A deliciously unique Bay Area Thanksgiving

If thinking about all the work it takes to put together a traditional Thanksgiving meal sends your blood pressure skyrocketing, then hang up your apron and head out for a unique feast.

Cooks in the hospitality industry are already preparing for the people who want to eat out Thanksgiving Day, and some menus are a far cry from the traditional turkey dinner.

Most of the thousands of restaurants in The City are closed for the holiday, but the ones that stay open are equipped to fulfill a wide range of palates, said Kevin Westlye, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

And, Westlye said, the people who want someone else to do the dirty work on Turkey Day may find peace of mind in knowing that at most restaurants the employees are willfully working — and being paid overtime.

Here’s a slice of options:

$$: $30 and under
$$$: $31 to $50
$$$$: $50 or more
Per person without drinks


A little je ne sais quoi

L’Olivier, 465 Davis Court
Duck terrine pate followed by rosettes of pork tenderloin with a chanterelle sauce will make you forget turkey and mashed potatoes were ever a holiday staple. If that doesn’t make your mouth water, you can choose from one of the other three appetizer and four entree choices on the three-course holiday menu.

Iluna Basque, 701 Union St.</strong>
Mattin Noblia — a recent contestant on “Top Chef” and a 29-year-old native of Basque Country — offers a romantic menu that includes stuffed calamari with squid-ink sauce served over Spanish rice. Not ready to completely ditch tradition? Roasted pumpkin soup and free-range turkey are also available a la carte.


Ciao down

Palio d’Asti, 640 Sacramento St.
It doesn’t scream Italian or Thanksgiving tradition, but it definitely makes a statement. This holiday menu boasts grilled wild boar chops, osso buco with gremolata, and pumpkin ravioli with Brussels sprouts and Piave cheese.

The Stinking Rose, 325 Columbus Ave.
Make sure you bring after-dinner mints before dining at this garlic-centric restaurant. True to its name, the holiday menu includes a 400-clove roasted turkey breast in addition to its regular “stinking” menu.


If you want to be crabby

Capurro’s, 498 Jefferson St.
Crab season is in full swing, and this family-owned Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant will be dishing up its full menu of fresh, locally caught fare. That includes roasted crab, crab cakes, crab cioppino, crab Louie salad and crab sandwiches. In case someone in your party wants to keep it traditional, a three-course turkey dinner is also available with “all the trimmings.”


Toss the drumsticks for some chopsticks

Tommy Toy’s Haute Cuisine, 655 Montgomery St.
Turn your turkey world upside down with a beef curry chowder soup baked with fresh coconut and crowned with a puffed pastry. Kick off your meal with some minced chicken served in lettuce wraps before indulging in Mongolian lamb with leeks and chili hoisin sauce served over spinach.

Butterfly, Pier 33 on The Embarcadero
Sink your lips into a duck-fat fried turkey leg, spicy tomato relish, and cornbread and Canadian bacon pudding from a special Thanksgiving menu. Ambience will be in full effect. Live jazz music provides a nice backdrop as you soak up epic views of the Bay through floor-to-ceiling windows.


Crazy for Creole

Elite Cafe, 2049 Fillmore St.
True to its form, this Creole restaurant starts you off with cornbread and biscuits, then smacks down some blackened catfish in a smoked-tomato sauce. Save room for spicy sausage stuffing and green beans with crispy shallots because the sides are unlimited. They have a full selection of oysters, too.


Day of decadence

Top of the Mark, 1 Nob Hill Place
If you’re not stunned by the view, maybe the assorted caviar, seasonal pates, fresh oysters on ice and Bulgogi-style barbecue beef medallions will charm you at this San Francisco institution.

Supper Club, 657 Harrison St.
Enjoy four courses, beginning with poached chicken breasts, cranberry chutney, chicory with golden raisins and nuts, and finishing with French toast with lemon curd and vanilla sauce. Too full to move? No problem. This entire meal is served to you while lying down. 


Vegetarian's delight

Millennium, 580 Geary St.
Herbavores and carnivores alike will drool over this completely vegetarian five-course menu. House-made walnut bread, caramelized onion-pumpkin butter, exotic mushrooms, truffled potato custard, and porcini mushroom gravy are just some of the meat-free items on this special holiday menu.

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