The award-winning restaurant GARY DANKO is moving into its seventh year with a flourish. The restaurant has received its sixth Five Star rating from Mobil as well as a Relais & Chateau designation, and reviews continue to extol its delights. At this point, most chefs would relax and count their blessings, but not the unstinting Danko. "We may be three thousand miles and twelve blocks off Broadway, but what we do here is definitely theatre," explains Danko. "We work hard to ensure that each evening's 'performance' is seamless and magical." The well-trained staff has been chosen from the city's most dedicated and professional servers. Their elegant suits complement the restaurant's décor, a mélange of relaxed California modern and Upper East Side chic. This mix is also reflected in the restaurant's style of service, a graceful blend of polished professionalism and straightforward friendliness. Danko has created an enveloping, intimate space. The two adjoining rooms are elegant without being stiff, and the banquette seating provides both luxury and comfort. Taupe-toned walls are the perfect backdrops for museum-quality modern paintings from artists Hunt Slonem, Erin Parish, and Angelina Nasso. Dramatic pin-spot lighting sets the stage for the multi-act meals. "I spent endless hours in high school building and painting stage sets," explains Danko, "and I love the drama of New York restaurants. This is the only restaurant I've ever wanted, and I am constantly adjusting it to match my vision of the perfect room and the perfect meal." "You don't just open a great restaurant," confides the hard-working Danko. "It's a constant work-in-progress." He continues to hone the experience at GARY DANKO with some striking changes. A handsome cheese case now allows diners to view the restaurant's carefully aged cheese selection. This case is just a slice of the restaurant's expansive cheese service. With a global selection of artisanal cheeses and ongoing classes and tastings for the staff, Danko's cheese service is one of the best in the country. Here, attractive granite cheese carts arrive tableside with an array that includes favorites such as Brillat-Savarin and Reblochon, as well as limited-production "handmades" from Vermont's Willow Hill, Sally Jackson in Washington State, and California's Laura Chenel and Cypress Grove creameries. Danko's cooking centers on lively, seasonal dishes prepared with a careful eye toward classical technique. "My cooking is not cutting edge," insists Danko. "I won't serve guinea pig food. We do not experiment on the guests!" Signature dishes of roast lobster, foie gras, and lamb loin are served year round, and accompaniments reflect the changes in season. For example, seared foie gras, paired with Bing cherries in late spring, appears with roast figs in early fall. The prix-fixe menu offers three-, four-, or five-course meals, and wines can also be paired with each course for a set price. The ever-expanding cellar now holds over 1,500 wines and includes an exceptional selection of grand vintages as well as coveted wines from small producers. A meal at GARY DANKO now includes a tea service with teas from the exclusive Rishi Tea Company. The premium quality leaves are carefully brewed at precise temperatures and exact times, and teas (which include rare Ti Quan Yin and beautifully scented Jasmine Pearls) are served in the traditional Asian style. The skillful staff presents these aromatic beverages with the same care that is given to Danko's vaunted wines. The GARY DANKO experience now reaches beyond the confines of San Francisco. Danko has recently acquired property in the Napa Valley town of Yountville. This property will be developed as a small farm to grow produce and herbs for the restaurant. "We're constantly burnishing and upgrading here. This will ensure us greater control over the ingredients we use," allows Danko. "We're organic in the true sense of the word," he laughs. "This restaurant is a living, growing thing."
Awards Mobil Five Star San Francisco Restaurant One of Nation's Elite for Six Years
Restaurant Gary Danko | Best Restaurants San Francisco
800 North Point St
North Beach, San Francisco, California 94109
- The restaurant also includes an eleven-seat bar, offers valet parking, and is wheelchair accessible. Major credit cards are accepted and reservations are recommended.