Best Tasting Menus in San Francisco

Fab Fixed Price
March 23, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

San Francisco has a mix of high class and offbeat tasting menus. Whether you want a classic experience or want to try one of the city’s top newcomers, you should expect nothing less than a dazzling chef-led dining experience.

Benu
New American · SoMa · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

"You’ll be overwhelmed by the creativity and imagination" put into each "breathtaking" dish at this "stylish" SoMa "food temple" , a "Zen-like" venue where chef-owner Corey Lee’s New American tasting menus showcase an "incredible" "melding of Asian and Californian flavors" ; staffed by a "superb" team that ensures you "feel very much pampered" , it’s an "experience that won’t soon be forgotten" – and that includes the "super-expensive" cost.
Quince
French · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.7

"Hard to top" for "fancy dining" "at its best" , this "refined" Downtown Californian from "passionate" husband-and-wife team Michael and Lindsay Tusk "sparkles" thanks to his "superbly executed" cuisine showcasing Italian accents and a "fresh, local food ethos" , complemented by a "fabulous wine list" in "dreamy" surroundings run by a "stellar" staff; you’ll "shell out some big bucks" , but for a "special occasion" that’s "absolutely over the moon" , it’s "well worth it."
La Folie
French · Russian Hill · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.8

Each "work-of-art" course "feels like an event" at this "first-class" French "cornerstone" in Russian Hill, an "epicurean delight" where ever-present chef Roland Passot’s "magnifique" prix fixe dinners are "crafted to perfection" and accompanied by "fine wines" and "stellar" service in a setting of "intimate" "elegance" ; it's "pricey indeed but worth it" , and the adjoining lounge offers a "comfy" alternative for a less formal bite.
Commis
New American · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.6

On the "cutting edge" of the "haute cuisine" scene, this "inspiring" New American "experience" in the East Bay "epitomizes contemporary fine dining" with "sublime" tasting menus showcasing the "most exciting ingredients" "meticulously plated" (think "food as art" ) and paired with "impressive wines" ; "impeccable" staffers man a "cozy" space with a chef’s counter overlooking "the full culinary show" , and while the "tiny" portions are undeniably "pricey" , "foodies" agree it’s "so worth it" "for a special treat."
Manresa
American · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.8

Chef David Kinch crafts "epic" farm-to-table meals at this "extraordinary" Los Gatos New American, a "heavenly" destination where every course on the "brilliant" , seasonally inspired tasting menus is a "work of art" enhanced by "carefully selected" wines; "hospitality is paramount" to a team that mans the "beautiful" space like a "theatrical production" , so "save up" to savor a "splurge" "you’ll talk about for a long time."
Mourad
Moroccan · SoMa · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"A beautiful place for a splurge" , this "hot" Moroccan from chef Mourad Lahlou (Aziza) "delights" with "nuanced" contemporary cuisine, "elegant" presentations and "polished" service in a "dreamy" SoMa setting with a "high-style" bar mixing "awesome cocktails" ; the soaring "downstairs is where the liveliness is" , especially if you go for the "mind-blowing" "family-style" experience.
Commonwealth
American · The Mission · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

Chef Jason Fox "just keeps surprising" his following of "curious foodies" at this "modest" -looking Mission New American, where the "fabulous" small plates are "beautifully presented" both à la carte and via a "dramatic" tasting menu with "boutique wine" pairings; "considering the quality" and the fact that the "staff exceeds expectations" , it’s "a pretty awesome value" (plus a portion of the receipts are donated to charity).
COI
American · North Beach · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

"Food is an art form" at this North Beach leader in Californian-French "culinary mastery" , where patrons savor "cutting-edge" , seafood-centric tasting menus ( "each plate is like a little masterpiece" ) while "being pampered" by "impeccable" servers in a "quiet, refined" setting; the "very high price point" is no surprise, but it’s "worth emptying your wallet" for such a "truly bucket-list type of place."
Rich Table
New American · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.4

"Inventive" yet "approachable" , this Hayes Valley "destination" by Evan and Sarah Rich "wows" with its "unique" , "delectable" Californian dishes matched by a "killer wine list" and "warm" service in a minimalist (and "loud" ) space adorned with salvaged barn wood; it's "hard to get into" (though walk-ins can sit at the bar or the communal table) and the "pricey" , "locally sourced" menu "changes" often, but "if the stars align, you will leave sockless."
Atelier Crenn
French · Cow Hollow · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.8

Dominique Crenn "stretches the boundaries" of French cooking at this Cow Hollow "treat" , where the "spectacular" tasting menu and "elegantly orchestrated" service are like "a piece of performance art" that makes foodies "swear they’ve died and gone to culinary heaven" ; with only a "low-key, natural" setting and a chef-penned poem to introduce the "enchanted evening" , it’s a "memorable" way "to be surprised at every course" – even at "once-in-a-lifetime" prices.
Flour + Water
Italian · The Mission · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

"Heavenly" handmade pastas are the main attraction at this high-profile Mission Italian, where chef Thomas McNaughton’s seasonally inspired creations also include "terrific" wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and "unique" tasting menus, all delivered by an "energized staff" ; tables in the "casual" space are still "a tough ticket" , so reserve far in advance or prepare to brave a "crazy wait."
Michael Mina
New American · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"Everything at this place is first-class" say fans of Michael Mina's "vibrant" Downtown New American, known for its "sumptuous" cuisine (notably the "memorable" prix fixe dinners), "outstanding" service and "unbelievably elegant yet comfortable" surroundings; given the "pricey" tariffs, many save it for "celebrating" , but it's also "fun to eat at the bar" for a less "formal" meal.
Trestle
New American · Chinatown · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

Offering "three well-crafted courses" of "stellar" American food that "rocks with seasonality" , this "totally cute" dinner spot from the Stones Throw team in Downtown's Financial District impresses as one of the "best fine-dining values in the city" ; "caring" service and a "fantastic wine list" enhance the "good vibe" , and while the prix fixe choices are "limited" and the space can get "loud" , the "quality" "makes up for it."
Californios
Mexican · The Mission · $$$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

"Every morsel" is "unique and elegant" at this elevated Mission Mexican, a former pop-up showcasing "marvelous" modern cuisine on an "amazing" nightly tasting menu presented by a "convivial" staff; the high-end prices fall in line with a small but swanky interior boasting tufted amber banquettes, chandeliers and colorful prints.
1601 Bar & Kitchen
Sri Lankan · SoMa · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

Chef Brian Fernando’s "unique style makes for captivating flavors" at this SoMa "hidden gem" where the "deliciously different" small plates showcase Sri Lankan recipes by way of French techniques and seasonal inspiration; a few feel it’s "pricey for the quantity" , but the "attentive" staff and understated space underpin "excellent dining" that’s "different than the usual."