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The Bay Area’s Best Restaurants for Celebrations, No Matter the Occasion

A photo of Red logo
by The OpenTable team
Updated November 18, 2020

From takeout omakase to iconic roast chicken, this list highlights some of the Bay Area’s best ways to celebrate a special occasion with restaurants right now, with outdoor and takeout options for every restaurant to meet your comfort level.

A photo of China Live restaurant
4.7
4.7 (2946)
$30 and under
Chinese
Chinatown
About the restaurant
When China Live opened in 2017, it was unlike anything else in San Francisco, let alone the United States. Sprawling over 30,000 square feet, the space is ambitious in its scale and offerings, with a sit-down restaurant, marketplace selling Chinese pantry items and home goods, a cocktail bar, tea counter, and more. And while much of the space remains closed, fortunately diners still have ways to sample the restaurant’s stellar Chinese menu. Outdoor seating is available on the sidewalk, where diners can enjoy signature dishes such as stone oven-roasted Peking duck and sheng jian bao, or pan-fried soup dumpling al fresco. The food emporium also offers both delivery and curbside pick-up. The to-go menu has many of the restaurant’s mainstays; bring home dishes such as mapo tofu or crispy-skinned Cantonese garlic chicken to create a festive feast at your dining room table.
Top review
PeninsulaFoodievip
Dined 2 days ago
Great vibe, beautiful design, fun place! Food is not amazing, but how could it be -- they are serving so many people, etc. But the food is good.
A photo of Zuni Cafe restaurant
4.7
4.7 (7499)
$31 to $50
Modern European
Civic Center / Hayes Valley / Van Ness
About the restaurant
The simple, but refined California cooking of late chef Judy Rogers put Zuni Café on the map, making it a place where San Franciscans would flock to mark milestones, meet friends, or just have a Monday dinner. Since the 1980s, the restaurant has focused on seasonal, farm-to-table cooking, long before both terms were buzzwords. The results are comforting and sophisticated, like the legendary roast chicken. The restaurant currently has outdoor dining for both lunch and dinner. Clad in white tablecloths, the al fresco tables are the perfect setting for toasting over oysters, seasonal salads, and a rotating selection of mains like pan-seared King salmon. If there is a bright side to this year, it’s that Zuni Café’s epic roast chicken, served over chicken juice-soaked bread salad, is available for takeout for the first time in recent history. For an extra-special evening, tack on a bottle of Champagne and a bouquet from the restaurant’s florist to your order.
Top review
DavidMvip
Dined 6 days ago
I have been dining at Zuni Cafe since 1982 and it is still excellent. The chicken is superb! Our server was especially good this time. There is always a young and lovely African American lady at the front. She is so friendly and welcoming.
A photo of Sushi Hashiri restaurant
5.0
5 (199)
$50 and over
Sushi
SOMA
About the restaurant
With a focus on precision and ceremony, Japanese kaiseki (seasonally focused) and omakase (chef’s choice) tasting menus have a naturally celebratory air about them. Hashiri, a Michelin-starred Tokyo offshoot in SoMa, offers first-rate versions of both experiences with a focus on quality — the restaurant’s fish is flown in from famed Tokyo fish market Tsukiji on a daily basis. Hashiri has two seatings per night on the restaurant’s Mint Plaza patio, when diners can choose from a five-course kaiseki or omakase menu, both for $200 per person. For celebrating at home, the restaurant has a rotating selection of bento boxes that go beyond typical takeout. Menus are posted weekly to Facebook and Instagram, with pick-up available Wednesday through Sunday. Past offerings have included a $100, ten-piece sushi and hand roll set.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Feb 15, 2024
Service, food and environment are all amazing. Will come back for sure.
A photo of The Progress restaurant
4.9
4.9 (2251)
$50 and over
Contemporary American
Western Addition
About the restaurant
Run by James Beard award-winning chefs, boasting a Michelin star, and appearing on both the San Francisco Chronicle and Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 restaurant lists, The Progress is one of the city’s most awarded restaurants serving new American cuisine. With an extensive wine list and a constantly changing menu that always includes a celebratory “banquet” section of family-style dishes, a meal here elevates any occasion. The Progress currently offers outdoor seating for dinner and weekend brunch. The restaurant’s inventive cuisine is on full display at both meals, with recent menus featuring dishes such as smoked local albacore tuna with castelvetrano olives, pine nuts, and egg bottarga. The Progress and sibling restaurant State Bird Provisions have joined forces for a takeout and delivery menu that features the greatest hits from both kitchens, such as State Bird’s fried quail and The Progress’ barbecue duck.
Top review
Amber
Dined 4 days ago
Beautiful ambiance and excellent food. Menu changes frequently and they are always so accommodating when I come with my vegan friend.
