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If there is one place to splurge in San Francisco, this is it. Fresh, sophisticated cuisine in an elegant, romantic atmosphere has earned Chef Danko prestigious awards, such as Michelin stars, a Five Star Mobil rating, and the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant and Best Chef in California. Well-earned honors aside, the portions are generous, the service is unparalleled, and there’s not a hint of pretention. There’s a reason locals and visitors keep shelling out the cash for this modern San Francisco institution and it probably has much to do with the friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere that makes you feel as if you’re dining on delicacies like caviar and lobster in a good friend’s home—who just happens to be a culinary genius. Tip: If you can't get a reservation, slip in and grab a seat at the bar, where you can also order a la carte.