A Private Affair

Alastair Bland |
Food And Dining

It’s not always enough to be dining in one of San Francisco’s most celebrated restaurants. Sometimes, you want the place to yourself. That’s why more and more restaurants are now offering private event spaces for parties big and small. Groups the size of a family and those large enough to fill a concert hall can have the evening all to themselves at any of numerous dining destinations around the city. About three dozen of these restaurants are aligned in an organization called San Francisco Private Dining Venues {sfpdv.com}, a member-run service formed 15 years ago to help people like you arrange the perfect private party. Restaurants like McCormick and Kuleto’s, Wayfare Tavern, E&O Asian Kitchen, and Farallon are among the esteemed restaurants in the group, each with private event space ideal for family dinners and business meet-and-greets. Even if you have no venue preferences, the SFPDV will customize a menu and set the table for you, your friends, your colleagues, and your family—and no one else. Here are a few of the hottest spots for private dining and drinks in San Francisco.

1300 Fillmore {1300 Fillmore; 415.771.7100}

The private dining room can seat 22 guests. Memorabilia of jazz and history grace the walls and bring a nostalgic note to the sleek and brooding space. The menu, meanwhile, is a little bit of everything: Southern, French, even a touch of Jamaican. Now that's a meal to look forward to. 1300fillmore.com

Harris’s Restaurant {2100 Van Ness Avenue; 415.673.1888}

Three private rooms small to grand offer first-class options for private groups at Harris’s. The Board Room, the Skylight Room, and the Library seat 12, 36, and 72 people, respectively, in unique chambers that are elegant, smart, and classy. harrisrestaurant.com

Kuleto’s Italian Restaurant {221 Powell Street; 415.951.9330}

Kuleto’s traditional Italian cuisine can be enjoyed in three private spaces, from the small Board Room to the mid-sized Caruso Room and up to the Machiavelli Room—elegant spaces accommodating from 12 to 72 people each, with additional space for standing room. kuletos.com

McCormick and Kuleto’s {900 North Point Street, Suite H301; 415.929.8374}

A maritime theme dominates at this Ghirardelli Square seafood destination overlooking San Francisco Bay. Four private rooms—the Dolphin Room, the Captain’s Room, the Bay View Room, and the Alcatraz Room—offer spacious dinner settings with views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island. McCormickandKuletos.com

Yoshi’s {330 Fillmore Street; 415.655.5603}

Live music and Japanese cuisine converge within the spacious walls and windows of Yoshi’s. The venue holds hundreds of people, while groups from 12 to 60 find privacy in four smaller rooms. These include the Irori Room, where guests remove their shoes upon entering and seat themselves on the floor in traditional family style, and the Omakase Room, where guests are treated to a view of the kitchen and direct service from the chef. yoshis.com/sf


The following, though not members of the San Francisco Private Dining Venues, are favorite private event spaces in our beloved city.

Gary Danko {800 North Point; 415.749.2060}

A quaint and intimate space, the private dining room of Gary Danko’s seats just ten people. A set menu selection requires a minimum of three courses of the restaurant’s contemporary American cuisine. garydanko.com

Farina {3560 18th Street; 415.565.0360}

The authentic, rustic-elegant Ligurian cuisine of chef Paolo Laboa has made Farina one of the city’s most coveted Italian restaurants. In Farina’s private dining space, small family-sized parties can have the unique experience of enjoying Laboa’s finest dishes in a private setting as comfortable and warm as one’s own home. farina-foods.com

And to take you on your journey from party to party ...

Classic Cable Car Charters {190 Napoleon Street; 415.922.2425}

Few images symbolize San Francisco like the cable car. Classic Cable Car Charters offers private city tours in a lookalike vehicle, with both the interior and exterior replicated like the classic trolleys that roll up and down some of the city’s steepest streets. Classic Cable Car Charters’ vehicles roll on tires, not rails, meaning they can take you and your party just about anywhere—from Fisherman’s Wharf to the historic Cliff House and the Golden Gate Bridge. classiccablecar.com