When I moved to San Francisco about three years ago, I was entering a critical phase of my life. For almost 2 1/2 years I’d been traveling, and working in many different places. While great, it didn’t actually lead to much stability in one certain area.
My love life.
So, I arrived in San Francisco, one of the most romantic, beautiful cities in the world, and one full of young people. It’s quite possibly the ideal city for dating in America. But in a city so beautiful, with so many great restaurants and bars, it can be quite daunting to take that special someone out to a place that really fits the bill.
Lucky for you, I’ve done the heavy lifting – without further ado, my three favorite romantic restaurants in San Francisco, learned through three years of dating. I included one in each budget range – low, medium, and high.
Low Budget – Pagolac, 655 Larkin St
Located in the Tenderloin – considered one of SF’s rougher neighborhoods, though residents love it, you can find Little Saigon, a tiny ethnic enclave. Within Little Saigon is this gem, nondescript from the outside, but positively amazing from the inside. Intimate, with personal service, impeccably clean, and with a wonderful menu. Regulars swear on the famous “7 Courses of beef dish,” best shared, of course. If you want to show your date a new experience, then this is the place to go.
Medium Budget – Beretta, 1199 Valencia Street.
Tucked into a corner on hip Valencia Street in the Mission District, Beretta is unassuming from the outside, but lively and exotic on the inside. The bartenders are top notch, considered some of the best in San Francisco. I usually come here early, sit at the bar, and enjoy a wonderful, unique, homemade cocktail and perhaps an appetizer (my favorite – the Zucchini Parmesan) before getting a table and enjoying good conversation over well-portioned Italian dishes. Take her here for the unique vibe, the cocktails and the superb food, and best of all, it won’t break your wallet.
High Budget – Top of the Mark, 999 California Street
San Francisco is a city of views, including from one of its 47 hills. So what is more archetypal San Francisco than going to a restaurant with a view? Top of the Mark beats them all, sitting in the center of San Francisco’s post nob hill (locals call it “Snob Hill”) with a 360-degree panoramic view of the city by the bay. Sunset Dinners are fantastic, with live music, wine, and delicious European-inspired cuisine. Come dressed to kill, and loaded – this place ain’t cheap, but if it’s an unforgettable experience you’re looking for, you can’t beat Top of the Mark.
San Francisco being San Francisco, this list is certainly not exhaustive. Everyday, new restaurants open and close, a facet of the cities vibrancy. If you’re a newcomer, explore what the city has to offer, and discover your own, personal, date restaurant. Never be afraid to ask for recommendations, and don’t be scared to check out the hidden alleys in the cities – that’s where, most often, the gems are found.