On a quest to try every Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco, I’ve yet to be disappointed by one. You’d think it would be hard to distinguish a favorite amongst so many that are – let’s just say it – MINDBLOWING, but there were two that brought dining out to a whole new level of succulence.
Just South of Market Street inside a huge historic building lies a Moroccan restaurant called Mourad. It might be easy to miss their small sign, but when you walk through those glass doors you’ll instantly feel lavish like your country club friends who grew up in Newport Beach.
After being to several high end restaurants in San Francisco that serve tiny portions almost too beautiful to eat in a setting similar to a barn or cabin, I slowly learned that dressing up for a fine dining experience isn’t always necessary.
Unfortunately, I wore a jean jacket to Mourad and discovered that it might be one of the last few restaurants in SF where people actually dress to impress. Just when I was getting used to eating expensive food on cheap plates, going from the gym to dinner with wet hair and no makeup West Coast style, I discovered a place that brought back all the nostalgia from growing up on the East Coast. This is definitely a place to wear your high heels that are strictly meant for sitting. Luckily, this place is located downtown away from the steep hills.
Now back to the food – we began by splitting two appetizers: fennel salmon and octopus with brussel sprouts and cauliflower. This is when the war for the last brussel sprout began. Sharing is caring but when it comes to the most perfectly fried brussel sprouts, your porcelain plate becomes the new battlefield. You’d have to taste it to understand it.
Every bite was exceptionally flavorful. If we had been in a barn setting like the other places, I may have actually licked the plate clean.
For the main meal, I debated hardcore between scallops with yam and quinoa or lamb with lentils. I ended up getting the scallops, my friend got the lamb. The scallops were the best I’ve ever had; the texture was perfectly soft and buttery and they were bursting with flavor. While I didn’t try the lamb, I can only say that if they tasted as good as they looked – so perfectly pink and decorated with edible flowers – they would be a staple to order at this Moroccan restaurant.
From the moment you walk through the doors to the moment you take that last sensational bite, all your needs will be taken care of like you are the Queen of England and the world’s peace is dependent on you enjoying your meal.
Whether you’ve got personal chefs preparing you lavish mimosa brunches every weekend, or you’re just a young adult celebrating a milestone, everyone comes together at Gary Danko for the most mouthwatering food and the most impeccable service. Seriously, spill a crumb and set your timer to see how long it takes someone to come wipe it up…probably 30 seconds. And if you’re not used to being catered to, honestly it made me a little nervous because they were almost too thorough, it may seem a bit unsettling.
The best way to enjoy the lavish experience of Gary Danko is with your family, best friends, or significant other. Conversations start out steady and diverse and soon converge into proclamations from everyone about the perfection of the food. Suddenly, you realize that you’ve never had a good meal in your life, and you may never again be able to enjoy the canned salmon and bagged salad you had the previous night for dinner.
Before you’re sent off back into reality, they give you a going away present: the most incredibly moist muffin so that when you wake up the next morning and you’re staring into your bowl of cheerios and milk, you can know that a better choice exists and the divine experience you had last night doesn’t have to end just yet.
So do your foodie-self a favor and treat your tastebuds to Mourad and Gary Danko. Hopefully you’ll walk away with not only a full tummy, but also plenty of pictures and a newfound appreciation for the talented chefs in San Francisco who bring these jaw-dropping dining experiences to fruition.