So your anniversary is approaching. It’s sitting there, indelible and unwavering on your calendar or in the back of your mind—a constant, lofty reminder that on this day, expectations are sky-bound.
On this day, this seemingly ordinary 24 hour period that occurs once a year, something above-and-beyond is required. If you’re a Bay Area resident, this list will serve to point out some world-class, local, culinary gems. And if you’re an out-of-towner in the market for a trip, a weekend in San Fran imbibing at some of the planet’s best restaurants may leave you so enchanted, you’ll dream of packing up and moving into a luxury condo at 181 Fremont.
San Fran is home to 50 (yes, 50) Michelin Star restaurants, so deciding upon a destination for your special evening can be an arduous task—which is where we come in. We boiled down the list to an unbeatable top three.
Coi | 373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA
Since famed chef Daniel Patterson opened Coi in 2006, the restaurant has risen to become one of the premiere eateries in the United States. Known for pairing a wildly innovative, aesthetic approach with a relentless dedication to quality and freshness, the acclaim came quickly and the restaurant earned two Michelin Stars in its first decade. Coi is an ideal choice for an anniversary dinner because it’s a truly idiosyncratic culinary experience. This is not hyperbole, the creations at Coi are vibrant pieces of art that taste like heaven itself. Dishes flare with color and artistry, flavors burst from the most unlikely of places and the whole experience is wrapped in a modern yet warm atmosphere. Their 11-course tasting menu and expert-pairings by sommelier Paul Costigan will have you thinking about food in entirely new ways. The menu is seafood/vegetable-centric and always changing—each night’s options depend upon the freshness of the ingredients procured that day. Coi is, undoubtedly, anniversary-worthy.
Benu | 22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA
Benu is one of five San Francisco eateries to earn three Michelin Stars—the most prestigious culinary achievement there is. It is Asian-American cuisine done to absolute perfection. Renowned Chef Corey Lee has a style that’s impossible to pin down; his work is a vivid, culinary mixtape where songs of entirely different genres somehow blend together with wonderful cohesion. Benu -like Coi- operates on a tasting menu. The journey at Benu is 17 eye-popping and palate-punching courses. The atmosphere and aesthetic is minimal, as it the presentation of most of the dishes. Each course is so stunning to look at that you won’t want to disturb the beauty of the piece—but you have to. Courses are paired by globally acclaimed, Master Sommelier, Yoon Ha, which really brings the overall experience at Benu to a world-class level.
Quince | 470 Pacific Ave, San Francisco
As soon as you walk into Quince, before you even see, smell, or taste a dish, you will understand why the restaurant’s been showered in acclaim since opening in 2006. The dining room of the two-Michelin Star establishment has a refined, rustic elegance—it’s decidedly unpretentious without sacrificing sophistication in any way. And the aesthetic serves as the perfect frame for their food. Chef Michael Tusk and his wife Lindsay take a meticulous and gracious approach to their work—they’re always striving to excite diners, to take something established and flip it to create something exceptionally singular. Master Sommelier, Kevin Reilly crafted a wine list that is quite robust yet finely focused; there was a clearly great deal of thought put into every intriguing selection. As courses from their 12+ course tasting menu arrive at your table like little pieces of enchanting culinary art, chef Tusk’s dedication to his craft is immediately apparent. And once you imbibe you’ll realize you’re in the hands of a true master—a man who lives to cook. Quince consistently delivers on all fronts, an evening in their hands is destined to be a memorable experience.