Gnocchi at Beach and Park Chalet (photo: Artem Kevorkov)

6 super fun spots for Thanksgiving in SF—no hotel buffets here

By Marcia Gagliardi

Thanksgiving can pose challenges for many city dwellers with minuscule apartments (and even tinier kitchens), and it’s a daunting meal to prepare for even the most experienced cooks. Fortunately, San Francisco has a variety of options for dining out on Turkey Day, from traditional roast turkey to Vietnamese feasts. Instead of considering stuffy hotel restaurant buffets, here are six places with their own unique style and offering—and since visitors from out of town tend to like a view, you’ll find a few of those spots as well.

Presidio Social Club
If you have family coming in from out of town, it’s nice to offer a pretty setting with some classic SF ambiance. Throw in a traditional holiday menu (with a few twists) that isn’t priced through the roof, top it off with a full bar, and you’re in business. The specialty Thanksgiving three-course dinner menu here includes a fall salad with arugula, persimmons, and aged Vella dry Jack, or butternut squash soup with coconut milk, toasted seeds, and sprouts; followed by a classic roast turkey dinner, including wild mushroom and sage stuffing, braised greens with smoked ham hocks, giblet gravy, house-made braided poppy seed challah bread (holla!), and more. Leave room to end with your choice of holiday pies, created in house. Tasty! ($68 per person; $33 for children 10 years and younger.)
Neighborhood: Presidio MAP

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden
Another option for family visiting from out of town who want some California scenery with their Thanksgiving spread is to take them to the Beach Chalet, which has second-story views of the Pacific, or the casual Park Chalet. They’re both right across from Ocean Beach, so you can go for a walk before—or, better yet, after—your feast. The Beach Chalet is offering a three-course, prix-fixe menu ($65), with a choice of main course: classic roast turkey with fixings, lamb shank, herb-crusted New York steak, swordfish, or gnocchi. The feast is served from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden will be offering an abundant buffet, also 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., for $79. You can visit the meat-carving station and a seafood bar, and choose from nine holiday-inspired sides and salads, four desserts, and charcuterie and cheese. (All prices exclude tax and gratuity.)
Neighborhood: Ocean Beach MAP

For a cozy Thanksgiving on Russian Hill, this French restaurant will be offering a prix-fixe menu with a French accent. Come by between noon and 9 p.m. and you’ll find choices like butternut squash velouté, lobster salad, beef Wellington, braised turkey with dried apricot and bacon stuffing, pumpkin or pecan tart, and more. Cable cars going by will only add to the charming "only in SF" scenery. ($72 per person; $35 for kids under 12.)
Neighborhood: Russian Hill MAP

Le Colonial
Up for something a little different? How about a Vietnamese-inspired Thanksgiving in an exotic and atmospheric SF location? Le Colonial chef de cuisine Tuan Phan has created some special dishes for the holiday, including kabocha squash soup (sup bi), crispy duck roll (cha gio vit), Vietnamese turkey roulade (xoi nhoi ga tay nuong), and lobster tail garlic noodles (my toi tom hum). Some of Le Colonial’s à la carte menu items will also be available. Parties of five or more will have an option of choosing a family-style dinner menu for either $65 or $85 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Since the 721Lounge will open at 3 p.m., come by for a little holiday cheer before dinner, available from 4 to 8:30 p.m.
Neighborhood: Union Square MAP

International Smoke
The hype on Ayesha Curry’s restaurant (which she opened with Michael Mina) makes it challenging to get a reservation, but there’s still room available for the buffet-style menu they’re offering on Thanksgiving. From noon to 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, you can enjoy a selection of dishes like curry cornbread with red curry honey butter, Ayesha's jerk-spiced turkey and gravy, and smoked sweet potatoes with maple and bacon. ($75 per person, $29 for kids under 10.)
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

Hong Kong Lounge II
If you really want to break with tradition, do away with turkey completely and have imperial Peking duck as part of a Chinese banquet instead! This Inner Richmond restaurant is known for its dim sum (served until 2:30 p.m.), but setting up a banquet dinner for your family ahead of time would be extra-special. Be sure to order a Dungeness crab, which will be fresh in season, and you can have it fried with salt and pepper. And don’t worry, you can still order their much-adored dumplings at dinner.
Neighborhood: Inner Richmond MAP

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