A photo of Che Fico Alimentari - San Francisco restaurant
4.7
4.7 (773)
$30 and under
Italian
North Panhandle / USF
About the restaurant
As the more-casual, downstairs sibling restaurant to popular special occasion spot Che Fico, Che Fico Alimentari inherited the original’s focus on quality food but translates it to a more laid-back setting, ideal for an early date or a low-key birthday. House-cured meats and pasta are the stars here, like the artfully stacked spinach lasagna. Che Fico Alimentari is currently open for outdoor dining, serving up comforting pizzas, pastas, and salads alongside daily specials such as charred vegetables with arugula salsa verde. For celebrations at home, Che Fico Alimentari has a wide selection of prepared foods and pantry items, such as take-and-bake lasagna, curated meat and cheese boards, bottled cocktails, and house-made sauces.
Top review
James
Dined on Apr 2, 2024
Food was great. Server was incredible and we truly enjoyed her service style and dish/wine descriptors.
A photo of Burma Love Downtown restaurant
4.4
4.4 (475)
$31 to $50
Burmese
SOMA
About the restaurant
Waves of Burmese immigrants in the 1960s and late 80s helped turn San Francisco into a hub for the country’s complex cuisine. Burma Club built on this tradition and catapulted the cuisine onto the city’s fine dining scene, serving refined Burmese food in an industrial setting in SoMa. Stop by to celebrate with dishes such as the famed tea leaf salad, which pairs fermented tea leaves with nuts, beans, garlic, and lettuce. Burma Club is currently serving lunch and dinner on the restaurant’s patio space located in Mint Plaza. Both times serve up a full menu of Burmese favorites such as mohinga, a noodle soup with slow-cooked catfish that the restaurant calls “the national dish of Southern Burma.” The majority of Burma Club’s menu is also available for takeout, letting you celebrate at home over Burmese beef curry and platha, a buttery layered bread that’s served with a side of either chicken or vegetarian curry dip.
Top review
Agnes
Dined 4 days ago
What a great find! Our server was polite and professional, the food was very good and the location was easy to find with parking structure within walking distance. We will definitely come back again!
A photo of Spruce restaurant
4.8
4.8 (5185)
$31 to $50
Contemporary American
Presidio Heights
About the restaurant
Spruce has received awards for both the restaurant’s food and wine list, landing a Michelin star and a Wine Spectator “Grand Award.” The tasting menu changes constantly, with all ingredients sourced directly from SMIP Ranch, a private five-acre organic farm located just south of San Francisco. Stop by to celebrate at a restaurant that has hosted everyone from tech leaders to President Barack Obama. Spruce is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch outdoors. The $80-per-person dinner tasting menu includes three courses with options such as binchötan-grilled Wagyu bavette steak and sweetbread salad. Caviar service can be added on for those extra-special evenings — and it’s highly recommended. Both takeout and delivery are available with items from the tasting menu interspersed with fine dining takes on comfort food, like a pastrami sandwich and the restaurant’s famed burger. Caviar service is also an option for an over-the-top takeout experience.
Top review
injaw
Dined on Apr 4, 2024
Spruce under Chef Richard is on track in our opinion to recover its Michelin star and maybe more. The prix fixe menu comprises three courses but is complemented by a variety of amuses bouches, all of which were beautifully presented and, of course, delicious as well. My husband particularly enjoyed the nantes carrot fagotini as first course and the wild mushroom risotto verde which he had with the truffle supplement as his second course. Both were superb. I had the shelled Maine lobster served with small ravioli with a delicious filling. Desserts (guanaja chocolate tartelette and the apple tatin) were fully on a par with the rest of menu. Robin, our server, was excellent, and Jordan the sommelier was knowledgeable and helpful in helping us pick a St. Aubin that paired well with our first two courses. A specially nice touch was the care with which all the courses were matched with the plates used to serve them.
A photo of La Mar Cocina Peruana restaurant
4.7
4.7 (8112)
$31 to $50
Peruvian
Financial District / Embarcadero
About the restaurant
Inspired by Peruvian cevicherias, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana is far from your average waterfront restaurant, offering a myriad of seafood preparations that range from raw to simply grilled. The real star here is the bandeja cebichera, a ceviche tasting option that highlights the international influences on the country’s cuisine through dishes like the nigiris criollo: a sushi-like preparation of ahi tuna with an aji amarillo cream sauce that’s distinctively Peruvian. When a view is in order, La Mar is the place to be, with sweeping bay views available from any seat on the restaurant’s patio. Mark a special night with the $72 per person, four-course tasting menu — an exciting way to try many quintessential dishes during one meal. Takeout includes several large format “experiencia” dishes for celebrating at home with your family or quarantine pod. Items like cazuela de pulpo include three pounds of grilled octopus with potato gratin, huancaina sauce, chimichurri, and fried garlic, tailor-made for pairing with the menu’s wide selection of cocktails made with Pisco, a South American brandy.
Top review
BillatCAvip
Dined 4 days ago
Of the many times we have eaten at Le Mar Cocina Peruana, this was the best. The food was outstanding, every serving. It’s a little pricey but more than worth it. The service was at first pushy, but then attentive. The South American wine list has been thinned, but there are still good (and good value) choices. The one drawback is that it is very noisy, and the noise of conversation is secondary to the very loud piped music. If weather permits, eat outside. The setting is pleasant, and you can enjoy talking to one another.
