Help Please for some Waterview restaurants (San Francisco Bay Area, Norcal)

I am taking my wife for her first visit to SF for a special birthday. I booked Danko already and thinking of Slanted Door. Other restaurants I am looking at include Waterbar, Scoma and still looking. Would love to know if there are any with a waterview with great food. Also going one day to Napa and maybe a great spot for mid afternoon lunch-dinner. We have a driver so no need for a DD.

Any thoughts appreciated.

La Mar.


With Slanted Door you do have the advantage of being able to combine a meal and a trip to the Ferry Building.

Alternatively, if you are open to the idea of not a full meal with a view, take a break from your Ferry Building browsing and grab some oysters at Hog Island.

If its not cold and foggy, an alternative would be to take the ferry between Tiburon and SF. View is even better, though you have to eat something else.

Lunch at Greens in the marina was always a special treat.

Coqueta is good; I also liked La Mar, though it’s 5 years since I was there.

Fish in Sausalito - great food, great views, super casual.

I wasn’t sure if Sausalito was included, but if so Barrel House has great cocktails and excellent derves (at least–we didn’t have a full meal there, just derves, so I can’t vouch for the rest of the menu) and a terrific view.

I’ve been happy with Butterfly the few times I’ve been there. Very good kinda California-Korean hybrid food, right on the water.

Great ideas and thank you so much. I will post a review of where we wind up. First time for my wife in SF, weekend with friends and then two days with just the two of us.

Waterbar has great oysters but my recent lunch there this week was bordering on over salted.

Maybe not great food but a great view for bubkes at the SF Art Institute Cafe.

Restaurant Gary Danko has evolved – or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it hasn’t evolved – from being at the forefront of “modern cuisine” to now being firmly in the “classic” category. That said, we still enjoy it and usually dine there 1-2 times a year.

My problem with Slanted Door is that (IMHO) it’s never been as good as it was in its original Mission location. Still quite good, but . . . .

I would second the suggestion and [quote=“sck, post:3, topic:3823”]
. . . grab some oysters [and more] at Hog Island.

Coquette certainly works. Waterbar is good, but not great – remember you’re paying for the view.


In Napa, for lunch I’d take a look at Bouchon, Mustard’s, or Bottega; for dinner, Ninebark, Oenotri, Torc, or – in St. Helena – Terra . . .

Re Slanted Door, that seems to be a common opinion.

If you want a different type of view for midday, the Beach Chalet out at the ocean has a pretty good breakfast and lunch menu. Most people go there for sunset but it gets hectic and service suffers. The food at lunch just seems better. I lived on the city’s west side for 20 years and saw so many visitors only experience the eastern edge or the Marina. And you can’t beat a nice drive down or up Highway 1!

Agree. I was reluctant to mention the Cliff House. IMneverHO, there’s not much better view. I used to eat upstairs which is no longer so can’t attest to the food but stopping in for a drink and the view (if there is one!) is easy.

jfood, you could likely do WAY better than Gary Danko. Just sayin’.

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I think that depends upon what one is looking for . . .


Danger! Danger! Warning, Will Robinson – Thread Drift Approaching!

(Personal theory only)

Chez Panisse, across the Bay from Restaurant Gary Danko in North Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto,” is [almost] universally hailed as the “birthplace of California Cuisine.” There can be no questioning the impact Alice Waters had on cooking in America. It was definitely (and defiantly) cutting edge . . . circa 1971.

Very little has changed at Chez Panisse since then, in terms of cuisine. There are so many – countless thousands! – of places that have surpassed Chez Panisse in the past 45 years, one stopped considering Chez Panisse “cutting edge” long, long ago.

BUT . . . does that mean it is no longer any good? Does that mean it isn’t worth going to? No. Of course not. (Well, IMHO, it’s “of course not”; YMMV.) And every time we go, I am reminded of just how good Chez Panisse truly is. The food can be deceptively simple, in that it’s not sauces, it’s not molecular gastronomy, it’s not modern technique or “architectural” – it’s pure ingredients that shine “purely” (I don’t know how else to say it).

In terms of Restaurant Gary Danko . . ., I think it’s much the same way – not in terms of cuisine, but in terms of what was once “cutting edge” and “amazing technique” is no longer so. Other places are surely more “cutting edge,” or display more amazing techniques in the kitchen; other places will bring a greater “fusion” of Eastern and Western influences together; etc., etc., etc. Like Chez Panisse, it is “frozen in time” – not much has changed since it opened, but it is still a place where both the food and service are wonderful, and well-worth going to . . . again, IMHO, and again, depending upon what one is looking for in terms of both cuisine and ambiance.

So, yes, if one is looking for things that Gary Danko isn’t, then heck yes, you can certainly do better! But if one is looking for a classic, romantic restaurant with great food for a special occasion . . . again, it all depends upon what one is looking for . . . .


Hi, kiddo. Have y’all been there yet? Looking forward to ‘hearing’ about your trip. Cath

Warning: Continuing Thread Drift

I want to say something about the cooking styles of Gary Danko and Chez Panisse. GD’s food is lovely, certainly no complaints. But there’s not much mystery, in my experience. Technique – absolutely and, to me, technical skill at this level is a mystery of a sort. But I’ve now had maybe 20 meals over 20 years at Chez Panisse (dining room and cafe) and, each time, there’ve been at least two dishes with flavors that are just inexplicably great. The technique of making things taste like more and better of whatever they are is all but invisible, and I think – unlike Daniel Patterson – that it’s not about “just” good ingredients. It’s understanding restraint and precision, the use of white space on a canvas to balance the more vivid elements.


I think Beach Chalet is fun occasionally, but I would agree on lunch rather than breakfast. Breakfast is expensive and not all that great.

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