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Where to go for a 'big zero' birthday, without going all out?

susancinsf | Jul 7, 200502:24 AM

Hubby has one of those birthdays with a zero and a big number in front of it (50, to be exact) coming up in a few weeks.....and I could use some help figuring out how to round out his celebration. We are going on weekend escapes both the weekend before and after to celebrate with friends and will thus have lots of dining opportunities during his birthday week. Because of all the travelling and dining out the weekends before and after, because we are saving pennies for an upcoming trip to Australia, and because hubby really isn't that fond of upscale restaurants anyway(particularly those that would require a jacket and/or tie!) he'd really prefer we kept the actual day fairly low-key, but with a nice dinner for just the two of us. OTOH, I would like it to be special and definitely romantic and celebratory. After all, he took me to dinner in Paris when I turned 50....

The big day is a Monday, so several places I've thought of (Myth for example) are closed. I am considering Chez Panisse, upstairs (the menu for the day in question downstairs has been posted and doesn't really appeal...) but we've celebrated there before more than once and it would be fun to try somewhere new, and hopefully memorable. Any type of cuisine would work if it is delicious. It is important that the place be quiet (he *really doesn't like* 'sceney' places), with comfortable and well-spaced tables (I briefly considered, and eliminated Coco500 based on prior posts about tables that are very close together), and hopefully a very nice wine list.

So, What do the 'hounds think? Any ideas, other than Chez Panisse Cafe? Your suggestions all welcome! Thanks!

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