When love is in the air and you want to take that someone special to the most romantic restaurants in downtown San Francisco, we’ve compiled a list of some of the sweetest, swooniest and tastiest places to treat them. Whether it’s a first date, anniversary, Valentine’s Day or just a special occasion with your sweetheart, check out these romantic top spots downtown.
Barcha — 28 Fremont Street. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday, Barcha blends the flavors and simplicity of the Mediterranean with upscale complexity resulting in an out-of-this world dining experience. The brainchild of proprietor Kais Bouzidi, who grew up in Paris and cut his teeth in the Parisian food scene, Bouzidi takes you on a tour of the entire Mediterranean with dishes inspired from Northern Africa, Southern Europe and their environs, and it shows in the menu’s full richness of dishes. At Barcha you’ll find everything from skewers and steaks to grilled lamb and falafel, kefta and burattini, to seafood paella, buttery Persian tahdig and savory shakshuka. But be sure to save room for the sweets, with localized delicacies like olive oil cake and baklava to round out your meal. No meal is complete without tapping the bar, and ask your server about their fantastic assortment of drinks.The atmosphere is unpretentiously classy and the patio seating is sought after. Reservations are always suggested.
Bix — 56 Gold Street. This downtown San Francisco supper club is a destination and an experience in and unto itself. Open seven days a week with live music every evening, Bix evokes a classier era when people dressed to the nines to attend a supper club. While they don’t enforce a strict dress code here, you are highly advised to get gussied up for the full experience. Sit back and soak in the jazz-era ambiance while white jacketed bartenders swirl about serving classic cocktails while live jazz is performed, and outstanding entrées are delivered to candlelit tables. While traditional in nature, the menu is actually very modern in that the staff works directly with local farms and purveyors to source fresh and natural ingredients. You’ll find everything from marinated olives and mussels to classic shrimp cocktail and ceviche to steaks, salads, seafood, chops and even a pricey blacktruffle cheeseburger on the menu. The bar serves up classic cocktails like bellinis and martinis, and curiously-named concoctions called things like Cat’s Paw, Pisco Punch and Penicillin! So if you wanna get swanky with your sweetheart, make a reservation in advance for a high-class, throwback experience at Bix.
Boulevard — 1 Mission Street. Quintessentially Californian, Boulevard dates back to 1993 and has been making big waves on the waterfront ever since. Wrought with beautifully ornate Art Nouveau accents, the bar, wine vault and dining room are bespeckled in stunning hand-blown glass, artisanal mosaics and iron work evoking a classic ambiance and smooth Parisian feel. With a bar, lounge and chef’s counter at your avail, you can search, but be sure to make a reservation in the dining room to enchant your date. The menu moves from the chef’s daily welcoming bite to starters, mains, then cheese (in classic gastronomic style), then onto desserts and more drinks. Their expansive wine list and selection of hand-crafted cocktails are peerless, and of course there’s an outstanding “Boulevardier” cocktail on the menu. Chef and owner Nancy Oakes pays every attention to detail at this savvy, metropolitan meeting spot Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm until 9:30pm,
Leo's Oyster Bar — 568 Sacramento Street. Glamorous, fun and florid, Leo’s Oyster Bar is the real deal for posh, upscale, old school dining and drinks.Vintage champagnes, wine and beer all flow from Leo’s bar to your white tablecloth covered, candlelit seating and the swirled marbled bar is the centerpiece of this funky, eclectic eatery. There’s a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge, and a fern-filled conservatory, but oysters and raw bar are front and center of this unparalleled experience. The menu is elegantly compact and contains caviar to crab, crudo and snacks to steak frites and lobster rolls. Open Monday through Friday from 4pm to 9pm, reservations are highly recommended to try this fashionable foodie destination.
San Francisco Wine Society — 408 Merchant Street. Bringing the spirit of wine country to downtown San Francisco defines this unique, exposed brick space. Large, well-appointed and homey, there’s a bocce court at this wine bar in the middle of the city. And you needn’t worry about wine snobbery at this location, because the staff are extremely helpful and supportive. Drink by the glass, the flight or the bottle in addition to a selection of strong ABV beers and delicious nibbles to accompany your beverages. The menu features classy accompaniments like caviar, caponata and burrata, duck rillette, olives, pickled veggies and Marcona almonds. Or dive deeper into heartier fare like flatbreads, sliders, salumi and hams or go for the classic pairing with a fabulous assortment of cheese to choose from. No matter what your nose or palate preferences, sipping, noshing and saying sweet nothings, is nothing but fun at Wine Society. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 2pm until close.
The Shota — 115 Sansome Street. This sleek, modern, clean and bright omakase offers pre-fixed courses of seasonal seafood, sushi, otsumami, and sushiYa dishes. Ingredients are sourced from the famous Toyose Fish Market in Japan and flown by jet to downtown San Francisco for an incomparable experience with your certain someone. This exclusive omakase (meaning the customer leaves the details up to the chef) has a strict reservation and cancellation policy so be sure to read the fine print before making or changing your plans, but it’s 100% worth it to sip sake and indulge in plate after plate of authentic Japanese cuisine prepared employing traditional Edomae techniques such as aging, curing, and marinating. Making things even more exclusive is the fact that The Shota is only open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5:15pm until 8:15pm, so book your experience today.
The Treasury — 200 Bush Street, #101. Located in a gorgeous 1916 Beaux Arts space, The Treasury is known for its romantic qualities, modern and approachable menus featuring beer, wine, cocktails and nibbles. It feels adamantly adult and sophisticated, but totally approachable and comfortable. The generous cocktail menu is counterbalanced by fun finger foods and it’s fairly affordable for the feel of the experience. Thrillist says, "This spot is the new crown jewel of the FiDi,” as it’s located in our financial district, and we think Eater SF is on the nose with its summation, stating, “Chill drinks and baller snacks”. The Treasury is open Monday through Friday for lunch, and their “bite service” runs from 3:30pm until 10pm on the same days.
The Vault — 555 California Street. The Vault Steakhouse is a classic steakhouse with a modern approach, and The Vault Garden is a temperature-controlled, weather protected rooftop garden. Both experiences epitomize a romantic dinner for two, so whichever direction you choose to go, you'll want to make a rezzo. The steakhouse features an impressive list of offerings including raw bar, caviar service, bread service, soups and salads, plus shareable sides alongside entrées, including black angus, wagyu, and broiled seafoods. Naturally there's a delectable selection of wines, spirits, cocktails and desserts. The Vault Garden menu has a lot of crossover with the steakhouse, and also offers a happy hour menu, but it’s all enclosed in an adorable garden that’s open rain or shine. Hours are varied between the two concepts and reservations are definitely suggested.
Wayfare Tavern — 558 Sacramento Street. A vetted staple in the downtown food scene, WayfareTavern melds a modern American menu with a traditional English pub environment to create a uniquely San Francisco experience! Rich, dark woods exemplify the interior which feels distinctly British with black and white photos on the richly-hued walls, and the outdoor patios pop with a sense of public leisure that feels like European café culture. With wines by the glass or bottle, classic cocktails, beer and full bar, there’s something sociable for everyone to drink. The dining menus are expansive with raw bar and starters, though very American entrées and plates perfectly paired with sides. Save room for dessert or a digestif, and reservations are available. Wayfare Tavern is open every day of the week beginning at 11:30am and closing at 9pm or 10pm, depending on the day of the week, so you’ve got options for when to wine and dine your romantic partner.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, so there are plenty of other romantic dining options in and around the district to choose from for a romantic meal. Check out our downtown San Francisco restaurants directory for a full listing of local eateries.