Best Decor in San Francisco

July 21, 2016
·
by Zagat Staff

Stunning restaurants abound in San Francisco. Here's our list of the very top spots for decor in the city.

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."
Gary Danko
French · Fisherman's Wharf · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.9

An "oasis of excellence" that "never loses its luster" , Gary Danko’s "stellar" Fisherman’s Wharf namesake manages to "mystically balance" "world-class" New American cuisine on a "brilliantly executed" prix fixe menu ( "don't skip the cheese cart" ) with a "superior wine list" and "synchronized service" , leading to a "warm, customer-centric" experience that manages to be "indulgent without a trace of pretension" ; it comes "at a price" , but for "a celebratory experience" in a "gorgeous" setting, you "get what you pay for."
Farallon
Seafood · Nob Hill · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.5

"Fantastical" "undersea decor" sets a "one-of-a-kind" scene for seafood that’s "masterfully prepared" at this "high-end" Downtown "mainstay" that remains "in a class of its own" "after all these years" ; the "top-notch" staff ensures "you’ll feel pampered" , but be sure to "bring a fat wallet" and "expect to splurge."
Kokkari Estiatorio
Greek · Downtown · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

A Downtown "star for many years" , this "sublime" Greek "continues to shine" with "lamb shanks from the gods" , "flawlessly" spit-roasted meats and other "fabulous" specialties served by an "exceptional" crew in an "inviting" , "rustic-chic" space favored by "fashionable" crowds; the "memorable experience" requires a "difficult rezzie" and deep pockets to meet the "high-class" cost, but it’s widely hailed as a "must-go" "for a good reason."
Acquerello
Italian · Polk Gulch · $$$$
Food 4.9 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.8

"The total package" for "a special night out" , this "world-class" Polk Gulch Italian combines chef Suzette Gresham’s "divinely inspired" , "decadent" prix fixe menus with a "top-notch wine list" , all presented by an "impeccable" staff displaying "unmatched professionalism" ; despite the "substantial checks" , it's an "excellent value" , with a "beautifully serene" , "intimate" setting "in what was once a chapel" adding to the "sophisticated treat."
The Garden Court
Californian · SoMa · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.1

Fans "love relaxing in the gorgeous room" under a "magnificent domed stained-glass ceiling" at this "San Francisco tradition" in the Palace Hotel, a "favorite for high tea" on Saturdays, "lovely" for lunch and "particularly fine" when it comes to breakfast and Sunday brunch; the whole package (including "old-school" service) reflects a "rich history" , but bear in mind that you'll "pay for the atmosphere."
Waterbar
Seafood · Embarcadero · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.3

"Seafood magnificence" and "spectacular" water views lure diners to this upscale Embarcadero bar and restaurant situated "practically under the Bay Bridge" , known for its "fresh" , "well-prepared" sea fare (the oyster happy hour is "hard to beat" ) and "smart" aquarium decor; sure, it can get "a bit noisy" at times, but "knowledgeable" servers keep things moving and there's also patio seating.
Sutro’s
Bistro · Sea Cliff · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.4

Floor-to-ceiling windows supply "unforgettable" views of the Pacific and the Sutro Bath ruins at this Sea Cliff Californian that’s nestled inside Cliff House; "well-prepared, very tasty" food and "professional" service distract from the "touristy" crowd and decidedly "upscale" price tags.
Hakkasan
Asian · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.3

"Haute Chinese" dining lands Downtown at this "chic" outpost of the swank international chain purveying a "modern" , "well-executed" menu ferried by a "professional" crew; critics cite "super-expensive" pricing, though "trendy" types dig the "hopping bar" , "loud music" and "see-and-be-seen" scene.
Bix
American · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.4

For dining "in the speakeasy style" , drop by this "swanky" supper club set in an "out-of-the-way" FiDi alley where a "terrific" American menu (and even more "fantastic" cocktails) arrive in a "deco-to-the-max" duplex setting complete with white-jacketed servers; sure, the acoustics can be "loud" and the pricing "extravagant" , but the mix of nightly live jazz and and "witty conversation" alone make it a "perfect special-occasion" destination.
Jardinière
French · Hayes Valley · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

Pre-theater dinners are "so much a ritual" that chef Traci Des Jardins’ "fantastic" , California-inspired French fare "ought to be included in the Civic Center ticket prices" say followers of this Hayes Valley "triumph" , a "classy" , "long-running hit" boasting "wonderful wine" and servers who "treat you like royals" ; the "supper-club vibe" signals "pricey" tabs, but it’s "always hopping" , and seating upstairs provides an elevated "people-watching" perch.
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.
Boulevard Restaurant
Gastropub · Embarcadero · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

This "top-end" Embarcadero "landmark" showcasing the "culinary vision" of Nancy Oakes "continues to excel" thanks to the "robust flavors" of its "mindblowing" , "market-driven" American cuisine, paired with a "terrific wine list" and served with "the ultimate in professionalism" ; set amid "vibrant" belle epoque "elegance" with "spectacular" Bay Bridge views and a "delightfully fun" counter "to watch the chefs in action" , it’s "always busy" with admirers who find it "well worth the hefty price tag."
Spruce
New American · Presidio Heights · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"Outstanding" , "beautifully prepared" New American cuisine served by "exceptional" staffers who treat everyone "like VIPs" makes this "elegantly appointed" Presidio Heights haunt perfect for "celebrations and milestone events" ; prices are definitely skewed toward "the five percent" , but the "flexible" setup ( "casual at the bar, formal in the dining room" ) keeps it attractive to all comers.
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.