occasion.

— 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.
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Easily the classiest restaurant in the neighborhood, A16's pizzas are the star here. Order your meal around the pies, and then fill it out with the stellar appetizers, salads, and pastas. Definitely get wine — and lots of it — and request a bar at the chef's counter so you can watch the action.

Aatxe > Cafe Du Nord

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Order a ton of tapas and explore the excellent sherry list at this intimate, buzzy Spanish spot. Then stumble downstairs to Cafe Du Nord for excellent craft cocktails in a moody, dark space.

Bellota

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The Absinthe Group knows a thing a or two about creating a great date spot, and its newest, biggest project to date is no exception. Sitting anywhere in this Spanish stunner is ideal date territory, but the prime zone is at the bar or in the lounge. Saddle up to the bar or choose a couch to perch on and order some excellent cocktails alongside tapas, paella, and hearth-cooked mains. As the night goes on, a live piano player often infuses the room with romantic, fun vibes, as do the flamenco dancers.

Bistro Central Parc

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To Americans, there's almost nothing more romantic than Paris, and Bistro Central Parc transports you to the dreamy city. Romance abounds in the twinkly ceiling, simple French fare, and Old World wine list meant for exploring. Do a little wine research beforehand to thoroughly impress your date.

Cassava

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This cozy Outer Richmond restaurant serves a nightly tasting menu offering modern California cuisine, with beautifully plated items like house-made squid ink pasta with poached egg, black cod compressed with black olives, and sesame pot du creme. Each can be paired with wine or a non-alcoholic beverage, and there’s a regular menu of apps and entrees if you don’t want to go full tasting. Inside, the dining room has soothing blue walls, subway tile, and a dramatic stripped tree sculpture; if it’s nice, you can sit outside at sidewalk tables.

Though not a white tablecloth kind of place, lively Comal has an upscale menu of Oaxacan delicacies, like hen-of-the-woods mushroom quesadillas and wood-grilled platos fuertes for two. Grab a couple carefully crafted margaritas and head to the dreamy garden patio.

Delfina

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This seasoned Northern Italian restaurant is an expert in hospitality, providing everything you need for a successful second date: good, shareable food (Delfina's California take on Italian dishes pleases picky people and discerning eaters alike), solid wine, and some romantic, vibrant vibes.

Down by the waterfront, Haven is a cozy neighborhood gem (that happens to be in Jack London Square). Dinner is a prix-fixe (three or four courses) of seasonal, family-style food that will hopefully get everyone on the same page. Sharing is caring, and you might as well get that out of the way on the second date.

Leo's Oyster Bar

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Inside Leo's, ferns hang from the ceiling, the bar glows gold, and splashy colors dominate the feel-good space. There are tons of pretty people eating pretty things here — besides the typical raw bar fare like oysters, clams, crab, shrimp, and lobster, the menu is full of caviar, crudo, uni — and decadence. Sip on champagne, slurp an oyster, and wow your date with your cool pick.

Nopalito

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Come for the margaritas (and excellent popped corn snacks that accompany them); stay for the menu of refined Mexican small plates. The second location of this SF staple from the Nopa folks fits right in with the neighborhood, offering an upscale-casual environment for its tacos, pozole, ceviche, and legendary carnitas with housemade tortillas. If it’s not too cold at night, request a table on the cute heated patio and eat surrounded by cafe lights and potted succulents.

Padrecito

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Padrecito's lively bar atmosphere and rustic, California-Mexican menu make for a more substantial dinner commitment. Start with cocktails at the colorful bar — perfect if your tastes skew more toward mezcal than whiskey — and then sit down to share a bunch of tacos and small plates.

Piccino Cafe

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This adorable Italian-influenced restaurant is a lively spot for a second date, with a menu of pizzas and pastas for the sharing. Sit on the patio as the sun sets with a bottle of rosé for maximum enjoyment.

Roka Akor

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Fancy sushi and fancy drinks in fancy environs sums Roka Akor up pretty well. And if your date doesn't like sushi, there are plenty of entree options to choose from.

Roka Akor

Saru Sushi Bar

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Tucked into a cranny in Noe Valley, Saru has a cult following — and long waits that start when it opens, so be prepared. But options in this neighborhood are limited, and you can get to know your date better over a drink before you're seated (tip: head right across the street to Caskhouse). All will be forgotten once your table is ready and you bite into the expert nigiri.

The Progress

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Despite the hype around its sister restaurant State Bird Provisions, it can be surprisingly easy to snag a spot at the bar at The Progress. Go on the early side, but take your time and let the staff guide you through a menu that chef Stuart Brioza and co. call "the greatest dinner party ever."

