8 Most Romantic Restaurants in San Francisco

Love is always in the air at these top tables
February 5, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

Tony Bennett had it right: Not only will you leave your heart in San Francisco, but it's easy to fall in love here too. It's especially easy over a romantic meal. Of course, you can opt for the classic Valentine's Day favorites like The Big Four and Cafe Jacqueline. But you have many other options, from low-key charmers (like La Ciccia) to island-theme spots (Louie's Gen-Gen Room) to literal island destinations (Treasure Island's Mersea). These eight restaurants know the recipe for romance.

VILLON
American · Civic Center · $$$

An elegant all-day restaurant and lounge lands in Mid-Market’s Proper Hotel, where chef Jason Franey (Campton Place, Restaurant 1833) offers a highbrow New American menu built on seasonal elements and themed cocktails by the BVHospitality (Trick Dog, Bon Vivants) team. There’s a main dining room plus a lounge and intimate private event seating in this restored building, which features soaring ceilings, muted colors and chic furnishings.
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.
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.
Louie’s Gen-Gen Room
Cocktail Bar · Nob Hill · $$

Reservations are available but not required at this cozy, spirited lounge in the Liholiho Yacht Club basement, where the midpriced menu features cocktails and upscale New American bar snacks (including grilled cheese and sweet and savory waffles) not offered in the main restaurant. The vibe at the Tendernob pub is tropical cool with aqua banquettes, palm tree murals and a marble bar.
La Ciccia
Italian · Noe Valley · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.6

A "Sardinian wonder" , this Noe Valley "neighborhood treasure" is "well worth getting to" for its "incredible" , "honest" cooking (notably "sublime" seafood), matched with an "outstanding" wine list in a "pared-down" but "congenial" setting overseen by "charming" husband-and-wife owners; the "Downtown prices" are eased by the "reasonable" vinos, but the "tight quarters" "fill up quickly" so be sure to reserve.
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.
20 Spot
American · The Mission · $$$
Food 4.2 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

"Cozy and welcoming" , this wine bar "gem" in the Mission pours a "carefully curated" list of vinos paired with a "limited" yet "delicious" menu of New American small plates; formerly a corner record store, it now sports "cute" , Mad Men–esque design touches like vintage globe lights and midcentury-modern furniture.
Mersea
Bar · $$

A recycled shipping container structure, spacious open-air patio and sweeping San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge views distinguish this Treasure Island kitchen and bar, where Chef Parke Ulrich (Waterbar, EPIC Steak) offers three daily meals of elevated, sustainably sourced comfort food with a global accent. Expect reclaimed wood furniture pieces, a recycled pallet herb garden and communal tables made from panel doors, plus an outdoor bocce ball court and putting green.