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Restaurants & Bars 2

Nob Hill-ish Dinner Recs?

Rochelle McCune | May 27, 200201:48 PM

So Michael & I are going to have a mini-vacation next weekend. For my birthday, we have booked a room at the Huntington Hotel and are going to spend all of our time at their newly remodeled uber-luxurious spa.

Last Saturday evening, we went to check our the hotel, wander around Nob Hill and, since we are not very familiar with that neighborhood, to scout out possible locations for dinner next weekend.

As we drove up California Street, I noted a Thai place that looked promising (painted pink, on the corner, I think Hyde Out is across the street?)

Luck was with us & we found parking immediately. We walked past Rue Lepic which looked nice. Has anyone been there?

After we toured the spa, we peeked at the menu at the Big Four Restaurant in the Huntington, hmm, nice but not what I was looking for. We did stop for a drink in their bar which is very dark and clubby and had a fire in the fireplace. I had a cosmo, Michael had a martini. Ty, the bartender, makes good drinks, is attentive & friendly. The free bar snacks were roasted almonds and little bread triangles with smoked salmon & capers.

Next we popped into the Tonga Room, but there was a line to get in and we could live lounge singer....eewww, scary! I enjoy the kitsch of the Tonga Room & their silly drinks as much as anyone else, but I draw the line at '70s lounge singers.

We moved on to the Top of the Mark which was quite busy. We had decent drinks & an appetizer plate and watched the fog & darkness take over the city. Its not really my kind of place - too many people, too new, shiny & "sophisticated".

Finally, we walked up Taylor street and found an Italian place (Cozino?), Nob Hill Cafe & Venticello. We liked the look of all three, but the menu at Venticello look the most interesting. We got seats at the bar and had drinks & dessert. I had sweet wine & biscotti. Michael had a port & flourless chocolate cake. Both were quite nice.

So, we leaning towards dinner at Venticello next weekend. It got a thumbs up from a coworker and from Millicent (at last night's Limsterfest event) but I just have to double-check. Is there any other hidden local gem that we missed?

Until we found Venticello, I was considering going down the hill to Shalimar or into Chinatown. Any chow tips would be appreciated.

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