The elite meet to eat at this throwback favorite, which has been hosting the crème de la crème of the city (and its visitors) since the 90s. Set near Ghirardelli Square in Fisherman’s Wharf, it features two lovely wood-paneled dining rooms and a small, bustling bar, all of them regularly full of hobnobbing business types and couples celebrating big occasions. With bursting flower arrangements, attentive servers and well-dressed diners everywhere you look, it’s hard not to be captivated. The menu focuses on classic cuisine with some global twists; diners can create their own three- four- or five-course prix-fixe, or hand over the reins to the chef’s tasting menu. Luxurious dishes include a luscious rock shrimp and Dungeness crab risotto, accented with butternut squash; branzino with fennel purée, olives and a saffron-orange emulsion; as well as a perfectly cooked herb-crusted lamb loin, draped over date-studded farro and rainbow carrots. While Gary Danko may not be on the cutting-edge of fine dining, its top-notch wine list and outstanding service epitomize old-school luxury. Like the chocolate soufflé with vanilla bean crème anglaise that caps the meal, this is a classic for a reason.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors
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