A photo of Slanted Door - San Ramon restaurant
4.5
4.5 (1459)
$31 to $50
Vietnamese
San Ramon
About the restaurant
This sibling location of the famed San Francisco restaurant serves the same high-end Vietnamese fare in a sleek building designed by star architect Renzo Piano in San Ramon. Celebrate outdoors overlooking the complex’s public plaza with iconic dishes such as the shaking beef, a dish of cubed filet mignon, watercress, red onion, and lime sauce, while toasting from the menu of tropically inspired cocktails. The restaurant is currently accepting reservations for patio seating, where the well-spaced tables are interspersed with heaters, providing a comfortable area to enjoy standbys such as crispy imperial shrimp rolls.
Top review
OpenTable Dinervip
Dined 3 days ago
Service was exceptional! Food was remarkable! The ribs!!! Overall great experience!
A photo of Trader Vic's - Emeryville restaurant
4.6
4.6 (2481)
$31 to $50
Global, International
San Francisco Bay Area
About the restaurant
One of two remaining Trader Vic’s locations in the United States, it’s worth a visit to celebrate at an iconic place in American cocktail history. Trader Vic’s is widely credited with two things: creating the distinctly American amalgamation of Polynesian flavors and culture symbols known as “tiki," and inventing the mai tai, a now-famous cocktail of rum, lime, orgeat, orange curaçao, and simple syrup. While many versions of the drink exist today, there’s nothing quite like the original — and views of the Emeryville marina don’t hurt either. The waterfront patio has a slightly more limited menu, but still serves Trader Vic’s classics such as crispy prawns and, of course, many, many rum-based drinks. The entire patio menu is available for takeout or delivery. Bring home hits such as the sweet, salty, and sour huli huli chicken, and wash it down with a glass of Trader Vic’s grog — a potent mix of rum, grapefruit, lime and allspice. Feel like celebrating on a weekday? The restaurant makes $10 drinks to-go every Thursday.
Top review
christineb
Dined 7 days ago
Another outstanding evening at Trader Vic’s party if 6 all had a wonderful meal and the Mai tais are phenomenal!!! Best wait staff and host, seated us by the window for a lovely sunset. My dad who is 92 has been coming for years had a great time With us thank you !!! We will definitely be back!
A photo of Kenzo Napa restaurant
4.8
4.8 (421)
$50 and over
Japanese
Napa
About the restaurant
Kenzo combines Napa Valley’s penchant for luxury with Japanese refinement. Owned by Kenzo Estates Winery, the restaurant serves kaiseki — a seasonal tasting menu — and high-end sushi, both made from ingredients flown in daily from Japan. For a complete experience, opt to add a flight of wines from the parent estate. The set kaiseki menu runs $225 per person and typically includes nine seasonally driven dishes and a selection of sushi. Both a la carte items and bento boxes are available for takeout. For an opulent tasting at home, pick up the $400 premium kaiseki bento box for two and a bottle of Kenzo Estate’s unique sparkling semillon, made with a grape normally reserved for dessert wines.
Top review
Antifragilevip
Dined 7 days ago
One of my favorite spots for special occasions. It is a bit tough on the wallet ($75 corkage is obnoxious, please change to a more reasonable $30). Other than that, the food is spectacular. Fresh as fresh gets. Well proportioned. Impeccably paired courses. First rate service. Lower the corkage to the Napa standard and I will dine here much more frequently.
A photo of Schermeister Winery restaurant
4.9
4.9 (114)
$31 to $50
Winery
Glen Ellen
About the restaurant
For a special occasion experience outside of traditional dining, head to Schermeister Winery for an afternoon of natural wine tasting, education, and small bites. With the distinction of being Sonoma's smallest winery with a tasting room, tastings here are more hands-on than at bigger operations. The winery specializes in low-intervention wines that are native-fermented, meaning they only use naturally-occuring yeast versus a commercially developed product. For $25, you’ll get to taste five wines, and for an additional $15, you can add on a flight of small bites that focus on focus on acid, fat, sugar, and tanninic flavors designed to heighten the experience of the wine. This additional food option can be booked as an experience directly via OpenTable. Food is not available for takeout, but bottles can be purchased at the winery or via the winery’s website.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jan 27, 2024
Brought my family and they enjoyed it very. The host was very nice
A photo of Mustards Grill restaurant
4.8
4.8 (10479)
$31 to $50
American
Yountville
About the restaurant
At Mustard’s Grill, the menu comes with an apology at the bottom: “Sorry, everything is delicious.” There’s truth to this statement, and it is what has made the restaurant a Napa Valley institution for over 30 years. But don’t let the informality fool you, this is a quietly serious restaurant with top notch “roadhouse food” and an excellent selection of wines from around the world. Mustard’s is currently on its lush patio, where you can enjoy hearty stand-bys like the famous Mongolian pork chop and newer favorites such as seafood tostadas. The restaurant’s entire menu is available to take home. If you’re tired of wine after a day of tasting, check out the selection of cocktails with staples like the Mustards margarita, made with higher-end 100 percent blue agave tequila.
Top review
CarolynD
Dined 1 day ago
Fantastic dinner! Pork chop was recommended by so many! It did not disappoint! Must try!
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