Personally, I prefer Thanksgiving at home, where all I have to do is cook and eat, or just eat, lazing around in my old socks and watching movies on Netflix. The idea of getting dressed up and going to a nice restaurant for dinner seems like a lot of work, plus I tend to feel bad for the poor stiffs who have to work that day.
That said, I have had several memorable Thanksgivings out (Emeril’s and Arnaud’s in New Orleans come to mind) that I would gladly do again. So where in the Bay Area does one go for Thanksgiving dinner? My money (and lots of it, T-day dinner is expensive) would be on classic hotel restaurants, the kind your Nanna visits for afternoon tea. The ambience at such places is luxuriant but in a comfortable, (rich) family kind of way, appropriate for such a special day. Most if not all are prix fixe, so they’re tailored to the holiday.
Here’s a few options for dinner:
Meritage at the Claremont was made for these types of occasions. Wood floors, high ceilings, classic furnishings, continental fare and amazing views of the bay. Their pre-fixe dinner is $99 per person, $129 for dinner and wine pairing. The five-course meal features a turkey breast ‘pressee’ with black mission fig gnocchi and confit chestnut.
The Oak Room Restaurant at the Westin St. Francis in downtown San Francisco is another old school, wood-paneled classic. The special Thanksgiving entrée menu reflects this with a choice of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing (steak and seafood are other options). Starters, salads, sides and desserts are all available buffet style. $84 for adults, $42 for kids.
Navio at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. This is a stunning hotel on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, so the setting can’t be beat. The five-course set meal goes for $122 per guest. There’s also a Thanksgiving Harvest brunch available for $115 ($58 for kids).
One Market is one of the finer restaurants in downtown San Francisco. They’re featuring a special Thanksgiving menu with inventive dishes like pumpkin risotto and cornbread-sausage stuffing. $62 per person, $29 per kids.
RN74. Another fancy downtown restaurant, and from Michael Mina, so you know it’s modern and inventive. The $74 three-course menu is a little farther afield from traditional Thanksgiving than the other restaurants on this list, with cauliflower panna cotta, oyster chowder and rib eye (no turkey anywhere).
Clift hotel. A classic Thanksgiving dinner in a classic San Francisco hotel. $75 per person.
Bistro Boudin at Fisherman’s Wharf may not be the first place you think of for Thanksgiving, but it’s offering a full traditional turkey dinner for $21.95.