A special anniversary? An important business dinner? A fat tax refund? These are the reasons you book a table at Jardinière. The restaurant takes its name from chef-owner Traci Des Jardins, and the sophisticated interior, with its eye-catching oval atrium and curving staircase, fills nightly with locals and out-of-towners alike. An equally sophisticated French-Californian dining room menu, served upstairs in the atrium, changes daily, but regularly includes such high-priced adornments as caviar and truffles. (The tasting menu is available for $140.) Downstairs, the lounge menu, with smaller plates and smaller prices ($8 to $18), is ideal for when you want to eat light while visiting with friends or tame your hunger before or after the nearby opera or symphony. Cheese lovers will appreciate the wide variety of choices—both Old World and New—housed in the glassed-in cheese-aging chamber in the rear of the restaurant. The choice wine selection is worthy of celebration in and of itself.
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