Whitechapel

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Enter another world when you walk into Whitechapel, a highly-themed gin bar fashioned to look like an abandoned London Underground station and distillery. There's a lengthy list of gin-based cocktails, and the food is Bangladeshi-inspired pub fare, like mussels vindaloo and pakoras with spicy lime pickle, Asian pear, and lassi bubbles. It's a fun, crazy atmosphere that will definitely leave a mark.

Zuni Cafe

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San Francisco's iconic roast chicken restaurant will do much of the work of charming your date for you. No matter where you sit in its five disparate areas, the vibes and lighting make it feel good to be there. Ice cold oysters and bubbly champagne are the right way to start off the night (or day!), followed by — obviously — the chicken, though be forewarned that it takes an hour to prepare, so you better have your talking points ready.

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A16

Easily the classiest restaurant in the neighborhood, A16's pizzas are the star here. Order your meal around the pies, and then fill it out with the stellar appetizers, salads, and pastas. Definitely get wine — and lots of it — and request a bar at the chef's counter so you can watch the action.

Aatxe > Cafe Du Nord

Order a ton of tapas and explore the excellent sherry list at this intimate, buzzy Spanish spot. Then stumble downstairs to Cafe Du Nord for excellent craft cocktails in a moody, dark space.

Bellota

The Absinthe Group knows a thing a or two about creating a great date spot, and its newest, biggest project to date is no exception. Sitting anywhere in this Spanish stunner is ideal date territory, but the prime zone is at the bar or in the lounge. Saddle up to the bar or choose a couch to perch on and order some excellent cocktails alongside tapas, paella, and hearth-cooked mains. As the night goes on, a live piano player often infuses the room with romantic, fun vibes, as do the flamenco dancers.

Bistro Central Parc

To Americans, there's almost nothing more romantic than Paris, and Bistro Central Parc transports you to the dreamy city. Romance abounds in the twinkly ceiling, simple French fare, and Old World wine list meant for exploring. Do a little wine research beforehand to thoroughly impress your date.

Cassava

This cozy Outer Richmond restaurant serves a nightly tasting menu offering modern California cuisine, with beautifully plated items like house-made squid ink pasta with poached egg, black cod compressed with black olives, and sesame pot du creme. Each can be paired with wine or a non-alcoholic beverage, and there’s a regular menu of apps and entrees if you don’t want to go full tasting. Inside, the dining room has soothing blue walls, subway tile, and a dramatic stripped tree sculpture; if it’s nice, you can sit outside at sidewalk tables.

Comal

Though not a white tablecloth kind of place, lively Comal has an upscale menu of Oaxacan delicacies, like hen-of-the-woods mushroom quesadillas and wood-grilled platos fuertes for two. Grab a couple carefully crafted margaritas and head to the dreamy garden patio.

Delfina

This seasoned Northern Italian restaurant is an expert in hospitality, providing everything you need for a successful second date: good, shareable food (Delfina's California take on Italian dishes pleases picky people and discerning eaters alike), solid wine, and some romantic, vibrant vibes.

Haven

Down by the waterfront, Haven is a cozy neighborhood gem (that happens to be in Jack London Square). Dinner is a prix-fixe (three or four courses) of seasonal, family-style food that will hopefully get everyone on the same page. Sharing is caring, and you might as well get that out of the way on the second date.

Leo's Oyster Bar

Inside Leo's, ferns hang from the ceiling, the bar glows gold, and splashy colors dominate the feel-good space. There are tons of pretty people eating pretty things here — besides the typical raw bar fare like oysters, clams, crab, shrimp, and lobster, the menu is full of caviar, crudo, uni — and decadence. Sip on champagne, slurp an oyster, and wow your date with your cool pick.

Nopalito

Come for the margaritas (and excellent popped corn snacks that accompany them); stay for the menu of refined Mexican small plates. The second location of this SF staple from the Nopa folks fits right in with the neighborhood, offering an upscale-casual environment for its tacos, pozole, ceviche, and legendary carnitas with housemade tortillas. If it’s not too cold at night, request a table on the cute heated patio and eat surrounded by cafe lights and potted succulents.

Padrecito

Padrecito's lively bar atmosphere and rustic, California-Mexican menu make for a more substantial dinner commitment. Start with cocktails at the colorful bar — perfect if your tastes skew more toward mezcal than whiskey — and then sit down to share a bunch of tacos and small plates.

Piccino Cafe