Best Romantic Restaurants in San Francisco

January 26, 2015
by Zagat Staff

Here are our top picks for romantic restaurants in the city of SF. 

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."
Cafe Jacqueline
French · North Beach · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

"Good things come to those who wait" insist fans who "don't mind spending the entire evening" at this piece of "soufflé heaven" in North Beach, where the "amazing" Madame Jacqueline herself is "still holding the fort" with "a whisk and copper bowl" , whipping up the nightly offerings to order; "romantic" and "charming" with "leisurely service" , the experience is "something special" – and the desserts are a "must."
Monsieur Benjamin
French · Hayes Valley · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

This Hayes Valley "hot spot" from Benu’s Corey Lee shows "huge attention to detail" in its "exceptional" updates of French bistro dishes, complemented by an "excellent wine list" and "wonderful service" in a "modern" , open-kitchen setting; true, it can be "pricey" , "packed" and "noisy" , but it's "perfect before the symphony, ballet or opera" – as long as you "book ahead."
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.
Gitane Restaurant & Bar
Spanish · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

"Low lights" and a "sexy ambiance" make for a "romantic evening" at this French-Spanish "hideaway" Downtown, where many "first dates" begin with "creative" cocktails at the "energetic" ground-floor bar before progressing to the upstairs dining area for "delicious" Andalusian-inspired plates; it's not cheap, but service is "warm" , and many agree it "adds much-needed spice" to the city.
Mazza Luna
Lebanese · Tenderloin · $

There’s a luxe lounge vibe at this Tenderloin bistro that dishes up wallet-friendly Lebanese small plates (think hummus, pita pizzas, salads and sandwiches) plus beer, wine and cocktails for lunch and dinner. Saddle up to the sleek bar or grab a table in the cozy cafe, which looks clublike but feels romantic with blue lighting, wood accents and modern furnishings.