A city full of capitalist hippies, yuppies, workaholics and true artists alike, San Francisco is a pretty unique place. Amazing restaurants, legendary sights…whatever you’re hungry for, the city is willing and eager to feed it to you. With one of the freshest dining scenes in the country, it’s hard not to eat your way through a gastronomic adventure of San Francisco.
We recently stopped by the prestigious Jardinière, a restaurant with a solid presence and reputation since it first opened its doors in 1997. Housed in a landmark building in chic Hayes Valley, Jardinière is the collaboration between restaurant designer Pat Kuleto and Executive Chef Traci Des Jardins’ award-winning French-Californian cuisine.
Even after 14 years, Jardinière’s cuisine is not only still relevant, but still ranking as some of the best found within San Francisco’s fine-dining scene.
The restaurant has become known for being able to mix tradition with trends throughout their dishes and décor—a festive eclectic dining room filled with tiffany lamps and a starlit ceiling is the perfect setting for an indulgent seven course Chef’s Tasting. Chef Traci Des Jardins’ truly has a gift for balance—the tasting menu is rich dishes intertwined with lighter fare and smart playful spins on classic flavors. Her sous vide quail egg is an intense bite of flavor and texture, and the Hoffman Ranch Hen paired with fingerlings, pancetta and sweet onion purée is heavenly. Complex flavors in flawlessly simple bites.
While the menu stays current by changing with what’s available at the market, these guys perfected the elements of each dish and asserted a culinary identity occurred many years ago…and they aren’t about to mess with that. While the presence of many seasoned restaurants often fades with the emergence of new dining options, Jardinière has managed to maintain its place as one of the most elegant, consistent, refined dining experiences out there.
Each dish exemplifies perfectly implemented, classic technique, while at the same time embraced original, seasonal, intriguing plays of flavor and texture. Wine pairings are a must, with expert Wine Sommelier Eugenio Jardim at the helm. Don’t worry if you’re not a grape connoisseur, Eugenio really takes the time to look over your menu choices and see what you’re looking for in your vino for the evening. His philosophy is driven by his passion for finding little known wines from small growers with flavors that are drawn from the vineyards rather than manipulated by chemistry.
Prestigious but not pretentious, Jardinière is a wonderful adventure of the flavors found in California’s countryside right in the heart of the theatre district. Indulge before the opera, spoon your way through Chef Traci’s margarita tart with salt foam, and you’ll be leaving your heart in San Francisco before you know it.