Culinary Travel North America

An Out-of-Towner’s Guide to Dinner Spaces in San Francisco

 Having a dinner party is a great way to get family and friends together for a fun time, to share happy memories and reunite. Planning a dinner party isn’t quite as fun. There are dozens of things to think about, and choosing a venue from out of hundreds or even thousands of possibilities is a real challenge. 

Rather than settle for ordinary and plain, check out our list of exclusive dinner spaces in San Francisco. We’ll also go through some tips and advice for planning a dinner party that everyone will love and will hopefully prevent any unfortunate problems or accidents. 

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Planning the perfect dinner party

Dinner parties are one of the best ways to celebrate a special occasion such as a wedding, a birth, a graduation, or just getting together with family and friends. If you’re looking to plan a dinner party, though, particularly if it’s in a new or unfamiliar place, you’re going to want to take a few things into consideration before you book. 

Attendance arrangements 

Figuring out who is coming to your dinner party is likely the first thing you’ll need to do. Having a good idea of how many people are coming will help you pick the right venue. Most venues have a seating limit in their private dining spaces. 

While a few extra people isn’t usually a deal-breaker, it can result in extra charges or delays when setting up your dinner party celebration. 

A large number of extra guests is an entirely different problem. If your guest list is too far off, you may end up with no way to accommodate some of the extra guests. It’s a good idea to plan for more than you need in terms of space and seating. 

Handling the food

Once the guest list is done, you’ll want to figure out what everyone will eat. After all, a big part of a dinner party is the…dinner. Most venues will have a menu that is tailored to a particular type of food. You can make finding a venue easier by knowing your guests’ preferences. 

It’s important to consider allergies and dietary restrictions when you plan as well. Most modern venues will indicate whether they offer vegetarian, gluten-free, or vegan options. This is not only a good idea to prevent anyone from getting sick, but your guests will also appreciate you taking their dietary needs into consideration. 

Other accommodations 

This may not apply to every party, but two things that often get overlooked when planning a dinner party are accommodations for children and lodgings for guests that come in from out of town. 

As we all know, children have different appetites and preferences than most adults and are often a bit more energetic at the dinner table. Having a separate table or space for them can make things a little easier on the guests. Also having some kid-friendly options on the menu can make picky eaters happy. 

Lastly, if you’re inviting guests to a dinner party who are from out of town, such as for a wedding or family reunion, you may want to consider a venue that is near hotels and other services so that your out-of-town guests don’t have to spend hours after dinner finding a place to stay. 

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5 unique dinner spaces in San Francisco for an unforgettable dinner 

Forget chain restaurants and average dinners — these five venues will give your guests a feast they’ll never forget.

#1. Al’s Place: San Francisco fresh

If you’re looking to let your guests experience authentic regional cuisine from the San Francisco Bay Area, then Al’s Place is the “place” to go. Featuring locally sourced fruits and vegetables as well as seafood and Al’s famous oysters on the half shell, Al’s provides a taste of the Bay your guests won’t forget. 

This local favourite is available to book individual tables as well as host large parties. Al’s Place offers a fresh and vibrant experience that your guests will love. 

#2. Foreign Cinema: strange name, great food 

While it may sound more like a movie venue than a dining spot, Foreign Cinema is actually an award-winning restaurant with retro decor and modern Asian cuisine. It offers multiple private dining spaces and specially curated menus to suit guests’ tastes, as well as premium cocktails, a unique ambiance, and sommelier service. 

If you and your guests are in the mood for something different, Foreign Cinema is a definite must-see. 

#3. In Situ: world-class cuisine

Situated inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), In Situ is a restaurant that regularly features different world-class chefs with an ever-changing and ever-evolving menu. This Michelin Star restaurant offers a taste experience that is unlike anything you’re likely to encounter, and your guests will thank you for the experience.

#4. State Bird Provisions: different and fun 

What started as a chef’s attempt at finding ways to cook quail quickly became a unique restaurant. With a frequently changing menu inspired by locally sourced ingredients, State Bird offers something for everyone. From pork belly and quinoa to Jamaican jerk seasoned squid, the menu is sure to surprise and impress even the pickiest of eaters.

#5. Berber: fantastic food and entertainment

Berber offers something truly different from a normal dining experience. The venue features classic North African cuisine and live entertainment, including dancers and live cirque shows. For those wanting a full entertainment experience, this is the right choice. 

The menu features a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as entrees ranging from couscous to short ribs. 

Start planning your San Francisco dinner party

Hopefully this post has given you some good ideas and information for planning your next dinner party. Be sure to check out one of the venues we’ve selected while you’re on the hunt for the right San Francisco dining space for your gathering.