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Restaurants & Bars 5

Birthday blowout meal - help me choose, please!

teri | Mar 8, 200504:40 PM

My lovely husband is about to turn thirty and I want to take him somewhere fantastic to celebrate. I have made reservations at Manresa and the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton for dinner. I've also made a reservation at the French Laundry for an 11 AM lunch (the only time I could get on his birthday). We've been to the FL and had an incredible meal, but I don't know if a lunch would be as special as dinner (or that I could eat so much starting at 11 AM!). Never been to the other two.

Help me decide what to keep and what to cancel (FYI, the date is May 7th and I'm happy to give the unused reservation to someone else). I definitely want a tasting menu with wine, but I think food is probably more important than a really thorough wine selection (neither one of us can read a wine list but we certainly enjoy what someone with more knowledge can bring us!).

Oh, and, assuming I could get a reservation, there's also the possibility of Chez Panisse, a restaurant I have never been to and always wanted to go to.

I've seen some wonderful and some not-so wonderful reviews of all of these places here. But head to head, how would you rank these choices and why?

Many thanks for all of your help. I'm sure we can't go wrong here, but to the extent there's a consensus, I'd really love to know.

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