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San Francisco Restaurants

Acquerello

Updated 05/05/2014

Fodor's Review

Devotees of chef-owner Suzette Gresham-Tognetti's high-end but soulful Italian cooking have swooned for years over her incomparable Parmesan budino (pudding) as well as the ridged pasta with foie gras and truffles. The latter dish, even with the California ban on foie gras, is still a favorite—Tognetti's chef de cuisine Mark Pensa has created a faux foie that is a dead ringer for the real item. Classics pepper the menu but there are also some cutting-edge touches,

techniques, and flavors. Dinners are prix-fixe, with three ($82), four ($96), or five ($110) courses and at least six choices within each course. Tognetti also tempts with a seasonal eight-course tasting menu ($145). The cheese course is not to be missed, with rare cheeses from Piemonte, and other regions, rolled tableside. Co-owner Giancarlo Paterlini oversees the service and his son Gianpaolo presides over the roughly 1,900-bottle list of Italian wines. The room, in a former chapel, with wooden vaulted ceiling and terra-cotta and pale-ocher palette, is refined but never stuffy—and neither is the service. Every member of the dining staff is honest and welcoming, knowing that many people here are celebrating special occasions. They will make it a night to be remembered. This true San Francisco dining gem is worth every penny.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

1722 Sacramento St., San Francisco, California, 94109, USA

Map It

Phone:

415-567–5432

Restaurant Details:

  • Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch
  • Reservations essential

Updated 05/05/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Jul 12, 2008

Perfect...or darn close!

Seldom does one find a restaurant this truly desirable. Along with outstanding food and exceptional service, the watercolor decor (hence the name) and the ambience in general is close to perfect. It's a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. It's also quiet and refined. Highly recommended.....

By Laureen

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Nov 8, 2005

Italian cuisine at its Best!!!!!

This is our all time favorite place to dine. It is consistantly excellent in atmosphere, food and service. Worth every penny!

By Bill

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Aug 5, 2004

Maybe the best in town

The room staff headed by Giancarlo is as professional as any place in town and the food is unparalleled for superb Italian Cuisine. I can think of only a couple of places in New York that rival Acquerello. I have eaten here for years and years and it is always consistent. It is certainly expensive, but compared to other top places in town it is quite reasonable. Service is leisurely in the Italian style and I suspect some of the tourists who have

complained on this site simply don't understand a gracious,leisurely dinner in the European style. I live in Italy for part of each year, and am affluent enough to eat anywhere, and recognize quality when I experience it. You won't find better than Acquerello.

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By Robert

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Nov 30, 2003

Best dining experience in San Francisco

We visited San Francisco in October and this was by far our best dining experience. Creative Italian cuisine, great wine list and very attentive service.

By Heidi

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Sep 17, 2003

What is Fodors Talking about?

Romantic? Hardly! I can name twenty others more romantic off the top of my head, and each of these 20 is much more affordable. For the prices you pay at Acquerello, you might expect decent service. I receive better service at McDonalds. Avoid this place unless you are well known and have an unlimited company credit card.

By Craig

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Sep 16, 2003

Rude and Arrogant - Horrible Service

The service at Acquerello was more rude and unaccommodating than anything I'd ever experienced. The management, too, was arrogant and condescending. They obviously think that they don't need to worry about individual customers.

By Mike

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Aug 26, 2002

Very Pricey Upscale Italian

This is not your average Italian. The dishes are unusual and the portions are very small. The prices, however, are borderline ridiculous. Given the choices in San Francisco, you can do far better for the money.

By Robin

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Jan 20, 2002

I gotta defend this place!

I had a very nice meal here, and I must disagree with the negative comments about service. Ours was just fine, attentive, and not at all unpleasant. I will agree that it is quite expensive, including the wine, but that's the city for you. The food was quite good, especially my starter, a parmesan budino, and a very light dessert. While this could never be considered a value, it was a very pleasant dining experience.

By jules

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Apr 28, 2001

A Bust

Party of six. The main course arrived cold and had to be returned to the kitchen. Stuffed veal was tough. Service was slow. The prices on the wine list were very,very expensive a markup of 3-4x. Wine bottles were not allowed to stay on the table (not empty's) I would not return

By Lottie

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Oct 18, 2000

Terrible Service

I agree that Acquerello was overrated. The food was fine, and if that is all that a dining experience involved, the restaurant would be ok. But service is a huge part of how much you enjoy the meal, and when the waiter alternates between being snooty, condescending and obnoxious, with outright ignoring you, this is a restaurant that in my opinion is not worth going to, particularly given the large number of fabulous restaurants in San Francisco.

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