Saison Restaurant, San Francisco

Named #27 on “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” List 

San Francisco’s culinary prowess is famed across the globe. Foodies from the US and beyond visit the city to sample the flavors from legends like Alice Waters, Thomas Keller, and Dominique Crenn. Luckily, there’s no need for you to break out your passport since one of the world’s best restaurants is just a short walk away from your San Francisco luxury condos at One Mission Bay. When you’re in the mood for critically acclaimed fare, it’s nice to know that Saison is one of your neighbors.

Some may find it odd that what was once a Sunday-night parking-lot pop-up restaurant has just been named the 27th “Best Restaurant in the World” by the Diners Club International. Notoriously selective New York Times food critic Pete Wells said that it provided “one of the most compelling meals” he’s had as a critic, and Zagat reviewers agree, praising Saison’s “consistently impressive” and “extraordinary cooking.” But few would be surprised by all of the plaudits Saison receives after sampling one of the imaginative dishes cooked up by owner and chef Joshua Skenes. Under his direction, Saison went from a tiny space with an open fire on the patio to one of San Francisco’s first Michelin three-star establishments—the highest designation given to an ultra-elite coterie of restaurants worldwide.

Although it’s now California’s most expensive restaurant, Saison began as Skene’s simple dream to serve the freshest “hyper-seasonal” food in the San Francisco area. During the early days, servers rushed outside to plate dishes from the fire pit; today diners can enjoy Saison’s ever-changing menu in the confines of an upscale minimalist space. That is, they can after they adhere to the restaurant’s understandably strict reservation and attendance policy: if you are not there for your scheduled seating, the meal begins without you, in order to ensure the freshest dishes and quality service.

The scene is easy to imagine: glasses clink, and your evening begins with a bottle of wine chosen by wine director and restaurant partner Mark Bright. Wine continues to flow throughout the evening as you’re treated to a 15- to 20-course meal, which may include standout dishes like Barbary sheep tartare, lobster, or green peas on parmesan custard. The menu changes every night, depending on what ingredients are available that day, though almost every dish features something smoked, roasted, or grilled by the wood fire, which Skenes calls “the heart of the restaurant.”

You might not need your carry-on when you go to Saison, but you will get to explore a whole new world of haute cuisine.