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“Unique and unforgettable!”

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Opaque Dining in the Dark
Ranked #1,511 of 5,938 Restaurants in San Francisco
Price range: US$75 - US$150
Cuisines: Contemporary, International, Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighbourhood: Hayes Valley
Cross street: Gough Street
Reviewed 17 July 2014

We entered down a skinny stairwell and were immediately greeted by the hostess. She gave us menus and took our orders. She also asked if we have any food allergies, as we would not be able to see our food. Our server Senya guided us to our table and then the fun began! The absolute pitch black darkness was a bit unsettling at first, but after 5 to 10 minutes it was no big deal. Senya provided excellent service! He was extremely patient in explaining how our food/drinks would be served. And the food was amazing, especially the beef tenderloin! Our favorite part was listening to the lively conversations around us. It seemed that our hearing was somehow enhanced due to the loss of sight. The 3 course meals are a bit expensive, but it is definitely worth it. Highly recommended!

1  Thank JD_Who6614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 41 reviews

Reviewed 30 June 2014

My husband saw a travel show about this dining concept years ago, and he's always wanted to try it. This past weekend while the kids were off visiting the grandparents, we decided to give it a shot. We could only get the first dinner reservation, which was at 5:30. We were a few minutes late, but our hostess instructed us to use the restroom at the sister restaurant next door - Indigo -- and especially to wash hands. Of course that seems weird to be told to wash your hands, but it was with the explanation that at some point during our meal we may be using our hands more than usual. And she was right!

Our server was Rosie, who was fun and interesting, as well as totally blind. After she escorted us to our table -- an adventure in itself -- she was friendly and chatting, inviting us to ask her questions about her blindness. Her story was an interesting one. I had some issues when we first got in with a feeling of claustrophobia, and to be honest I wasn't sure I was going to be able to stay and eat. She offered to bring me water, and just let me get my bearings. After five minutes, it was better. After two glasses of wine, it was no problem at all!

My husband and I were under the impression (why, we don't know) that yes, it would be dark, but that our eyes would adjust and we would not be in total darkness. NOT TRUE! We were there almost 2 1/2 hours and it is pitch black the whole time. There are a couple of "revelations" I had during this experience. The first being how much I eat just because food is there, and I can see it. I'm a normal sized person but my whole life I've had an issue with food -- if I see it, I eat it. Without the benefit of sight, I ate what I needed. Enlightening. The second was how there are really no distractions in this restaurant. First, no smartphones! When's the last time you were at a restaurant and didn't see someone looking at a screen? We're guilty of that ourselves. It was really nice.

The food itself is very good, but it's not spectacular. You're paying for an experience, and it's really an awesome experience. It's a fixed price menu that includes a starter, entrée, and dessert for $99. Drinks are extra. I opted not to order off the menu but to go with the "mystery" option -- after being reassured that everything is all pretty standard American fare. There was no octopus or cow tongue that was going to show up. It was very fun to guess what I was eating -- again, an experience.

I would highly recommend doing this at least once. We would definitely do it again but would go with a group of people next time, just to see what they would think also, now that we know what to expect.

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank Julie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014

I really didn't know what to expect prior to dining here, only knowing I'd be eating in the dark-The night before our reservation Nikki from Opaque called to confirm our reservation and told us she would be helping us when we arrived and she looked forward to seeing us-

Night of our reservation we arrived a couple minutes late so we missed the seating time so we waited next door at the restaurant and had a drink, only waited like 10 minutes-Nikki came over and explained how it would work, showed us the menu and told us to use the bathroom/wash hands prior-
We made it down the stairs (very narrow and only room for like 8 people max in that space) and we waited for our waitress Katie to take us to our table-

Katie appeared and instructed that I put my left hand on her left shoulder, and my boyfriend did the same-She was able to navigate us to our table without any issues and then helped us with our seats-Katie is blind and instructed that the waiters there were either blind or partially blind-
We were given water and there was bread on the table, which I didn't know was there until I felt it-

We both ordered the same thing:
-Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans
-Chocolate cake/brownie with ice cream and slice strawberries

Within minutes our salad was brought out by Katie, she place is in front us and asked if we were ok-We started eating it and I was impressed, very good-I only lost my fork once, but decided to position at like clock hands so I wouldn't lose it again, so I kept my fork at "3:00" and never had an issue after-

As soon as we said our salad was done the entree was right there, I could smell it so I knew it was us-We were given a knife to use and that was a challenge at first b/c you couldn't see how much you were cutting but you get the hang of it-So I decided to leave my knife at 7:00 in order not to lose it-It was easy eating the green beans and mashed potatoes and it was good-Now it wasn't a Mastro's filet or the best filet you'll even have but it's not Ponderosa either, so do not expect this-
After we said we were done with our dinner the dessert was brought right out, again by Katie-It was really good-

What I found interesting was that when it's dark you are eating what your stomach perceives as what you need-I got filled up and I honestly didn't eat all my food-Amazing how much your eyes tell you to eat when your stomach is like "woah, I'm done" ;)

After we were done with eating we were asked by Katie if we would like to wait a couple more minutes and relax or would we like to be brought back to seeing-We were done so we opted to leave-
Katie then took my hand and my boyfriend then took mine and we were led back to where we came from earlier and were brought to the staircase-It was around 8:30 so it was not bright out but our eyes adjusted quickly-

We paid at the top of the stairs and were able to see where we were sat at and what tables were around us-

I highly recommend trying it when in town-Remember this is not Ruth's Chris, Mastro's or any other famous steakhouse-It's for the experience-

Also, I am claustrophobic and I didn't have any issues-I think the music and the chatter from others kept me from not freaking out-I was sure I would freak out but I didn't, so that's good-

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank WindyCityGatorGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

What an amazing experience. My nerves were on end, my sense of smell, taste and hearing heightened. It was a challenging experience but so very worth it. The food was also very good, no complaints at all. The whole experience gave me such a greater awareness of what it would be like to be blind, but also made me appreciate other senses so much more. Apart form a little sorbet dribble, I did quite well. I've even found myself closing my eyes to fast my food at each meal now - a real experience in "mindful" eating. But make sure you go with someone you are comfortable with, remember there are no visual cues for conversation.

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank melinmexic0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2014 via mobile

Dining at Opaque was a great experience, our server Jeniffer was very nice and had the sweetest voice! The food, apart from the whole experience, tasted great, and after a while you really do get the sense of getting better at using your other senses!

Thank Juan Jose A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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