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“Maybe Next Time”

Restaurant Gary Danko
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Ranked #7 of 5,645 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$70 - US$100
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Full Bar, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Valet Parking, Validated Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighbourhood: Fisherman’s Wharf
Bethesda, MD
Level Contributor
43 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Maybe Next Time”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2014

Obviously Gary Danko is a great restaurant. Obviously the one-star rating I've assigned is an anomaly. It represents our rather unpleasant 40 minutes in the place; your experience would most likely be as rapturous as those described in the great majority of reviews here, but I am writing to issue a caveat for the unwary.

We had a 9:00 reservation on a nondescript Monday night. We would have preferred something earlier, but 9:00 was the best we could do with the lead time we had. We arrived about 8:45 and were advised, not unexpectedly, that our table was not ready. We were led to the bar, which at that time had no available stools. We stood among a small herd of our fellow heel-coolers until two stools opened up at about 8:55. We sat and ordered a drink. By 9:10 the bar area was backed up to the door with others waiting for their reservations to be honored. By 9:15, I was ready to leave. We had been elbowed, jostled, batted hither and yon by the madding crowd. The volume of the attendant hubbub was just this side of deafening. By 9:20, I had paid for the drinks and announced our intention to leave. The hostess, aghast, asked me if I'd speak to the manager, which I did. She was unpersuasive; we left at about 9:25 amid pleas that "several tables were paying."

I'd believe our experience was unusual except that we were not the only ones subject to the uncomfortable wait. I was left with the distinct impression from this one-time sampling that the restaurant routinely overbooks, depending on its apparently well-deserved culinary reputation to elicit Job-like patience from its eager clientele.

If the experience you expect from an establishment affiliated with Relais et Châteaux includes red carpet treatment from the moment you walk in the door, I'd suggest that you avoid Gary Danko, or at the very least, make it a high priority to score an early evening reservation.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
8 Thank ProfRT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,190 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
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    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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Worldwide
Level Contributor
84 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Did We Miss Something?”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 June 2014

A place as highly rated as Gary Danko becomes unavoidable if you spend enough time in SF and if you love food as much as I do. It took me a while to finally get here, but by the time I had, my expectations had been built up unrealistically high. From the dated 90s decor, to the unremarkable -- but skillfully prepared -- food, Danko proved to be a bit of a dud by comparison to countless other restos of the same reputed stature.

With each course my dining partner and myself grew more and more perplexed at how such well-sourced, expertly plated ingredients could all taste so unremarkably dull. Most baffling of all was how her duck entrée somehow tasted identical to my lamb. With the delicious exceptions of a dollop of osietra caviar and the chocolate soufflé finale, the two of us left scratching our heads wondering what it was we were supposed to be so impressed by. Perhaps we need to give it another shot, but with so many other great restos in SF it's kind of hard to justify the time.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank P K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Jersey
Level Contributor
42 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“We'll worth it...one of our best!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 May 2014

My husband and I recently had dinner here and absolutely loved it. We found the food to be excellent, along with excellent service. This restaurant has found a way to be so special without being stuffy. While not super sophisticated wine drinkers, we did want to splurge on a nice bottle and the sommelier was very helpful. We indulged in the five course tasting menu. It was awesome! The portions were a lot larger than we had expected. This isn't a bad thing at all, but we were definitely very full by the end. We both had the coconut curry shrimp as part of our tastings and we thought it was outstanding....wonderful flavor. After finishing our dinner, we left with the restaurant coordinating a taxi for us and with a little take home treat for the next morning. This was an amazing dining experience.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LB1202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Venice, Italy
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A RESTAURANT FOR EVERY OCCASION”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 May 2014

Alone , as couple or for business or for a special occasion , this is "the place" to go in San Francisco. Wonderful fish food , greatly presented and really fine wines . Just perfect!

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Monica C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Emeryville, California, USA
Level Contributor
43 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Heaven”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2014

My wife took me here to celebrate my 32nd birthday and it was magical. She got me the 5 course dinner with wine pairing. it was one of the best dining experiences of my life. If in SF, you must go and have some heavenly food!

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Chibiri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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