Here is John Maloney’s third group of recommendations for where to eat in San Francisco. These are where costs is not a limitation but they all give value for money.
French Laundry (Napa), run by chef Thomas Keller, is regarded as one of the best places anywhere and it received the award, "Best Restaurant in the World," 2004 -2003 from Restaurant Magazine along with many others. Ruth Reichl, (editor of Gourment, said in the The New York Times that it was "the most exciting place to eat in the United States.” Need I say more. They have a cook book that my friend, Don Lessor, recently reviewed for the Amherst, MA Gazette. Here is link to his review. The French Laundry is located at 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599
Masas has a new team, “Richard Reddington and Gregory Short merge modern sensibilities and classical French expertise to continue legacy of excellence at legendary San Francisco restaurant.” The newly renovated dining room seats 65. As the site says, “Chef Reddington offers a selection of ever-changing tasting menus: a four-course menu with several choices among courses, a six-course pre-set vegetarian or Chef's tasting menu, and a nine-course tasting menu where each person in a party receives a different dish for each course.” Diet first and then go. It is located at 648 Bush Street, San Francisco CA 94108, two blocks north of Union Square, between Powell and Stockton Streets. Tel. 415-989-7154.
Fleur de Lys is run by chef Hubert Keller, born in France. After training at the Ecole Hoteliere in Strasbourg, he also he trained with Paul Bocuse, near Lyon and then with Gaston Lenotre in Paris. Fluer de Lys presents contemporary French cuisine with a Mediterranean touch. There are three tasting menus and vegetarian selections. It is located at 777 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 Tel: 415-673-7779
Charles of Nob Hill is not well represented on the web but it does have a well regarded seven course chef’s menu. It is located at 1250 Jones Street. Tel. 415-771-5400.
Aqua specializes in seafood in a contemporary French style. As their site says, “Executive Chef Laurent Manrique combines traditional French cooking techniques with inspiration from the rich bounty of fresh products found throughout the Bay Area.” Laurent grew up in Gascony and then went to Paris where he trained at Toit de Passy, a Michelin two-star, and Taillevant, a Michelin three-star restaurant. Winner of the DiRoNa Award of Excellence, it is a very upscale restaurant and is great for business lunches because of its atmosphere and location with tasting menus at both lunch and dinner. It is located in the heart of the Financial District at 252 California St. (between Battery & Front) San Francisco, CA 94111 Tel: 415-956-9662
For the places above, reservations are definitely required, usually two to three months in advance. Finally, John is a member of Slow Food, San Francisco Convivium. and recommends joining Slow Food USA, “an educational organization dedicated to stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production; to the revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community; to the invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions; and to living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.” Good idea.