Next week, the Bay Area will be abuzz as friends and partners set forth to restaurants and bars to celebrate the season of love.
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or Single’s Awareness Day, San Francisco has something for everyone. Here’s where to go on February 14:
“Power players can't seem to get enough of mega-popular chef Michael Mina’s San Francisco flagship, even though it sports a completely revamped menu,” state Michelin inspectors of the newly-revamped contemporary restaurant in the Financial District. A six-course tasting menu prepared by executive chef Raj Dixit for the lavish price of $265 per person—with optional wine pairings available for $185 per person—is on deck for the holiday. Plates include Michael’s caviar parfait; black sea bass served with pineapple, caper and hearts of palm; Sonoma duckline with smoked sunchoke, coffee and cardamom; and Yemenite-spiced 28-day dry-aged rib eye with salsify, cipollini onion and black olive.
Chef/owner Melissa Perello’s intensely personal restaurant in The Castro is “chic and always packed, it’s as perfect for a low-key date night as it is for dinner with the kids,” per inspectors. A four-course menu is up for grabs on Valentine’s Day for $100 per person. Dishes include butter bean soup with fennel sausage, grilled broccoli rabe, Meyer lemon and bread crumbs; spaghetti carbonara with snap peas, crispy prosciutto and cured egg yolk; seared Monterey black cod with broccolini, roasted potato and pepian verde; and red velvet vacherin with chocolate sorbet, candied kumquat ice cream and hot fudge for dessert.
Executive chef and owner Wendy Brucker is offering a four-course Tuscan menu for the evening. Priced at $65 per person, guests will be greeted with a plate of mixed antipasti before delving into dishes like raviolo al uovo con tartufo; beef carpaccio with chicories, capers, anchovy and Parmigiano-Reggiano; buckwheat pansotti with oyster mushrooms, goat formaggio bianco, beets, walnuts and crème fraîche; and vanilla-infused panna cotta with currants, pistachios and vin santo for dessert. And take a tip from inspectors: “It's no surprise that the tiny trattoria is a favorite among couples, so be sure to reserve in advance and come hungry.”
Francophiles will revel at Thomas Keller’s more casual eatery in Yountville, where “a theatrical crowd uplifts the space with conviviality, and every lavish banquette or stool at the bustling bar is full—always,” per inspectors. “Thanks to the house bakery next door, the bread here is ace, so grab an extra hunk of the supremely fresh and crusty pain d'epi to slather with butter.” The three-course menu—which runs at $110 per person—includes dishes like black truffle and potato filled puff pastry with sauce Périgordine; butter-poached lobster with roasted beets, young leeks and lobster cream; and pan-seared rib eye served Oscar-style. A raw bar selection is available for an additional fee, as well as a wine pairing for $90 per person.
“Service is superb, as you would expect of any restaurant in this chain,” say inspectors of Charlie Palmer’s eponymous steakhouse inside the boutique Archer Hotel in downtown Napa. For Valentine’s Day, executive chef Francisco Lopez, Jr. is serving up a six-course tasting menu for $145 per person. (Wine pairings are also available for an extra $225 per person.) An oyster served three-ways (beurre blanc, pickled pearl onions and Rockefeller) starts the meal before moving onto dishes like potato bisque, seared scallop with escabeche and fennel, and butter-braised lobster with celeriac croquette with sweetbreads and Béarnaise.