We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The greatest dining experience we have ever had.”
Review of Acquerello

Reserve with OpenTable
Acquerello is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #201 of 5,737 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $95 - $185
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
Cross street: Polk
Transit: Van Ness Avenue is serviced by Muni bus lines 42,47,and 49. California Street. is serviced by the California Cable Car line. Sacramento Street. is serviced by Muni bus line 1. Polk Street. is serviced by Muni bus line 19.
Description: Acquerello, named for its original watercolors, envelops guests in a warm and gracious atmosphere the moment they arrive. "At Acquerello, we believe that refined luxury is always in style. Our desire is to provide our guests an experience of classic and contemporary Italian tastes in an elegant dining atmosphere." The 40 seat dining room has an upscale and quiet ambiance. The room, designed by John Wheatman, highlights the former chapel, graced with arches and a rustic wood-beamed vaulted ceiling, with warm Mediterranean colors of gold and terracotta. Acquerello's contemporary approach to Italain cuisine combines the freshest ingredients available, an innovative approach to classic Italian flavors, and modern techniques. Guests can design their own three, four or five course dinner with the Prix Fixe Menus or choose to enjoy the preset chef's Seasonal Tasting Menu. Acquerello,in its more than 25 years in operation, has received countless accolades and awards, including a Michelin star in the first-ever 2007 Bay Area guide, two Michelin Stars in 2015, and a Wine Spectator Grand Award for the wine list continuously since 2012.
O.C. California
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“The greatest dining experience we have ever had.”
Reviewed June 2, 2010

I picked Acquerello based on TA reviews and a desire for an elegant dining experience for my wife's birthday. We were not disappointed! From the time we walked up to the front door to the time we got into the taxi was the best dining experience my wife and I have ever enjoyed. We have had many elegant meals in the past at locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York but the combination of service, food, and atmosphere left an edible mark on our memories.
As we walked up to the door it was opened for us before we could touch it and the man who welcomed us also walked us to our table and spent the next 20 minutes answering our questions about the restaurant, and what were our best choices for food and wine. He never made us feel like he had somewhere else he needed to be, he never excused himself, he never looked back to the front door. It was as if he was our own personal consultant for the evening.
We enjoyed a glass of champagne (they do not have a full bar) prior to ordering our courses and wine selection. Even though we ordered a glass of champagne and not a bottle our waiter brought the bottle out with the empty glass and presented the label to my wife for her choice and did the same for my different choice.
Next was choosing the courses. They have a 3, 4, 5, or even 6 course meal options to chose from. The menu has recommendations for each course selection but you can pick all your courses and in any order you want from any course section on the menu. Yes desert is counted as a course.
Our waiter made a few recommendations for bottles of wine that we might like after he talked about what type of style we liked (dry vs. fruit, tannins, big wines, etc). I appreciated the options which included a nice range in prices as well.( I never valued recommendations from waiters when they just picked the most expensive bottle on their wine list. )
They have a table of crystal decanters in the middle restaurant and our decanter looked like a alphorn ( think alpine horn - swiss alps) and he poured our wine through the long skinny tube. It was quite a sight and many of the other dinners enjoyed the process too.
We had the Parmesan budino with mushrooms as our 1st course. It was very good and the different flavors that you experienced were easy to distinguish. The 2nd course for me was ridged pasta with foie gras and black truffles, we split this dish instead of ordering 2 of these because it was recommended due to the richness of the dish. This was a great recommendation because it was very rich and the split made it the perfect size to experience this dish. The pasta was firm and the sauce was creamy and delicious. The 3rd course for my wife was pancetta wrapped scallops and I had the spring green garlic risotto. My wife loved her scallops, I tried them and they were perfectly cooked and so good! My risotto was good but not great, I enjoyed the garlic but I felt that it needed more salt and was a little undercooked. This is why I rated the food with a 4 instead of a 5.
Our final course was desert.
My wife chose the house gelato and I had the caramel semifreddo. Both were very good and the plate presentation was very intricate. A man that I would categorize as the maitre 'd came over with a small bottle on a plate and poured this syrupy mixture over my wife's gelato and told us it was 25 year old balsamic vinegar! This was a surprise but before we passed judgement my wife tried and it was great! Since then she has a book on balsamic vinegars that the restaurant gave her and she is now looking and getting some for our home. Yes we have had balsamic vinegar before but this was our first exposure to the high end versions that sell for over $100 for 6 oz!
Before we left my wife was also given some biscotti in a very nice box with the restaurant logo on top.
In summary here is what impressed me:
1. The service was impeccable without feeling like someone was hovering over you or just standing off to the side ready to fill your water glass. I never had to make eye contact, flag someone down, or look around for assistance. It was always there when I needed it.
2. The atmosphere was perfect, not too dark and plenty of room between tables to feel private.
3. The food was excellent, well prepared, and well presented on the plate.
4. The wine list is 45 pages (guessing) and has a wide range of selections and prices to fit your budget.

We used Open Table for our reservation and I put a note in the comments about my wife's birthday which they noticed and put Happy Birthday (wife's name) on her desert plate. They never mentioned the note or commented to us about being there to celebrate her birthday during dinner which made for a nice surprise in the end.

It cost was $150-175 for the two of us without the wine and champagne. Very reasonable.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank captyoung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

282 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Completely sublime food”
Reviewed April 2, 2010

Truly spectacular dining room, wonderful wonderful food, well worth its Michelin star, and attentive yet unobtrusive service. Three of us came out of here knowing we'd had an almost out-of-body experience!

Thank CaroRich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Excellent but Expensive”
Reviewed March 18, 2010

Great dining experience -- a bit stuffy but excellent all around. Dress code and reservations required. Wine list is extensive and fun to go through.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank mint427
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
morgan hill,ca
1 review
“Friendly elegance”
Reviewed October 9, 2009

Very enjoyable dining experience with professional and helpful staff to offer suggestions navigating the delectable options. Strong, rich flavors obviously appealing to the predominantly male patrons.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank yumsearch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
87 reviews
78 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Do not miss!”
Reviewed October 5, 2009

What an excellent restaurant! We did a 3 course meal which was more than enough for me. Do not miss the lobster panzerotti, it's amazing. Every dish is beautifully presented and flavors carefully thought out. Great Italian flavors without all dishes being traditional italian food. One of the best restaurants I have ever been to period.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank NJI930
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Acquerello also viewed

San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA

Been to Acquerello? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing